General Overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi has explained how he started the ministry in August 1973, with 15 “truth-seekers.”
While speaking at the launch of his book, he also stated why he’s known as Defender of Faith. The speech is reproduced below:
Why I’m called Defender of the Faith
I never knew that the words The Defender of the Faith were part of my name and calling.
We were in Singapore for a conference with attendees from different parts of the world, and my humble self was required to give series of messages.
After I finished the series, one of the ministers came and asked me if I knew the meaning of my name, William. I responded that I never thought about it.
Actually, when I was a young Anglican and I was to be christened, my father asked me what christian name I would love to bear.
I said I would love to bear the name Johnson.
There was a Johnson in our community who was very vocal, fervent, bold and courageous and I had learnt to appreciate him. It was agreed that I would be Johnson.
But then when we got to the Church something else happened. As the ceremony was being preformed the minister said “This boy shall be called William”. I wondered why I had to bear that name.
It wasn’t many years later after I got converted on April 5 1964 and I became a preacher, travelling teacher and evangelist that we got to this meeting in Singapore.
I met this minister who had studied the meanings of names. For one reason or the other he had checked the root and etymology of my name, William.
He told me: “Your name, William, means THE DEFENDER OF THE FAITH”. He added that what I’d done there in Singapore was prophetic, a reflection of the mission and vision of man elected to fight for the faith. Whereupon he prayed along with me. Since that time I’ve been more conscious of the fact that God called me.
I emphasize “called me” because I had the knowledge and understanding of who God is from 1952. Then aged 11, I put God to a test. I wanted a problem resolved. So I proceeded by telling God: “If it is going to be this way, let this happen, and if it is going to be that way, let that happen.” What I told the Lord happened, and since then in 1952, I’ve been very conscious of God being my Guide.
Then in 1964, I heard the gospel in a very simple way that God loves humanity, and everyone regardless of their status, background and religion because the scripture says unequivocally that God loves the world, and gave man His only begotten Son, and that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Before that time, all I was doing was trying to live a good and righteous life, an upright life above board and reproach.
Suddenly it dawned on me that day that I could not save myself, I could not pull up myself by the bootstraps.
So on that day, the 5th of April, 1964, I said “Lord, You have sent our Lord Jesus Christ not only to save humanity but to save me. So I gave my life over to the Lord Jesus. I had a real transformation and it was clear to everyone who knew me in my alma mater, Mayflower School under Tai Solarin at that time, that a change really came, and the school knew about it.
Eventually, I moved forward, reading books. Later, Reverend Mellor of the Methodist Church handed over to me the writings of John Wesley, the illustrious English preacher. I began to read the works and found myself consecrated to the Lord. This was because I saw how John Wesley went all over England and Europe, defending the faith, even though I didn’t know the meaning of my name William then.
Finally, I told God, “If you could use a man this way at that time, then You can use me. I came across just one sentence that turned everything around.
John Wesley said:
“Give me a hundred men that fear nothing but sin and love none but God, and we will turn the world upside down”.
I plunged into deep thought about that. Could I be like John Wesley? After that inner search, I came across Charles G. Finney’s books, and I was asked if I could be like him? I answered the call because I knew that it was of God. So, I took up the challenge and we started the ministry in 1973 August 3rd, with only 15 truth seekers.
From there we moved on to what we have now.
As I began to see that we can be transformed and be what God wants us to be, He gave us the Lord Jesus, not only to be Saviour but as a pattern and example for us to follow. I used to say I wanted to be like John Wesley.
But later, I have since sought to be like Jesus Who is Master, Saviour, Preacher, Teacher, Evangelist, and everything. By the grace of God, I moved from being a teacher to an evangelist, to being a pastor and a little bit of the life of an apostle and miracles began to take place: eyes being opened and the lame rising up and walking. And on a few occasions we saw the dead being brought back to life.
And now with the media that came in, we found that Jesus Christ said anyone who believes in Him will do the works He did, and greater works than that because He goes to the Father. A centurion came to Jesus to ask for healing for his servant who was sick of the palsy, and he told Jesus not to come to his house but to speak the word only and his servant would be healed.
We know that healing can come through various ways: by laying on of hands, by anointing with oil, by two of us agreeing together. There is also the ministry of “speaking the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” By the Mercy of the Lord, Heaven is doing this in my ministry now. We are having what we call the Global Crusade through which we connect to people from all over the world and cancer and other diseases have been healed, just by praying from here in Nigeria.
We also saw the case of an entire family that was infected with covid 19 pandemic and by praying for them online and the following day when they went to the hospital the tests were negative: they were totally cured.
We’ve seen HIV Aids, cancer, and lots of sicknesses healed.
But let me reveal something.
I have had experiences in teaching in the secular world complex Mathematics variables. there are many of my students who have gone beyond me. Sometimes I meet past students who are now professors, engineers, doctors who know what I don’t know.
I want to do this in Christianity to raise people who will go beyond me. We can even start now as you read this. You can say, “Lord, whatever you have done by, through and with this man, William the defender, do it through me.”
Then we can go beyond John Wesley and say, “Give me a thousand people, a million people that love God with all their hearts and souls and we can turn the world upside down.” We can do it! We will start from our city, our nation, our continent Africa and who knows, we can change the world by His Grace, love, in His mercy, with our commitment and consecration and by surrendering everything we have to Him, we can change the world.
Someone was interviewing me three weeks ago from London because he wanted to take part in our crusade. He said, “You are now 80, what do you still have that you have not done?”
I told him 80 is just a number. Tossing that aside, you are as young as your dedication, vision and love for God. If you can dedicate your life to God and say you want to make an impact and touch lives before you leave the world, the Lord will answer your prayers.
Moses started at 80 and I’m just starting at 80 and who knows how far we can still go? You and I teaming together, knowing full well that the world needs us, our people and this generation need us, we can, if we count on God.
•Kumuyi, General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, spoke at the public presentation of his biography, Kumuyi:Defender of the Faith, in Lagos last week.