Benson Andrew Idahosa (1938-1998): Father of Nigerian Pentecostalism

Today marks the 14th year since Idahosa’s death on the 12th of March 1998. Benson Idahosa has been described by many as the Father of Nigerian Pentecostalism. Idahosa is also truly one of the pioneers of Neo Pentecostalism in Africa. Who then is Idahosa?

Benson Andrew Idahosa was born in Benin (now Edo state) as an unhealthy child into a poor family. His health was so bad that his father instructed the Mother to throw him away. The mother did throw him away, but after a while she took him back. This caused a temporary separation between his parents. Later Idahosa struggled to be educated up to secondary school this was due to lack of finance. He was so poor that he could not afford a pair of shoes until he was eighteen years old.

In 1952, through a dramatic incident Idahosa became a Christian in an Assemblies of God Church in Benin. After his conversion he read the whole of John’s Gospel and decided he had to witness to his friends. This was the beginning of Idahosa’s preaching the Gospel. Idahosa later sought after the experience of Baptism in the Spirit and he asked the Pastor at the Assembly of God to pray for him. He was filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues. After this experience Idahosa began to preach in the different villages organizing open air meetings. He did this in the evening while he worked for a shoe company during the day. He was also an active and committed member of the Assembly of God Church where he was converted.

The open air meetings witnessed people being healed of epilepsy and many other sicknesses. Other miracles were also happening in these meetings. The news about the open air meetings started to spread to other villages and this led to more evangelistic activities. In order to reach more people with the Gospel he bought a motorcycle to help him travel to distant villages to conduct Gospel meetings.

In June 1967 Idahosa lost his father during the Civil War riots. A year later, during one night, his room was filled with God’s presence and he was awoken from sleep by a voice. It was the Lord speaking to him about his future mission; “I have called you that you might take the gospel around the world in my name, preach the gospel, and I will confirm my word with signs following. After this experience he began to do more evangelistic meetings and outreaches. He would ask the Chiefs who head the villages for permission to conduct an evangelistic meeting in their village. They responded and more people were saved through his ministry. He directed the converts to existing Pentecostal Churches such as the Assemblies of God. Due to his evangelistic activities Idahosa soon became a leader under Pastor Okpo (the pastor at the Assemblies of God Church where he became a Christian) who gave him directions in ministry. However this did not last long as Idahosa decided to follow his own vision and establish a Church. To this end Idahosa started a Bible study group in front of a store and within few years they outgrew the place bought a piece of land to build a bigger Church facility. In order to build this Church members of Idahosa’s Church contributed a lot of money, time and labour.

Later Idahosa met one of the Apostolic Church missionaries, S.G. Elton and they became good friends. Elton became Idahosa’s mentor and it was him that introduced Idahosa to Gordon and Freda Lindsey (one of the healing evangelist of the Latter Rain Movement). Both Elton and Lindsey ordained Idahosa into ministry in 1971.

Idahosa was granted scholarship to study at Gordon Lindsey’s Bible College, Christ for the Nations Institute in Texas United States. Gordon Lindsey also helped Idahosa financially to build his Church. While Idahosa was studying for a Diploma in Divinity, he read T.L.Osbourne’s book on evangelism and he became very concerned about evangelizing Benin his home town. He later asked permission from Gordon Lindsey to go back to Nigeria. Permission was granted and he went back in 1972 not completing his Diploma in Divinity.

Idahosa, the elders of his Church and Elton began to organize Gospel meetings in stadiums. The first was the one at Ogbe stadium in Benin which attracted 10,000 people. They publicise the meeting on radio stations, print posters and leaflets. This was a pioneering effort by Idahosa as it was American evangelists who usually do this sort of thing. This type of gospel meetings (usually known as Gospel Crusades in Nigeria) became a defining feature of Idahosa’s ministry and would later attract hundreds of thousands of people. As Idahosa and his team did these Gospel Campaigns all over the country, converts were won and this eventually led to many Church plants. This Church planting concept was pioneering then as it was new to Nigerian Charismatics who were not sure whether to start founding Churches.

