Barr. Wole Olufon

Barr. Wole OlufonWHO IS WITH YOU?

In 1971, I invited a young lady whom I admired to a movie.  She mentioned something about being saved. I asked what she meant by it because I had thought that at death, God would weigh a man's good and bad deeds in a balance. If one's good deeds, outweighed the evil deeds one would go to heaven. If the reverse was the case, that person would go to hell. She explained to me that my philosophy was not according to the Bible. The Bible says we can know whether we are saved or not. When we got to her hostel, she gave me some "tracts."

After reading the tracts, I felt such joy racing through my heart. The first thing I did was to kneel by my bed. I confessed my sins and invited Jesus to come into my life. Immediately, I felt an urge to tell everyone about what happened to me. The first person I told was my elder brother, and he gave me a gift of a copy of a devotional called Daily Power. From that day, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many days I have gone without a devotional. In fact, my long standing history of Christian growth is based on daily devotionals, coupled with the need to encourage Christians to have a disciplined devotional life. This led to my editing a devotional called In the Secret Place. You know many Christians wake up and just flip their Bible open, and start reading. The devotional creates a discipline and encourages each person to have a secret place with God.

Even though I came to know the Lord at a relatively young age, I was a very religious person because I was brought up in a Christian home. We had family devotional every morning and went to Sunday school every Sunday afternoon. When I gave my life to Christ, I suddenly felt a joy that I had never felt before. I could pray and expect answers to my prayers. It made me realize that God had a plan for my life, and all I needed to do was ask Him.

In 1971, I was in the School of Science reading Physics, Chemistry, and Zoology for my A-levels, preparatory to a course in medicine even though at the bottom of my heart. I had always wanted to be a lawyer. But my father wanted me to pursue his vision for my life. Now born-again, I went to the Lord in prayer asking what job He actually created me to do. The Lord answered me asking, "What was that I had always wanted of Him when I was much younger?" "And I told Him I wanted to be a Judge." I realized that I was not pursuing God's plan for my life, but my father's. I then made up my mind to get back to the right track. As difficult as it was, I took for the preliminary examination to the University of Ife, offering French, History, and Literature. God was so kind, I was offered admission. There was a very important difference that knowing the Lord made in my life. It enabled me to key in on the vision of God for my life and to have a certainty as to where I was going. I did not have that certainty earlier.

Immediately after I got admission to the University of Ife, I prayed to the Lord to grant me a scholarship for my university education. I was challenged to pray because it was a time when Nigeria was encouraging the study of the sciences with scholarships and bursary awards. They did not offer same for law. I asked my brother who had gone to the university before me, the possibility of enjoying a scholarship to read law. He said, if my performance in my first year was such that my grades were tops in my class then I would be given what they called a National Merit Award. I told the Lord that I wanted to win that scholarship. In my first year, my results were excellent, and I was given the National Merit Award. The government took over the payment of my fees in my second year, even reimbursing me through my university years. Prior to this, the Lord had blessed me with a scholarship in secondary school. I received a UAC secondary school scholarship from the company where my father worked.

When I was at the Law School, I began to have a stirring in my heart on the need for Christian lawyers to come together to encourage one another. Then, in 1976/77, you could easily count the number of Law School students who were born- again. I spoke to those I could identify about my desire for us to have fellowship, and they argued that because we were so few we might not be allowed on the Law School premises. Across from the Law School was the Federal School of Arts and Sciences, which had a Christian fellowship group. We were going from the Law School to fellowship with those students.

Three years after I left Law School, the Spirit of God moved in the heart of some young lawyers to invite other lawyers to a meeting. There were eleven of us at that first meeting in 1980, who came together to form what is now known as the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON). After that meeting in Kaduna, we held several meetings in other parts of Nigeria, drafted a constitution for ourselves, and held the first election. I had the privilege to be elected as its first National President. This was a defining moment in my life because I was squarely in the center of God's purpose. I would practice the legal profession by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I encouraged other Christian lawyers who were having challenges. I served as President of the fellowship for six years with other people, and I am still actively involved in the CLASFON.

