Ripples over theological varsity and Lagos gay churchWritten by JAMES EZEMA & EBUN BABALOLA
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Father of the controversial pastor of Lagos gay church, Professor Olakunle Macaulay, tells the story of his son and assembly.
OVER the last thirty years, according to a 2007 homosexual welcoming church survey in the United States, in a report by gaychurch.org, gay Christian revival has grown and evolved into the dynamic influence it is today.
With gay Christian movement on massive growth with no slowing in sight, more and more self confessed homosexual priests are being ordained by some Christian denominations across the world. Recently, the first homosexual church in Nigeria, House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church, celebrated its second year anniversary in Lagos.
Media reports on the gay church and on the anniversary celebration had sparked off reactions. A theological institution in Lagos, United Bible University (UBU), was linked with activities of the gay church and that was the basis of a press conference tagged “Knowing and Speaking the Truth” held by the school.
The atmosphere was full of speculations as media men took their seats. Would the man in the eye of the storm, Rev. Rowland Macaulay, surface? Was his father, the founder of the institute, going to own up and support his son’s homosexual activities? Will he deny the knowledge of all that happened? Is the institution the headquarters of the “evil church” also said to be located at Jakande Estate, Isolo, Lagos State as reported? These and more were questions running through the minds of some of the journalists who were seated at the venue.
But when Augustus Olakunle Macaulay, 71-year old professor of systematic theology and biblical studies, who is the director of studies of UBU and other officials were introduced to the journalists by the moderator, Mr. Chris Pemu, it became obvious that Rev. Rowland Babajide Macaulay, pastor of the gay church was not part of the press conference. As Prof. Macaulay put it, “I called you here to tell my own side of the story”.
The director of studies of UBU, which is said to be the second registered theological university in Africa, confirmed at the press conference, held at its 36/38, Yakoyo Road, Ojodu, Lagos, that his son, Rowland Macaulay, is homosexual and pastors a gay church. Like a hard pill to swallow and with a burdened heart of an affectionate father, he said, “Rev. Rowland Babajide Macaulay, the pastor of House of Rainbow in Nigeria is my second son.
I cannot deny him as a son. He is a gift of God. I accept him from God and every parent, no matter how good or bad a child may be, will never deny his or her own child. Rowland is my child, I cannot deny him as a son. I love him and respect him because he is intelligent and he is a very good son.”
Prof. Macaulay, an advocate of quality Christian theological education and who is the incumbent president of Association of Christian Theologians (ACTS) that regulate Christian theological education in Nigeria, was quick to state that though he loves and respects his son, he does not and can never approve of his homosexual activities nor have any thing to do with his church. Quoting from I Corinthians 6: 9-10 and Revelation 21: 8, he added that in accordance with the Bible, homosexual offenders will not inherit the Kingdom of God as their place is the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
“I have never had anything to do with homosexuality and lesbianism and will never, by the grace of God. The Bible condemns it and I believe and teach the Bible, so, I am completely against the practice of homosexuality and/or lesbianism”, Prof. Macaulay stressed.
He explained that the House of Rainbow had hired UBU’s auditorium like any other Christian group that rent the hall whenever they have need of it, saying that the institution had nothing to do with the homosexual church as reported in the media. “SARRMAC Auditorium hired by House of Rainbow for its second year anniversary, September 6 and 7 respectively is a commercial hall normally rented out to the public for occasions and not a regular place of worship for House of Rainbow as reported in some newspapers.
It has been in commercial use since the year 2000 and has been used by Christian churches and individuals for marriages, training seminars, prayer retreats. Some of the organisations and individuals that had used this place are numerous. Photocopies of receipts issued for the use of the hall in the past are here for you to see. 36/38, Yakoyo Road , Ojodu, Lagos is neither the headquarters of House of Rainbow nor a regular place of its worship. United Bible University is not a church. It has no church. It does not belong to any church or denomination. It is a non-denominational theological institute in Nigeria. It is biblical and spiritual in nature”.
House of Rainbow, he stated, paid N20, 000 for the use of the hall for two days, adding that he was away on a tour of theological institutes in Imo and Akwa Ibom states when the hall was used for the anniversary event by House of Rainbow under his permission. He also explained that the invitation sent to him by his son, Rowland, was for the anniversary of his church.
“It is my pleasure to inform you that I am not just a Christian leader and a Nigerian, I am a law-abiding citizen. I have served this nation in many different areas without any blemish. I tested the first car ever assembled by Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) and gave appraisal of its quality and reliability. I am a Christian and Christian leader and teacher without manipulating the Bible, teaching heresy or supporting any human doctrines”, Prof. Macaulay said.
When asked if he knew the church was for gay before allowing them use the hall, he said, “I did not know it was a church of gay. If I knew that is was a church of homosexuals, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I had impression that the church preaches Christ and that is what my son tells me every time. I tell him, ‘preach Christ, evangelise and bring people to your church’.
