The term “Aladura,” meaning “Prayer People,” comes from the Yoruba culture and is used to describe a variety of prophet-healing churches that can be found throughout the western part of Africa. These churches have been developing since 1918. In this article, you will encounter a brief history of Aludura.
Founded in West Nigeria, more than one million people follow the Aladura way. After missionaries settled close to the Yoruba culture during the late 1800s/early 1900s, the spread of Anglican communities could be observed. Around 1918, a shift towards the Aladura movement started to emerge, when younger followers of the Christian faith began to find fault in the religious teaching from Western culture. They were fed up with what they felt was a lack of spiritual power due to the European stronghold that was set over religion in the area. Some of their disagreement with the way things were going came from information received from the small Faith Tabernacle Church of Philadelphia, which was based on divine healing.
When influenza swooped down among the communities, the religious faith of the Yoruba began to focus on this divine healing, as well as prayer protection and following a strict moral code. Prayer groups began to form, specifically within Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria. A commotion started to brew and soon after, 1922 marked the year when a separation occurred between the religious groups. The new group was called the Faith Tabernacle and established a few small congregations.
It wasn’t until 1930, when a prophet healer by the name of Joseph Babalola (1906”“59) decided to lead an influential divine healing movement that caused a major expansion of this religious way. The Yoruba faced many barriers, as it was not accepted. The Pentecostal way of worship began to take shape into the lives of the Yoruba. This had once been rejected when the United States were primary influencers regarding religion. The area began to see traditional rulers, mission churches, as well as the government to become at odds with one another. The mission churches needed assistance and they turned to the Pentecostal Apostolic Church in Britain for guidance and help.
In 1932, a flock of missionaries arrived in the area, allowing the Aladura movement to quickly spread and establish itself. Many now referred to this movement as one with the Apostolic Church. But nothing is ever that easy to digest and accept. You know there is always some group that is not going to agree with the majority. Issues were detected in the way that the missionaries handled certain issues. One way that struck a nerve was the way missionaries used Western medicines. This was not acceptable when following the divine healing belief system. The missionaries also had strict beliefs over polygamists, which caused problems. Soon, their help became a nuisance, as they attempted to fully control the movement, much to the dismay of many Yorubans.
Another separation was soon in the future. Between 1938”“41, the Christ Apostolic Church was formed with the vision of the Balalola and Issac Akinyele. When the 1960s rolled around, there were 100,000 followers and schools promoting their way of thinking could be found all over the country of Ghana. The Apostolic Church still kept their ties with Britain, leading to the establishment and development of additional churches similar to this belief system.