Through his personal experience of poverty, the effects of the Civil War riots on Nigeria, the global recession that deflated Nigerian economy  and the influence of American evangelists, Idahosa started to articulate Prosperity Gospel making him a pioneer in Nigeria and other African countries. In 1973 Idahosa claimed he received this message from God.

The world and its people are complaining daily of poverty and want. I have given you the mouth of miracles and blessings to my people. I have asked the cashiers of heaven to be on duty as long as you have a need for my own honour and glory. I shall supply all your needs according to my riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

Begin to bless your people with all blessing; ask them to ask me anything they need, and I shall provide it for them. If only they will honour me with their wealth, I shall make them to be prosperous in all areas of their lives. I shall bless your partners and co-workers.

Wake up, go to the Church in the morning, and tell them poverty died last night. What you bless on earth is blessed in heaven. Bless my people, says the Lord, who came to give the good life of abundance.

Since then Idahosa has been preaching Prosperity with his life style and story. He dressed flamboyantly, used the best cars and pursued big projects with big budgets. It would however be wrong to conclude that he only used the money for his benefits, because he helped people financially, gave scholarships to the poor, fed people, gave cars and spoke on behalf of the voiceless to the Nigerian government on several occcasions. One of his sayings was, “it is better to live for posterity than for prosperity” This was why he built primary school, secondary school, a University and a hospital. In 1981, he was ordained as the first Pentecostal Bishop in Nigeria by David Du plesis (known as Mr. Pentecost) and two other Bishops. Idahosa also pioneered a television ministry, ‘Redemption Hour’ which made him to become the first TV evangelist in Africa. His Bible College has trained the likes of Bishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Christ Action Faith Ministries, Bishop Charles Agyin-Asare of Word Miracle Church International, Bishop James Saah, Bishop Christianah Doe Tetteh of Solid Rock Chapel International and many others. Many of today’s Nigerian Pentecostal ministers can trace their roots directly or indirectly back to Idahosa. Men such as Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel, Bishop Francis Wale Oke of Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Mike Okonkwo (former president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria), Ayo Oritsejafor, current president of PFN and many more. Before his death in 1998, Idahosa had visited and preached in 125 countries including Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, USA, Ghana, Cameroun, South African, Australia and Kenya. He will be remembered as an African apostle to the nations.

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About israelolofinjana

Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is an ordained and accredited Baptist minister and has pastored Crofton Park Baptist Church before becoming the Team Leader at Catford Community Church in September 2011. He is Nigerian coming from a Pentecostal background. He holds a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MTh from South London Christian College. Israel is the author of “Reverse in Ministry and Missions: Africans in the Dark Continent of Europe” and "20 Pentecostal Pioneers in Nigeria" He has also contributed to academic journals and magazines on the subject of Black Majority Churches (BMC) in Britain. He is part of the council of reference of "Being Built Together" a research project in Southwark looking into the history and practices of BMCs in that Borough. Israel is a Borough Dean in Lewisham and involved in encouraging churches to work together. He is very passionate about the Bible and likes to help people connect with its stories. He also loves Lego and Scalextric! He is happily married to Lucy Olofinjana.
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55 Responses to Benson Andrew Idahosa (1938-1998): Father of Nigerian Pentecostalism

  1. OLADELE OYEBODE says:

    BISHOP BENSON WAS ANOINTED,

  2. Wale Ajayi says:

    My father,Archbishop Benson Idahosa was such a great man.He loved God with all his heart and lived to serve his generation.

    Wale Ajayi.

  3. Arch Bishop Idahosa was rare man of GOD! he has caused a turnaround in my life en ministry i am yet to learn frm him!

  4. BISHOP IDAHOSA WAS A LIVING LEGEND! FROM A HUMBLE BEGINNING 2 GREATNESS I REALY SALUTE DIS GREAT MAN OF GOD! SHALOM!

  5. Pastor Abraham Kale-Wells says:

    He was,he is and he will forever be of blessed memory.

  6. Pastor Akojibaba Idoko says:

    Benson Idahosa had a large heart for the gospel. He remains the greatest gospel legend Africa has ever produced. He was a selfless preacher.

