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Rt. Rev S. B. J. Oshoffa
Prophet, Pastor & Founder
CCC Worldwide

Imeko City Cathedral


The Spiritual Structural Foundation
Celestial Church of Christ
Snr. Evang. Chris Akinrinbade



Topic:  The spiritual structural foundation of Celestial Church of Christ.  Its structure and modes of worship are given to us.  Celestial Church of Christ is unalterably authorized by Christ because of the salvation of man is made possible through Christ’s supreme sacrifice on the cross.


God’s grace is mercifully given to us to reform and redeem all: Jews and Gentiles.


The widespread planting of churches today signals the resurgence of revival in modern times.  The Pentecostal denomination is by far the greatest beneficiary of the revivalist transformation-taking place in our time.  The multiplication of these diverse faiths (doctrines) under the same Pentecostal umbrella makes it tough to separate ‘Paul’ from ‘Barnabas.’ It is in this context that Dr. Imonite Imoisili’s article “Scriptural Foundations of the Celestial Church of Christ” could be examined.

Dr. Imosili, honorary evangelist in Celestial Church, attempts to throw light at the mode of worship in Celestial Church.  In my opinion, his approach is more of historical genesis of Celestial Church rather than the decrees on which Celestial foundation is firmly rooted.  The article dwells mainly on the style of worship as mandated by the Celestial Constitution. 

I will argue that the Celestial Church of Christ is founded on four decrees: Sanctuary, liturgy, worship, sovereignty and supremacy of God represented by the ever ready, ever presence of the Holy Spirit in Celestial.  The four decrees are the authoritative infallible revelation of His will.

What distinguish Celestial Church from the mega Pentecostal churches, which bask under the cloak of pretended Christianity are those four pillars (decrees).

The sound doctrines and the efficacious rites of Celestial are the protective armor that insulates the church from spiritual adulteration.  Celestial Church is a living example and concrete testimony of God’s church on earth.  It is instructive to stress that without decree there is no structure.  In essence, it is the decrees, which conceived, delivered, and nurtures Celestial Church.

God’s prescriptions about Celestial Church of Christ are contained in the Celestial Church Constitution.  For better appreciation and understanding of the grace of Christ, the topics in the constitution have to be defined clearly and thoroughly.  Overall, people of Christ will be able to easily grasp the mind and heart of Christ in His works for man’s salvation.

The four decrees mentioned earlier on form the basis of the divine revelation as explained and experienced by the founder and other early prophets and prophetess of Celestial Church of Christ.  Without any fear of contradiction, it is safe to say that the same decrees were given to Moses on behalf of the Jews in the same order in the first five books of Moses.


1.            Sanctuary (place of worship): 

                        Structure of the church:

                                    I.            Altar,

                                    II.            Holy of Holies

                                    III.            Choir’s and parishioners’ court

2.             Structure of the church:


                        I.            Mercy land

3.            Liturgy (established rituals in the church):

            (1.)            Items used for worship

                        I.            Sutana (white garment/ robe)

                        II.            Hymns

                        III.            Holy Water

                        IV.            Incense

                        V.            Burning of Candles of the altar

4.         Rites in the church

            I.            Processional

            II.            Christening

            III.            Baptism

            IV.            Communion

            V.            Ordination

            VI.            Washing of feet

            VII.            Purification

            VIII.            Holy water

            IX.            Matrimony

5.            Worship (the essence is to save lives):

            (1.)            Servility of the Messiah:


            (2.)            Relationship with the Messiah:

                                  -Lordship of Christ expressed in the rites.

6.         The decrees are verifiable (all aforementioned decrees can be verified):

            (1.)            God’s authority:  God speaks:

                                  -(Sovereignty and supremacy of God)

            (2.)            God’s plan fulfilled

Because of its humble beginning, the church has not enjoyed adequate exposure in terms of literature that could have matched its sporadic geographical expansion in membership, and indescribable and yet stupendous height of anointing and working of the Holy Spirit…


Of course, there is yet to be established a Christian religious organization which will be more ecclesiastical in its liturgy, more Pentecostal in its operation, more evangelical in its mission than Celestial Church of Christ. Olatunji Akande, former editor Celestial Eye.

