T. B. Joshua, is a Nigerian preacher. He is the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a religious organisation that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos, Nigeria. T.B Joshua is known to be one of greatest philanthropists the world have ever seen. He helps all the time and he is loved by many. He is obviously Nigeria’s most criticized pastor. He has quite a lot of controversies to his name. Joshua is known for his popularity across Africa and his online presence, with over 1,500,000 fans on Facebook and hundreds of YouTube videos which have proved controversial and amassed millions of views. As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
He was born on June 12, 1963 in the small village of Arigidi in Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria. According to him, unusual circumstances surrounded his birth as he remained for 15 months in his mother’s womb before being born, a much longer time than the normal pregnancy period. Another remarkable event occurred when he was three days old, as a large boulder crashed through the roof of his house, missing him by a few inches. Therefore his mother named him, ‘Temitope’, meaning, ‘What You (God) have done for me is worthy of thanks’.
From 1971 to 1977, he attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi, Akoko, Nigeria, but failed to complete secondary school education because of poverty. In school, he was known as “small pastor” because of his love for the Bible.
He further gained reputation for spiritual prowess after confronting a madman in the school premises and collecting his weapon from him. He was the leader of ‘Scripture Union’ whilst in school. Thereafter, he worked for some time washing people’s feet on the muddy streets of Lagos before moving to a poultry farm where he had the demeaning job of carrying chicken waste. At the same time, he organized Bible studies with children and attended evening school.
He also tried to be enlisted into the military, an ambition which was aborted by an act of fate, as the train he boarded to attend an interview in the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, developed fault and he was left stranded for six days.
TB JOSHUA PERSONALLY SPEAKING ABOUT HIS EARLY LIFE CHALLENGES: “In our spiritual walk with the Lord, we have good times and hard times. When the going is good, we say we are in good times. When the going is tough, we say we are experiencing hard times. Remember, life itself is a mission. While we are on the go, we need to stop between steps, to re-focus on the Word and the Will of God. While we are on the go, I mean, while we are on the mission, we need to sometimes stop at intervals to assess our progress and prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead. Certain challenges on our way usually make us stop awhile – I mean, for a moment. When you stop awhile, you are not down. What are these challenges? They could come in the form of sickness, failure, setback, imprisonment, poverty. For instance, if I receive a sack letter from my very lucrative job, there is a natural tendency for me to cry and lament, if I do not view the situation from the maturity that comes from faith. It takes faith to realise that the situation is a mere stopping interval – a short break between two events. I do not need to go very far to cite or give an example of what I am saying because my experience in life is enough to illustrate this philosophy or principle of life. As we said earlier, many things could cause one to stop between steps. I could still remember vividly when I sat for and passed the entrance examination into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. I was invited for the interview and I had to board the train from Lagos to Kaduna. Behold, on our journey the train developed some serious faults that kept us in the bush in Jebba for six horrible days with little or no provision. Remember, I was going for an interview that was billed to hold the following day. I was on the railway line in Jebba while the interview was going on in Kaduna and there was nothing I could do to help the situation as I lacked the means to arrange for an alternative way of transporting myself to the venue of the interview, so I missed the whole thing. This was how the ambition to enlist into the military was aborted by what was obviously an act of fate. Who knows what would have happened if I had successfully attended that interview. I actually felt very bitter I had missed another chance of making it in life. With a very heavy heart I went to the village to complain to my mother of how so many opportunities had slipped by. Little would I have reasoned that it was one of those stops between steps in my spiritual walk with God until my mother did her best to calm me down, saying: “My son, do not mind the seeming appearance of things as of today. If I am ever confident of any child, you are that child. Do not be afraid of what the future holds for you, because I know if anyone is destined to fail, you are not the one. So, be patient and you would see what God would do in your life. I am so sure of your future breakthrough, considering the strength of the predictions and prophecies about you even before you were born. I cannot forget so easily what I experienced when I was pregnant with you, and I know God cannot lie. My son, whatever you may be going through today, just take it as a temporary setback, meant to prepare you for the challenges ahead. Don’t forget your name is “Temitope” and, by the grace of God, the whole world shall have the cause to thank God for your sake.” After this encounter with my mother, I began to look at whatever came my way with a more mature mind whose focus was on God alone. I mean, the maturity that comes from faith in the finished works of our Lord Jesus Christ. My case was already settled in Heaven. Here I am today in your midst; I can boast of what God is doing for us. Hallelujah! You are all witnesses. In my spiritual walk with God I have experienced both good and hard times. Who knows what would have happened if those temporary stops did not come at intervals. Consider how my education suffered epileptic fits; today I am in school, the next day I am out. Remember, when God is executing His plan in our lives, He also designs and arranges events which continue to unfold until His purpose is revealed. The ups and downs in my education were part of the events that revealed the purpose of God in my life. Remember, the man who is poor is not the man that has no money, but one without a dream. They are suffering that have no dream. They are poor that have no dream. Before I knew it, I had gone around six different colleges in less than one year. I enrolled for the examinations of JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) four times and on each occasion it was either I forgot my acknowledgement card and other necessary documents or there was an accident on the way to the exam venues. People who saw what was happening to me simply attributed my predicament to either sin or non-seriousness on my part. But those with the maturity that comes from faith, like my mother, saw it as mere stopping intervals or natural stops in my spiritual walk with God. In James 4:7, we are told to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. If we examine carefully our attitudes toward certain situations, we would see how much we willingly submit ourselves to the devil each time we view things with the maturity that comes from the experience rather than of faith. The maturity that comes from experience is based on what is seen, what is heard and what circumstances look like. When your maturity is derived from circumstantial factors other than faith, your level of maturity would continue to fluctuate rather than being stable. This is why I am enabled to maintain a balance and stable approach to the challenges that come my way every day. I am not moved by what people say or do concerning my relationship with God. I submit myself to His direct will which is good and perfect with no evil in it. Sometimes, God uses foolish things to strengthen our desire for Him. In Luke 22:32, Jesus said to Peter, “I pray that your faith would not fail”. This means, all men make mistakes but people of God get back up. Certainly we would fall, but with Jesus supporting our position, we would soon get back up.”
