Brotherhood of the Cross and Star

INTRODUCTION

For obvious reasons, it is simple enough to classify a movement like the Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star (called in future either Brotherhood or BCS) as being outside orthodox Christianity. All the major Christian doctrines are interpreted very loosely and in fact there is a lot of inconsistency. There are also signs of much Islamic influence in the movement, although it is not an amalgamation of the two religions; indeed it is distinct from both. However, there are a number of interesting lessons which can be learned from the facts about this movement.

HISTORY

According to the web site (1) the story begins in the 16th century. The Biakpan tribe was beginning a journey, because of tribal warfare, to what they thought of as the Promised Land. The tribe had arrived at a place called Ozoi Etono, where they settled for a considerable time. Here a Biakpan tribal prophetess called Otom came to prominence. She was a very turbulent woman and caused problems for the Biakpan tribal leaders of the time, including her husband who was one of them, but she established her credentials as a prophetess by foretelling the death of her husband in a hunting accident. When it came true, and he was laid out, she had a dream of a man in a simple white robe that told her to write three O’s on the corpse. When she awoke her husband was struggling to breath and he shortly revived and returned to full health and strength. Brotherhood interprets this as the first pre-birth appearance of Olumba Olumba Obu

Otom had a later revelation, over three consecutive nights, where God appeared as a young man clothed in white, warning that sinful tribal practices had to cease. This white clad figure was later interpreted as the second pre-birth appearance of O.O.Obu. When she related this to the Chief and warned him that if something was not done he would be removed from authority, he was angry with her and warned her to tell no-one. The Chief cast her out of the tribe and forbade others to speak to her, but she refused to leave and the rest of the tribe apparently continued to treat her as before.

Otom then declared that God had said there would be no conceptions and no deaths in the community for seven years as a punishment. This was fulfilled and for six years the prophetess kept her silence. In the sixth year Otom called for fasting and repentance. At the end of the seven years the community moved to the Promised Land and the apparent curse was removed.

Enun Nkpa was a later tribal prophet who lived for 170 years. Because of his photographic memory Nkpa was the recorder and rememberer for the tribe and he had two dreams in which the birth of Olumba was announced. Nkpa spoke to Obu’s parents and foretold his birth.

OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU

It is difficult to set out a factual version of the life of Olumba Olumba Obu, the founder of the BCS movement, because although much of the material is available, particularly online, the sources are from the movement itself and independent corroboration is not available. There are stories of how Obu healed before he could walk, and a number of other stories of how he healed in his childhood, but there does not appear to be any record of how he became a Christian.

Olumba Olumba Obu was born in 1918 in the village of Biakpan near Calabar in Cross River State, Eastern Nigeria. Although Olumba had only a very basic education, attending lessons for the first two years of primary school, he was conscious, very early, of a calling. There were signs of delusion from an early age. He is reported to have precociously told the world to call him “Teacher.”

“The first words that I spoke three years after I was born were: ‘Call me Teacher, Master, Etubom'”. I am the universal Teacher I have come to reveal my Father to the world.” (1)

“But his sense of mission emerged early: when he was only five he said to his father: ‘Call me Teacher’. The first people he taught were the children with whom he played and went to school.” (2)

When he was eight he went to Calabar, to work as an apprentice to his uncle in the textile trade. He set up his own stall in Calabar market ten years later, in 1936. At first he was very successful because, unlike all the other traders, he was honest and gave value for money. People flocked to his stall and he sold more in one week than others did in two months.

In his spare time he went round preaching, teaching and healing. ‘Mr. Obu’, on his bicycle, with his Bible in a bag slung over his back, was a familiar sight in the streets of Calabar at that time. However, Olumba was not a businessman; he was open-handed to his poorer customers, sometimes not taking any payment at all and his debtors were rarely pursued in the courts. Inevitably his business began to fail. His spare time activity of preaching and healing gained him quite a local reputation and in 1944 he became a full time preacher and healer. He says, “At God’s appointed time, when I had to attend to my call, I forsook everything and followed God.” At some time during this period, as far as we can tell, he was married and he began to invite interested followers to come to his home where meetings began.

