Here’s another instalment of ex-disciple Giles’ account of life inside the Synagogue, Church of All Nations. This is a personal account and the views expressed are those of the writer only.
“Disciple meetings portray another characteristic of the disciple-culture. Like I said before, disciples don’t love each other, they grass on each other. I’ll always remember the first meeting I attended. At the end TB Joshua asked if there was anything to report, and some hands went up. A guy with a microphone runs over to one hand, and that person stands up. “I want to report brother so-and-so….” and goes on to say what he had done. Brother so-and-so has also stood up and stands in silence. He doesnt get to defend himself. More hands will go up, saying that it is true what the first hand has said, that this brother is indeed like this, had indeed done that, etc. And Im sitting there trying to blend into the wallpaper, trying to think of anything I might have said or done in the last few days.
Reporting each other’s wrongdoings is a way disciples will tell you of correcting each other. “Receiving correction” is what they call it, and of course its all out of love. To be fair, sometimes that disciple might have been approached beforehand and given opportunity to change, like it says in the Bible. It might actually be the best way to deal with a particular sin, I mean its possible that alot of people never again did whatever it was they were doing out of sheer fear of being reported again.
However, the more I noticed how the disciples dont love each other, the more I began to question their motives for ganging up on an individual and reporting them. The problem is that people report each other for things that have nothing to do with sinning, and everything to do with not comforming to Scoan, like not calling females Sister so-and-so.
A classic example I can remember went like this. My mother was visiting, and she spent all her days in the visitor’s room watch Emmanuel TV re-runs. This happened to be the dramatic deliverance of an Australian woman, so they showed it all day, again, and again, and again. My mom kinda mentioned this when I saw her that evening and asked how her day went. So that Sunday, they showed the clip again to the congregation, and in passing I mentioned to a disciple next to me that my poor mother has seen this footage like a thousand times yesterday. She gave me a look and walked away.
So the next meeting, guess what I was standing trial for. I have to be fair here and point out that TB Joshua did actually defend me, telling the disciple basically to not judge me, that she’d made no attempt to understand me, etc. This sometimes happens with other people – TB Joshua doesnt just accept everything.
There was a very positive side to the disciple meetings I must mention. Usually time would be set aside for disciples to practise preaching in front of an audience. TB Joshua believes that everyone should be ready to preach, and so everyone was encouraged to have a sermon somewhere in their mind that they’d wanna volunteer to share. Some would be really nervous, some confident, and he’d give advice on how to improve. So you see, there are definitely some positive things about the SCOAN ministry.”