BY AYO ONIKOYI
Prophet TB Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations is no stranger to controversies and condemnations. Since his emergence as a man of God to whom many run for deliverance, salvation and miracles, the supposed man of God has had to fight off other men of God who see him as nothing but fake.
Perhaps, the most antagonistic among them all is Reverend Chris Okotie of the Household of God who once described the Prophet as the vicar of the devil on earth. Okotie has no mixed feelings about T.B Joshua. To him, the so-called man of God at Synagogue Church of All Nations shouldn’t be associated with because, according to him, he is in partnership with Satan to subjugate the church to the will of the devil.
Okotie’s aversion to everything T.B Joshua stands for became more evident sometime ago when a video showed T.B Joshua and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome purportedly praying for a man on wheelchair.
Pastor Chris Okotie made a number of public comments to Nigerian newspapers and other media sources expressing displeasure that the respected Pastor Chris Oyakilhome started fraternising with TB Joshua.
In one of his media comments, Okotie alleged that T.B. Joshua was a practitioner of an occult science called Docetic Gnosticism and Cerinthian heresy. Docetic Gnosticism, according to Wikipaedia was an ancient Greek spiritual belief system during A.D. 70 through A.D. 100.This particular group asserted that Jesus Christ did not rise physically from the grave as foretold by the Old Testament prophets, eye-witnessed by the apostles and recorded in scripture. This teaching is the biblical definition of false prophecy – the teaching that Christ did not rise physically from the grave.
Cerinthus was a Greek heretic (A.D. 100) who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. According to Cerinthus, Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin as scripture plainly declares. Cerinthus also believed that during the future millennial reign of Christ inhabitants of the earth would be in bondage to certain lust.
Okotie has also ascribed the acclaimed healing power of TB Joshua to the practice of an ancient Asian yoga-like sorcery called Shamanism, a practice, according to Wikipeadia, that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.
Evidences abound that worshipers at Synagogue revere and and adulate the name of T.B Joshua by calling him ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us). To this, Chris Okotie stated emphatically: “‘He (T.B Joshua) has three symbols of mysticism. The first is called “The Head of Jesus Christ” or “Christ”. This is a reference to the source of his power. That power is invoked or acknowledged by the word, “Emmanuel.” When “Emmanuel” is chanted, it energizes’ the power. The scriptures say that the head of Christ is God. So when Joshua ‘refers to that head, he is speaking of himself as God Incarnate.’
At the height of the Joshua-Okotie-Oyakhilome imbroglio, other Pentecostal pastors warned T.B Joshua not to parade himself as a Pentecostal preacher.
“He is an occultist,” says Anselm Modubuku, pastor of the Revival Assembly Church in Lagos. “Joshua claims he was born again in his mother’s womb. It is tragic that Spirit-filled people are led astray by him.”
“It is puzzling why Americans are drawn to him,” said Ayo Oritsejafor, pastor of Word of Life Bible Church in Warri and now President of Christian Association of God, CAN. “Where and when did he get saved? Who is his pastor? That is what I would like to know.”
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, headed by Bishop Mike Okonkwo, denounced Joshua as an imposter in a statement. It said the group had for years warned of “the dangers of infiltrators who have modernized cultism by injecting the name of Jesus Christ into their largely unbiblical practices. It is necessary that we reiterate this position that the Synagogue (of All Nations) falls into this category.”
All that notwithstanding, hundreds of thousands still revere him. To those thousands who seek T.B Joshua for spiritual help, the Okoties and Mike Okonkwos of this world are entitled to their opinions. To them, the man TB Joshua is a king who is not recognised in his place. He is a true man of God who heals the sick, delivers people from spiritual attacks and is ever generous to the indigent. His healing power is largely responsible for the thousands who flock into his church especially from abroad. Hence Joshua is more recognised outside than in Nigeria.
My experience at Synagogue – Jacques Pauw,South African journalist
A renowned South African investigative journalist, Jacques Pauw writes on his experience at Synagogue.
I was making a TV documentary and my challenge to Joshua was straightforward: allow me to film how you heal Basson (a 25 year old Springbok rugby player who was dying of liver cancer and went to Prophet T.B Joshua for healing). If you succeed, I promise I will show it to the world.
When we arrived at Joshua’s compound, the TV team and I were in effect incarcerated. For two weeks, we were forbidden to leave the grounds.
We were told we could not drink or smoke, and had to attend services and events with the pilgrims. While I stayed in a dormitory with other pilgrims, Basson and his mother set up camp in a private room.
The church took away the young man’s morphine and pain pills.
During our first interview, a softly spoken, affable Joshua said it would be easy to heal Wium because he had nothing but a “little sore” on his liver.
At Sunday sermons, the afflicted lined up with placards stating what condition they needed healed. There were lines of people seeking a cure for HIV/Aids, cancer and heart conditions, business failures, wandering spouses and dull brains.