Christ once more pulled the curtains of heaven apart.  Few chosen people caught the glimpse of heaven.  Christ beckoned to them; removed there spiritual blindness, and they saw the heaven in its glory and worshipfulness.  Awe struck these chosen men.  Christ says, go with this vision (as you have seen it) and establish it for my people.  Man needs to be saved and become all he was intentionally created for in Christ.  For this reason, the quality of Christ’s love and mercy are expressed in the formation of Celestial Church of Christ.

Those early prophets and prophetess of the church were the few chosen people (SBJ Oschoffa, Mawunyon…) served as secretary of Christ to men (as amanuensis[1])  in order to convey church’s structure and modes of worshipping of Christ to us. 
This idea is captured in Hymn 79:

                        Worship ye the Lord in this holy church

                        it is a holy church from our Heavenly Father

                        we pray the Lord come to redeem us sinners

                        and count us amongst Thy chosen ones.

Unmistakably, the first drafted Celestial Church of Christ’s history and constitution, authored by the founder and the trustees of the church, documents it that “All forms of worship in the Celestial Church of Christ are entirely as revealed by the Holy Spirit” (CCC, Constitution, page 30).

As the author of the church, Christ has given the church some decrees. 

1.  Decree of Sanctuary

The design of the place of worship communicated to us.  Just like Christ puts the Bible together so also brick by brick and layer by layer He put Celestial Church of Christ together in its structure internally and externally.  Here is an instance:  On 5th October, 1947, a prophetess was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she illustrated the seating arrangement in the church with oranges.  One of the staunchiest prophetesses was Mawunyon, and she was the first prophetess of the church (CCC, Constitution, 25).  That form of seating is still enforced up till today.

Many revelations about Celestial Church are eloquently written in the constitution.  Here, Dr. Imosili’s description of the sanctuary in his paper “Scriptural Foundations of the Celestial mode of Worship” is relevant and informative: “By the time the church was five years old, Jesus Christ has set up everything.  All its features and modes of worshipping had been established and entrants were relishing this mercy.”  According to Imosili Christ in His awesome creativity crafts the architectural design:

·        Inner altar: contains the candleholder of 7 stands facing the East.  There are seats of   the elders in it.

·        Outer altar: contains many seats of elders to the left and right of the inner altar.

·        The choir of the church has a stand on the right of the altar area.

·        Seating arrangement:  7 female elders sit on the left of the altar directly facing the choir stand.  Other female members sit on the left of the church, and the male members sit on the right.

·        There are four entrances to the church: it is on the South, North, 2 on the West.

·        Worshippers wear white garments (Sutana), and they are not allowed to wear shoes when they are in Sutana.  No shoe is allowed inside the church.

·        Incense, candles, holy water, palm fronds, and perfumes are used in worship service.

Moses and Israelites came alive again in this church.  Without doubt, this church replicates the Old Testament’s tabernacle (it is called isomorphism).  It does not take a logician to deduce that “structure of His church” matters to Christ.  Over again, Christ brings back these features of tabernacle structure and modes of worship to His people demonstrating His dominion and reign.  This replication signifies emphasis and importance, and Christ conveys it loudly in the Scriptures.  The ultimate consummation of Christ’s mercy is revealed in His throne, and He will reign forever.  All kingdoms will terminate in His kingdom.  No other kingdom will survive and reign except His.  It is important to do His will: “Whosoever shall do the will of God the same is My brother and sister, and mother” (NASB, Mark 2:35).  His command to build His edifice according to His blueprint is the act of promoting and honoring Him.  SBJ Oschoffa obeyed Christ wholeheartedly in this respect.

It is amazing to know that the structure of Christ’s throne is descended to us.  We cannot escape from the teachings of Christ.  The judgment (Bema) seat is where all works will be judged (Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:9).  He makes the Bema as church on earth to remind us of the “the day of Lord.”

