By Eric Elezuo
If ever there is a man, other than Jesus Christ, who has attracted so much controversy in the course of doing his duties across board, that man is Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known by all and sundry as TB Joshua. A man who waded through popular dislikes, even among members of same profession to become a champion in propagating the Word of God. He is presently hosting congregants from over 50 nations of the world in a mega crusade in Jesus’ native home, Nazareth.
Incidentally born on one of Nigeria’s most important dates, June 12, (1963), TB Joshua is a combination of so many talents ranging from shepherding flocks as a pastor, a prolific televangelist, a die-hard philanthropist and above all, an unrepentant lover of God. He is the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organisation, which he nurtured from scratch to becoming a force to reckon with among religious organisations the world over. The ministry runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos, and is transmitted globally.
For a man whose birth was foretold 100 years earlier, spent extra six months in his mother’s womb as well as escaped death when a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof just seven days after his birth, according to his official biography, it was obvious that TB Joshua was destined for greatness.
Prophet Joshua, who was known as “small pastor” because of his love for the Bible during his school days, attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko, from 1971 to 1977. Though he wasn’t opportune to complete one year of secondary school education, he attended evening school, which he combined with casual jobs and teaching of bible lessons. Joshua was destined to work in the Lord’s vineyard, and that explains why his attempt to join the military was thwarted as result of a train breakdown.
It is difficult to believe that Prophet TB Joshua is as popular as he is today considering the avalanche of persecution he has had to endure right from the onset of his ministerial calling. Most of these persecutions, unfortunately are from his colleagues in evangelism and ministration. They have accused him of not being genuine, saying his style of ministration is suspicious and fake. It is also on record that most of his critics constantly visit his church discreetly for spiritual assistance. However, the man who has variously been described as the ‘Oprah of evangelism’ continue to wax stronger in his God given calling. He is known across Africa, Europe, the Orients and Latin America and has an overwhelming social media presence; 3,500,000 fans on Facebook; over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers and is the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform.
TB’s church, simply referred to as The Synagogue, and headquartered at Ikotun, Lagos, Nigeria, has remained a Mecca/meeting point of some sort for as many that require one solution or another to life issues. In fact, testimonies abound of what God is using him to do. The church is said to attract more “weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.” Not only that, it also provides popular services which have resulted in an enormous boost for local businesses and hoteliers. He constantly helps Nigeria derive foreign revenue due to the influx of worshippers year in and year out. The church is practically “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction”. It is surprising to note therefore, that the ‘Man of God’ has only one branch of the church, located in Ghana.
Apart from ordinary people whose testimonies of healing and turn around cannot be readily overemphasized, notable personalities cutting across celebrities, politicians, football stars among others have found one form of succour or another after visiting the Prophet.
Among celebrity visitations to The Synagogue are the wife of Ghanaian goal keeper, Richard Kingson, notable Ghanaian human rights lawyer, Kwabla Senanu, Ghanaian musician, Denise Williams, veteran Nigerian Nollywood Actress, Camilla Mberekpe, Jim Iyke, Kanu Nwankwo, Kenyan Olympic athlete, Mercy Cherono, Hamza Al-Mustapha among others. It is also known that politicians seeking public offices also make the place their home.
Many have said that Prophet Joshua is travelling shy, but he has visited many places in his efforts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and dish out philanthropic gestures. Among such places include Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, London, Korea and others where he held powerful soul winning and vision impacting crusades.
His giving ability is legendary, and he is involved in extensive humanitarian projects worldwide, using The Synagogue. He was once said to have spent an estimated $20 million on charitable activities. His giving cuts across orphans, widows, elderly, physically challenged and destitute. There is also a rehabilitation programme for militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region, repentant armed robbers and sex workers who came to the church for ‘deliverance’.
Humble to the core, he is known to join his team in most of the humanitarian journeys they undertake to less-privileged communities. Again, his June 12 birthday is celebrated by assisting less-privileged individuals in their societies by his large followers.
TB Joshua and SCOAN has contributed immensely to communities and individuals from within and outside Nigeria. In 2010 when the Haiti earthquake occurred, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.
Also in 2016, he provided over $500,000 worth of humanitarian aid to victims of earthquake in Ecuador. He additionally sent support to nations such as Philippines, India and Ghana in the wake of varying natural disasters. He is also a key supporter of sports, and is credited with discovering the duo of Sani Emmanuel and Ogenyi Onazi from his club, My Peoples FC. Onazi still plays for the Super Eagles today.
He is voted as among the most famous prophets. Joshua has made prophesies that came to pass just as he said them. An isolated case is the Malaysian Airlines MH370 event in 2014.
Prophet Joshua’s exploits in ministration and care of the needy have not gone unnoticed. He received the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and was voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet, Irohin-Odua. He has been called one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines, The Africa Report and New African Magazine.
Forbes, in 2011, reported that Prophet Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, although the church denied the claim.
Prophet Joshua is married to Evelyn Joshua, and they are blessed with three children among who are Serah and Promise.
While many continue to see him as controversial, the Prophet continues to wax stronger in the service of God and humanity.
By Eric Elezuo