As numbers increased, No. 8 Eton Street became the centre, and then on August 6th and 7th 1958 Olumba baptised a number of people, and on the 8th he lead them in procession from Eton Street to new larger premises at 26 Mbukpa Road. Although the official history doesn’t mention it, there is some evidence that, as in the case of Mohammad, there was considerable opposition to the movement in the early days as the the following quotation implies

“Brother E.B. Eye one of the original members of the brotherhood said ‘The first day the Father performed baptism was two days to 8 August 1958. He did baptism twice: I think it was on the 6th and 7th. Then in the evening of August 8th he asked everybody to wear white. That was the first outing and the Father moved the entire Brotherhood from Eton Street to 26 Mbukpa Road that night. People talked but what could they do, and as far as I can remember there were no attacks – members just marched peacefully with the Father leading the line. So 8 August 1958 marks the point at which Brotherhood of the Cross and Star came out into the open as a distinct, recognisable movement.'”  (2)

Members built a new building at 26 Mbukpa Rd in 1959 but this was quickly out grown. Land became available nearby at 34 Ambo St which was bought and buildings were erected there to house; a healing home, an elementary school, a guest house, an assembly hall with a public address system and offices housing a printing press and bookstore. In the last 35 years other buildings have been added.

Since the establishment of the Brotherhood, Olumba has always lived in Calabar, although he was under strong pressure at one stage to go to the United States. But in spite of the attractions of the West, he has stayed put, and the simplicity of his lifestyle has not altered. From the early 1940’s, he has discarded all unnecessary possessions, to go barefoot and not to use any form of transport.

It seems that with the onset of old age O.O.Obu has increasingly lost control of the Brotherhood and recently considerable opposition and schism has been reported as this reference shows:

“However, that he [Obu] is the decision maker means that discontented leaders may create schism, as in 1977 (with violent attacks on BCS members, even destroying bethels in Calabar).” (3)

The Nigerian News Magazine “Newswatch” (4) listed these headlines:

“The crisis in the Brotherhood has deepened as Olumba Olumba Obu is dragged to the police station, the first time he would step out of the sect’s premises in 53 years

The tussle over who will succeed Olumba Olumba Obu as sole spiritual head of Brotherhood of the Cross and Star tears the religious sect apart

Rowland Obu, first son of Olumba Olumba Obu chairman of Brotherhood executive council and head of administration, spoke with Obong Akpaekong, principal staff writer, on Amangala’s allegations and other issues in the Brotherhood.

Olumba Olumba Obu is a man who has proclaimed that he is God. He has come not to die again. A man like that becoming blind took me by surprise because I cannot imagine God getting blind, says Lovina Amangala”

These show clearly the present state of the movement, at least in Calabar. O.O.Obu is blind and his sons are running the organisation. Teaching, which is not consistent with even Obu’s teaching, is being introduced and there is indiscipline and disobedience among brotherhood members; four key ‘Bishops’ have separated themselves as a separate movement.

DOCTRINE

Brotherhood doctrine is confusing and there is little real coherence in the statements made. However, I will try to set out the main elements. The very full website (19) is the source for this summary and the quotations are all from it. I must apologise for the lengthy quotations but as the movements writing is not precise in some cases only a fairly lengthy quote will clarify the point.

Jesus and the Bible

“Olumba makes the point that Jesus Christ had only three years in which to communicate to his disciples the basics of the spiritual life. There was a great deal more, which he might have taught them if he had had the time. But in any case they could only take on board as much as was appropriate to their level of spiritual development… [John 16:12-13] There is therefore a considerable body of Brotherhood teaching which has no counterpart in either the Old or the New Testament, although it is grounded in this tradition and follows on logically from it. This is the teaching of the Age of the Spirit and it is directly relevant to our time. However, whenever Olumba preaches, all three stages of teaching will always be present so that, whatever stage of spiritual development you may be at, you will always find something in it for you – and ample opportunity to revise things you may have forgotten.” (2)

The Doctrine of Salvation

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” What the Father has been doing all along is what the biblical excerpt has. You cannot see God physically, and so, the excerpt above enjoins you thus: `as you did it to one of the least of these brethren, you did it to me’… Beloved, the shortest way to your salvation is what you have just heard as recorded in verse forty of our text of discourse. Read St. Matthew 25: 44-45. “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them saying, verily I say unto you, in as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these ye did it not to me.” Beloved, have you seen the difference between the verse forty and forty five of the chapter? The difference there is that, while verse 40 constitutes salvation, verse 45 constitutes destruction or perdition. The said verse forty-five is a broad path, which most people follow. Unfortunately, this path leads to perdition. Verse forty is the narrow path, which very few people tread. This path leads to salvation and eternal life.” (5)

Although some mention is made of salvation through the blood of the cross:

“Our Lord Jesus Christ came and finished His assignment by shedding His blood for the remission of our sins.” (6)

“When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, chaos and division set into Brotherhood and each creature stood apart from other and from God. With the shedding of a pure, blameless blood, our Lord Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all men thereby paving the way for Brotherhood to reunite.” (7)

This is not consistently maintained and the real teaching is salvation by works and specifically obedience to O.O.Obu.

