Every follower of Christ whose crucifixion and resurrection we celebrate tomorrow at Easter has a dark side buried in the past. No matter who we are and our position in the Christian faith, we all have our baggage filled with sin. We’ve all seen darkness and light at the crossroads of our earthly journey.
Take the case of Peter who denied Christ three times before the cock crowed. Or take the case of Paul the Apostle who for years persecuted Christians until he met Christ and was radically transformed into one of the most important figures of Christianity. Paul who never forgot who he was before he found salvation declaring: “Jesus came to save all sinners, of whom I am the worst.” (I Timothy 1:15)
It is from this prism I look at ENOCH: A Biopic of Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) which my holidaying here in the U.K. afforded me the time and opportunity to watch on NEFLIX the nearly two-hour-long movie.
You don’t have to be told that Pastor Adeboye must have co-operated and possibly vetted the movie before its release —which is to be expected. Definitely, Pastor Adeboye must have been interviewed during which he made great revelations that have enriched the movie. One of such revelations was the young Enoch’s spiritual journey, starting with being misled by friends into going to meet herbalists in those days when he hadn’t met Christ. Another spiritual leader would have asked for the stories of his murky past to be removed completely from the movie. Not so with Adeboye. It takes a man of faith, integrity, humility and courage to allow his past to be filmed where he is associated with herbalists in their shrines, uttering mumbo jumbo and confusing abracadabra, invoking evil spirits, asking for rituals and sacrifices to be made.
Enoch’s story is the story of a village boy, lucky to have been sent to school where he emerges as a genius in mathematics. Handsome as the movie portrays, he was the toast of many girls. He finally meets the love of his life, they marry, he buys his first car and he wants to “insure” it the native way. So a friend directs him to one herbalist. The herbalist boasts that he had the power to protect the car from accidents and car theft. He gives Enoch charms one of which was to be placed at the boot of the car and the other under the car seat. And while driving back home, Enoch had a near-fatal accident.
Next, the friend leads him to another herbalist whom he describes as his “personal herbalist.” “I have a personal herbalist and I am not ashamed of it,” Kolapo tells Enoch, the confused young man newly married. “You think everything that is working out for me and me ascending higher and higher in my place of work is all about sheer luck?”
“Where does the place of hard work come in all these?” Enoch asks.
“Hard work? Enoch, are you a lazy man? Then why is life dealing with you so badly? Why is everything working against you?”
Enoch starts to weep saying: “I am tired. Why me? Am I the only one?”
“Enoch, I have been there,” Kolapo replies. “I have experienced all these things that you are going through. That man, he lifted me from poverty. I believe he is the man you need now.”
So Enoch goes to find the second herbalist in his ramshackle hut. There he welcomes Enoch, telling him: “Young man, there is danger ahead of you. I know the problem that chased you down here. But no matter how big the problem, the gods will show us the way out.” He asks Enoch to “touch the ground and touch your chest three times.” And Enoch obeys. He touches the ground and touches his chest three times. And the herbalist tells him: “Well done. We need to offer a sacrifice. And we will be using a black goat to appease the owners of the earth. You will drag the goat down here from where you bought it. The goat must not be transported in a car. A sacrificial goat does not enter a car.”
Enoch buys and drags the goat all the way from the market, causing a scene and the children laughing. On getting to the shrine, the herbalist is found to be indisposed.
“Baba, what is wrong with your leg?” Enoch asked.
“It’s not something serious. I boarded a car and on our way, I just heard people saying ‘break failure…break failure.’ That was the last thing I heard. It’s good you are here. Let’s commence the sacrifice. I hope you brought the goat. Once we are done with the sacrifice, I assure you that until you die, no evil will befall you and you won’t experience agony ever again. Can you please pull me up? I am in pain.”
Enoch pulls him up amidst the herbalist crying in excruciating pains. A disappointed Enoch walks out in anger and sets the goat free.
In his search, Enoch meets an old man who shows him a church “where your problems can be solved.” It turns out to be the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Enoch complains that “the church is filled with so many local people.” And the old man replies: “Your problems are not local, your problems are not international but spiritual.”
It was in this church that Enoch Adeboye had his Damascus experience. In one incident, members of the church were asked to empty their bank accounts to meet the church’s expansion and the need to build a bigger auditorium. It was Enoch and his wife Foluke who obeyed what the Lord had directed by emptying their bank accounts. And the founder of the church Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi blessed the couple, saying, by obeying God’s directive, “you are not fools.” And the rest is history.
Wishing you all a happy Easter.