Prophet T. B. Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), is a rare breed Nigerian prophet, whose calling continues to awe fellow men of God and his manner of ministration sets tongue wagering across the world. Despite the reservations expressed by many miracle seekers and believers alike, this Arigi Akoko, Ondo State, born famous televangelist keeps soaring in honour especially from oversea countries more than the favour he curries abroad.
Prophet Joshua, well known for his massive healings, deliverance and unparalleled charitable works, perhaps confirms what Jesus said that “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” – Mark 6:4. As humble as the Prophet is in disposition, the controversy surrounding him and his Ministry has made some so called men of God especially those of his own country tag him a false Prophet.
Their malicious claims are based on questions like ‘who mentored him; which theological school he attended, who are his earthly spiritual father and how do you appropriate his controversial pattern of healings and deliverance within the ambit of Biblical injunctions? People make these claims as though God does His things according to men’s tradition or has to consult them before He anoints His Prophet. However, little do they know that the things of the spirit can never be comprehended from man’s point of view. They seem to have forgotten the biblical histories of great men of God that had encounters with God and were used to perform great signs and wonders without human mentorship or earthly spiritual fathers. Even this present generation of the church looks up to these great Apostles and Prophets of God as heroes of faith.
Nevertheless, according to Prophet T.B. Joshua, “what men don’t understand they call names and what they understand they destroy. Even Christ Jesus was maltreated and called all sort of unkind names. The same people who unjustly accused Christ were the ones that crucified Him because His teachings and ways were different from man’s tradition. They believed in the Law of Moses while Christ came to usher mankind into the era of grace. Today, Christ Jesus has the greatest followers on earth, for Christians in nations all over the world believe in Him as the only saviour and redeemer.”
It seems history is repeating itself because the rejection and name calling Christ and other Apostles of old experienced during their reign is similar to what the Prophet is facing today, especially in Nigeria, among his people.
Mrs. Vera Baboun, the Mayor of Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ, and Fr. Peter Vasko OFN, the President of Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, sent their greetings to Prophet T. B. Joshua and Emmanuel Tv partners, recognizing the love the Prophet has for the work of God, calling for a persistent cordial relationship and look forward to seeing him again in the Holy Land.
As ironic as this may sound, biblical history thought us that the forefathers of the Israelites did not value the Prophets of their time. They even crucified Christ Jesus and his apostles. But today, their present generation in repentance has seen the significance of Christ coming and now appreciates the love of Christ in the life of Prophet T.B. Joshua. However, the Prophet whom the Israelites now honour for his love for Christ and the Church is the same Prophet most Nigerian clergy still see as peddler of falsehood.
If the adage, “good wine needs no bush” is anything to go by, then the crowd at the SCOAN may not just be ordinary spectators. They come with a load of problems seeking one form of miracles or the other. Miracles were parts of the ministries of Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and of course, Jesus Christ and the apostles. Their miracles primarily served the purpose of confirming their message as being from God.
Today, many people still seek to experience miracles and some will go any length to have that experience. At SCOAN located at Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos State, an outstanding edifice structured to contain more than 20,000 worshipers with a quarter of that population mostly foreigners, it is a destination for miracle seekers. People are assured that on seeing the Prophet T. B. Joshua, their load of problems would be solved. Little wonder that people especially foreigners besiege the church in search of miracles.
Despite the spirited spurious claims of some miracle seekers who besought the SCOAN for miracle without arming themselves with faith, miracles keep happening at this arena on daily basis. But many worshipers believe miracle as being taunted by Pastor T.B Joshua is a function of individual faith. The Bible says “Without fasting and prayer no miracle can take place.” Consequent upon this, a worshiper at the SOCAN who preferred anonymity, said “Just like in every other church, it is your faith that heals you. I am not a regular worshiper here, I come here once in a while for prayers and healing. I believe that it is your faith that heals you. No amount of prayer from a man of God can set you free, if you do not have faith.”
To many worshippers, T. B. Joshua is like a man of God who is not honoured in his hometown. This perhaps lends credence to the influx of foreign nationals to the SCOAN. According to investigation, Pastor Joshua has good relations with highly-placed foreigners including presidents both serving and former leaders of some countries in Africa and beyond. They come in droves from all corners of the planet for spiritual healing and solutions to different ailments or problems.
