With Such Power(ful lies)

This is the second post from Gareth, an ex-SCOAN disciple from the UK. As one of the first foreign disciples of TB Joshua with ten years experience of SCOAN, he has a unique insight into TB Joshua’s teaching and ministry. In this post he examines a key sermon by TB Joshua which forms the basis for the idea (common among TB Joshua supporters) that TB Joshua is free from sin. Gareth’s real name has been changed to protect his family who are still involved with SCOAN.

I know that many of those who are close to SCOAN want to get closer to God. Many are drawn to SCOAN because they are unsatisfied with their experiences in more “traditional” churches and yearn for “something more”.

I also believe that TB Joshua uses these sincere desires and manipulates them for his own benefit. One of the ways in whcih he does this is through his teaching. In this post I am going to examine some of TB Joshua’s statements from the printed sermon “With Such Power”. For those concerned that I am taking sections out of context, the whole sermon is available here:

The sermon uses Acts 19:11-12 (miracles through handkerchiefs) and speaks about the power of God in the life of a Christian.

Speaking of Paul, TB Joshua says, “in order to exercise such power, he must be infallible. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gave this infallibility. Whatever he said was always complete and correct, whatever he wrote was infallibly accurate. God confirmed Paul’s doctrine by miracles. What confirms your doctrine?”

You can read the rest of the message for yourself. But if I can summarise TB Joshua’s main points:

  1. God did amazing miracles through Paul
  2. In order for Paul to be a channel for these miracles he was infallible
  3. Paul’s miracles confirmed his teaching
  4. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives infallibility and takes away man’s sinful desire/will
  5. The apostles’ miracles said: “These men are from God, their message is true, believe their word”.
  6. If “someone” (i.e. TB Joshua) tells you that Jesus is the healer and demonstrates healing, then “what else again”
  7. You (the reader/listen) have an inconsistent life and don’t know God’s will (and therefore by implication are not baptised in the Holy Spirit)

No other verse is mentioned to back up any of these points. Before unpacking these points individually let me address my main concern. TB Joshua through his messages portrays himself as a great apostle who is infallible. He also strongly implies (in this message and many others) that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct experience from accepting Christ AND that has such huge fruits that the TB Joshua is the only person who displays these fruits.

TB Joshua is clever he doesn’t outright say he is infallible or that he is the only one baptised in the Holy Spirit, but he systematically and repeatedly implies both of these through his teaching and through the structure of the services at SCOAN.

So let’s go through the points.

  1. God did amazing miracles through Paul.

Agreed. No problem here.

  1. In order for Paul to be a channel for these miracles he was infallible

Here’s where we get off track. The Bible passage used does not even hint at this statement. The Bible clearly teaches that we all are sinners (Romans 3) and that gifts of healing are by grace (1 Cor 12:11). The miracles show how great God is, not how great Paul was. God did miracles through Balaam (Numbers 22). Jesus said people who He doesn’t know will do miracles in His name (Matt 7:21-23).

  1. Paul’s miracles confirmed his teaching

This is true in part. I think he is referring to Mark 16:20: “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”

I will deal with points 5 & 6 here also. When the early church started the Bible as we know it did not exist. God confirmed the authenticity of the Apostle’s messages through signs. However this is not a simple equation of miracles = truth. We don’t know about the miracles of James and we don’t even know who the author of Hebrews was. Now that the canon of scripture has been completed, the Bible is our yardstick – not miracles / signs.

TB Joshua implies that if someone tells you that Jesus heals and then demonstrates it, they have proven their authenticity and authority. This is unbiblical. The fruit of authenticity is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). In addition there are some clear guidelines on the requirements for elders that show us practically how to test a leader’s authenticity (1 Tim 3:2-7). It’s not about saying some nice things and giving some money away on TV. It’s not about “healing” people. It’s not about “prophesying”.

  1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives infallibility and takes away man’s sinful desire/will

Again, no verse to back up this very questionable position. Mainstream Christianity has long understood salvation to be in 3 parts: Justification (to receive Jesus’ Righteousness by faith), Sanctification (to become more like Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit), Glorification (when we die in this world and leave behind our sinful nature). TB Joshua seems to confuse these. He often implies that the baptism of the Holy Spirit will bring us to the state of glorification – i.e. no more sin. Hence why it is so difficult for followers of TB Joshua to ever say that TB Joshua sins.