“The words of God in BCS are the most powerful weapon, as it comes directly from the author of words and wisdom and is based solely on “love one another”. It is the truth enriched with love, comfort, strength, faith, contentment, assurance, hope and revelations. The Gospels from the Sole spiritual Head of the Universe is the only path to purification, righteousness and salvation.” (7)

Baptism into Brotherhood

“But the receiving and understanding of verbal teaching is only one part of the total programme of spiritual growth and development. The programme begins with baptism, by total immersion. The whole question of baptism into Brotherhood can sometimes raise problems for those who are already baptised Christians… Perhaps the best way of explaining the need for it is to use an analogy drawn from education. To be baptised into the Christian church, one might say, is equivalent to passing the entrance to secondary school. Spiritually speaking, baptism into Brotherhood might be seen as the equivalent to university entrance: an initiation into a further stage of spiritual development. Brotherhood, in other words, is Stage Three of the operation of which Christianity has been Stage Two. Baptism is certainly seen by Olumba as the essential prerequisite to any spiritual growth. The reasons are simple and practical. Every human personality is potentially a highly efficient channel for the divine energy known as the Holy Spirit. But these channels are always getting blocked … The practice of acknowledging, identifying and locating these blockages – called ‘confession’ – means that they can then be removed. Once the channel has been cleared, the way is open for the process of baptism to establish a direct connection with the source of divine energy… Baptism also establishes a demarcation line between the here-and-now and the earlier stages of a person’s life, which means that it is no longer possible to get drawn back into earlier patterns. The benefits may not be apparent at once, but it will eventually become clear that remarkable inward changes are taking place.” (2)

The message of Brotherhood is essentially universal love for all creatures.

Oneness, patience and obedience to the rules of brotherhood are the elements of salvation

“The operating principles in Brotherhood are the manifestations of the spirit of its founder and owner. These are love, truth, mercy, patience, goodness, meekness, righteousness and all other virtues; outside which is contrary to the spirit of its foundation and an act of rebellion…our Lord Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all men thereby paving the way for Brotherhood to reunite. Ordinarily, we need other creatures and men for survival. We cannot live in isolation… the spirit of God abides in all creatures, God is, and is in every creature. We are all part of the same spirit, having one God and Father, not different from the trees or any other creature. It behoves on us to honour all men, love the brotherhood, reverence God and respect authorities.” (7)

Brotherhood teaches a form of Reincarnation

This is a core teaching of the movement and the strict vegetarian stand that comes from it.

“… when you kill an animal, you have killed a human being. When, for instance a native doctor demands a cock and hen from you, he is in effect asking for a man and a woman… the moment the cock is killed, a man is dead somewhere. When you kill a cock you have become a murderer and will stand before the judgement seat of God to answer for it, and you will also be killed. Can you realise why you are told not to kill any fish or bird or any other animal? It is because they are all human beings… You pray to God to take away death. Where do you intend Him to take death to? You are still killing fishes, hens, cocks and other animals. Are those not human beings you are killing? People die as a result of what they do.” (8)

“A person who slaughters animals, may become an animal when his Spirit re-incarnates, so that he also will be slaughtered like the animals that he killed. That is why we should not eat meat or fish, because it is our brethren that we are eating. God did not instruct man to eat meat, fish etc, for food.” (9)

Brotherhood is radically Vegan/Vegetarian; Teetotal and drug free – even medicinal drugs

“BCS members do not kill, eat or offer meat or fish, neither do they eat any dairy product. In BCS, Vegan is practiced. Eating of fruits is very important and significant, hence BCS members usually have fruits at their homes; fruits are served to visitors or strangers in place of drinks… BCS members do not drink or offer alcoholic drink, wine, soft or any artificially mixed drink except water. Smoking and snuffing is not the food of the Holy Spirit and is not acceptable in BCS.” (10)

“BCS do not believe in medicine of any form and so do not swallow, drink, inject or rub medicine of any type. BCS members believe in faith healing through the power of the spoken word, confession of sins, spiritual songs, power of the spoken words, prayers, fasting, going on ministry work, or the mere blessing of water and drinking and/or calling on the new name of God, as the only and the most effective cure with no after effect.” (10)

