The General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) was recently buried at his Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos headquarters amidst pomp and pageantry, as people from various countries and works of life who he had impacted positively, came on board to pay their last respects. Notwithstanding, what was quite noticeable, was the palpable absence of prominent Pastors and men of God under the auspices of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Even Pastor Chris Oyakhilome who many considered a close friend of the deceased missionary, was absent. Could this be coincidental or planned?
This stirred my inquisitiveness and I took the pain to investigate the relationship between TB Joshua and the PFN or CAN. Along the line, I stumbled on a declaration made by the then National Secretary of the PFN, Pastor Wale Adefarasin in 2018 where he hinted that any man of God found to be in association with TB Joshua will be suspended. I immediately understood the gimmicks that played out at the Prophet’s burial.
Further enquiries into the reason(s) for such pronouncement revealed that the decision was made because the PFN leadership realized that no particular period in the prophet’s life can be pinpointed as the exact time he became born-again, which was further exacerbated by TB Joshua’s statement that he was anointed from his mother’s womb. Pastor Adefarasin noted that every man of God must have a specific period in his ministry when he publicly declared Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. He added that there must also be the laying on of hands on the man of God in question, by another well-recognized man of God in good standing with the PFN. Therefore, since Pastor TB Joshua fell short of these stipulated criteria, he is not in a good stead to be recognized by the PFN or CAN.
It is not a crime for associations or organizations to make rules for the smooth running of their various groups. Every association has a prerogative to make rules for its smooth governance and every member of such associations or organizations will have to obey such rules if they wish to continue being recognized as members. Hence, I have no grouse against the PFN about their rules and guidelines. What I have issues with, is the seeming negative tagging of the image of Pastor TB Joshua culminating in some form of systematic isolation of the Prophet.
The submission is this; it is fine if you don’t want him as a member of the Association based on laid down rules, but they don’t have to also determine the freedom of association for other men of God who may wish to have friendly relations with the Prophet. Even if there was no express statement from the association to portend that Pastor TB Joshua is evil, we are not blind to the non-verbal gestures. A declaration of express suspension for any PFN member found in association with the Prophet is already an indirect way of labelling his ministry as devious and questionable. Another salient question should be – are they the determinants of how a Pastor wishes to project himself and exercise his ministry? Are they God? Whatever a man of God does, whether genuine or fake, he has God, who is the true decipherer of man’s intentions, to contend with (except in proven and obvious cases of questionable acts, like the case of Pastor King).
Some questions also need to be asked – irrespective of whatever the PFN accuses Pastor TB Joshua of, we need to know, has TB Joshua’s preaching contravened the Gospel message of Christ? Has he preached anything that deviates from the teachings of scripture? Has he publicly involved himself in acts that deviate from the precepts of the Christian life? If he is not found wanting in these areas, then what crime must he have committed to warrant such treatment of isolation from the Christian community?
This scenario aptly brings to mind the life of Christ Himself in the Scriptures. The way the Pharisees and Scribes who saw themselves as the true custodians of Judaism, did all in their power to malign the persona of Christ just because they did not understand his ways. In this case, the maxim that ‘people fear what they do not understand’ is quite obvious. I make bold to say that Pastor TB Joshua was more exemplary in projecting the Christian message than many of the so-called PFN approved Pastors. In contradistinction to what we see in modern Nigerian Christendom where the focus is always on how to get people to donate generously for the Pastor’s upkeep, thereby milking the poor masses dry in the name of seed sowing, Pastor TB Joshua on the other hand was ready to give his whole self for the betterment of the less privileged; the downtrodden and castaways of the society. His reach was beyond the boundaries of Nigeria. He was a man consumed with fervour and enthusiasm for God’s work, taking care of the physical and spiritual needs of people like Christ Himself, because he realized that faith goes with works and that we are actually the blessings of God to people whenever we say “God bless you.” Never did he make his family or himself the focus of worship or respect unlike the Nigerian Pentecostal culture of Daddy G.O. and Mummy G.O. It was stunning to know that he was married to his wife for close to 31 years and people barely knew who she was, as he kept their family issues under close wraps.
It is pleasing to think that these negative imageries many people tried to paint about him did not distract him from carrying out his work. Quite expectedly, no one is trying to present TB Joshua as impeccable and without human flaws, but he knew within the corridors of his mind that he did not need the approval of men to be effective in his ministry, as long as he stuck to the plan; the plan of God to bring the Good News to the nations, to restore hope in the minds of the hopeless and to lift the downtrodden. Nothing in life is more important than these, because all God wants from us is to love and be true witnesses to His love. In one’s opinion, few did it better than Pastor TB Joshua.
It gladdens the heart that the presence or absence of the PFN or CAN did not make much difference. Whether they were there or not, it never diminished the fact that there were many persons who recognized the beauty of Pastor TB Joshua and broke all boundaries to give him a befitting farewell well deserved.