This belief is dangerously wrong. Theologically it doesn’t stand up; even TB Joshua knows this. Hence you’ll find some messages where he says we are all sinners and everyone makes mistakes. The twist that he and disciples like to put on it is that everything TB Joshua (and other “Men of God”) do for God is infallible. But this is also wrong. Yes we believe that Paul was divinely inspired when he wrote the epistles, but as mentioned earlier, the canon of scripture is closed. This level of inspiration is neither promised nor should be claimed. The problem is that TB Joshua and his disciples view his message as equal to the Bible. And it is because of wrong teaching like this sermon.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit brings many things, but it certainly doesn’t take away man’s ability to sin. Only glorification will bring that.

  1. The apostles miracles said: “These men are from God, their message is true, believe their word”. (se point 3)
  2. If “someone” (i.e. TB Joshua) tells you that Jesus is the healer and demonstrates healing, then “what else again” (see point 3)
  3. You (the reader/listen) have an inconsistent life and don’t know God’s will (and therefore by implication are not baptised in the Holy Spirit)

Again very subtly done, but TB Joshua creates this impression that because of his miracles and his message he is baptised in the Holy Sprit, and because of our doubts and problems we are not. He sets himself up as the channel to God. This is clear not only from his teaching but from his practice. If you want healing, let TB Joshua pray for you. If you need to hear from God, hope that TB Joshua prophecies over you. If you want to get married, let TB Joshua approve. If you want to travel to another country, get “grace” from TB Joshua.

Ask a committed SCOAN church member or disciple whether they hear from God and they will struggle to answer yes. The belief among many is that “we don’t have the Holy Spirit” but TB Joshua does. They are “waiting in faith” for this “baptism of the Holy Spirit”.

Conclusion:

Please examine TB Joshua’s message for yourself. Also remember the context in which this message (and many others like it) are given. It’s delivered in a big healing service, by a larger than life “Prophet”. For those who are disciples or who closely follow the ministry, I implore you to ask questions. Be like the Bereans who Luke commended in Acts 17 because they: “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

32 thoughts on “With Such Power(ful lies)

  1. I have to agree with Gareth here. The first time I heard this message I didn’t agree with it and this shows that I’m not the only one.

    But, Are we going to only look at the bad/wrong messages of TBJ? I think there are many great messages. I would rather take the good and leave the bad. As TBJ himself says that we should examine everything in the light of God’s Word.

    I agree that all sin and make mistakes including TBJ… but what if this was a mistake? would that want you to turn the whole world against him?

    • Hi Jenson, the problem is that this message is just one manifestation of a dangerous culture and method of operation at SCOAN. Once TBJ has set himself up as infallible, he can do anything and be accountable to no one. The sad thing is that he has just done that. I am aware of 5 reports of sexual abuse from former foreign disciples alone.

  2. whatever your post, they all butress d same point-the only change is the title.I won’t try to defend TBJ here, that has never really been my purpose on this site,cos its too shallow a reason, peter tried it to christ and it was pointless.GOD can fight for him.if u observe well u’ll notice i was all along only trying to make clear why my brothers (Gareth&Giles) should RETURN to him, as i PRAY constantly that i’m allowed to as well, -trying to save all their years of service,cos i am their brother-a sibling disciple.but since they refuse to heed i give up on them and remain innocent of their blood before the LORD.

    still “I have just one question for you two”and i need only a YES or NO answer to it-

    If on the Last day, u now realise TBJ is TRUE, and is all u claim he is not,are you READY to face the judgement for all ur words against him?

    • Hard to even know where to start with this comment.

      I guess it could be summed up with the simple formula: TB Joshua = Jesus.

    • Soe, Soe!

      This is exasperating! You do not address anything Gareth has written, but rather we’re back to the fire and brimstone, hell and judgement arguments.

      You said “trying to save all their years of service,cos i am their brother-a sibling disciple”.

      Yet – on a previous post you said:

      “soe PERMALINK
      June 18, 2011 11:22 am
      For your information i’m a student of a university for those saying i’m a disciple”

      Which is it? Are you a disciple or not?

      Soe said: “still “I have just one question for you two”and i need only a YES or NO answer to it-If on the Last day, u now realise TBJ is TRUE, and is all u claim he is not,are you READY to face the judgement for all ur words against him?”

      I know this is not directed to me, but I’ll answer it anyway – No – I’m not scared. I’m more scared about the judgement I’d face for not exposing this man and warning fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about the false gospel he is preaching.

      And Soe – I think it is pretty rich for you to ask a yes or no question since you have not, in all your posts so far answered one question with a simple yes or no… Does TBJ sin?

      I’m not holding my breath for a straight answer…

      Gareth – thank you for a well written post.

