Prophet Temitope B. Joshua is an evangelical enigma! Yes he is a charismatic phenomenon in Nigeria. The Head of the Synagogue Church of all Nations situated in Ikotun-Egbe, a Lagos suburb in Nigeria is stewing in controversy, in contradiction. But in spite of the controversy trailing the Prophet his prophecy sometimes stood the test of time manifesting certain contradiction. In the spiritual realm those ‘gifted’ with the power of the tongue and mastery of the Bible command followership. And Nigeria cannot be an exception.
When Prophet Joshua started his ministry years back not a few raised eyebrows over his physical (bearded) outlook and ‘unorthodox’ methods and tactics. He looked dreadful with his piercing gaze and Moses-like beards. A national newsmagazine even did an exposé about the man in the Synagogue detailing how he performed ‘miracles’ and delivered people of various malaise. It was reported that he used even some diabolically-poisoned spit, breeze-blowing, aligator pepper and other substances mundane to cast out demons and subdue demonic attacks!
Prophet Joshua has good relations with highly-placed foreigners. His foreign friends include Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses from Zululand in South Africa, former Zambian President Chiluba, ex-President Lissouba of Congo-Brazzaville, President Omar Bongo of Gabon (could the prophet be behind the political longevity of the Gabonese ‘King’?) and many others from all corners of the planet. Most of these leaders and prominent figures visited Prophet Joshua for spiritual healings and solutions to different ailments or problems.
Some people have conveniently accused the Prophet of sexual perversion (if not ‘rape’) but he has never been arrested nor charged officially for any of such devious conducts. And others accused him of spiritual diabolism yet we have not heard about the Prophet patronising the devil or soliciting for dark powers from dark corners. If that is the case then let someone prove it beyond any reasonable doubt.
One of the most vocal critics of Prohet Joshua is Rev. Chris Okotie (of ABC, 123 melody fame) who flamboyantly pastors a new-generation Church in Lagos. For him TB Joshua is a chalartan whose secretive and mystical ways must be denounced and condemned. And to one Joseph Thompson, a Nigerian in the evangelical field: “T.B. Joshua is dangerous to the body of Christ, both in Nigeria and globally”. Some of these pastors posited that Joshua mixes Christianity with occult practices; although he prays in the name of Jesus, many of his methods are “unorthodox”.
But the religious exploits of the Prophet beamed to a world audience via his Emmanuel satellite T.V do much positively to project a ‘clean’ church winning souls for Christ thereby painting a different picture. Whether his Ministry and mission is doctrinally correct or not is left for the higher powers to decide. Little mortals like Okotie reacting out of jealousy or uncharitable impulse can therefore not necessarily claim serving a different master or professing a different faith from the one professed by TB Joshua.
The Ghanaian President and the prophecy of his electoral victory went a long way to re-inforcing certain belief in the prophecy of TB Joshua. Prof. John Atta-Mills, few days after his inauguration as the Ghanaian President went to the Synagogue to give testimony and pay homage to Joshua who rightly predicted his presidential victory. Prof Atta-Mills told the world that Prophet Joshua had predicted that his election would be by three successive ballotting as no definite winner would emerge in the first and second. And that the winner, that is him, would only be announced in January and not in December normally!
Or did he ‘jazz-up’ the Ghanaian President to come over to the Synagogue to confess the realisation of a prophesy delivered in absolute confidence, spending a day or two within? Why are more and more Nigerians flocking to the Synagogue for prayers, deliverance and miracles? Can everybody be possibly hoodwinked or hypnotised all the time? Does Prophet Joshua possess such awesome spiritual power to achieve such feat maintaining same over the years?
Even the Federal Government deemed it right recently to award Prophet TB Joshua with a national honour in recognition of the global evangelical dimension his Synagogue Church has attained lately. Or do you honour nationally a rapist, a murderer or a fake prophet? The truth is that the Nigerian government after much consideration decided to give honour to whom it is due.
But come to think of it generally is it not a thing of regret that the same Nigeria that produced Cardinal Francis Arinze and Bishop Adeboye is the same nation that has also produced a so-called ‘man of God’ in prison like Reverend King, Emeka Ezeugo? The same country that is home to a Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, internet whizzkid Philip Emeagwali and ‘Things Fall Apart’ hero, Chinua Achebe is also home to ‘graduates’ that graduated only on paper having passed examinations fraudulently? Is it not the same Nigeria that gave us great patriotic politicians like the late Awo, Zik and Tafawa Balewa that is now giving us scoundrels and looters as leaders? Khalifa, IBB, OBJ?
It cannot be surprising therefore that a country, blessed by providence with huge natural and human resources, reputed as home for the worst breed of crooks should also be a haven for fraudulent pastors, imams and reverends. The truth is that the moral malaise permeating every facet of our national life has afflicted the temple of God sadly. The fear of God is no longer the beginning of wisdom but competing with God or Jesus Christ for the performance of miracles and signs and wonders, that is, the ungodly version that sees prosperity as the end in itself, has become the order of the day!
Is TB Joshua a fake prophet in the Synagogue? Or put in another way, do we have a modern false Prophet exploiting the gullibility of Nigerians for his own prosperous end? Or put differently still: is a modern Satan on the prowl in Lagos? Many Nigerian men of God think so but I think recent happenings around the Synagogue had tended to prove otherwise. The international profile of Prophet TB Joshua is obviously on the rise; it is looking sky-bound!
While not judging him or condemning him outrightly (since the ultimate judgement and condemnation belong to God and Him alone) Prophet TB Joshua, I hold, deserves some respect. Even if it is said that a prophet does not enjoy respect or recognition at home this Prophet that has achieved great things ought to be extended certain degree of respect deserving of his status.
Okenwa writes from Cote D'Ivoire.