Joshua’s Background Interview Excerpts From Thisday News Paper Below:
So, how did your ministry start? The Church started just like other ministries. And if there is any difference, it is the way and manner God executes His plans in our lives. And of course, you know the way and manner God executes His plans in our lives differs. Sometimes, God can use foolish things. Our God is awesome. So, in a nutshell, that is just it.
As a person, how was growing up like? In summary, let me say, I have tasted what it takes to be poor; humiliated, embarrassed and all what not. And of course, I have tasted what it takes to be honoured. So, I think it is that grace that gives me the strength to face all conditions today. It is the grace of God. I have tasted what it takes to be humiliated and poor and also what it takes to be honoured and have more than enough. And that is the grace to face all conditions.
Can one then say it is that tough background that gave you the grace to truly believe and face God? I think it is just the will of God because for anyone to march for God, you must first march with Him. For me, I have marched with Him and this is the time I am marching for Him. To march with God is the time to sacrifice and to march for Him is the time of grace and blessing.
When did you get the calling and what was the sign like? It was about 23 years ago when it all happened. For instance, many will say they encountered God through a man of God to do this and all that, but in my case and I know many must have had the same experience that I had, it was a personal encounter. It was not that one man of God came to me to say this and that. It was a personal encounter. And if you look at my birth, it is a story people like to read and listen to also. Concerning my calling, I was in a trance for three consecutive days, then I saw a hand that pointed a Bible to my heart and the Bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to have immersed with the Bible immediately. Then, the awareness came and I saw the Apostles and Prophets of old with someone whose head I could not see because he was tall to the heaven and suspended in the air. I believe it was our Lord Jesus Christ sitting in their midst. I also saw myself in their midst. After a while, I saw a hand of the same tall man, I could not behold his face which was glittering with an unimaginable light; tall to the heavens and still suspended in the air. But other Apostles, I could see their faces, particularly Apostles Peter and Paul, Prophets Moses, Elijah and others. Their names were boldly written on their chests. So, I heard a voice saying “I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the Heavenly Father”. At the same time, the same hand of the tall man gave me a small cross and a big Bible, bigger than the one that entered my heart with a promise that as I keep pressing in his time and Name, I would be given a bigger cross but if I failed, the opposite would occur. I also heard a voice of the same tall man but I could not see his head, saying “I am the Lord your God who was and who is- Jesus Christ, giving orders to the Apostles and Prophets.” The same voice said to me “I would show you the wonderful ways; I would reveal myself through you, in teaching, preaching, miracles and signs and wonders for the salvation of souls. Since then, I have been receiving in my vision every year and according to my faithfulness to God, bigger cross that means to me, more responsibilities. The Bible that entered my heart symbolise spirit and life (the Holy Spirit). God’s Word is Spirit and life. He does nothing without His Word. The book of Romans 8:16 says “God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirit to declare that we are children of God.”
If you were not doing God’s work, what would you have been doing? The question you just asked me is purely divine because I don’t know. Listen, we are created in God’s image and what matters to God is not our physical or mental disposition, but to be one with Him in terms of love, kindness and so on. It is the goodness of our cause that interests God and not our physical or mental disposition. Really, not that our physical and mental dispositions do not have roles to play, just that the goodness of our cause interests Him more than that. And since we are created for the glory of God, no one can say what he or she would like to be. We are created for His glory and we must live for His glory. Our lives are in God’s hands. We have no control. We can’t control Him by using the Bible or cross as a good luck charm without a thorough reformation of heart and life. So, I think that question is for Baba God.
