Skip to content

Interview with Deji Yesufu

2022-12-09

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/05/18

Deji Yesufu is a 42-years-old man from Ibadan, Nigeria. He earned an Electrical Engineering degree from Ahmadiyya Bello University and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Ibadan.

He attended ABU Staff School for Primary School and Demonstration Secondary School. He wrote the historical account of a Nigerian officer killed during the Nigerian civil 50 years ago entitled Victor Banjo.

He also authored a theological work telling the history of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation called Half a Millennium — An Introductory Text to Protestant History and Reformed Theology. Other written works can be found here: www.mouthpiece.com.

He works at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Nigeria, where he is a Senior Electrical/Electronic Engineer with the Department of Radiation Oncology. Yesufu has worked at the UCH for nine years now. He sees a necessity in the development of progressive leaders in Nigeria to set a different and positive political course for the citizenry of Nigeria.

Here we talk about his life, work, and views.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we look at the family background, what was it for you?

Deji Yesufu: I was born into a nuclear family — one man and one wife — this is against a prevailing culture of polygamy here in Nigeria.

Mother raised us up Roman Catholics, while father always practised Islam. I am the second of three brothers and two sisters.

Jacobsen: How did this background provide a context in early life for you — a grounding?

Yesufu: Living in a family where mother was Roman Catholic and the father was Muslim, I would eventually branch out to become Protestant, which offered me my first perception of religious pluralism and tolerance. My reading of Church History reveals the deep rancour that this created amongst people in the past, but, for us, it was never the case.

I should credit my dad for his non-insistence on a single religion for the family to follow. Although, I do not necessarily recommend this model to families. I think it worked out providentially for me, particularly in coming to grasp with Evangelical Christianity and being able to practise it with a certain freedom in my younger years.

Jacobsen: When you think about early religious upbringing, how did this influence you?

Yesufu: As I said, because there was a plurality of religion in my home, religion was not a major issue in my home while growing up.

I, however, must be thankful to some neighbours who introduced my siblings and me to more fervent religion. Nigeria is a nation that has suffered greatly as far as resources are concerned, so religion is opium indeed for us here. So, in my younger years, I encountered religion through the rising Pentecostalism in the 1980/90s. It formed my earliest perception of gospel realities.

During these, my Roman Catholic mother pointed out the hypocrisy of religion in men like Archbishop Benson Idahosa, so that even when I practised Pentecostalism I natural eschewed the Prosperity excesses that his brand of Christianity portrayed. I am thankful to God and my late mum for giving me that foundation in faith.

Jacobsen: What were some heartwarming experiences from the time?

Yesufu: I would not necessarily say there were “heartwarming” experiences that I had with religion in my younger days. I did, however, come away with a high sense of morality.

I always felt that I should live right; even though, I was not a Christian. I am grateful that I had such exposure to religion that constrained me through the path such that one did not make mistakes that were lasting.

Jacobsen: Who were pivotal and influential people for you?

Yesufu: I was “awakened” in faith in my teenage years by a certain Ghanaian man living in our neighbourhood in Zaria. He taught me the basic tenets of the Christian faith and created in me a hunger for God. I used to call that my “born-again” experience but today I call it my awakening experience.

Subsequently, when I was in 300 level, a roommate ministered God’s word to me. I said the sinner’s prayer. I felt that I had come to faith in Christ. This was March, 1998. I had some peculiar experiences in that encounter; but even when I look back on that experience, I cannot say for sure if I was converted at those times.

My conversion, I would owe first to God, and then to a book written by Dr. R. T. Kendall. It is called “Worshipping God”. The book explains worship and all its tenets as a Christian. It encouraged a life of worship. My conversion came when I read chapter titles like “The Joy of Doing Nothing”.

In this chapter, Kendall explained that some of God’s greatest works in our lives are things we could never thank him enough for. In that chapter, he introduced me to the doctrine of justification by faith. That book led me to investigate the writings of Paul in Romans and the lives and writings of the Protestant Reformers in the 16th century.

Somewhere along the line of that study, God opened my heart to believe the gospel and see Christ as my substitute. Christ gave me a love for his word and his truth, and since then I have been in pursuit of God and his ways.

You asked who were pivotal and influential in faith for me. I will look on all these as it but even more, Jesus Christ, is the greatest of influence for me.

Jacobsen: As a Christian, what most testifies to the faith for you?

Yesufu: The Bible. I regard the Bible as inspired: meaning everything written in it are the very words of God; inerrant: the Bible has no errors; sufficient: the Word of God is contained in the Bible; I do not need extra-biblical claims for faith in Christ.

Jacobsen: As an individual reader of the Bible, what specific books and narratives, and lessons, in the Bible speak the most to you?

Yesufu: The whole Bible speaks to me.

I am, however, thankful for the Epistles of Paul, particularly Romans.

The words of our Lord, Jesus, are especially sacrosanct and, for me, Paul does not contradict Christ’s words.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important lessons for atheists, agnostics, and theists to learn from one another?

Yesufu: In these days of differing religious views, I believe we all can increase in tolerance for each other and in the ability to listen to one another. Our views may not change, but the freedom to hear the other person out is important.

In recent times, I have been intrigued by the ministry Dr. James R. White who debates various religions. I see how he listens to opposing views and very well represents their position, while respectfully showing where such views or positions contradict the Scriptures.

Andrew Kirk in the book “Loosing the Bonds” said that Christians particularly need to hear atheists out. That their criticism of our religion can help us live better as Christians.

By the way, I regard atheism and agnosticism as another kind of religion — a profession of faith without religion.

Jacobsen: How can interfaith and interbelief panels provide a context for dialogue and social acceptance & understanding of one another?

Yesufu: I think well-moderated debates will do this. The life and ministry of Dr. James White have proven this.

Jacobsen: Who are respected and important voices in the Christian world, in your denomination, who make solid arguments for the faith?

Yesufu: Many of them are dead! Lol. But the living ones would include but are not limited to:

John MacArthur Jnr.

James R. White

Ravi Zechariah

Conrad Mbewe

John Piper

and others.

Jacobsen: Any recommended books or authors?

Yesufu: Books by far are a must read for those who wish to know and practise historic orthodox Christianity.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Deji.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: