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Benson Idahosa: The Father of African Pentecostalism

Benson Idahosa was a Nigerian preacher, evangelist, and church planter who is widely regarded as the father of African Pentecostalism. He founded the Church of God Mission International, a denomination that has over 10,000 churches in Nigeria and around the world. He was also a leader in social justice, education, and humanitarian causes. In this article, we will explore his biography, ministry, and quotes.

Introduction Benson Idahosa was born on September 11, 1938, in Benin City, Nigeria. He was the first son of eight children in a poor family. His parents were animists who worshipped idols and practiced witchcraft. He was rejected by his father and left to die when he was a baby because he had six toes on each foot. However, his mother rescued him and took him to a missionary hospital where he was treated.

He grew up in poverty and hardship, working as a shoeshine boy and a houseboy. He had little formal education and could not read or write until he was 14 years old. He was also sickly and suffered from various diseases, including tuberculosis and asthma.

He had his first encounter with Christianity when he attended a local Anglican church at the age of 14. He was impressed by the singing and preaching of the missionaries and decided to follow Jesus. He was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican church and became an active member. However, his conversion was not well received by his family and community. He faced persecution and opposition from his father, who disowned him and threw him out of the house. He also faced ridicule and harassment from his peers, who mocked him for being a Christian. He persevered in his faith and began to share the gospel with others. He joined a group of young evangelists who went from village to village preaching and praying for people. He also started to read the Bible avidly and learned from other Christian books and magazines.



Archbishop Benson Idahosa

He experienced a deeper encounter with God when he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 18. He began to speak in tongues and prophesy. He also witnessed miracles of healing and deliverance in his ministry. He developed a passion for revival and Pentecostalism. He felt called by God to start his own church in 1962. He rented a small hall in Benin City and named it Church of God Mission International (CGMI). He preached with power and authority, attracting many people to his services. He also planted churches in other towns and cities in Nigeria.

He became one of the most influential Pentecostal leaders in Africa and beyond. He traveled extensively to preach and teach in crusades, conferences, seminars, and churches. He reached millions of people with the gospel and saw thousands of souls saved, healed, delivered, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

He was also a visionary leader who initiated many social projects and institutions. He founded several schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, orphanages, media outlets, and businesses. He was an advocate for human rights, democracy, justice, peace, and development. He was a mentor to many pastors, leaders, missionaries, and ministers.

He died on March 12, 1998, at the age of 59. He suffered a heart attack while visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. He was buried in Benin City with a state funeral attended by thousands of people. His legacy lives on through his wife Margaret Idahosa, who succeeded him as the presiding bishop of CGMI; his four children; his numerous spiritual sons and daughters; his books; his quotes; and his impact on African Pentecostalism.

The ministry of Benson Idahosa can be characterized by four main features:

  • Power: Benson Idahosa believed that God is a God of power who can do anything. He preached with boldness and confidence that nothing is impossible with God. He demonstrated the power of God through signs, wonders, miracles, healings, deliverances, prophecies, tongues, and interpretations. He challenged people to believe God for their needs and to exercise their faith in prayer. He also taught people how to receive and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

  • Passion: Benson Idahosa had a burning passion for God and for souls. He loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He loved people with compassion and empathy. He had a burden for the lost and the hurting. He spent hours in prayer and fasting. He gave generously and sacrificially. He lived with zeal and enthusiasm. He inspired others to follow his example.

  • Purpose: Benson Idahosa had a clear sense of purpose for his life and ministry. He knew that he was called by God to preach the gospel and to make disciples. He had a vision for revival and reformation. He had a mission to reach Africa and the world. He had a strategy to plant churches and train leaders. He had a goal to glorify God and to advance His kingdom.

  • Partnership: Benson Idahosa recognized that he could not do everything alone. He valued partnership and teamwork. He worked with other ministers and organizations. He respected other denominations and traditions. He welcomed other cultures and nations. He supported other causes and movements. He sought unity and harmony.


Quotes by Benson Idahosa Here are some quotes by Benson Idahosa that capture his message and spirit:

  • “If your faith says yes, God will not say no.”

  • “The best way to know God’s will is to say ‘I will’ to God.”

  • “You don’t need more faith, you need more word.”

  • “A man is not poor because he has nothing, but because he does nothing.”

  • “God’s promises are like checks, they are not cash until you endorse them.”

  • “The devil is not afraid of noise, he is afraid of holiness.”

  • “You cannot be greater than your vision.”

  • “You don’t overcome sin by fighting it, you overcome sin by enjoying Christ.”

  • “You are not ready to live until you are ready to die.”

  • “It is better to die for something than to live for nothing.”


FAQs Here are some frequently asked questions about Benson Idahosa:

When did Benson Idahosa die? Benson Idahosa died on March 12, 1998, at the age of 59.

How did Benson Idahosa die? Benson Idahosa died of a heart attack while visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.

Who is Margaret Idahosa? Margaret Idahosa is the wife of Benson Idahosa, who succeeded him as the presiding bishop of Church of God Mission International (CGMI).

How many children did Benson Idahosa have? Benson Idahosa had four children: Feb, Ruth, Freda, and Faith.

What is Church of God Mission International? Church of God Mission International (CGMI) is a Pentecostal denomination founded by Benson Idahosa in 1962. It has over 10, 000 churches in Nigeria and around the world.

Final Thoughts:

Benson Idahosa was a Nigerian preacher, evangelist, and church planter who is widely regarded as the father of African Pentecostalism. He founded the Church of God Mission International, a denomination that has over 10, 000 churches in Nigeria and around the world. He was also a leader in social justice, education, and humanitarian causes.

His ministry was marked by power, passion, purpose, and partnership. He preached with boldness and confidence that nothing is impossible with God. He demonstrated the power of God through signs, wonders, miracles, healings, deliverances, prophecies, tongues, and interpretations. He challenged people to believe God for their needs and to exercise their faith in prayer. He also taught people how to receive and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

He had a burning passion for God and for souls. He loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He loved people with compassion and empathy. He had a burden for the lost and the hurting. He spent hours in prayer and fasting. He gave generously and sacrificially. He lived with zeal and enthusiasm. He inspired others to follow his example.


What did you learn? How can you apply what you have learnt into your own life?


You can also check out the Revival School, an Online Christian School that offers free programs.


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