Before that encounter with God some 23 years ago, who were you? When we talk of encounter, there are different stages of encounter. The one we are talking about is the deeper encounter. You know, there are deep, deeper, and deepest; that is the three stages in the life of a Christian. So, every Christian must go through the stages. It is about our responsibility to God; how we obey His rule. We have many Bishops who are just deep in the Lord and we have many Christians, just ordinary Christians without any title whatsoever either as a pastor or Bishop who are deeper in the Lord. We have many pastors who are deep and their members are deeper. But before I got the calling, I was a member of the Anglican Church and participated actively in many Church activities. On three different occasions, I was appointed the chairman of children’s Harvest/thanksgiving ceremony. During my primary school days at St. Stephen Anglican primary school, Agbaluku, Ondo State. I was the leader of Student Christian Fellowship. I taught my colleagues the scriptures without formal Bible training. In my dream, I was always taught the scriptures, and that gave me an edge over the other student colleagues, even above my teacher. I was the smallest in the class and I led the prayer during school devotions. My teacher, Mrs. Margaret Tolani Adejumo and my colleagues usually called me small pastor. So, it is God himself who performs the divine anointing on all who have the wonderful privilege of becoming His children.
CAREER AND LIFE
In 1987, he visited a ‘prayer mountain’ to seek the face of God. There, he fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. He wrote that in a heavenly vision, he received divine anointing and a covenant from God to start his ministry.
Thereafter, he laid the foundation of his ministry organization ‘The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN)’.The society has released numerous videos claiming to document the healing of incurable disabilities and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. The videos have generated lot of controversy and have amassed hundreds of thousands of views.
Joshua wrote that in a heavenly vision he had received divine anointing and a covenant from God to start his ministry. Following this, Joshua founded the ministry organisation The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) with only a handful of members. According to the organisation, more than 15,000 members attend its weekly Sunday service; visitors from outside Nigeria are accommodated in the accommodation blocks constructed at the church. The Guardian reported that The SCOAN attracts more weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. The SCOAN’s popular services have also resulted in an enormous boost for local businesses and hoteliers. Despite Joshua’s popularity, the church only has a branch in Ghana, Joshua stating that “it is not yet time” for him to have branches worldwide as “it will be too much for my character”.
CONTROVERSIES,HEALINGS, AND MORE…
SCOAN remains controversial both in Nigeria and abroad, claiming regular occurrences of divine miracles. Several hundred Nigerians and international visitors come to the SCOAN each week to register for the prayer lines where the visitors are prayed over by Joshua and the “Wise Men”. SCOAN has published numerous videos claiming to document the healing of incurable disabilities and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. Medical reports are a prerequisite for prayer for any health-related ailment in an attempt to authenticate the miracles said to be occurring.
Spiritual healing at The SCOAN has been the subject of several media reports, including a mention in Time Magazine, an Associated Press interview and an article by Foreign Policy detailing the proficiency of Nigerians to seek ‘spiritual’ help due to insufficient medical facilities Many have also claimed to be healed through Anointing Water that has been prayed over by Joshua and given to those who are unable to physically attend his church in Lagos. The water sparked controversy when four people died in a stampede in Joshua’s Ghanaian branch when an unadvertised service where it was being distributed drew huge crowds far beyond the churches capacity, bringing Ghana’s capital city Accra almost to a standstill. Joshua also made headlines when he claimed his Anointing Water could cure the deadly disease Ebola. He subsequently sent 4,000 bottles of the water alongside a cash gift of $50,000 to the Ebola-stricken nation of Sierra Leone. This came after Lagos State Health officials visited Joshua, requesting him to publicly discourage Ebola victims from visiting his church for prayers.
Controversial deliverances of demon-possessed
SCOAN is also controversial for the deliverance of those allegedly possessed by evil spirits during its services. The wife of Ghanaian goal keeper Richard Kingson was allegedly delivered of an evil spirit which was supposedly behind her husband’s inability to procure a contract with a team since 2011. He has since secured a contract with Turkish club Balıkesirspor. Notable Ghanaian human rights lawyer Kwabla Senanu testified at The SCOAN that he was delivered from a spiritual problem that had caused him embarrassing bouts of sleep in the courtroom. Similarly, Ghanaian musician Denise Williams said she was delivered from a demon that had pushed her to become a drug addict and suicidal. Veteran Nigerian Nollywood Actress Camilla Mberekpe was also said to be delivered at The SCOAN. Popular Nollywood actor Jim Iyke also allegedly received deliverance at The SCOAN, the video of the supposed event subsequently going viral Although Joshua rarely travels, he has held foreign crusades in Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and Colombia. His ‘Miracle Crusade’ in Cali, Colombia in July 2014 was allegedly attended by 100,000 people and held in the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero. He held a crusade in the Estadio Azteca in Mexico which was allegedly attended by 200,000 people over two days in May 2015.