Bible records it that the most single important item in the throne is the golden altar.  The seven lamps of fire are burning before the throne “Which are the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 4:5).  Celestial Church is the prototype.  It has inner altar with candles on 7 candleholders must be burning constantly.  This is a divine instruction given to the church.  It is a settled plan of Christ!

2.  Decree of the Liturgy

Christ commissioned us to worship Him.  For us to worship Him as He designed, Christ gave us place of worship and all items necessary for worship.  The act of worshipping is rooted in our nature, human nature.  That is why Jesus emphasis the genuine and true worship for us (John 4:23).  The Celestial Constitution and history unequivocally explain the formation and preparation of corporate worship as ordained by Christ.  From the beginning of all worship services to the end, every step is prescribed by Christ in CCC.  To confirm His revelation about the church services, the same vision was shown to prophets, prophetess, and pastors of another denomination. There was no committee formed to formalize the liturgy or to review it.  All by Himself He handed His ultimate plan through vision and dream.  Many religious groups do not have this master-planer’s signature.  Christ implicitly saying I AM in control of Celestial Church Christ: He leads and the church follows.  This is ingrained in the culture of the church. Clearly speaking, the liturgy of the church was settled by Christ Himself, and that is why it cannot be adulterated.  “Be careful of what you build on the foundation of the church,” the founder always warned.

Prophet SBJ Oschoffa, once said, “The Divine Commission I was given was to found[2] a new church and that I should start it right there in my house.  The first song given to us was in Yoruba” (CCC, Constitution, 23).  Right from onset when He called Oschoffa, Christ had planned the perfect liturgy for the church, and He handed to it Oschoffa when the time ripe to do so.  Christ foreknew that the fallen people in Africa or in any place need The Messiah, and that most African Christians are suffering from what is called “split-level Christianity.”[3] Christ told Oschoffa the problem of people and what they need to do to solve this problem.  Here is what He says:  “God wishes to send you (Oschoffa) on an errand of preaching to the world.  Many Christians there are who, during their lifetime, when confronted by problems and difficulties of this world they seek after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance.  On their death, they think they are Christians, but they are no longer Christians because Satan has left his mark on them.  For this reason, such people, after death, cannot see Christ” (CCC, Constitution, 7).  The best prescription offered to humanity is the total worship of Christ.  Hence, the church is endowed with heavily intense liturgy because people are natured to worship, especially Africans.

How do we know that He truly sent Oschoffa?  To answer this question is to examine what make Oschoffa succeed in his ministry.  How could he convert the entire village or hamlet of about two hundred people?  The story of this charismatic leader is fascinating.  The lumber merchant is the epitome of Christ’s power.  Paul says: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boost before God” (1 Corinthians 1: 27—29).  The vision of God transformed him, and the Spirit of God made him strong and successful.

At a time his hope of becoming priest in Methodist was dashed.  He was ejected from the Methodist.  Just like Peter, he was commissioned by Christ to carry out God’s divine will and message.  The humble Oschoffa, the carpenter, unaware of what the end result of everything will be like, but he would always say this to his lieutenants:  “This is what Christ has asked him to do or not to do…”  SBJ Oschoffa’s life demonstrated that Christ has prearranged everything without OSchoffa’s consent and influence.  In essence, Christ dictated everything to him.  Oschoffa clearly, in the CCC Constitution, was not an egotistical person, but a man who did not like the limelight he found himself.  This idea of God’s operation is embedded in the term “predestination.”  Without doubt, he obeyed God who sent him.  This shows that he was sent.  The power was not in him but in the Sender.

Does this liturgy benefit us?  It gives us fulfillment in the moment of worship service, and it fills our consciousness that is transferred to our memory permanently.  The acts of worshipping give us concentration and dependency on the Person Christ that is composed of eternal hope culminating in our glory and Christ’s glory.  Most theologians assert that the highest union of souls with Christ is experienced in worship service.  Perhaps that is why every service is detailed so that all the parts of body can participate in worship of Christ.  What a wonderful and indescribable state!  Nose, mouth, hands, legs, brain, heart…will enjoy and participate in worshipping their Maker, Christ.  The ecstasy produced is enjoyed for life.  That is why the act of worshipping is important to God.  He decreed that we must not share this experience with any idol.

