Brotherhood of the Cross and Star
- The Brotherhood of the Cross and Star is an African Initiated Church founded in Nigeria in 1956 by Olumba Olumba Obu (b. 1918). Raised in a non-Christian environment, obu was a somewhat precocious child and is claimed to have performed miracles when only five years old. He claims to know the Bible but asserts that most of it, apart from the Book of Revelation, is closed to modern readers and hence useless. He is believed to be the eighth and final incarnation of God (Jesus having been the seventh), a belief he acknowledged in 1977. Known for his healing and miracles (done in the powerful name of Obu), Obu's initials are frequently written on homes and automobiles as a protective sign.Obu teaches a variety of ideas that draw on Protestantism as well as other sources. For example, his idea of God is monistic; he reveres Jesus but believes him to have been fallible; and he teaches reincarnation. He emphasizes healing and material prosperity but promises deliverance from witchcraft. Among traditional practices that Obu denounces are magic, divining, and polygamy. Members are baptized by immersion, and prior to Sunday worship, foot washing is often practiced.The church has grown significantly with estimates as high as 1 million members. Concentrated in Nigeria and Ghana, it now has members scattered through West Africa, Europe (especially the United Kingdom), and even the United States.See also Africa, sub-Saharan.Further reading:■ Roselind I. J. Hackett, Religion in Calabar (Berlin: Mouton de Gyuter, 1989)■ The Handbook of the Brotherhood and Star (Calabar, Nigeria: Brotherhood Press, n.d.)■ Friday M. Mbon, Brotherhood of the Cross and Star: A New Religious Movement in Nigeria (Frankfurt am main: Peter Lang, 1992).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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