And he said, ‘Daddy, that is what I am doing.’ So, I believed that that was what he was doing until when the report came out. I confirm it here that House of Rainbow is a church of homosexuals.
When I came back from my tour of Imo and Akwa Ibom, I read all the newspapers that reported the case. I believe that God wants to do something very drastic. I strongly believe that this open report may affect me personally. I invited you the press to tell you my own side of the story, especially concerning myself and the university.
The university has nothing to do with the House of Rainbow and I, as a father too, has nothing to do with House of Rainbow. But as I mentioned in my report, I relate with my son and not with the church he controls. It is important for a father to do that”.
Asked about Rowland’s mother, Prof. Macaulay said, “The mother? Hmm. I think you want to send her to heaven very early. I mean, the mother is in London. I wish you could understand what my family is going through. The elder brother told me that he will never talk to him. I still have that problem to solve. It is a very serious thing. It is not something we can take lightly as we are talking now”.
He affirmed that the plaque mentioned in the various reports in the newspapers as displayed in the main hall of the university displays the appreciation awards offered to people who contributed to the growth of Christian Soul-Winners Worldwide from 1980 to 1994.
He explained that those mentioned in the media reports as listed in the plaque are aged or have even died, saying that Mrs. O. A. Adeboye who won the best award is now over 90 years old while Mr. A. O. Oduwole died over four years ago.
According to him, he got to know that his 43-year-old son, Rowland, is homosexual in 2003. But reports say Rowland has been gay since he was 14. Describing how he got to know of it he said: “I knew he was gay. I mean, being a gay does not mean you pastor a church of homosexuals. Being a prostitute doesn’t mean you should pastor a church of prostitutes. I think, as a pastor, you should pastor a church of God.
I got to know about my son being a gay in 2003 when I went to London. I went in to his room and I found some books that looked funny to me and I called his brothers and sisters, reported it to them. They knew about it before I knew but they were all afraid to tell me. But eventually I got to know.”
On steps he took when he got to know, Macaulay said, “I rebuked him as a father. I did not talk to him for about a month while I was in London. But when I considered that I will lose him to Satan if I allowed him to go, I called him back and ever since that time, I’ve been talking to him. Each time I see him, I talk and pray with him and I believe that one day he will be straight in his life.
As far as I am concerned, that is the only fault that I see in him. I want you to realise this, that since 2003 this thing has turned my family upside down. And I have never been a very very happy father ever since. I’ve been praying and counseling him. I believe strongly that, one day, God will touch him and he will change.”
Asked if his son’s background born in London and his upbringing has any relationship with Rowland’s gay disposition, Prof. Macaulay said, “That is a very good question. If I have five children and I trained them, and my first son is a chartered accountant with Cambridge University, and he doesn’t misbehave, and the third one is an engineer in London and he doesn’t misbehave, why do you want to blame me for just one person that is influenced? One person that is influenced by the Western world; that allowed all these things.”
He however said he had no regret allowing the use of UBU hall by the gay church. “I do not regret allowing House of Rainbow use this place for its second anniversary because I did it with clean mind. I do not support House of Rainbow as a church of homosexuals. I had the impression that House of Rainbow is a church for all people.”
Prof. Macaulay, while responding to a question on whether he had seen his gay son since he returned to Lagos, said, “That is a sad and difficult thing for a father to say. I have not seen my son. It is very embarrassing to me since the reports. I have not seen him and he has not called me.”
On whether his son is married, he simply said, “Rowland is my son and he has a 16-year-old son, who is in London. He got married. His son’s name is Tosin Macaulay. Believe me, it was in 2003 that I got to know this thing and you can see how frustrating that can be.” Macaulay, however, remained resolute, saying, “As far as United Bible University is concerned it would not lose its focus in achieving its God-ordained objectives.”
Rowland would appear close to his father as shown in this message to the father at 70:
“For me, Rowland, you are the best of friends, honest and outright youthful. All my life you challenged me and gave me confidence in many areas of my life. We continue to have fun with life. I remember 2002, when we co-hosted Friends in Harmony from South Africa when they toured Nigeria. You trained me in many disciplines to be a good boy, an obedient servant of God. You trained me and gave me the skill to be a good father.
“The reflection shows in your grand son, Tosin who also wishes you all the best love for this happy occasion. He tells me that he still wants to play football with you. Both of us remember spending time with you on a ministerial trip to Wales, we watch you do what you love doing, preaching, teaching and chatting with people.
Our lives together have been a great blessing and we are too happy to wish you well for your 70th birthday. What more can we say about our grandfather and father; many words describe you, friendly, jovial, humorous, serious, focused, great achiever, blessed, honoured, precious, youthful, lovely, lovely and many more. More love, more power.