O. O. Obu is stated to have the attributes of God

“This is to inform you that the Most Powerful, Perfect and Righteous Man is on earth. He is the Sole Spiritual Head of the Universe, the Supernatural Teacher… He is the Holiest and Greatest Leader that has ever walked the face of earth. He has never been taught by anyone or travel to anywhere, but yet, He is Omnipresent and knows everything that happened in the past, present and those things to come in the future in the entire Universe. He understands all languages and has the keys to the hidden treasures. His mission is such that no man, angel or prophet has ever or could ever do; to unite the whole world, bring all to the state of perfection and the accurate knowledge of truth; and to judge all… He has established His Kingdom known as Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, the new and the last kingdom of God on earth. He is the King of Destiny. Never in the history of this earth and beyond, has there existed a Being with all these Divine qualities, power, authority, beauty and much more – Isaiah 63:1, Psalm 50: 2-7… He is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient; He is Leader OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU. Leader O.O. Obu is an embodiment of all that is good, perfect and righteous… No one has ever seen Him complain, upset, tired, surprised or get angry. These are alien to Him. In fact, He has challenged the whole world if there is anyone who can annoy Him, let the person come forward and try… In times of trouble, it is a fact that when His name is called, evil forces are driven away and subdued. Calamities are also averted or prevented at the mention of His holy name. His name is so powerful that satanic events or evil doers bow and surrender at the mention of His name or at the sight of His picture. This type of qualities, virtues and status could only be possessed by the Creator of heaven and all creation. The gate of salvation is still open for everyone, anyone; but only for a short while.” (11)

Paradoxically Olumba himself has said:

“I am not Jesus Christ or God. Who am I, to be known as such? My name is Olumba Olumba Obu. I have shown you love, truth, mercy, humility and, all the godly virtues. Jesus came to die for your salvation. I have not come to die. I have come to give people wages according to their work.” (12)

This denial however doesn’t alter the clear claims to the contrary which are quoted here.

O. O. Obu is stated to be the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who Jesus promised to send

“Again he said “I will pray the Father and he shall give you another comforter that he may abide with you forever”-John 14:16. In John 15:26 He said “But when the comforter is come whom I will send to you from the Father, even the spirit of truth which proceed from the Father, He shall testify of me.” In John 16:7 He definitely affirms his stand as it affects His promised. “I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away. If I go not away, the comforter will not come to you, but if I depart I will send him unto you.” In John 14:12, He said: He that believes in me the works that I do, shall he do and greater works than these will he do also, because I go unto my Father.” From the above statements, our Lord Jesus was absolutely aware of his changing functions being a part of the creation process. The age and era of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is 2000 years, terminates in 1999. This is so because a charismatic Leader always emerges after every 2000 years. As our Lord Jesus ends his life in 1999, another Leader, the promised comforter, will have to start his own age.” (13)

“Our Lord Jesus Christ came, died and resurrected and through this provided man with salvation. Man was now ready for reconciliation with God and to return to the Garden of Eden. Leader Olumba Olumba Obu came as the Promised Comforter to teach and lead man to the accurate knowledge of the truth, to reform sinners unto righteousness and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Because the Kingdom of God cannot co-exist side by side with the kingdoms of the world it is to establish the kingdom of God had physically arrived on earth to fulfil this assignment.” (14)

O. O. Obu is stated to be the Son of God, Jesus come again – He is worshipped as such

“His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu The King of Kings and The Lord of Lords… Blessed is He who had achieved the greatest and the highest level of love – John 15:13, 10:11; by shedding His precious and priceless blood on the cross of Calvary about 2000 years ago; so that we might have eternal life – John 10:28 … This is the age of Christocracy. Now is the time for all the Head of states and Governors, Prime Ministers and Ministers, Presidents and Senators, Kings and Queens, Emperors and all those in the corridors of power to pay homage to the King of kings and indeed the Holy Trinity. So as to rule in peace with Him now and in the new world. First you must repent and follow the King’s footsteps. You must obey the universal injunctions of “love one another and practical Christianity.” And accept the baptism of the Holy Spirit now before the dooms-day.” (15)

“I have often told you that you do not understand the meaning of this Kingdom. I have warned you not to compare Me with Moses, Elijah and Jesus Christ because their assignments were different and had already been completed. I have come to accomplish a new phase, which even Our Lord Jesus Christ was not able to achieve. That is the establishment of the New Kingdom of God on earth.” (12)

