Yesterday we received an interesting comment from firstname.lastname@example.org that seems to illustrate a wider issue. It starts as follows:
We are a group of seminary students who came across this website while executing a search for ‘prophets of our days’. We carried out a thorough evaluation of the site, along with reviews of the internal links and outside sources, such as Emmanuel TV and The SCOAN websites. Below is the conclusion of our investigation.
The conclusion of their investigation consisted of the following points:
1) “The authors of this website are not genuine. The women among them are out to tempt the Prophet and the ministry, as the demon possessed slave girl did to Paul”.
2) “They are among those who subtract from and divide communities, ministries and lives”.
3) “Jesus Christ taught us not to waste our time on those who are not genuine – silence is the best answer for a fool”.
4) “Every extraordinary achiever has been misjudged. This is an extraordinary prophet. We must expect ordinary and extraordinary accusations, lies and fabrications”.
We have already addressed the final point in this post. This is a classic SCOAN talking point and makes it fairly clear where this commenter is coming from.
In response to the other points:
1) We are puzzled and offended by the attack on the honour of the female contributors to this blog. Temptresses they are most certainly not.
2) Talking of dividing communities, many families who have relatives serving as disciples have reported that they have become almost completely cut off from family and friends back home. Disciples who have left SCOAN have similarly been ostracised and cut off from their SCOAN-supporting relatives. We believe families should love, support and respect each other even if they have different opinions or religious beliefs. We believe that healthy churches, communities and families should have room for diverse views and open discussion.
The comment is clearly written by a disciple, pretending to be someone else. This is nothing new. Scroll down any blog post about TB Joshua and you will encounter a flood of positive comments praising TB Joshua and paying little attention to the content of the page. Here is a typical example from a Nigerian blog which starts with some skeptical conversation by regular commenters and then descends into TBJ propaganda. These posts often plug TB Joshua’s TV station or UK website:
Several ex-disciples have admitted that disciples were regularly asked to write false testimonies online. One said that it always made him feel uncomfortable, even before he started questioning more seriously. Perhaps the writer of this comment feels a similar discomfort. We hope he/she does not continue to suppress or ignore this feeling for too long.