    • That judgement day comment sounds like scoan is a whole other religion and youre trying to get us to return to the true faith!
      Are you really making judgement day about tbj?!

    • Hi Soe,

      Thanks for the comment.
      Whether you want to defend TBJ or not, its important for you to look at his teaching. If it is clearly scripturally wrong, then there is a problem.

  3. Very good, nobody is above correction. Not even T. B. Joshua or any pastor. If God can speak through donkeys (Balaam’s donkey,Numbers 22-24) or let the stones praise Jesus as it is written in Luke 19:40 “And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”, so should every man, woman and child examine his/her actions and words and put it along side what He (God) speaks (says) through the Last Authoritarian Voice of God which are the words of The Scriptures which is the Bible.

    Only the words of Scripture are Impregnable and Infallible. In am convinced and believe sincerely that the Holy Spirit will only confirm what the Bible says and not what man is saying in their fallibility.

    I would suggest that they (SCOAN) remove this sermon, video, tape, recordings or whatever medium it is on to.

    Perhaps this might be a reason why T. B. Joshua does not have any elders to correct him ? This is done in every church as far as I know……why not in this one ?

  4. Could you please provide the full sermon? Two of the sermon images you uploaded are the same and the message relating to infallibility is not there. I would prefer to scrutinize the words directly from the sermon before reading Gareth’s interpretation. Thanks

    • Apologies, don’t know what happened there.You should be able to get the first section of the sermon now. Let us know if you still have problems.

  5. Hi Gareth
    Here’s what I found in the Word(Part1):
    2. Paul’s infallibility: The Word doesn’t only teach that we are sinners,it further tells that by faith in Christ we are made righteouse and that sin won’t have power over us anymore. Christ then puts his mark of ownership on us-the Holy Spirit-who is a gaurantee that God will do what he promised in our lives(1 Corinthians:22)

    Yes,the gifts of the Spirit operate by grace however,grace reigns by means of righteouseness(Roman5:21).So yes,there must be righteouseness for grace to reign so that the gifts may operate.

    3.Do miracles confirm teachings/(the Word)?
    In John14:10-12 Jesus told Phillip that if he does not believe his words then he must believe because of his works and also Mark 16:20 fully supports this. The Apostles message was was confirmed with signs and wonders not because the bible as we know it was not there but because Jesus said they would do what he did if they believed.
    Note that the Word has existed eternally,even before the Bible was put together in this format – the Word was there(John1:1)
    The Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power

    • Hi Neo

      “2. So yes,there must be righteouseness for grace to reign so that the gifts may operate.”
      Either we are saved by grace or by works. This is a key confusion at SCOAN. We can’t earn God’s love or his gifts. The Corinthians had plenty of spiritual gifts and plenty of sin in their church. Of course we should flee from sin, but doing so doesn’t earn us the right to spiritual gifts. Gifts are just that. Gifts.

      3. The question is this: what if a man preaches heresy but does miracles. Do we believe his heresy because of his miracles? Surely not.

  6. Hi Gareth
    Here’s what I found in the Word(Part2):
    4.Baptism of the Holy Spirit takes man’s sinful desire/will?
    Romans6:2 – “God forbid.How shall we,that are dead to sin,live anylonger therein?
    Galatians5:16 – “This I say then,walk in the Spirit,and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    6. The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to the body of Christ as he wills (1Corinthians12:1-30)Whatever gift each member is given, the Spirit of God will accompany it with power. What no one ever saw or heard,what no one ever thought could happen is the very thing God prepared for those who love him(1Corinthians2:10-11)

    7.There is no one who knows me more than myself – Proverbs20:The human Spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on ones inmost being.

    When I dont do what the Word instructs me,I know it.It is likened to looking at myself in the mirror then forgeting what I look like.”But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
    (James1:23-25)

    • 4. Baptism.
      The two verses that you quote say nothing about baptism in the Holy Spirit removing our ability to sin.
      The first (Romans 6:2) is a rhetorical question – saying how foolish it would be for we who have accepted Christ to continue to walk in the ways of sin. Indeed how foolish, but what wretched men and woman we are (Rom 7:24).

      The second (Gal 5:16) is an instruction to walk in the Spirit. Which we need to choose to do every day of our lives.

      6. Please don’t take verses out of context, also let me repeat my question: The question is this: what if a man preaches heresy but does miracles. Do we believe his heresy because of his miracles? Surely not.