3.  The Decree of God Saves

The God’s intention is communicated to us through Scriptures, many evangelists, many prophets…because He loves us to glorify in His Glory.  Only obedient children will cherish the identity of his father.  A father will never reveal his secret to outsider only to his children.  It is interesting to read Oschoffa’s vision: “On the 23rd May, 1947, the day of the eclipse of the sun, as I was praying in the forest on this trip, I heard a voice and could not open my eyes.  The voice I heard was ‘LULI,’ and the same voice told me ‘This means The Grace of Jesus Christ.’  Christ made Oschoffa to understand the sinfulness of man by making him to see monkey, peacock, and a cobra to typify man’s nature (CCC, Constitution, 5).  Immediately, the King of kings gave Oschoffa the blueprint to save these kinds of people—that is the Grace, and it is also the “plan of salvation.”  Christ was not entertaining the desolated Oschoffa, but He was gracefully giving him the light[4] to light the Gentiles’ world.  Christ was not making SBJ Oschoffa a super human being rather He was a messenger to search and save His lost people.  Millard Erickson, one of the leading theologians of 21st century, writes, “Grace is another attribute that is a part of the manifold of God’s love.  By this we mean that God deals with his people not on the basis of their merit or worthiness, what they deserve, but simply according to their need.”  God diagnosed the entire African region, He saw their need, and He gave it to them.  People’s problem, according to God’s diagnosis, is pride demonstrated in the monkey, in the peacock, and in the cobra.  Theologians named this diagnosis as “anthropocentrism[5].”

Observe again the founder’s (SBJ Oschoffa) visions will suffice:

God wishes to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. 

Many Christians there are who, during their lifetime, when confronted

by problems and difficulties of this world they seek after fetish priests

and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance.  On their death,

they think they are Christians, but they are no longer Christians because

Satan has left his mark on them.  For this reason, such people,

after death, cannot see Christ.  God wants to send you to the

world on a mission of preaching and exhortation, but the world

will not believe you.  To assist you in your work so that men may

listen to and follow you, miraculous works of holy divine healing

will be wrought by you in the name of Jesus Christ.  These works

of divine healing and God’s spiritual mark on you will testify to

the fact that God sent you…(CCC, Constitution, 7).

Take a look at Mark 16:17—18 back to Oschoffa again!  The same Scripture he once handed over to John was given to Oschoffa.  Christ once more performs His messiahship role in the above narrated vision.   This mission statement in Oschoffa’s vision belongs to Christ (Isaiah 61:1 or Luke 4:18—19).  Christ’s grandeur plan is to save man.  The whole plan of establishing Celestial Church of Christ is to save souls.  It is not in superiority contest with other religious groups.

4.  The Verifiability of Decrees of Celestial Church of Christ

Has this happened before?  A man sees Christ in his vision and He instructs him to preach?  Without digging or launching into a long treatise, we know that the pages of Scriptures are filled with men of God who had seen many visions of God—anthropomorphism[6].  Oschoffa’s vision is not strange it only confirms that Christ is with us.  Many have been instructed in visions or dreams of the intention of God.  People are not perfect because they have gift of prophesy.  Until the perfect comes and make the imperfect perfect (NET Bible, 1 Cor. 13:9).

Is the ideology of Celestial Church of Christ theologically correct?  The ideology is perfectly correct; it is God’s ideology.  The first pronouncement to Oschoffa was the word “Luli” meaning grace.  The author of the book of Hebrews declares that “For surely his concern is not angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants.  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people (NET Bible, Hebrews 2:16—17).  Christ is the Grace, and Church is the body of Christ.  Therefore, church is the means of grace to the world.  Wayne Grudem, the systematic theologian, captures this idea in his Systematic Theology, “The means of grace are activities within the fellowship of the church that God uses to give more grace to Christians” (Grudem, 950).   That is why Christ had single-handedly established Celestial Church of Christ as the means of His grace to the world.  It may be filled with immoralities for now, but it will be cleansed because Satan will not overcome Christ’s agenda.

