…when I hear self-confident Nigerians dismiss miracles at the Synagogue as a hoax, I often wonder what level of hubris makes them believe they are so superior in spiritual knowledge to the hundreds of thousands of people at across continents whose lives have been transformed by virtue of their encounters with TB Joshua and his ministry. Leaving aside the physical miracles for a moment, what about the profound changes that have taken place in people…?
I first met the late TB Joshua on a Thursday evening in September or October 2018. At that time, Emmanuel TV needed English language experts to support the studio’s international team in their rather demanding job of posing. of text on broadcast media. TB Joshua passed the message on to a prominent Lagos-based reporter, who soon contacted my then head of department. About four hours after receiving the offer at the University of Lagos, I was seated close to TB Joshua in a lounge at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun, Lagos.
TB Joshua was indeed an airless man. He walked in wearing a T-shirt and combat shorts that extended well above the knees, engaging me in light conversation as he sat down. He asked an assistant to show me a cellphone video of an ongoing project in Israel. “When I left the country the last time,” he told me, “the airport officials didn’t allow me until someone from the presidency spoke to me and received the assurance that I would not move”. Later he asked, “Have you read the Bible?” I said I know pretty much every Bible story as a former Deeper Lifer! “That’s good,” he replied. Afterwards, we chatted a bit about national politics before he handed us some important packages and asked his assistants to get my number.
Two days later he asked me again and this time I met him in his main office – a busy place indeed. A few questions later, today’s meeting was over and he handed me another rather large package. Could he please pray for me? With a warm, understanding smile, he told me it would be time for that later. I pushed again. “Don’t worry,” he assured me. I bowed in gratitude and headed for the door, we were both already up by then.
There was a hiatus of about a month or less, but I remember by December 2018 I had become a pretty regular face in the studio. A week or two before Christmas, TB Joshua gave me two bags of rice and a parcel that was three times the size of what he had given me at least three times before. It is a testament to TB Joshua’s humanism that while the subject of this article is not his financial generosity to me and countless others, it is impossible for anyone who has had previous engagements with him not to not notice his incurable open-mindedness. For the extremely hardworking and valiant TB Joshua, money was never an object to be desired in itself, but something with which to manage material life for the benefit of all. Therefore, the first lesson I learned from him is never to look down on someone in need, but to help out cheerfully whenever possible. As he always said, “Someone, somewhere desperately needs what’s in your hands.”
The second lesson from my brief but deeply impactful interactions with TB Joshua is to never judge people exposed to media without having personally met them. During my interactions with TB Joshua, I realized that the media portrayal of journalists can often be deliberately malicious, especially when crafted by influential and respected figures. In the case of TB Joshua, perhaps because of his limited formal education, the unconventional way he got started without a so-called “father figure” in ministry, the exceptional grace that brought him seen attracting widespread internal attention in a relatively short period of time. and early media manipulation of his public image made it easy for more established clergy to sell lies to members of the “conventional church” about him and his ministry. Yet, even if I weren’t there in those early days, I dare say it would have taken very little effort for an objective person to come to the conclusion that TB Joshua was indeed a favored man of All-God. Powerful – given his trajectory of personal growth and the expansion and impact of his ministry.
Although those who like to think of themselves as “spiritually profound” may be quick to dismiss me as “ignorant, indiscriminate”, I have no hesitation in stating that around TB Joshua I saw only light and continues to see only light in The Synagogue. . As someone exposed to philosophical skepticism, leading to a kind of “objective detachment” from spiritual claims – I have called myself a “critical Christian” since 2009, for example, sometimes considering the Bible as a cultural-historical document that cannot I can’t help but take sides — this statement must surprise those who knew my views on these issues at least 15 years ago. In the life and legacy of TB Joshua all I see is that a determined person who is destined to be great will always achieve phenomenal success if he strives like it’s all up to him and prays as if everything depended on God. Indeed, I believe that those who have benefited most from the grace that is on The TB Joshua Ministries have been “the ignorant”, that is, people who keep an open mind when meeting those who are more spiritually evolved than they possibly ever could be.
And so, when I hear self-confident Nigerians dismiss miracles in the synagogue as a hoax, I often wonder how much pride leads them to believe that they are so superior in spiritual knowledge to the hundreds of thousands of people across continents whose lives have been transformed by virtue of their encounters with TB Joshua and his ministry. Leaving aside for a moment the physical miracles, what about the profound changes that have taken place in people: the drug addicts who have overcome their carnal desires, the demon-possessed who have embraced God, the pitiful poor who have entered into prosperity permanent by divine grace, the husbands or wives who returned home and begged for forgiveness, the depressed who found boundless happiness and endless hope, the children who tearfully apologized to their parents for their old wayward lifestyle, the criminals who turned to God so they could improve the lot of mankind, and so on and so forth? I would like true Christians to think about these questions: Is it possible to cast out demons by demons by calling on the name of God? Is it possible for darkness to produce light – I mean in the form of the positive changes that have been experienced by thousands of people of all races and creeds around the world, after openly receiving the message of salvation, love, compassion, charity and forgiveness that TB Joshua preached throughout his life?
Many more are the lessons of my encounter with TB Joshua, as well as his unforgettable acts of generosity towards me, but there is not enough space to recount them here. In closing this article, I would like to quote one of TB Joshua’s most powerful sayings: “The beauty of life does not depend on your happiness, but on the happiness of others because of you.” Nothing else beats this in the practice of Christianity – or any other religion, for that matter!
Rest, servant of God, TB Joshua (June 12, 1963 – June 5, 2021). Only your Creator knows why He left you to face such persecution and defamation from other Christians who should have known better.
Ayodeji A. Adedara wrote from the Department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.
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