Who is TB Joshua?

Looking for information online about TB Joshua is a thankless task. In the first couple of pages of a google search, you learn that TB Joshua:

-predicted the death of Michael Jackson

-has been described as the “Son of the Devil” by the Cameroonian government

-made the sun shine for the entirety of Barack Obama’s visit to Ghana.

-has been accused of practising “Docetic Gnosticism” by Pastor Chris Okotie (WHAT??)

It seems like a significant portion of information online about TB Joshua is written by lunatics. This is not a good sign in itself, but it makes it hard to pin down what exactly is going on. So we have trawled though a lot of the information in order to come up with something that makes some kind of sense. We’ll start with a couple of mainstream media accounts of SCOAN that give a good overview. In a later post we’ll tackle the abuse allegations.

Mainstream media accounts of TB Joshua’s ministry

There is surprisingly little media coverage, outside of local Nigerian press. In 2003, the theologian and filmmaker Robert Beckford made a documentary for Channel 4 called “God is Black” exploring African christianity. He visited SCOAN in Lagos and the footage gave a fascinating insight into the place. In this Guardian article, Mark Lawson reviews the documentary. It’s worth a read, but some notable things in case you’re in a hurry:

Signs of a cult of personality around TB Joshua: The documentary showed children singing songs with lyrics that praised the ‘Man of God’ TB Joshua.

Bribery of journalists: Lawson writes: “Perhaps doubting the testimony of his mouth, the holy man then seems to trust money to talk instead. As the crew leaves the Joshua compound, they are handed $1,000 in an envelope”.

Strange ‘brainwashed’ behaviour of disciples: Lawson writes:Asked “How long have you been here?” one Joshua aide insists that she doesn’t “think in terms of time… God is not about time””.

Another great account of SCOAN is found in the book Dances with Devils by the South African investigative journalist Jacques Pauw. It’s on Amazon, and extracts are up on Google books (about p220 onwards)

Pauw follows a group of South African Christians as they go to Nigeria to receive healing from their terminal illness, and concludes that TB Joshua is a cheap fraud. A few notable things about Pauw’s account:

Backs up Beckford’s bribery experience:

“As we were about to get up and leave, he added: ‘But I also have a gift here from God’. He pulled three white envelopes from his drawer and put one in front of each of us.

Each envelope was stacked with hundred-dollar notes. I pushed mine across the table to Joshua.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “but I cannot accept a gift from you.”

“It’s not from me,’ he said. ‘it’s from God.’

Recounts several supposed healings that ended badly:

Here Pauw describes the fate of people who went to Lagos and were declared healed by TB Joshua:

“Wium Basson died within days of returning to South Africa. Maxie Claasen, suffering from brain, liver and breast cancer but declared healed by TB Joshua, also died shortly after returning home…

John Rindel went for an AIDS test at a private clinic in Johannesberg. He called me minutes after he had recieved the results. “I’m still HIV positive,” he said. “I’m sure it’s a mistake. They make mistakes with these tests, you know?”

“I hope they did, John,” were the only words of consolation I could think of.

“I might go back to Lagos,” he said. “I want the prophet to pray for me again.”

John Rindel never made it back to Lagos. He died a few months later.”

That seems to be all of the substantial mainstream media articles about TB Joshua. Let us know if we’ve missed any. This article in Charisma, a US-based Christian magazine, gives a fair account of the church and explores the division of opinion among Western christians. There are a few key points that are backed up by our own conversations with ex-disciples:

All visitors have their movements tightly controlled by SCOAN staff, and their passports are taken from them on arrival:

“She told Charisma that Synagogue staff members would not let her leave the compound when she wanted, and they held her airline tickets and passport for seven hours despite her protests.”

This is an issue that will be looked at further- we know of seriously ill people that have been prevented from leaving despite their desperate condition. In one case a young Austrian disciple died of malaria because she didn’t get treatment in time.

Bizarre sexual tone of some of the meetings:

“Kiser claims that while at Joshua’s compound, she was urged to watch testimonial videos that showed people masturbating. She also said the prophet used profanity during prayers.”

This sounds very odd but there are a lot of similar accounts- including those of ex-disciples we’ve talked to. Even in TB Joshua’s official magazine there are testimonies of dubious ‘sexual healing’, quoted here in the article:

“In testimonies published in his magazine, people give credit to Joshua–as well as Jesus–for miracles. One man said he was delivered of bestiality after Joshua asked him to touch two women while standing in front of the audience.”

Backs up other accounts of strange brainwashed behaviour of disciples:

“Kiser said she was “terrified” during her visit, and she described his disciples as “zombies, with vacant looks on their faces.”

TB Joshua’s mysterious background:

“Here is a man who says he was born again in his mother’s womb,” said Anselm Madubuko, pastor of 12,000-member Revival Assembly Church in Lagos. “Nobody knows his pastor. Nobody knows his former church, and then he shows up as a prophet and begins to work ‘miracles.’”

