I was asked in a recent interview what I blog about. My response: Whatever is trending on my mind at the moment.
In that respect, what has been trending on my mind and my Facebook newsfeed off and on for quite some time now is the ever-reawakening case of the Nigerian Prophet T.B Joshua.
You cannot be Cameroonian and not know of Prophet T. B. Every time you enter a taxi his and outstretched palm is displayed on a sticker with the message “Let Love Lead”. A very nice message we would all agree. Most times you will enter a salon, restaurant, or even the self proclaimed Christian Clinics and see his channel Emmanuel TV on, or you may know any one of the many Cameroonians are traveling all the way to Lagos in a bid to see him As result of popularity this prophet is under a ton of scrutiny. And deservedly so considering the many who equate him with the Pope (or higher given the fact that the Pope is not known to cure Diabetes as of yet).
They say he has powers, they say he is generous; they say he is a godsend…Now, I’m not here to say he isn’t any of these, I’ll leave it to you to you to decide what you would believe. But these are my musings and I’ll like to share here are 7 reasons I’m not “Here” for TB
However I do not blame the person who began this rumor as a joke. When did God start sending game scores as a message to his people? I find it very VERY difficult to believe God had EVER lacked a message to send into the world that He would choose to send us predictions on a pop culture sport (http://thetbjoshuafanclub.wordpress.com/tag/football-prophecy/). I mean there must have been some child dying of Leukemia who need a prophecy of the right person to appeal to for a bone marrow transplant right?
2-Secondly I am a firm believer in the verse “what your right hand gives your left hand should not know about” (Mathew 6:1-3). Permit me break interpret this scriptural verse for TB? What you put in a sealed brown envelope should not be written out and announced to all and sundry. That to me is NOT generosity, at least not Christian generosity. It is rather similar to IMF aid :/
3-I believe God gave us brains to use them. Let me expatiate: Believing in God and having faith does not cancel out use of reason. Yes I believe in miracles. Yes I believe God can use people to heal. I also believe those people could be doctors he called to service. I also believe when Ben Carson discovered a way to divide those Siamese Twins God used him to perform a miracle. The twins’ parents may have prayed, they may have gone to church and fellow-shipped yes, but I logically believe that God has given us instruments for healing a.k.a doctors, hospitals, modern medicine. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying another Christian cannot pray for you and you get healed. I’m just saying don’t skip out of the hospital with HIV results and go for healing in church when God has already provided healing in the form of ART in a clinic near you…
4-I believe there is more to salvation than a miracle market. If you have ever watched Emmanuel TV on a Sunday this does not need explaining.
5-I believe in humility, this does not involve naming yourself a prophet or “Man of God” in my book. It does not involve having an advert putting your framed photo at the end of a long line of framed pictures of apostles (yours being larger) thereby insinuating in advertising dialect that you are equal or greater than the apostles before you eh? Moreover while I agree people may regard you as a prophet I think you cheapen it by attaching it to your name like a credential e.g Evang. Mark Azinwi, Prophet of the Lord.
6-I believe in logic. That is;
a.You do not teach people to be “Wise Men” or Prophets, so all those underlings are? In my rationality (which I acknowledge may be faulty) being a prophet is a calling, a gift, and not something to be learned. Just as I would criticize Pastor Chris for attempting to teach people how to speak in Tongues. I mean really?!!! Someone needs to re-read 1 Corinthians 12
b.In that line of logic, I reason that a “Man of God” owning the great expanse of property As TB does, and regularly dishing out hundreds of thousands of Naira should have a job eh? Else where’s the source of income. One school of thought says his church generates it, to that I reply: “I thought churches were meant to be the “original” not-for-profits?” And when another school of thought says it comes from donations of followers to which I reply: “So he isn’t really being generous then because it’s not his right, he’s just redistributing as he wills?”
c.In the same line of logic I inquire on things which in my opinion (which again I acknowledge may be faulty) are meant to be private being publicized. Yes, I understand the goal of trying to get non-believers to see God’s power, but hmm even Jesus said “go and tell no one I healed you. What is it with the advertising of miracles as though it were a commercial product almost 24 hours of each day?
d.Finally my mind, heart and spirit oppose the trend of marketing “Holy Water” (be it directly or not) I mean isn’t that equivalent to selling blessings?I went to a Catholic mission school growing up and holy water is at the entrance of the church there for all who want to bottle and take home. I am flummoxed at the way SCOAN bottles holy water in commercialized packets and “gives away” as “dash” depending on membership status and whether or not you buy a frame of the “prophets’” face (http://tbjoshuawatch.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/tb-joshuas-anointed-water/). More baffling is the fact that according to this church Holy Water can have “new improved” versions and be upgraded like an iphone. One of the main criticisms of the Catholic Church has been its idolizing through figurines and other monuments. Considering that all Pentecostal churches stem from the historical opposition of the Catholic church you would think they would differ in this.
7-Finally I’m not “here” for TB because I don’t appreciate the way his mission makes God little more than a problem solver. Church was meant for fellowship, for preaching the gospel for spreading the word. Not merely for testimonies and prophecies and signs and wonders and orchestrated choir shows and casting out of demons no matter how entertaining they might be. While TB is busy exemplifying all the spiritual gifts from speaking in tongues to casting out of demons, he forgot the most important one is “following the way” (1 Corinthians 12:31)
So no, I’m not a fan of TB. But no, I’m not saying you should follow me, I’m just stating what’s on my mind as Musings is meant for…This is my opinion, I’m not doing converting into the Anti-TB Party. I just implore you to reason, tease your brain and wonder along with me.
Some of us are scared to wonder. We have been trained to “say nothing against a prophet of the Lord”. Yet I believe such teaching speaks of fear and as the bible says: “Perfect love casts out all fear. So why not wonder? Job questioned God, David dared God, and Jacob “fought” God. If on Judgment Day God asks me why I doubted TB I’ll answer “Lord you said I should be as humble as a dove and quick as a serpent” the serpentine wit just couldn’t believe that guy”.
Before I end this I just want to note, this is NOT a rant. I purposefully wrote this in as calm a time as possible. I have not called TB any names (no matter how sorely tempted) rather I have brought out flaws in his mission which go against certain Christian teachings and generally turn me off.For instance I have not said “his prophecies are fake” but that “I don’t think God ever lacked messages to send us, that HE would send predictions on a football match”. So to all those who read this and feel they need to support him, please do so in a non-ranting manner and as logically as possible. And to all the non-Christians who feel a need to jeer along with this. Note, I am a Christian, a tolerant one and (I like to think) a rational one, but a Christian nonetheless kindly respect my beliefs.
To conclude, I know many may quote the passage where Jesus says “If He isn’t against me he is for me” while referring to a fake prophet, but I think we should know that the passive way we deal with “prophets” who are dubious in action serves to degrade our religion to non-Christians. I mean what respect would an atheist have for the Christian faith when they here of the Pastor in Kenya who told his followers to eat grass while someone stood by taking photos? Or the Pastor in Ghana who told his female parish members to come to church with no underwear? We cheapen our faith when we refuse to call out these people out. When we give them “revered” status just because they decided one bright morning that they could affix Evang. Or Bishop to their names. A few days ago I saw this photo of this website calling children to salvation by offering them Playstation 3’s.
Obviously eternal life is not as appealing as a Ps3. Most Christians will pass that by and go one to post some godly verse on their status. NO. Call it out, when you see something wrong in the church call it out. If you don’t because you think you should not criticize “Men of God” or Christian doctrine, you are being hypocritical. Period.