I joined a law firm. I liked the set up. They were very young lawyers, a few years older than I am. They had structured their practice in a very exciting way, and I thought if I could become a successful partner. Unknown to me, God had other plans. I worked at that firm for 15 months before I resigned, in 1979 to set up Wole Olufon and Company.

 Starting the firm of Wole Olufon and Co. solidified my conviction of being a Christian lawyer who practices without any inhibitions. The Lord has helped the firm to grow. We have existed for over 36 years and today, we have our own building. We have trained and discipled many young Christian lawyers, some of whom are now Judges and some others Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

I do not dichotomize my work with a part secular and then my other life as holy. My work as a lawyer is not secular, but it is holy just as an evangelist or pastor considers his calling to be holy. I believe God has called me as an Apostle in the legal market place. So I take my work as a calling from God, and I do not separate work or business from faith.

In the course of legal practice, the Lord has given me the privilege to represent His interest in the market place. One classic example is the case against AMORC (Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis) also known as 'The Rosicrucian Order' between 1984 and 1994. ECWA Productions Limited (EPL), the publisher of Today's' Challenge, had done an expose on AMORC by serializing a book called Searchlight on AMORC in which they described AMORC as a secret and occultic society and essentially, a satanic organization. AMORC demanded an apology and compensation and when neither was forth coming, they sued EPL for libel, claiming ten million Naira. EPL hired me, so, it was my duty to defend the publishing company and its editors.

At the first hearing, long dark looks assailed my entry into the courthouse in Calabar. After the Honorable Chief Judge signal led the Court Registrar to commence the day's proceedings by reading out the cause list, AMORC's lead Counsel rose with an expansive air to announce his appearance for the plaintiff together with nine other lawyers appearing with him. All eyes were focused on me as I got to my feet to announce my sole appearance for the Defendants. Bemused eyes tore at me, for a fleeting moment. I perceived with cynical credulity as the Honorable Chief Judge looked narrowly but benignly at me and asked, "And who is with you?", and with every shred of conviction, I answered him, "The Almighty is with me."

We fought the case between 1984 and 1988 in the High Court in Calabar. At the end of four years, the Chief Judge of Cross River State, late Justice Edem Koofreh gave judgment in favor of AMORC and awarded one million Naira damages against my client. That day of the judgment was the saddest day of my life. I was heartbroken and could not believe that God would allow us to lose such a case. I did the case with all of my heart, all of my mind and all of my might. As a matter of fact, I did not even do it for the money.

I was motivated to do the case because I knew it was my destiny. I knew that case was one of the primary reasons God called me to the legal profession. To lose the case was unthinkable. In the process of my grieving over the loss, I fell into depression for almost two weeks. I did not know that this was AMORC’s strategy to get me inactive and demobilized so that I could not pursue the instructions of my client to file an appeal and to stay the execution of the judgment.

I had fourteen days from the day of the judgment to file an appeal and the motion for a stay, if I did not, AMORC could execute the judgment. AMORC meanwhile had gone ahead to prepare for execution because they were sure that I wouldn't recover from the attack of depression but God delivered me by His Word, in Isaiah 61. After a Bible study in our home the evening of the thirteenth day, the day before the expiration of the time I had to file an appeal. A sister who was leading the fellowship asked us to read Isaiah 61:1-3. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord bath anointed me, to give unto them ..., the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness...that he might be glorified.” (KIV)

It says that God will give us the oil of joy instead of mourning and the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. While we were reading verses 1-3, the Holy Spirit said to me that the spirit of depression is the spirit of heaviness. Immediately, I caught that revelation and the depression left.

