Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Sports Minister Sunday Dare on Friday in Lagos unveiled the first authorised biography of the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) William (W.F.) Kumuyi.
The book ‘Kumuyi: Defender of the Faith’ is the 10-month-long work of a few church members in the cleric’s inner circle and 250,000 copies are now in print.
In 336 pages and 14 chapters, it documents the glory of God’s work through Kumuyi’s Christian journey.
Osinbajo, who was the chairman and guest of honour, noted Kumuyi’s initial reluctance to authorise a biography, explaining it as that “innate resistance of humble men to any form of adulation or celebration of personal success.”
He justified the documentation of the life of former university don as one of the three or four kinds of tax successful persons owe the society.
Osinbajo said: “The first is income tax, personal income tax and if you own a company, corporation tax or company tax.
“The second is the social tax. Another name for that is philanthropy; the obligation of the wealthy or those who have to give back to society or to those who do not have.
“The third tax is a civic tax; the obligation of the successful to write their stories, to share the histories of the phenomenon that they have become, in order to instruct to admonish the present and the future.
“But for the successful preacher of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a fourth tax. This is the Pentecost tax…the task to tell what you have gone through in ministry…and this is a huge responsibility.”
The VP reasoned that through the biography, Kumuyi had begun the work of discharging that tax.
Osinbajo added: “This book tells the story of the incredible work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Pastor Kumuyi and his ministry, how by his grace he not only preached, and continues to preach holiness to a whole generation, but lived and lives that whole life of holiness himself every day.
“It the story of how the Holy Spirit worked miracles through him and how from a Bible study group of 15 members in 1973, the ministry grew to what is now the Deeper Life Bible Church, at one point with 120,000 members, making it the third-largest single congregation in the world and is now firmly established in several countries of the world…
“I had an opportunity of reading the book and every page of it is certainly worth reading, and worth reading more than once. I recommend it to all.”
Sanwo-Olu expressed “great pleasure” at being the event’s chief host and described Kumuyi as “a great servant of God, spiritual leader, teacher and mentor to millions, academic and educationist, family man, philanthropist, and a patriotic Nigerian.”
He said the book’s title was an apt way of summing up Kumuyi’s life and service, noting that the former don set aside “a very promising career in the Ivory Tower and dedicated himself to advancing the gospel and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, with holiness as the central tenet of his message and ministry.”
Sanwo-Olu added: “When you mention the name William Folorunsho Kumuyi or the Deeper Life Bible Church anywhere, the first thing that comes to mind is holiness, an absolute devotion to living a life that is fully aligned with the precepts and standards of God, an uncompromising commitment to be in the world but not of it, and to place God over and above everything else.
“That name, that reputation, was not built overnight, it is the product of many decades of humble but energetic labouring, that God has blessed massively and continues to bless.”
He thanked the cleric for permitting the writing and publication of his biography, and for sharing his story with the world.
Guests at the event included former Cross River Governor Donald Duke, representatives of the governors of Osun, Akwa Ibom and Delta states, the prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Kanu; Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu; among others.
Responding to the praises, Kumuyi noted that he was not aware that the name “William” meant “Defender of the faith” until many years into his ministry when an American pastor drew his attention to it after they preached at an event in Singapore.
Giving God the glory for all the wonders wrought in the course of the ministry, and referencing the John Wesley quote “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God”, Kumuyi challenged Christians to emulate Jesus.
“From this moment I want to be like Jesus. If you will make up your mind and tell God I want to be like Jesus; make up your mind and soul, say, ‘I want to be like Jesus, the Lord will make you like Jesus.”
He said if this was done, they could “turn the world upside down. We can start from our city here. We can start from our country here in Africa, and who knows, we can change the world.”
He noted further that many of his former varsity students had gone ahead to become professors, doctors, engineers, adding that “They now know what I do not know. I want to build that image. I want to raise people that will go beyond me.”
Guest speaker and former Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, Prof Dapo Asaju, tasked Nigerians to return to the era of integrity, transparency and trust in leadership.
A former Vice-Chancellor, Caleb University, Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, reviewed the book.
The book’s Editorial team comprised Pastor Philip Oluwi, (Chair), Journalist and writer, Banji Ojewale; former Managing Director, Anchor Newspaper, Segun Babatope; former Managing Director of The Guardian newspaper, Emeka Izeze; Professor of English at the University of Lagos, Tunde Opeibi (Ope-Davies); Andrew Umoru, Steve Obidi and Euriel Momah.