In this intriguing and enlightening interview with The Weekly Spectator, TB Joshua discusses on a wide range of issues, including his prophetic gift, daily routine and relationship with different heads of state…
Prophet T.B. Joshua, founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, is an enigma of sorts. Over the decades, the 44-year-old, bearded “man of God”, as his followers fondly call him, has quietly, steadily lived by his conviction. His life as he revealed to Weekly Spectator in an exclusive interview, revolves around the propagation of the Word of God.
The massive, beautiful edifice of his church headquarters, The Synagogue at Okota, a Lagos suburb, has sent eyes enviously roving and tongues wagging. As though saying, ‘eat out your hearts’ to the jaundiced critics, heads of states every now and again drop by.
The President of Gabon, Omar Bongo was there a couple of weeks ago. But the portals of the Synagogue are also open to the lowly rejects of the society. Widows and dwarfs throng the place. The church caters for them without reservation.
But the building, according to him, is only 75 percent completed. With its state-of-the-art studio and equipment, he told Weekly Spectator that he would allow the public to use the place for Christian-related activities when completed: “Gospel artistes can come to perform here. Marriages, crusades and seminars can hold here”, he said.
The prophet’s largeness of heart appears to stoke and even weave controversy around him. Late last year, Pastor Chris Okotie, a notable Pentecostal church minister took a swipe at him, saying that Prophet T.B Joshua and his followers will go to hell.
Commenting on that in the interview with Weekly Spectator, Joshua simply said: “Integrity can’t be probed. When it has to do with the name of a person and church… when I begin to be a judge, who will judge me on the last day? God allows persecution to preserve us for redemption. He even allows name-calling to prepare us for a new level”.
Healing and prophecy are perhaps his forte. On Sunday, January 13, 2008, while delivering a sermon that was later telecasted on the church’s T.V channel-Emmanuel, he accurately predicted, the Heathrow plane crash. He told the congregation to rise up and pray on Wednesday and ask God to spare the balloon that flies in the air and its occupants.
He further told them to make sign of the cross on their foreheads and stretch their hands and do same for people not present and ask God to “shelter them under the shadow of His protection”. Few hours after, the British Airways plane, Flight B.A 38 from Beijing, China, crashed. With the exception of three passengers who had minor injuries, the 138 passengers in the Boeing 777 survived the crash. Excerpts of the interview:
Many important persons and heads of states always sneak in here. What do they want from you?
They don’t sneak in. There’s no way they will sneak in here with a presidential jet. The gospel of our Lord Jesus is light. And you cannot light a candle and hide it. It will surely attract both the privileged and less-privileged people. It’s two-sided.
You accurately predicted the Boeing 777, Heathrow plane crash. Would you say the passengers were spared because of your prayer and that of your followers?
I would like you to watch the tape of that revelation. I said: ‘let the will of God be done’. I said it five times. I told members of the church present: ‘rise up for prayers, let the will of God be done’. I saw it and told people to pray to avert what would have been a major disaster.
In the same vein, what’s your forecast for the country this year?
I have the messages. I’m just taking it in bits. By tomorrow morning, I know God will still speak through me to speak to the whole world. I have about 30 messages for the nation but I am taking them one after the other. I even saw the killing of Benazi Bhutto in Pakistan.
Why don’t you bring them out make them public at once?
No. When I get a message, I begin to ask God if we can do something about them. If there are some that prayers can change I say it to the world. As for what God has for people this year, I would have released them since January 1st, but the ones that can be changed is what we are asking God to show us. But very soon the paper will be available. I want to advise the world. When the Bible says, ‘watch and pray’, what it means is before open your lips with faith in your heart, look around you and help those in need.
The heads of state and statesmen who visit you all the time, do you ever advise them to be upright and humane in their dealing with their citizens?
That’s what is exactly expected from a man of God. Anyone who comes to see the man of God should expect to hear the voice of God. And God says live right. Righteousness exalts a nation and sin brings reproach.
How’s your typical day?
Jesus is the world to me, my time, my day, my love, my joy. Without him, I will fall. I don’t have any time I could call my own.
When do you wake up – if you ever sleep?
I‘ve said it all. Jesus is the world to me. Let no man boast. It’s not the work of righteousness which I have done but according to his grace. He manifests his strength in my weakness.
You are a pastor, a husband and father. How do you juggle those roles?
When Jesus sends you to carry out a mission, the people that will help you- your wife and children, your evangelists, He will prepare them for the journey. Once you are a man of the people, not a man of man, he will bring people who will help you.
Nothing is heard of your wife. Is she part of your ministry?
Yes, she is. God’s time is the best. He’s working out the answer slowly but surely. When it’s time, she’ll be on board.
Sometime last year, another man of God, Pastor Chris Okotie was quoted to have said that you and your followers will go to hell. Did you read the story and what’s your reaction?
You know, I respect integrity. Integrity can’t be probed. When it has to do with the name of a person and church… when I begin to be a judge, who will judge on the last day? Let me put this way: sometimes, God allows a controversy. He uses that to strengthen our desire for him. He uses persecution to preserve us for redemption. He even allows name-calling to prepare us for a new level.