That same night, I drafted a notice of appeal from memory, because the judgment was not ready. It was such a long judgment, and I had only taken less than a page of notes. So from memory, God played back the judgment. I got to the office the next day, had it typed, and put a lawyer on a plane to Calabar the very last day. She got to Calabar and filed the notice and grounds of appeal and the motion for stay. I learned later that it was the timely action of filing and then serving the High Court in Jos where my client's headquarters is located that saved my client. AMORC would have obtained the Court order to sell the printing press of my client in Jos. And so, God saved my client, and we went on to do the appeal between 1988 and 1991 in the Court of Appeal, Enugu. The Court of Appeal, after two years of hearing the case, reversed the judgment of the High Court. It gave judgment in favor of my client and agreed with us that AMORC was a secret, occultic and satanic organization. That day the judgment was delivered is still on record as the happiest day of my life, I felt so happy I could fly. The hairs on my head stood erect when the judgment was being read and I knew that it was written in heaven.

After, we won in the Court of Appeal, I was sure that they would go to the Supreme Court and that we would win again. They did appeal to the Supreme Court.                  In 1994, the Supreme Court of Nigeria unanimously, by five judges, agreed with the judgment of the Court of Appeal that AMORC is a secret, satanic, and occultic organization.

The second notable case is the decision of the Federal High Court (Nigeria) in 2013. In this case involving Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International. The court granted all our prayers and brought to an end any meddlesomeness in the affairs of the fellowship in Nigeria. So, for me that is also a confirmation that God's calling for my life is this profession.

That God would choose me, when He needed a lawyer in this country, especially when the interest of the kingdom of heaven is at stake, is a humbling thought. For me that is the greatest accolade, greater than any man-contrived honor. If I achieve nothing else in this profession, those two notable cases are testimonials I would consider are not only written in the annals of men but also in the book of remembrance.

When I started my practice in the early 1980s, I used to go and talk to people asking them to give me briefs. After a few years, the Lord told me to just stay where I was and that the briefs would come. For over thirty years, I can't remember going to anybody to solicit for briefs for my law firm. I sit in my office and people walk in, being referred by other people.

In terms of protection, God has preserved my life on numerous occasions. In 1985, during the AMORC case, my wife dreamed that she saw me in a coffin. I told her that what she saw in the dream wasn't possible with me, and we prayed about it. The next day, I actually had an accident on the Sagamu-Abeokuta axis, but I did not have a scratch. God preserved me wholly. AMORC members were shocked to see me alive in court, and I had to assure them they were not seeing a ghost. I was kept by the power of God because God's reputation was at stake. That was the second time I suffered a car crash.

It was the norm that if you wanted longevity, protection, or success in legal practice, you need to join one of the secret societies. As a matter of fact, not only in Nigeria but also in England, the legal profession is dominated by Freemasons. Free Masonry controls the legal profession. They are influential through the Masonic temple in Scotland Yard. This practice soon spread to Nigeria also. Most judges in the old days were masons. Most lawyers were masons or belonged to other lodges. When I came into the legal profession, I was already born again but I knew that the reasons young lawyers were being attracted to the cult was for power and protection.

The Bible tells us that all powers in heaven and on earth have been given to Jesus. Since I have Him in my life, I know that none of those powers could come close to that of Jesus. As a matter of fact, the case of AMORC demonstrated to all. The sundry powers of the occult are subject to Christ because even though we were fighting in court, AMORC did everything possible to eliminate me as a person. I had two accidents both orchestrated by AMORC. I was told clearly that it was a do or die matter by those who were former AMORC members.  I needed to be careful because I was taking on a very vicious group.

I was one of those who convinced a lot of young people that the greatest protection was having Jesus in your life. I proved positively that God was obligated to protect us as a confirmation to those others we were witnessing. If you have Him, you have all it takes. Not only to protect and preserve our lives, but also to make us prosperous because if we were poor or we didn't make it in the profession financially, they would say well, they didn't die but they are as good as dead' and so, God prospered Christian lawyers to prove to the world that there is nothing better that the world can offer.  I have seen God prosper my business as well as my ministry.