A festive, almost joyous atmosphere filled the compound as churchgoers sang, clapped and danced. Evil spirits were cast out and those set free by the Prophet writhed in the dirt while vomiting out the demons. Joshua prayed for every person in the line and declared them all healed. He ordered them to stop using any medication and trust in God. Among the pilgrims was Capetonian John Rindel, who was suffering from full-blown AIDS and already had dementia.
He had arrived at the church several weeks before we did, was prayed for by Joshua and declared completely healed.
He had stopped taking his medicine and showed remarkable improvement.
Scientists refer to this as the “placebo effect” of faith healing. A patient can experience genuine pain relief and other symptomatic alleviation after being prayed for. The relief is short-lived and the patient soon returns to his original condition.
On my request, Rindel agreed to go for two independent HIV/Aids tests when he returned to South Africa. Both showed he was still positive. He died a short while later.
The BBC recently investigated the London branch of the church and reported that three women had died after being “healed” and told to stop taking their HIV/Aids medication.
I challenged the pilgrims to provide me with medical proof that they had been healed. None did. Ruben Kruger died in 2010 just before his 40th birthday.
TB Joshua is a true man of God, not an ordinary person —Journalist
Mr Oye Ogunwale worked in Vanguard as a sub editor for more than a decade before he moved on.
He was very close to T.B Joshua and had this to say about the man:
T.B Joshua is authentic. He is real. I can assure you of that. He is a true man of God. Don’t mind what Nigerians say about him. He performs miracles. I know that some people claim that he is not genuine because they were not healed by the man.
It all depends on faith. Again, it also depends on the sins the miracle seekers committed. Who knows what they have done against humanity that God may want them to go through more penance. Joshua heals people, I can tell you authoritatively. He heals HIV.
I know about 20 HIV victims that he has healed. If you go there you will know that he heals about ten of them in a week. I know of a top man in government whom he delivered from HIV infection.
The man returned with a car as gift. T.B Joshua asked him to take back the car, that he didn’t want it. He only asked him to go, and sin no more. T.B Joshua is like Obafemi Awolowo who was not generally recognised as a great leader until he died. Awo was never given his real value until he died.
Nigeria is like that. Look at Zik. He is another great example. I was close to T.B Joshua for more than 10 years and I can attest to his genuineness as a man of God. If he is not real foreigners will not be going there. Many of his disciples are foreigners. He heals people at the church there or he visits them in their homes to heal them.”
The reporter, at this juncture cuts in to ask “so T.B Joshua visits people in their homes to heal them?”
Oye Ogunwale responds this way: “Yes, he visits them spiritually. He goes to their houses in spirit and heals them.”
How would a sick man in his house know that TB Joshua was the one that healed him”, the reporter asked.
“He would know,” Ogunwale insists, his voice rising. “He will see the man in his dream. And if it’s surgery, for example, he may see spots of blood on his bed or signs that healing has been done. The sick person will know that healing has taken place.
T.B Joshua visits people spiritually and heals them. The patient will see him in a dream. T.B Joshua is not an ordinary man. He can also transfer power to an ordinary person and that person will perform healing. During healing hours, he may touch any person in the congregation and tell that person to come up and heal this man or that man and healing will actually take place when that ordinary person acts as he directs. It is amazing. Heads of States go there.
The former President of Zambia who was always going there said that Africa didn’t know what they have in Joshua and that if T.B Joshua were a white man the whole world will recognise him. He could not believe his eyes when he saw how people were being healed. T.B Joshua is not an ordinary man.
The only thing is that when you go there it may take you days to see him. This, I attribute to the Nigerian factor. When I was in Vanguard, one of the gate men approached me one day and told me that his wife was sick and everything indicated she had cancer. He wanted me to help him with some money.
I told him I didn’t have money but that I could take him and his wife to a man who could help cure his wife. They agreed and I took them to TB Joshua and the woman was healed. An Army General from Ghana once came on wheelchair and on the day of healing he told him to get up and walk. The man got up and staggered and the man of God touched him with his leg and the he stood. Few seconds later he was firm and even ran.
There was applause. The was paralysed from the waist but he walked after T.B Joshu’s touch. T.B Joshua is too much but Nigerians blackmail him a lot. I’m a direct witness to all these things. During service, he would ask witches and wizards to step out and will ask them to reveal their powers. You can’t believe the revelations that come from them and the things that they have done in the past. Unbelievable.
Then you will see him deliver them. He is a powerful man. For a man of God to call somebody from the audience, touch him and transfer power to him and ask him to heal another person and it happens, you should know that such a man is not an ordinary man. And he is very generous. He heals people and still gives them alms. Can you beat that? That’s what I can tell you about T.B Joshua and you can quote me.”