  7. papa idahosa is not just a bishop but a generational seed to the christainhood. it pays to work for God,are u left out?get involve with God and become as great as bishop idahosa…

  8. Paul Uwaya says:

    I CAN STILL HEAR PAPA SAYING GOD GIVE ME NATIONS OR I DIE, WHAT A RARE GEM, HISTORY WILL NEVER FORGET HIM, I SAW HIM LAST WHEN HE WAS IN BISHOP OJO’s CHURCH AND HE GAVE OUT HOUSES TO 2 BOYS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY SPRAYED HIM WHILE HE WAS DANCING

  9. LAWRENCE IBINABO GENESIS says:

    My BIG DADDY AS I FONDLY CALLED HIM WEN I WAS IN SECONDARY SCHOOL IN 1997-98, HAS BEEN MY ROLE MODEL N HIS SERMON HAS LIGHTENED MY PATH. HIS MEMORY SHALL 4EVA LIVE IN MY LIFE

  10. Austin oluwaseun Micheal says:

    I rely like Bishop idahosa,i started seeing him in peole i admire most in ministry before i saw his message,yhoug i ave been arround since the 70s ave never come across him before until recently.

  11. JOSHUA OSEMWEGIE says:

    REV BISHOP BENSON IDAHOSA WAS TRULY A MAN ORDAINED BY GOD. HE IS A MAN WITH GREAT FAITH AND ANOINTING. I LOVE HIS MINISTRY AND HIS WORKS. MAY HE FOREVER REST IN THE BOSOM OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  12. Ekoma louis says:

    I was nine years old when papa died, even before then i was already listening to his messages via radio. i love this word of his which he always say “jesus yesterday today the same and forever”. As a young ministre of mt. Hermon christian assembly his words that i hear through iwo is keeping me going in life and in ministry, i am inspirered.

  13. AKANDU SOLOMON says:

    .TRULY, A MAN OF GOD HAS EVER LIVED,HIS VOICE WILL EVER BE HEARD TILL THY KINGDOM COME.MAY GOD KEEP HIS SOUL, AMEN.

  14. Iorkoso Japheth says:

    Papa you were such a great man and GOD SEND to mi we will never forget abt you Dad may your soul R.I.P

  15. Enuji Favour says:

    I AND THEY THAT THE LORD HAS GIVEN ME, ARE MADE FOR SIGNS AND WONDERS!

    I’ll forever be grateful to GOD for giving us a charismatic leader in the mould of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa.

  16. pastor peter says:

    if the anoint that was in the bone of Elisha can still function and bring back a dead man to life ,I command the double anoint that was on my late father Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa .to rest up on me in JESUS MIGHTY NAME Amen.

  17. Orock Henry Betang says:

    PAPA YOU HAVE AWAKED MY SPIRIT.ALTHOUGH GONE TO BE WITH THE LORD I KNOW WE SHALL MEET IN HEAVEN.I PROMISE FATHER TO DO MORE THAN WHAT U DID IN JESUS NAME.MAY GOD KEEP UR SOUL IN PERFECT REST.I LOVE FATHER

  18. WHERE IS THE LORD GOD OF IDAHOSA(Elijah’s mantle)?

  19. Bro Matthew ubong kingsley says:

    I have heard so much about this Man of God…I have not seen him before or heard any of his messages. From what I heard he is the greatest Man of God that ever lived in Africa..I am inspired,I am walking to my calling with a great determination and faith

  20. Goddy Itulah says:

    May the Lord God give me the double and boldness of his faith in Jesus name.- The world miss you Papa, you were one of a kind. Thank God we have Pastor Chris today who is also doing a wonderful job for the Lord…Amen

  21. Mbali Mtambo says:

    Benson Andrew Idahosa a GREAT MAN INDEED, i only know Baba because of Prophet Tim Omotoso, because he always talks about all the mighty things he did as he was mentored by Baba, without a doubt he was a true and solid Man of God, im a South African girl who knew nothing about God but just by hearing Babas journey with God and seeing my mentor Prophet Tim Omotoso and other Man of God walk in the same power and spirit I surely believe that there is a God in Heaven a true blessing indeed. We thank God for his life.

  22. Giwa henrietta says:

    i love you papa

    • gabriel says:

      Papa was one in a billion. Nigeria won’t face the problems she’s facing now if only papa was still with us. Love u plenty sir!!

