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Story Publication logo January 13, 2014

Medicine and Miracles at Lagos Redemption Camp

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Atlas of Pentecostalism
English

Pentecostal Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is here and now. An estimated 35,000 people join...

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Dr. Joshua Abayomi Kayode is a handsome man with a soothing voice. His job is to deliver as many healthy babies as possible at the maternity clinic in the "Redemption Camp," the international headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lagos, Nigeria. When I meet him Dr. Kayode strikes me as a kind and sensitive man, someone who has found compelling ways to combine medical and divine interventions to accomplish his goals. He agrees to talk with me about the fusion of these seemingly contradictory methods in one flourishing, successful practice.

Dr. Kayode was a Christian and a medical doctor in Kaduna in Nigeria's north before he became a pastor and joined RCCG in Lagos. "I have witnessed a lot of miracles all my life," Kayode said. "I have run into an armed robber with a gun on a highway, and they were unable to do anything to me. I think that is the power of God." When he took over the maternity clinic at the Redemption Camp in 2008 Dr. Kayode had about 40 patients. Five years later, this number has increased to 300. Most of them are pregnant women but some are couples struggling with infertility, coming to the clinic for treatment and advice.

When we visit the clinic the hall is filled with pregnant women waiting for check ups. Inside his room Dr. Kayode is busy praying for a young woman who is anxious to have a child, but unsuccessful so far. He explains how he has gone through a range of conventional medical treatments for infertility and has run out of options. He now invokes the help of the Holy Spirit, using his Bible and anointing oil to beg for special blessings in this particular case. "Once you come here," he said, "I will administer Christ for you, but I won't force you. We also have Muslims, traditionalists and non-believers coming here."

Asked how he reconciles his knowledge of modern medicine with divine healing, Dr. Kayode replied: "The two are different technologies: There is spiritual technology and there is medical technology. If anybody knows what God can do, it's medical doctors. In our language, there is always a place reserved for nature. There is no 'never' in medicine, because we deal with statistics. We don't say, 'this can never happen,' but we will say 'the probability of it happening is very low.' If there is no 'never' in medicine, it means that doctors have reserved those seemingly impossible circumstances, with very low probability, for God. So it is not too difficult for me to slot myself in. I know there are some problems that medicine cannot cure, and it is easy for me to quickly switch over to our Creator, who has the power to do so."

Kayode emphasizes that in Africa a marriage is not seen as successful without at least one child. In fact, one child is not enough. "There are so many homes yearning for children that our pastor Daddy G.O. [Kayode Fayemi, general overseer of the RCCG] has started a special monthly program called Shiloh Hour, especially devoted to these people. This is where we pray for pregnant women and for all those that have given up or don't want to deliver. God is promising at least one very glorious child for everyone."

Last year, on his birthday, Pastor Daddy G.O. demanded 70,000 new babies in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. That's a large number but Dr. Kayode anticipates achieving even more. "Right now, the target of 70,000 has already been completed, but Daddy has jacked it up to 100,000," he said. "And that is why we are asking you to go and get one now, in order to be one of the 100,000."

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