  7. Hi Neo – welcome to the discussion. Will just address point 2 for now.
    2. Paul’s infallibility. There is no such thing. Paul himself argues he is a sinner. Romans 7:14-15, 19. There are other places in scripture where he also speaks of his own sin. Speaking to Christians James writes in James 3:2: “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” Also read 1 John 1:8 and Ecclesiastes 7:20. Funny that the Catholic church also adheres to the doctrine of infallibility. The pope is seen as infallible. I wonder if TBJ sees himself as some sort of pope?

    Romans 5:21 is quoted out of context: When reading from verse 20: “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
    21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is no mention here about gifts of the HS. Rather – it deals with the gift of salvation. This is a serious misreading of scripture. This section of Romans (starting in Chapter 3) looks at the forgiveness of sin through Christ and does not deal with the gifts of the HS at all. It shows that law cannot save us, but that we are saved by grace through the work of Christ on the cross. This section (verses 12 – 21) deals with the death of our old nature (or Adam) which gives life in Christ.

  8. Quote of Neo,

    “Yes,the gifts of the Spirit operate by grace however, grace reigns by means of righteouseness (Roman5:21). So yes, there must be righteouseness for grace to reign so that the gifts may operate.”

    That’s really odd to interpret it like that. Neo, have you scrolled back in scripture what is says in:

    What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:9-12

    I would recommend Neo to go back to Seminary and learn how to read and interpret the bible instead of listening to someone claiming something that is not true, but an error. If you claim or T. B. Joshua the “anointing” of 1 John 2:27 (<~~~look it up) is teaching you this, you seriously should ask yourself what "anointing" was that you did receive in the first place and where you received it ?

    Even when a person does something wrong, which is the main discussion here what I do understand, Is Anyone including T. B. Joshua is a sinner……then this is written: Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (or (irrevocable)).

    What does this mean ? When God has chosen to give one (a) "gift(s)" it means He does not take them back or removes. The dictionary defines "irrevocable" as being impossible to retract or revoke. means, one can do something wrong and God still would be operating through them.

    However, when someone has done something wrong, it is in need of Correction and/or Repentance. But the grace of God (when He chooses to) can supersede such wrongdoing. The Law is made for punishment, the Grace of God is the continuation of removing all wrong doing by His will, not our will..

    One needs to confess their wrongdoing in order to be reinstated in their former setting. This counts for everyone, including T.B. Joshua, who is a human being. All human beings fall short of the Glory of God.

    But we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we ALL do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6

    I am not sure if Neo understands the word ALL. Just for ALL sakes: ALL means ALL. To a complete degree or to the full or entire extent.

    I can clearly see there is a lot of doctrine missing or in complete misinterpretation. Hence it is good that such things and issues are being examined.

  9. Just one addition, if anyone says, including T. B. Joshua who is a human being (was born from a woman, eats and drinks to nourish his human body) like everyone else and says I do not sin, then this would be applicable.

    1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    The only time this would NOT be applicable is upon Jesus Christ Himself. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew NO sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    But what evidence can T. B. Joshua give us that if he is without sin, he must be then Jesus and what proof could he give us that he is ? Let this be clear, it is not the evidence of doing miracles and/or preaching as being claimed. What evidence is there that he is God’s son ? Why, if he would be Jesus and has returned why is he not demonstrating the whole world that he is. Because it is written:

    But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 26:63-64

    Did T. B. Joshua arrive like this on earth, “coming in the clouds of heaven” ? Can someone shed a light on this ?

  10. It also says in 1 john how if anyone claims they are without sin, they deceive themselves and there is no truth in them. 1:8.

    Everyone sins from time to time. Thats why we are always keep our accounts with the Lord very short.

    You are right about the kingdom of God being about power, but how do you tell someone who is practising Gods power from an imposter Jesus warned us about? The key issue is love. If they have no love it does not matter how many miracles they do or prophecies they give. The Beware of Blasphemers video is exactly the opposite of how Jesus said we are to deal with enemies- love them. Pray for them. Bless them.
    For a genuine man of the Lord i would have expected a more Christ like response.

  11. 3. Do miracles confirm teachings/(the Word)?

    In a way yes – but that is not the whole truth. We need to deal with things separately.

    Teaching:

    John 14:10-12. Jesus said these things to Philip so Philip may have faith in Him. This cannot be randomly applied to any Tom, Dick or Harry who performs a miracle as the Bible is very, very clear that people will do great works in the name of Jesus, but may be false teachers/prophets and lead others astray. Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22, 2 Thes 2:9 etc. The only way we can realistically test whether someone is from Jesus or not is by looking at the fruit of the Spirit.

