By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, September 22, 2014
Folks, the Nigerian “Man-of-God (Temitope Balogun Joshua) has featured in numerous discussions regarding the conduct of the “Men-of-God” in contemporary times. His loud claims of authority to heal all manner of ailments and the frequent flashes of prophecy from him have kept him in the limelight to create the impression that he is a strong force to be reckoned with in Christendom. No wonder that his following is increasing by the day, even though the records show that he began his ministry in the early 1990s with a paltry 8 members. I hear today he has more than 20,000 ardent followers who see him as a Prophet and will do anything to validate his ministry. Good for them while it lasts.
But what is bad for TB Joshua and his followers is just in the offing and emerging and unfolding with threatening implications. Those of us who have taken on TB Joshua for various reasons and ridiculed him for indulging in “religious crookery” have been condemned by his followers; yet, we remain undaunted because of our conviction that he is taking Christianity to a whole new level that may end up bursting his own balloon of self-confidence and self-possession. He is over-extending himself and heading toward the landmine that will likely blow him off his elements. Forget about his philanthropic work because it is to be expected that with so much wealth, if he doesn’t spread his generosity across the field, he won’t be worth the poor people’s attention.
After all, it is these poor people who flock his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) to offer their substance, which has made him one of the richest “Men-of-God” in Africa. And the rich people from all parts of the world have sustained him too. Whether the tune has changed in Christendom for the rich man to be privileged over the poor and meek is a new twist. Whether such a rich man can easily pass through the eye of the needle to enter Heaven under this guise is the new rub that such “Men-of-God” have wrought. None of my business but theirs on the Judgement Day!
The nagging issue, though, is that the flocking of thousands to the SCOAN has now put TB Joshua in an embarrassing situation which is likely to bring him face-to-face with the law and to risk stern action being taken against him to destabilize his ministry. The collapse of the SCOAN guest house and the death of or serious injury to tens of his followers (mostly from South Africa and Zimbabwe) about a week ago has already set tongues wagging and prompted the Nigerian authorities to act.
While speculation has it that the building collapsed when three storeys were being added to the weak foundation of that Lagos guest house, TB Joshua has released CCTV footage showing to journalists the moment of the collapse, saying that the incident was linked to a small plane that was seen flying overhead shortly before the building fell. Sabotage? By whom? A conundrum of sorts.
The latest development is that the Nigerian President (Goodluck Jonathan) has visited the site, prompting speculations that the SCOAN risks being shut down. Will this shut down really happen? With what implications for TB Joshua’s ministry and the religious lives of his followers?
On the flip side, though, I will be quick to wonder why the Nigerian authorities will choose to take prompt and firm action against TB Joshua and his SCOAN while not doing same to the Boko Haram menace that poses more terrible danger to Nigeria than the building collapse at the SCOAN headquarters in Lagos. Is it because of the death of 67 South Africans and a Zimbabwean opposition politician (apparently because of the diplomatic ingredient involved in the happening)? I wonder.
All said and done, what is emerging in the case of TB Joshua is ominous, even as he himself has pointed accusing fingers at his enemies seeking to destroy him. The question, then, is: Can TB Joshua withstand the pressure that is beginning to mount on him? A true “Man-of-God” who is capable of knowing his enemies will do all in his power to stand firm, leaving the battle to God top fight for him.
A few days ago, I read a news report accusing him of indulging in bribery and corruption to get good press. It seems there is much pressure on TB Joshua, apparently because of the extent to which he has pushed his ministry to create the impression that he is the contemporary representative of Jesus Christ, a “Man-of-God” par excellence. Those competing with him are incensed and are poised to take him on. We have already heard Rev. Owusu Bempah accuse him of indulging in human sacrifice and acting as an agent of Satan. Too bad.
Clearly, TB Joshua’s boasts are likely costing him now. I hear he has boldly asserted that he can cure victims of HIV/AIDS and that he could do same to Ebola victims, having promised to make available 2,000 bottles of holy water for that purpose. Such claims are really astounding and will definitely set him up for whatever awaits him. I believe strongly that he has constructed himself as the bull’s eye for archers and should be prepared to soak up the sting!!
Unless the pressure lessens, I suspect strongly that TB Joshua may be boxing himself into a tight corner from which he is not likely to emerge unscathed. I hear he intends to travel to South Africa in the coming weeks to meet families and survivors of a building collapse at his church that killed scores.” (Source: http://www. myjoyonline.com/world/2014/September-22nd/tb-joshua-to-visit-sa-as-tragedy-death-toll-climbs.php)
If he intends to condole/console relatives of the victims, he had better brace up for something unpleasant. I suspect that he may be considering some compensation package to attempt soothing flexed nerves. No matter what he has up his sleeves, he shouldn’t be surprised if any hostile reception is given him. Apparently, the victims went to his guest house for life, not death!!
As for me, I have already made my stance clear on such “Men-of-God” and will remain unconvinced that they are what they are openly portraying. Those who think otherwise had better prepare themselves for much jolting when the facts of reality begin to hit them hard on the head. To God be the glory!!
I shall return…
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