An Asian woman from Singapore who came to worship at the SCOAN, when asked why she chose to travel so far to attend a church service here in Ikotun, Lagos, Nigeria, the woman who pleaded anonymity, said “Why will I not believe him when I witnessed many miracles taking place before my very eyes. I witnessed those wheel-chair bounds getting up on their feet and instantaneously walking after his touch and prayers. I witnessed the cancer-stricken patients getting healed. I witnessed people possessed by the spirit of lizard, possessed by the spirit of snake, possessed by the spirit of monkey receiving deliverance and being delivered from the evil spirit living in them for many years. You are not going to believe this, but you have to. I even witnessed a HIV infected woman getting cured.”
Another European man in his 50s who came to Nigeria three years ago said “When T.B Joshua comes to the pulpit to preach, his sermons are great. Another thing that fascinates me about this special man of God, instead of posing himself as another miracle worker and asking people to donate large sum of money, this man of God preaches with strong conviction and clear message of holiness.
“Prophet T. B Joshua will always say ‘Healing without putting the Word of God as our standard will not stand the test of time’ and I adore him for that. This humble man of God attributes Jesus as the healer and he preaches about putting the Word of God as the central principle guiding our lives, one on which through the word, healing, peace and others are built upon. So, tell me what more I need to believe? He is a true messenger of God.”
At one of the Prophet’s visits to Paraguay, heaven was let open when T. B. Joshua led the people on a two-day high power crusade and was even honoured with a merit award. The atmosphere, which was filled with high expectations as Paraguayans from all walks of life and government as well as religious leaders trooped to the Estadio Defensores Del Chaco in the capital, Asuncion, to receive God’s touch, not less than a hundred wheel-chaired people were healed of various ailments as they were seen leaving the magnificent stadium with their wheelchairs raised while they walked unaided for the first time in many years.
The two-day crusade saw many streets deserted, albeit with massive pockets of traffic on major roads leading to the stadium. Over two million people from the city of Asuncion graced the occasion. Some of them who spoke with local media said no such miracles have ever been witnessed before in Paraguay.
This assertion was corroborated by one Mr. Mario Martinez, a Mexican who came all the way from Mexico City to attend the crusade. The high point of the crusade was the official presentation of highest National Honour by the Paraguayan Parliament to Prophet T.B Joshua. He was also presented with the key to the capital city of Asuncion by the Municipal Council – an indication that the city has been handed over to God for His blessing through Prophet T. B. Joshua. It would be recalled that the man of God was received by highly expectant Paraguayans at the nation’s International Airport. The Secretary General of the Parliament of Paraguay, Dej Medina Paredes, led the country’s high-powered committee which received Prophet Joshua upon arrival.
“I am very excited and can see a lot of expectation in the people from Paraguay because they are waiting for a spiritual transformation through the coming of this message from Christ. All of us are waiting for that spiritual transformation.
“We want to receive him very well, we want to be healed and as a Member of Parliament, I appreciate his coming. We are a privileged nation to have him visit our country. The local media had also reported that most of the hotels in the capital, Asuncion were declared filled while many international visitors were seen making hotel bookings for the event. Earlier, Prophet TB Joshua had held crusades in Columbia, Mexico, South Korea and Peru. His international crusades have always been huge successes with many suggesting that no other African Pastor has been able to match him internationally.
The South African politician Julius Malema, Malawi’s former President Joyce Banda, Zimbabwean politician Morgan Tsvangirai and the former president of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, are among the prominent Africans who have paid homage.
One arm of the SCOAN is Emmanuel TV, a television station that broadcasts the preaching of TB Joshua around the world, as well as the accounts of people who say their lives were changed for the better because of this ministry.
The testimonies include stories about financial prosperity, inexplicable recoveries from illness and even people being awakened from the dead.
Prophet Joshua is also known for his charity work – and Nigeria’s former president, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, awarded him the Order of the Federal Republic, one of the country’s highest honours.
One of his prominent projects is My People FC, a football academy which has produced at least two of Nigeria’s bright prospects: Ogenyi Onazi, who plays for Italy’s SS Lazio, and Sani Emmanuel. Many Nigerians refrain from criticising preachers like TB Joshua.
However, the growth of the internet and social media has revealed increasing opposition to wealthy mega-church pastors.