    So this is the conundrum; TBJ supporters maintain that the miracles prove he is a man of God. Those critical of him and his ministry maintains that he does not prophecy accurately (i.e. is a false prophet), is avoiding many questions about sexual sin (and rape) etc. and therefore cannot be a servant of Christ. These fruits (sexual immorality etc), if true, are more in line with Gal 5:17-21 – the desires of the flesh – than the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22 onwards). The problem for TBJ and his supporters is that miracles cannot be used as a litmus for godliness as miracles can also be performed by the ungodly and demons (eastern religions etc). Our only yardstick is the Word of God and the fruit of the Spirit – as Gareth rightly points out.

    Mark 16:20. The signs confirmed the message (not the person!).

    The Word:
    You use John 1:1 as a defence for “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power.” This is quoted out of context. Read any reputable Bible commentary. The Word here refers to Jesus (not words or Scripture). He is the Word (which was at the beginning of all things) and have taken on flesh (become human).

    So – in answer to your question: Do miracles confirm the Word? Yes – there are many miraculous accounts in the Bible that confirms Jesus as the Word. It does not confirm anything about TBJ as he is not Christ.

  12. Hi debo
    i dont know about tbj coming on the clouds of heaven but one of the things i was very uneasy about was scoan saying his birth was prophecied by someone 100 years ago. This is on the scoan website.
    I found that disturbing.

  13. Hi All,thank you for welcoming me to your discussion.

    Firstly let me clearly state that I am not here to defend anybody. I read Gareth’s account and went into the Word to find answers to some scriptural questions he raised.

    Regarding infallibility, I find we partially agree.The righteouseness of God is not obtained by “not sinning”.In terms of the law,all human beings to the exclusion of Christ,have failed to meet all the requirements of the law, we are sinners.It does not end there – when we believe in Christ by faith,we are MADE righteouse.(Romans3:21-23) I particularly love the way Galatians2:16 puts it:”Knowing that a man is
    not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    @Someone Somewhere – I did not quote Romans5:21 to explain the gifts of the Spirit,I was quoting “grace reigns through righteouseness”. Gifts of the Spirit are in 1Corinthians12:12,13&14.On this one,I agree to disagree,it still mans the same tome.

    On John1:1 – I quoted it to support the fact that the Word was there even before this current format of the Bible. “the kingdom of God is not a matter of words…” is in 1Corinthians4:20 and it was used support that miracles and wonders confirm the Word.

    • Re infallibility. No one denies that Christ, through faith in Him, justifies us and we are therefore the righteousness of Christ. But I think most Christians and theologians will have a very real problem with saying this righteousness = infallibility.

      Re Rom 5:21. You said: “Yes,the gifts of the Spirit operate by grace however,grace reigns by means of righteouseness(Roman5:21)”. So if you’re not talking about gifts (which you clearly are), then you are saying something along the lines of apples = fruit. oranges = fruit therefore oranges = apples.

      Re John 1:1. Again you state “that the Word was there even before this current format of the Bible”. The ‘Word’ as referred to here does not equate Scripture. The Word here refers to Jesus.

  14. wow, this is an interesting debate. A simplified way to put the righteousness/infallibility is likening it to a gambling debt. You owe the big boss money and your heads gonna roll. Then a friend steps in, pays off your debt so you keep your head. Strictly speaking ,it was YOUR debt. The fact that he got you off the hook doesnt mean youre suddenly an outstanding infallible citizen. It means he got you off the hook. Made it ok between you and the big boss. Thats righteousness.

  15. In response to Soe’s comment following the article, I’d challenge him to reread what we written, not from a perspective of whether or not what people TB Joshua stands for, but what is the truth in the matter.

    Seek out the truth and you will find it.

    Too often the culture of a cult is to create a fear based mentality to hook people in. Fortunately I find no reference to the name TB Joshua in my bible so I’m comfortable to say Jesus is my Lord and saviour, and TB Joshua should in my opinion know his place and get back in it. Too many people are too afraid to say what they think unfortunately.

    Even Jesus didn’t intimidate people who disagreed with his views, quite the opposite all through scripture humans are EMPOWERED to make their own decisions, ultimately there are consequences for those decisions, but God sure as heck prefers sons/daughters and not repeating parrots.

  16. Bob, love your comment, nice and simple.

    Right at the start of these comments, Soe says he wants Gareth and Giles to return as brother disciples. Soe, I think you should just be glad that Gareth and Giles have found their own way to God, their loving Father. They remain your brothers in Christ and mine too. I don’t think God will judge them for their relationship (or lack of it) with TBJ, he will judge them on their relationship with Him, so don’t worry for them.

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