Hopefully this is helpful to those trying to gain a general idea of SCOAN. Next we will look at the allegations of sexual and physical abuse in the church.

13 thoughts on “Who is TB Joshua?

  1. Your investigation into the activities of TB Joshua is very informative and thoroughly researched with a level headed tone. It is great that you are providing former disciples of TB Joshua who may have experienced psychological and sexual abuse with resources to cope with whatever happened to them. In future posts, it would be nice if you provided recommendations for how others might help your cause or actions that you recommend that people take to expose TB Joshua.

  2. Pingback: TB Joshua Abuse Allegations #1 « tbjoshuawatch

  3. The vacant expressions of disciples are due to tiredness. You would be up at all hours of the night, sometimes in “disciple meetings” with TB Joshua. These could go on from midnight to maybe 2am. More often than not, he would teach a message – usually the next Sunday’s preaching. Then I’d be up at around 7 or 8am, so thats about 5-6 hours sleep. Its classic brainwashing – keeping people really tired while teaching them stuff in the dead of night, having them read only their secret books all day that no outsider must ever be allowed to read. Its pretty obvious now I was being brainwashed, but at the time I just didnt see it.

    ex-disciple 2005-2006

  4. Pingback: TB Joshua and Sexual Abuse #2: The Context « TB Joshua Watch

  5. Pingback: Is SCOAN a cult? An expert view. « TB Joshua Watch

  6. Pingback: The Miracles of TB Joshua « TB Joshua Watch

  7. People must stop talking non sense, Pro TB Joshua is in this planet to change it for good for and ever. People do not like people who are making changes that is what is happening here.

    HE IS A MAN OF GOD and he is doing God’s work in this filthy world helping the neglected people and healing the sick.

    • TB Joshua is not the one put in this planet to change it for good and forever.

      Jesus is the One who did that.

  8. omg! I cant believe among the thousands of people healed by god through the man of God u have only 2 claims to talk about.the hiv positive guy it could have been his faith did not heal him and the other one who died it could be his time had come.are you trying to say that people will not die because they pray at the synagogue church.seriously??????

  9. T.B Joshua’s SCOAN has all the characteristics of a cult and is a cult, parading as a church in Jesus name, as all cults are. The man is very deceitful, hypocritical, liar and thinks he’s very smart, but was outsmarted by one of his own disciples, Kayode of Awakeners. True, he slept with Kayode’s wife, Lola, and I think he also slept with Agamoh’s fiancee. Why Agamoh couldn’t figure this out beats my imagination ! Kayode’s claim that he was not ordained by Joshua is not true. He, Chris Oyakhilome, Agamoh and other disciples received power from Joshua. Though Kayode claims he studied scripture at Salvation Army, it was Joshua who gave him power. Yes, Joshua transferred power to his chosen ones, especially, those he felt were loyal. You get Joshua’s attention when you’re a good liar and pretender and always ” reporting ” others to him. Joshua has itching ears which he loves to be tickled, and is a very insecure person because of his hypocrisy. I agree with Agamoh 100% and hope he is now clean from all the lies, deceit, pretense and treachery that goes on at SCOAN. Joshua is good at ” divide and rule,” creating hatred and strife among his so called disciples who are nothing but bootlickers. Jesus preached love and oneness among His disciples, but Joshua breeds hatred and confusion. Is this not the work of Satan ? I saw a program on CNN about Quigong, a healing practice in China, and that’s very much like the way Joshua and his disciples conduct healing and deliverance ! Admittedly, I saw miracles, healing, and deliverances at SCOAN, but this brings to mind the admonition of Jesus in Matt 7:21. Honestly, I was one of the deceived ones who defended the “man of God” or is it ” man of Satan” ? But now I know better. The people really perish for lack of knowledge ! Hosea 4:6. Why did Joshua need Chris to validate his ministry and find acceptance if he’s a true man of God ? Joshua is hungry and thirsty to make a name for himself, considering his poor and insignificant background, and he’s riding on the backs of white people to achieve his dirty aim but God will expose him and the whole world shall see, for God is not mocked ! Gal 6:7. Joshua is not a true giver but a grabber, for he has no love. What’s the point in hiring buses to load lame people to SCOAN ? It’s not so they could be healed, but so that Joshua could claim to be helping these folks to get more money. These lame people are beggars at Oyingbo and other places in Lagos who beg for their living and this was all done for greed and love of money. The gifts of God are without repentance and if Joshua has to stage miracles, then the downward spiral shall be very swift indeed. Joshua can’t be prosecuted in Nigeria, because of their corrupt system and because he has officials and journalists on his payroll. But God Himself will expose him, though it appears SCOAN is growing by heaps and bounds. That’s no indication of divine approval. The man is sinister, evil and a wretch, though he appears to have a gentle and calm disposition. It’s all a facade which is gradually being uncovered. Anyway, enough for now, I got better things to do, but people need to be warned.

  10. Pingback: Anna’s story: Another victim of TB Joshua’s bogus healing « TB Joshua Watch

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