In 1974, at the University of Ife, I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the manifestations of the gifts.  By using these gifts and obedience to the Spirit’s prompting, helped me develop my relationship with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was ministered to me and some others by the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa. In desiring the Holy Ghost baptism, I specifically asked for certain spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

The FGBMFI afforded me perhaps my greatest platform for ministry, right from when I became a member, a Committee Chairman, a pioneer Chapter President up until now that God has taken me through the ranks to become an International Director. I have even gone back again to become a Chapter President.

When I was District Coordinator of the South West - there was only one South West District of FGBMFI Nigeria at the time - we sensed the need to minister to the families of our members and officers. We came up with an idea to have a program that would minister to marriages. We called it the Couples' Advance. I can remember many that have been tremendously blessed by that program since its inception. There are two families, I know personally who, by word of knowledge, God led me to speak to at the 2005 Advance, whose circumstances changed. God also blessed me through my interaction and ministry with them. My office building is the second property the Lord has given me directly through the word of knowledge in ministry. Indeed, God has blessed me in ministry, and I have come to make very valuable friendships. Truly the brethren we know in Christ, the love and the intimacy is greater than even blood relationships. God blessed us with four children, and He gave us the grace to train them in His nurture and admonition. So I can say that all my four children are born-again.

My typical day starts around 4 a.m. For the first one hour I pray and sing in the spirit. Then I bring out my devotionals. I have several of them that I use in the morning, and I meditate on the Word of God. God is a consistent God. The Bible says,” He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” - Hebrews 13:8. My personal daily devotion started the day I gave my life to Jesus. It was that day my brother gave me my first devotional; it’s called Daily Power, still published by the Scripture Union. For me, once I wake up, it is the first order of business. Before I do anything else, I meditate on the Word of God. Another thing I do daily is to pray. I also fast every Wednesday.

At the 1989 Port Harcourt National Convention, Pastor E. Adeboye gave a prophecy about God raising two stars. He said one star would be a set of businessmen, and one star would be men of God and that these people would dedicate their time and wait on the Lord in fasting three days every month for life. They would never be members of a secret cult. There has not been one month when I don't observe a three-day fast. I observe three days usually at the beginning of the month. It doesn't matter where I am. I do that regimen every month. It has helped my spiritual development. It has done outstanding things in my life; it increased my desire for the things of God and helps me to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

These spiritual observances help to advance one's life. It's like servicing a car, to keep you at the peak of your spiritual performance. I recommend fasting for every Christian. The length you want to fast is a choice that is convenient for you. When it's a long fast, please use water otherwise you could damage your organs. Fasting aids detoxification of the body, renews the cells so you find out that you are feeling stronger and younger. It keeps you healthy because your body has been renewed through regimental fasting.

I have had challenges in my professional practice particularly in the area of finances. Many years ago when I started this practice, I made a covenant with God, I said, “Lord, for me to know that You are with me in this work, I want You to always supply my needs, especially my need for money to pay salaries.” However, sometime in the early 90s or late 80s, I came to the end of the month and for the first time there was not enough money to pay salaries. I asked the Lord, “What is the problem and He answered me using Habakkuk 3: 17-18. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."(KJV) God said, “You have had been measuring my faithfulness according to my provision.”  He said, “Whether I provide or I don't provide I am faithful.” The Bible says God's faithfulness is renewed every morning. Whether there is food on the table or not, God's faithfulness has been renewed. Once you wake up in the morning, God has renewed his faithfulness.  After a week or two, God provided money, and I paid the salaries. I said Lord 'I have learnt my lesson, but I still prefer not to owe others salary. God's strength is manifested in our weaknesses. It is when we are weak that God shows up. So when we fail to testify about our weakness, and only testify about when God strengthened and prospered us, we give the impression that the Christian life is a roller coaster. Barr. Wole Olufon is a former member of the Body of Benchers in Nigeria. 

Barr. Wole Olufon Hearing His Voice Testimony