Why informs the name of your church –Church of Synagogue of All Nations? Is it that your church will eclipse other churches of the world, or are you convinced that yours is the only church God has ordained for the world?
No (laughing). When we say Church of All Nations, it’s a vision given to me, that the church will touch all the world. A tree cannot make a forest. We have ministers of God that the Lord is using to fulfill that promise. But the Word of God is like a house. Some are sent to lay the foundation, some are sent to lay the bricks, some come to roof and plaster the house. So, no single person can build a house. Everybody needs to know his own portion in the assignment. This is the portion given to me. I’ll carry it to the whole world.
Other Christians call their place of worship ‘church’. Why do you call yours ‘Synagogue’?
If you read your Bible very well, Jesus entered the Synagogue and said to people buying and selling: ‘Get out of my father’s house, it’s a place of worship’. He chased them out of the place.
So, you’re taking it from a Jewish tradition?
There’s nowhere in the Bible that Jesus entered and said: ‘This is my father’s house’, apart from the Synagogue.
This place, Synagogue, is massive. You must be very rich to do it. How did it happen?
Whatever money can achieve must not be glorified. Let’s glorify what money cannot achieve the anointing of God. When you talk of money, unbelievers too have money. Let’s talk about the things we can’t achieve by power and might. That a man built the biggest church in the world is not an issue, not something to be excited about. The people of Satan also have money to build a big place and worship him.
Still on the building-the Synagogue, how long did it to be erected, what’s its cost and is it true it’s only 75 percent completed?
I’ve said it all. Let’s not glorify man. Let’s talk about the source of money-God Almighty.
This is your headquarters, how many branch do you have in and outside the country?
We have it here. We have branches in Benin City, Port Harcourt, Jos, Akure and so on. We also have in South Africa, UK… And there’s hardly a country that is not represented here.
You have a world-class theatre, stage and state-of-the-art equipment. Why don’t you call gospel artistes to come here and perform?
Well, the Synagogue Church of All Nations is not for members of this church alone. The place is still under construction. When we finish, I’ll place it on the Internet that we can use it to conduct Christian marriage. Gospel artistes, men of God who want to do crusade and they are looking for a safe place, they can come and take the key and do what they want. The place is for the propagation of the teachings of Christ.
How much will you charge?
It will be virtually free. How much do you think we would charge to make up for the over-heads? It we ever demand for money, it will be for people to know the value of what they are using. It will be based on the Biblical principle of giving and receiving.
How old are you and how do you keep your youthful look?
When you mirror Jesus, you have a raw appearance. But when it’s the other way round, you begin to look for cream, bleach and so on.
What is your favourite food?
Well, I take food that will enhance my movements, my journey. You know, I move, I move. You don’t expect me to eat amala, eba and so on. I take food that will allow me to wake up when I want.
If you are taken to an island and dumped there, what is the single most important item in the world you will wish to take with you?
Ah (laughing), I’ll take the Bible. That’s my roadmap. My life depends on reading the Bible.
Does it bother you that there are so many churches in this country, and nearly every street has a church and yet bad things happen?
The work of deliverance is not our work. Jesus never forced anyone to believe him. And Jesus never healed alone. Before he heals you, he will ask you questions. “What do you want me to do for you, what can I do for you? Do you want to get well?” He knows that you need healing but he will still ask you if you want to get well. Man has free will. So, if there are churches everywhere and there are still bad things happening you can’t force anyone to accept Jesus or to stop living in sin.
You are popular, by the way. Are you interested in politics and will you someday get involved in it and vie for election?
There’s nothing wrong in men of God going into politics. It will help them to do what is right. As it was in the time of Jesus, John the Baptist sent his disciples to confirm whether he’s the one to come. Instead of Jesus to say, “yes, I am the one’, He said, ‘sit down’. He went to the blind and made them to see, he healed the crippled-many healings took place and he told them: “Look, you’ve seen it, go and tell your master”.
So, a little example makes a big difference. Men of God should go into politics and do what is right instead of criticising the sick society. Did you ask me if I’d like to go into politics? (Laughing) If I go into politics, what happens to the ministry God gave me? But if God says I should go into politics, who am I to say no? No man of God will go into politics without hearing from God.
During your crusade when you touch people, they topple and fall, some critics say you use supernatural means to do it. Do you use juju?
If you read the Book of John 3, from verse 30 to the end, you will discover where it says, God’s words, his wonder, his miracles are limitless. We have the power to destroy ourselves but we cannot save ourselves. God’s work is unlimited and it is a mystery. No one understands it. Even those who say they understand, they only claim to but they do they really understand it?
Well, the ones that come from the earth, do things that are of the earth and the ones that come from above, do things from above. Heavenly thing can never be comprehended by earthly people. What we don’t understand, we call names. And what we understand, we destroy. In John 7, when Jesus was in the midst of his people, some said he was fake and that he’s not a man of God. Others said he’s a true man of God. So, it happened during the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every minister of God must face a controversy and arguments by his people. They want to know his origin, nature and position. So, what I do is not something to be understood by mortals.
SOURCE: Weekly Spectator, Nigeria