O.O.Obu claims in fact to be morally superior to Jesus

“You cannot compare this era with the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. When our Lord Jesus Christ was first in the world, before He shed His blood, His disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit. At that time man was not united with God. After Our Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood, man became reconciled with God and both of them became united. That was why our Lord Jesus Christ said: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” He also said: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.” (St. John 16: 7, 12 -13). Most of you are complaining that My teachings are new and that Our Lord Jesus Christ did not teach most of them. Our Lord Jesus Christ in His advent had a very short assignment. He only came to shed His blood. Since He only came for a short assignment, He did not come with His whole family. He came alone. Even if Our Lord Jesus Christ had remained from that time until now, He would not have accomplished more than His assignment… All the gospels that I give to you daily are only introductory teachings leading to My main assignment. If I do not do all these things, you will not come to the accurate knowledge of truth. I have known Adam, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Elijah and all the other patriarchs. I have spoken about Abraham, Moses, Elijah and their assignments in this world. The work that I have come to do on earth is so great and significant that no one has ever done such work before. It is also impossible that any other person can accomplish this work … THE MAJOR ASSIGNMENT THAT I HAVE COME TO DO HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE NOR WILL IT EVER BE DONE AGAIN. IT IS TO REFORM A SINNER AND RETURN HIM TO THE STANDARD REQUIRED BY GOD, SO THAT HE MAY LIVE ACCORDING TO THE EXPECTATIONS OF GOD. Since the creation of man by God, have you ever found anyone in the world, who is able to reform a sinner? Right from the time of Adam, have you ever seen a man who has been able to change himself from this vile body to the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ?… I have told you that Our Lord Jesus Christ did not attain the accurate knowledge of the truth. That was why He became annoyed and drove out the people who were selling their merchandise in the temple with a cane. … Many people in the world who want to glory in vices always say that even our Lord Jesus Christ was angry or that He changed water into wine for people to drink. Our Lord Jesus Christ did these, because things had not yet been made perfect by then… I want to quote to you various passages from the bible so that you may know the assignment of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is so that you may guard against the errors and mistakes that He made.” (12)

O. O. Obu is stated to be part of the Holy Trinity and it is inferred that his daughter is too

“The Holy Trinity is worth acknowledging and must be acknowledged, worshipped and honoured by all creations; especially man… Note that all creation is god BUT all creation is not the Father. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Son are one with the Holy Father. They formed the Godhead or the Holy Trinity… Those who love, honour and obey Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Son and the King of Kings; are one with the Father also – John 14:6-7, 17:25-26… The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are one whether addressed as He or She. One must not try to separate them in any way through thoughts, acts or deeds; what ever is bound by the Father, Son or Holy Spirit is bound by the Trinity God… It is a serious offence, sin and indeed an insult to think that the Holy Son – His Holiness the King of Kings and the Holy Spirit – Her Holiness the Holy Queen Mother does not know anything or worst still that they act on carnal advice or suggestions.” (16)

Brotherhood claims that calamity will come if the world does not worship O.O.Obu as God

“Behold The Holy Father, The Supernatural Teacher and The Sole Spiritual Head of the Universe -Leader OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU. All creation listen, hear and obey Him except man, but the time of mercy is fast running out for man. Man must either recognise and worship Him or face the calamities that will befall the earth in a very short time, such that has never happened before.” (16)

Self-evident False Prophecy

“… love is now the covenant. Therefore, if you refuse to exhibit love to everybody, you would not exist in the world by 2000 AD. The divine assurance is that love will permeate all realms, and control all planes of manifest by the close of this century. Let me resound this warning: whoever does not turn a new leaf by practising love shall be destroyed. There is no other law that shall exist at that time in the world apart from love. The deadline meant for everybody to posses love is 2000 AD. Anybody who has no love by this time shall face destruction. Love is the only law for all the children of God. It is only through love that you can be identified as a true child of God” (17)

“After 1999, I have told you before and I am repeating now, that something Spectacular will happen. All the Gospels preached and tape-recorded and written will come to pass at that particular time. The testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. There has never been a time that the Word of God touches down and return empty handed.” (18)

CONCLUSION

The distinct impression, which a study of this movement gives, is that O.O.Obu, who was not well taught in Bible truth, made what he could of sound doctrine and became increasingly adrift as the years went on. This was compounded by occult activity. The main factor which seems to have led the movement becoming another religion is making the mistake of teaching the Bible without any reference to sound hermeneutics. As any marksman knows, the aim only needs to be ever so slightly off centre to miss the target completely.

The personal belief of this researcher is that, in Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, we have a clear example of what Jesus meant when He said:

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24: 23, 24, NASB.

Web Site Pages Quoted

(1) Web 01

(2) Web 02

(3) Web 03

(4) Web 04

(5) Web 05

(6) Web 06

(7) Web 07

(8) Web 08

(9) Web 09

(10) Web 10

(11) Web 11

(12) Web 12

(13) Web 13

(14) Web 14

(15) Web 15

(16) Web 16

(17) Web 17

(18) Web 18

(19) Web 19

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