  23. pastor Jonathan Otaren says:

    To me PAPA is one the greatest man that ever walk the earth! Am glad to be from that anointed tree!

  24. Grace Munthali (Pastor) says:

    He may be gone but his voice is still living. Just listening to his videos on you tube

  25. Frieda iguehiduwa Oshomah says:

    I have always believe in papa’s vision and I know he was a man used by God himself. Each day I hear about him life come into me because he worked with faith and passion for God. He is always in my heart, he is not died.

  26. jones says:

    God i thank you for the life of such man. Love his messages. We r indeed for signs n wonders. Papa. RIP

  27. Don O. D says:

    A GREAT MAN WILLL ALWAYS REMEMBER, PAPA IS THE MAN OF PEOPLE, A MAN WHO REALLY SPENT HIS TIME FOR GOD! INDEED THE HOLD WORLD WILLL REMEMEBER HIM FOREVER…

  28. Don O. D says:

    Until The Lord Jesus will come God will not stop raises great men. This is why Arcbishop Benson A Idhahosa was layd dawn the foundation before he deid. May he Soul rest in peace forever!

  29. peter ehimare says:

    my daddy is a real God’s sent before he was call to God’s glory.

  30. Prophet Salvation W.G Peter says:

    One thing I love abt Papa is his courage to and grt faith Exercise Authority and Demonstrate God’s mighty POWER to the fullest, and God has been wit him, thereby confirming the words papa voices out wit high level of rare miracles to proove that there’s God in Heaven and that the reigns of God’s Prophets are NOT OVER untill Christ comes…And when he demonstrates Exellent powers even Demons Bow to his will as principalities scartter from where they were gathered. All the Ocultist knows him as the troubler of demonic covens. But if they wnt to celebrat bcoz Daddy is No more, then they had go better think twice so they don’t west our time as God is raising us to be even greater than daddy Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa ever was in Jesus mighty Name….! Psalms 62:11.
    Where Daddy whent to I and u MUST there, and even the places he couldn’t get to we WILL get there in Jesus Mighty Name….! It has been my enest desire to take Over the Mantle of the man of God as I can Cross Over to where God’s people around the world are so they can Take Over…! Smbody is crossing Over to take Over the Spiritual realm of POWER along side me In Jesus Mighty name…!
    Prophet Salvation W.G Peter (founder of: POWER OF GOD EVANGELICAL MINISTRY {POGEM} World-Wide) Abuja. Visit us Prophetwg Peter @facebook, or email: prophetwgpeter@yahoo.com for experiences of God’s Executive POWER to change situations of life even as whatever he speaks to u through the prophet (me) will to pass, it is happening life and direct here in the land of Abuja Nigeria.
    Come and withness the mighty hand of God’s Power changing and transforming lifes…! Here, JESUS is the LORD. +2348131547736 & +2348068139526. Some body is about to witness d true wonders of God’s Power this year in JESUS mighty Name…!

  31. Nhlungwane Godfrey says:

    I never seen this man of God but what he did for God
    while on earth is super natural Im encouraged to trust in God
    To belive in Him cos He is so real. I love u Pastor though you are
    gone but your spirit still leaves.

  32. CHRIS IDEMUDIA .A. says:

    THERE IS NO WAY ARCHBISHOP .B.A. IDAHOSA’S LEGACY IN D APOSTOLIC MINISTRY CAN B OVER-RULED TILL D END OF TIME. PAPA IS, AND WILL 4EVA B D GREATEST AFRICAN AMBASSADOR OF THE APOSTOLIC FAITH. HE IS A MAN OF MANY SIDES, ND WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HIM ENOUGH. I ALWAYS FEEL REJUVINATED ANYTIME I LISTEN 2 PAPA’S TEACHING. THOTGH ITS BEEN 15 YRS SINCE HIS DEMISE, ITS JST LYK YESTERDAY 2 ME……I LOVE U PAPA……CONTINUE 2 REST IN D GENTLE BOSOM OF THE LORD……TRIBUTE 2 D GR8EST…!!!