Did miracle happen according to the promise of Christ to Oschoffa?  Many witnessed the miracles performed by SBJ Oschoffa.  As a matter of fact, many people as many as about several millions[7] have become Celestians.  These are the present witnesses of Christ to the world!  Many miracles performed by Oschoffa have been painstakingly documented in the Constitution.  Up till now, many disciplined and devout shepherds still command the rain to cease: “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes with their hands, and whatever poison they drink will not harm them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well” (Mark 16:17—18).  Let us not be confused:  miracle does not save; it is the blood of Christ that saves.  Miracle is the attestation of Christ’s Sovereignty.  Let us not extol Oschoffa more than Christ who died for us and who called Oschoffa to be part of the great commission.

Lastly, “What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!” (NET Bible, Acts 10:15).  Those words were said to Peter.  We can learn from this, and even consider that Christ has ordained this church, and dare make it unclean again!  Are we trying to make GRACE and the means of grace un-grace for ourselves again?  Let us obey Christ, and it shall be well with us.  Worshipping Christ in truth and indeed is the duty of Christians.

Cited Works

Bromiley, W. Geoffrey.  The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.  Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans, 1986.

Erickson, Millard.  Christian Theology.  Grand Rapids:  Baker Books, 1999.

Grudem, Wayne.  Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.  Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1994.

Oschoffa, Samuel Bilewu and the Trustees.  Celestial Church of Christ: “Constitution.”  Lagos, Nigeria, March, 29th, 1980.

Hiebert, G. Paul, Shaw, Daniel R., and Tienou, Tite: “Responding to Split-Level Christianity and Folk Religion.” International Journal of Frontier Missions Vol. 16:4, Winter 1999/2000.

Adogame, Afe. “Minority Religions, Social Change, and Freedom of Conscience.”  The Censur International Conference, June 20—23, 2002.

[1] Amanuensis will be a secretary or a scribe.

[2] It means “to establish or to form” a new community of believers.

[3] Split-level Christianity is authored by Paul G. Hiebert, R. Daniel Shaw, and Tite Tienou.  It is defined as “Most Christians live on two unreconciled levels.  They are members of a church and ascribe to a statement of faith.  But below the system of conscious belief are deeply embedded traditions and customs implying quite a different interpretation of the universe and world of spirit from the Christian interpretation.  In the crises of life and rites of passage the Church is an alien thing.”

[4] Light means the knowledge of Christ that will empower Oschoffa.  Also as the wisdom of knowing what is life is all about.

[5] Anthropocentrism, according to Wikipedia, (Greek, anthropos, “man, human being,” kentron, “center”) is the idea that human beings are the central element of the universe, and that all things should be judged in their relationship to human experience and livelihood.  According to anthropocentrism, man must be considered, looked after and cared for, above all other real or imaginary beings.  It is human-centered worldview, rather than a Christ-centered or God-centered worldview.

[6] International Standard Bible dictionary defines it as “Conformably with its etymological signification, i.e. as being in the form or likeness of man, the attribution to God of human form, parts or passions, and the taking of Scripture passages which speak of God as having hands, or eyes, or eyes, in a literal sense.  This anthropomorphic procedures called forth Divine rebuke so early as Ps. 50:21: ‘Thou throughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself.’” (

[7] Dr. AfeAdogame,University of Bayreuth, Germany: “The CCC is one of the most popular and widespread indigenous "prophetic-charismatic" movements in West Africa. It emerged in 1947 through the visionary experiences and charismatic initiative of a "carpenter-turned-prophet", Samuel Bilehou Oschoffa (1909-1985). Within few decades of its existence, the movement had transcended geo-ethnic boundaries with a membership running into several millions and over 5,000 branches scattered worldwide.”



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