Another ministry is the humanitarian arm of SCOAN. There are media reports that this humanitarian arm has donated money in order to help orphans and the destitute. In 2009 it was reported that one widow received more than 500,000 N. In 2012, Joshua sponsored one Nigerian student doing a PhD in Oxford University with Nigerian media reporting the total given amounted to £100,000. There is also a rehabilitation programme for militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region and a Forbes blogger estimated that Joshua has spent $20 million on humanitarian activities over a period of three years.
Joshua was involved in the meeting of the family of the late president of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson who was responsible for Doe’s death. During this meeting the family publicly forgave Johnson. SCOAN has also established another NGO in Ghana called Passion For Needy. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’. In recognition of his humanitarian activities, he was awarded a National Honour by the Nigerian government in 2008 as well as receiving a letter of appreciation from the United Nations. He was further honoured as an Ambassador of Peace by the Arewa Youth Forum, a predominantly Muslim organisation, in appreciation of his humanitarian endeavours
Sports In 2009, Joshua started a football club, My People FC, as part of efforts to help the youth. Two members of the team played for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Sani Emmanuel, who apparently lived in The SCOAN for several years, was Nigeria’s top-scorer and the tournament’s MVP. Emmanuel and his colleague Ogenyi Onazi have now signed professional contracts with SS Lazio, Onazi a key player for the Nigerian Senior Team, the Super Eagles.
WBO International Light Middleweight boxing champion King Davidson Emenogu said that Joshua has financially supported him throughout his career and purportedly prophesied that he would be a world boxing champion.
Prophecies SCOAN claims that Joshua has successfully predicted events in the lives of individuals who attend his church services as well as worldwide events, including a prophecy of Michael Jackson’s death, the Boston bombing attacks in America and the outcome of two African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final matches, which were won by Zambia and Nigeria respectively.
His alleged prophecy about the death of an African president was widely reported in African press. Joshua’s followers believe the prophecy concerned the former president of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika who died in 2012.
False rumors spread using Joshua’s name are known to have caused widespread panic in communities, affected sporting events and led people to stop using social networks. Alleged MH370 prophecy
Joshua’s purported prophecy about the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH370 several months before the incident drew international media attention with its accompanying YouTube video amassing over 1 million views.
Notable visitors Notable visitors to SCOAN have included late Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills South Africa’s Winnie Mandela, EFF leader Julius Malema, the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and the late former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba who once stated that he watched ‘Emmanuel TV’ daily. Emmanuel TV, the SCOAN television station, broadcasts 24/7. Its Sunday services, which include the prayer line, are broadcast live. Joshua’s programmes also air weekly on a number of local television stations across Africa. In its profile on Joshua, the BBC described him as “Nigeria’s best known televangelist”.
YouTube Channel Emmanuel TV’s YouTube Channel is one of the most subscribed Christian YouTube channels worldwide, having amassed 195,000 subscribers and over 80 millions views since its inception. Google ranked one of Emmanuel TV’s YouTube videos as the fourth most viewed clip ever within Nigeria.
Joshua is married to Evelyn Joshua. They have three children. His eldest daughter Serah Joshua has graduated from the London School of Economics, Department of Law.
CRITICS Joshua has many critics. According to media reports, at least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their evangelical Christian pastors. “The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them.” The HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) believed that the SCOAN, which has UK headquarters in Southwark, south London, “may” be one of those involved in such practices. However the three in question have no demonstrable link to the SCOAN. The BBC quoted the SCOAN as saying “No, we do not ask people to stop taking their medication”.
On 14 September 2015 it was reported that Joshua “secretly purchase $60 Million Gulfstream G550 Private Jet”. He claimed that “the jet was paid for by at least eight African Heads of State in 2014”. These rumors were dismissed as false by Ezekiel, a media aide of Joshua.
In November 2015 Joshua was summoned again to court for the death of the people who died in the church’s collapsed building. He didn’t show at the court a thing which heated up a lot of controversies that the popular pastor could go to jail.
WHAT OTHER NIGERIAN PASTORS THINK OF JOSHUA
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.
AWARDS He has many awards and honours to his name. Few includes:
For his consistent humanitarian work, he was conferred with the National Honor of OFR by the Nigerian government in 2008.
He was honored as an ‘Ambassador of Peace’ by the ‘Arewa Youth Forum’, a predominantly Muslim organization, in appreciation of his humanitarian endeavors.
He was recognized as one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines ‘The Africa Report’ and ‘New African Magazine’.