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31
Aug

“Can any good thing come” from Africa?

Posted by on in General Secretary's Blog
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“Can any good thing come from Africa?” Read the news reports and op-eds, and you may be led to believe a negative answer is inevitable. Yet, how incorrect this conclusion is! Consider, for example, the stewardship of one African theologian whose contribution many Baptists worldwide greatly admire.

Osadolor Imasogie was born in Benin City in southwest Nigeria in 1928. After serving as a teacher in the Nigerian primary school system, he set out on what he identified, while a student at primary school, as his life’s goal. He wanted to become a minister of the Gospel.

In 1952, Osadolor commenced his theological studies at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso, graduating in 1955 with a Baptist of Theology degree. In 1961, four years after his ordination to the “Gospel ministry,” Osadolor took a Bachelor of Arts degree at Oklahoma Baptist University. Subsequently, he engaged in further studies at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California, in the United States, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, US, where he earned a PhD in Christian philosophy.

Osadolor contributed significantly to the spiritual and vocational formation of numerous African Baptist ministers. During his service at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, where, as vice principal from 1973-1979 and principal from 1979 until 1993, he mentored numerous ministerial students. He remains president emeritus of what is arguably the largest theological seminary on the African continent.

Osadolor’s training and experience led to his election as president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention and member of the Executive Committee of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship. He also served in the Baptist World Alliance on a number of study commissions and as a vice president from 1995-2000.

A lifelong Baptist, Osadolor is a committed ecumenist. He was moderator of the Program for Theological Education and, from 1983-1990, a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.

Baptists celebrate the ministry of this African Baptist theologian who is a humble servant of God, an educator par excellence and a model of holy living for Baptists not only in Africa, but across the world.

Like other outstanding African Baptist theologians and biblical scholars such as S. T. Ola Akande, S. Ola Fadeji, James Tanimola Ayorinde and Solomon Ademola Ishola (Nigeria); Douglas Waruta (Kenya) Andre Bokundoa bo-Likabe (Congo); Louise Kretszchmar (South Africa) and many more, Imasogie’s ministry is highly esteemed around the world. His biographer, Dickson Uwagboe, has described him as “an accomplished theological educator” and “an exemplary minster” who has demonstrated “humility without weakness, stability without stubbornness, objectivity without lack of passion, patience without indifference, [and] dependability without inflexibility.” In retirement, Imasogie spends half of each year in the US and the other half in Nigeria.

Reverend Professor Imasogie, whom the Nigerian government in 2006 awarded the national honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger, was among those who attended the recent Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa. He lived to see the day when the BWA convened its first congress in Africa and this filled him with joy.

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Neville George Callam, a Jamaican, has been serving as general secretary and chief executive officer of the Baptist World Alliance since his election in Accra, Ghana in 2007.

Comments

  • Guest
    Rev. C. C. Ahumaraeze Saturday, 27 May 2017

    Professor Imasogie is an outstanding theologian, educator, and a humble "example of the believer" of our time. He has impacted people in different stages of their spiritual journey-through his writings, preaching, individual couseling and mentoring. His gentle disposition and genuineness echoes the life of Christ much more loudly. I will always cherish your words of wisdom and the blessing of your presence at my wedding.

  • Guest
    Michael Okwakol Wednesday, 02 September 2015

    Dr Callam
    Thanks for this concise and succinct article on the man who has made a big difference in Baptist life and the Kingdom yet remains a very humble man indeed. We as young leaders have a lot to learn from people like him in this day where we thirst for pomp and power.

  • Guest
    John Enyinnaya Tuesday, 01 September 2015

    Great piece on prof Imasogie. He is indeed an icon and mentor to many pastors and theologians in Nigeria and Africa. I remember paying him a visit at his home in Benin city in 2008 while attending a retreat of Heads of 10 Theological Institutions of the Nigerian Baptist Convention only to discover that all of us were taught by him. We appreciate him

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Guest Friday, 25 May 2018