Joseph Ayo Babalola (25 April 1904 – 26 July 1959) was the first General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church, popularly called CAC in Nigeria. He was credited with healing powers.
Joseph Ayo Babalola, the founder of Christ Apostolic Church, was born of Yoruba parents on 25th, April 1904 at Odo-Owa, Kwara State, Nigeria. His parents were late pa David Lawani Rotimi and madam Martha Talabi Rotimi. Babalola was born and brought up in Anglican Church.
He was brought to Lagos by his uncle, Mr. M. O Rotimi who was a teacher at C. M. S. He was registered at an elementary school at Oto-Awori on Badagry Road, Lagos State, in 1914. Joseph later attended Methodist school, Ago Ijaye in Ebute Meta before moving to Oshogbo where he attended M. S. C school in Oshogbo.
Babalola got to standard four, before he became a blacksmith’s apprentice and he learnt it for two years. He became a steamroller operator under the PWD (Public Works Department), then under the control of Great Britain, learning to become a steamroller driver.
After 15 days of learning to drive the caterpillar, he was able to drive it without any assistance. After nine months; he became a master in his class. A steamroller was first given to him on 1 April 1928 to work on the Osogbo – Ilesha road. On June 14, 1928 he was transferred to Akure – Ilesha road.
He became a prophet of God in 1928 when God called him on Akure – Ilesha road in October 9th by river Ariran. On 11th of the same month and year, He was also called by God to abandon his job and start preaching.
Babalola harkened to the voice and received the call when he fasted and prayed.
Joseph was later sent out of Anglican Church in his village by the Bishop because the majority of the church members have been seeing visions, speaking in tongues and praying energetically. Babalola was baptized in Lagos lagoon in December 1929.
Babalola first miracle was in September 1930 when he woke up a dead child, a week later, He also healed lepers, blind and lame people. This brought about the great revival of 1930 which recorded massive attendance from Africa and Diaspora without advert.
Babalola ministry was given Bell, Water, Staff, and Bible. The bell was used to invite Angels of God during prayer gatherings and the water was used to heal people of their sicknesses. Babalola’s shortest and brief prayer was that of 3 to 4 hours. It was remarked by Elder Abraham Owoyemi of Odo-Owa that the prophet regularly saw angels who delivered divine messages to him and that An angel appeared in one of his prayers and forbade him to wear caps.
Ministry and healing
In 1931 Faith Tabernacle affiliated with The Apostolic Church with general headquarters in the United Kingdom (and not British Apostolic Church, as erroneously called by some authors). Then following a schism in The Apostolic Church about 1940, Babalola went with a group led by Pastors J.B. Akinyele and D.O. Odubanjo to form a new independent church, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), where he continued his healing and revivalistic activities until his death.
The CAC regards Babalola as an apostle, while in actual sense by real church ordination he was not at any time historically ordained into that office. A CAC retreat center was built at Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State where Babalola was first called in 1928.
However, Babalola was not the sole founder of CAC as many claim today but one of the trio of CAC Founding Fathers. The church had three founding fathers, the registration of the church, with Corporate Affairs Commission in 1943 gave credence to this. In the registration certificate, Pastor Akinyele and Odunbanjo were recognized as the first president and vice president / General superintendent respectively while Ayo Babalola was known as the General Evangelist.
Joseph Ayo Babalola, the great Apostle of God died in July 1959. This happened almost 30 years after his calling. To the Glory of God, the Christ Apostolic Church did not die along with his founder. In fact it has grown rapidly over the years, with many churches under the Christ Apostolic Church name but each church with a specific branch name. The CAC regards Babalola as an apostle and his revival ministry as the beginning of the church.
The Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) a private Nigerian university located in Ikeji-Arakeji in Osun State, established by the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide, is named after him. The growing citadel of learning is located at the place where he was called by God in 1928. A CAC retreat center is also established there.