  33. I pray that God will raise more mighty men like bishop idahosa in this our time.

  34. Blessed says:

    I never see you live but has been hearing so much about you,I ‘ve had the priviledge of hearing the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ in your mouth,and I must confess,am blessed indeed. Thank you sir. As I admire such grace,wisdom,power,and annointing you carry and demostrate,Am believing God for double portion of same.even our days today through Christ Our Lord,may you sleep in the bossom of the Lord till we meet to part no more,Daddy.

  35. eric owusu says:

    I wish. if I can see the mantle of Daddy Benson…
    I love Daddy
    Daddy is a Hero

    Daddy u will always be remembered

  36. Adeyemon gbenga says:

    I love u papa,,,,av been blessed by d little i read about u and ur preaching.

  37. Destiny Omoruyi says:

    The God of Papa B. A Idahosa lives forever, so papa’s legacy lives on. I thank God for Church of God Mission.

  38. PASTOR S.ELIJAH THOMPSON says:

    THANKS GOD FOR U PAPA WE MISS U.I PRAY TODAY UR DAY OF DEATH WILL BRING UP ME THE GRACE OF THE LORD UP ON UR LIFE ON ME NOW IN JESUS NAME.

  39. Bishop Jerry Gbakara says:

    my papa, the Kilimanjaro of Africa, a father of fathers and mentor to mentors, God’s General indeed we love you but God love’s you most

  40. Alonge dURO says:

    Papa teach us that ” I CAN NOT BE POOR AGAIN”

  41. DJ Hezekiah says:

    I ‘ve just ‘ve an encounter with Late Arc Bishop idahosa in the google an I really want to thank God for the good work God use him to achieved and acompolished ,i’also want to thank God for his wife and children activeness for the progress of the good foundation God use hi,how to lay down . May the almighty God continue His work.
    By

  42. Pastor Godwin Akpovie says:

    Baba, Bishop Idahosa was first among the first. God continue to bless his soul and work of his hands that he left behind.

  43. shadrack kwabena dartey akrofi-quarcoo says:

    We give thanks to God who in love gives all all good and perfect gifts like Papa. blessings

  44. sylvester thomas says:

    is there 1 website that has all testimonies of witch confrontation, healings and rasing of the dead thru papa’s ministry. Pliz help i nid to trace abd read more of papa.

  45. Deacon Opeyemi says:

    Archbishop B A Idahosa of the blessed memory, was a man of God and anointed of God,as a child the first time I watched him on TV God told me, this is my servant!

  46. Mac Tony says:

    That’s my archbishop, we love you papa nd we miss you too. you remain in heart forever.

  47. Gladman Nyakatangure says:

    We thank God that Spirit gives birth to spirit. His spiritual legacy will continue to impact lives :-)

  48. Pst.Godson Oparah Jnr.(The founder/president of Solid Rock Intercessory Ministries International(SORIMI)08032663856 says:

    A General in d Lord’s army indeed.He is my papa,grandpapa&great grandpapa(RIP)-Pst.Godson Oparah Jnr.(SORIMI)

  49. anonymous believer says:

    all these eulogies for a man born of a woman? a mere dust of the earth? what then do we reserve for Jesus, the author and finisher. if we call a man father, grandfather and great grandfather,or who was, is and will ever be what? TAKE HEED BRETHREN. we are nothing, and we all have to do all that has been assaigned according to Patten. —…..not for ease or worldly pleasures, nor for fame my prayer shall be. gladly will I toil and suffer. Lord, only let me walk with thee. this should be our plea and heart cry to God. don’t look for what can be gained out of ministry but to follow the pattern of the ancient path. may the mercy of God direct us aright. Amen.

  50. Annabel says:

    Wow, what a wonderful and anointed man,a man full of God’s presence. I pray that God will bless me with such anointing to do more of what he did. Amen. PAPA U WILL FOREVER BE REMEMBERED AS A GREAT MAN.

  51. TAIWO ABIODUN says:

    HE IS AN ELIJAH ,HE WAS TAKEN TO HEAVEN I WISH I COULD MEET HIM

  52. Dele kelly says:

    What a great mam of God africa and the world wil never forget you. You were a light to your generation.i will never forget ynur word….I YOUR FAITH SAYS YES GOD CAN’NT SAY NO.

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