By Ihechukwu Njoku
Whatever stance one has taken on the credibility of TB Joshua, the famous (or infamous?) pastor of TheÂ Synagogue Church of All Nationâ€™s in Lagos, Nige ria â€“ one fact remains indisputable, his is an incredible journey surrounded in mystery and being written in history.
Joshua is easily the most vilified pastor in Africa, yet by far the most sought after. He is the
hope of multitudes and yet the headache of religious bodies, who have vehemently disowned him but canâ€™t seem to ignore him. It is a living drama being watched world over, as timeâ€™s steady course continues its revealing discourse on truth and authenticity. But what is it about TB Joshua that has actually engendered such outright denunciation and renunciation by his fellow labourers in the vineyard?
Upon perusal of the apparent grouses and grudges of the Pentecostal Leaders of Nigeria against the enigma and personality of Prophet TB Joshua, high up on the list is the issue of his mentorship. â€œWhere was he when he was called to ministry? Who are the men of God who can
point at him, that we raised him into ministry, laid hands on him and sent him forth into the ministry?â€ says Paul Adefarasin, the charismatic founder of House of the Rock, Lagos. â€œWe donâ€™t know Joshuaâ€™s Pastor; we donâ€™t know where he was raised from. He has no testimony from where he got born again. So, we cannot accept that he is one of usâ€¦
There is no proof of his salvation,â€ explains Matthew Ashimolowo, the prosperity preacher and founder of KICC in London. â€œThere are only two questions Ayo Oritsejafor (President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria) asked us to ask Joshua or anybody who comes from him: When were you born again? Which church did he attend and who was his pastor or mentor?â€ fumes Bishop Abraham Olaleye, a vice chairman of PFN. â€œWho were his contemporaries when he gave his life to Christ? What led to his confession of Christ? How did it happen? Where was he baptised? Who baptised him? Who are his pastors? Where did he train? Who is the Paul of his Timothy?â€ asks Bola Akin-John, a Pentecostal church growth expert.
That miracles and commendable charitable works are happening in his church is attested to by almost all, but such leaders canâ€™t seem to fathom how a man so mightily gifted could have attained such a level without human tutorship and training. As such cannot be explained by the logic and lectures of theological training, they readily write him off as demonic and diabolic. Surely, a man of God of such stature and status could not just spring up without the approval and appraisal of some top-notch Christian leaders? Thus, they have proclaimed to all
willing to listen that anyone who associates with TB Joshua does so to their own folly, be him a president or pauper, simply because they have adopted a strong position without investigating its foundational validity.
However, the phenomenon of men being used by the Almighty without human tutelage is not isolated to the instance of Pastor TB Joshua. Thorough biblical exploration would reveal many of Godâ€™s generals with no record or register of human mentorship. Who was the mentor of Jeremiah, who the Bible says God called right from his motherâ€™s womb?
Who was the mentor of John the Baptist, sent from above to prepare the way for the Saviour? Who was the mentor of Apostle Paul, who was blinded on the road to Damascus while intent on the destruction of Christians, subsequently to become a leading figure in New Testament Christianity? What aboutÂ Moses, Elijah or King David? Human backing and tuition are clearly not a qualification for divine assignments.
What then is the premise for church leaders today to demand proof of mentorship as a seal of apostleship? Can this assertion be attributed to the application of biblical principles, or to personal misgivings and prejudice? Why has the Nigerian Pentecostal church chosen to adopt a stance on a particular person that contradicts and conflicts with scriptural authority and experience? It appears to be a case of addressing private qualms and jealousies under the guise of Christian comradeship and censorship, misguiding and incensing millions of followers against TB Joshua and projecting the image of a warring and divided church in the process.