Recently, we have heard some genuinely amazing statements from TB Joshua supporters. In an exchange in the comments section of this post , regular commenter Ian asked another regular commenter Soe a simple question:
Are you saying that the bible is still being written?
Soe, a committed disciple of TB Joshua, responded with a direct and astonishing answer:
May I ask, who told you that the writing of the bible has stopped?
And who is the person who continued to add to the bible? Why, TB Joshua, of course. Soe continued:
… Don’t be surprised, your great grand children will quote the words of TB Joshua in the same way you quote those of apostle Paul today…
I assure you, that the value of TB Joshua today (however great you think it is now) is nothing compared to what it will be in generations to come, – But this time, the generations yet unborn won’t just have texts and writings, but also video clips of high digital quality. (The major reason for the heavy recording and archiving of the happenings in Scoan).
Soe believes that through TB Joshua, a third testament of scripture is in production, but this one will be released on DVD. This view is far outside the bounds of anything that can be described as Christianity. It supports our belief that SCOAN is a cult which has more in common with Scientology or the Family International than any Christian church.
Can the gift of prophecy produces words equal to scripture?
What is the justification for this claim? It is based on the belief that the words of modern day prophets are infallible. This flawed argument can be summarized like this:
-Scripture is God’s word, and God’s word is true and infallible.
-Prophecy is when people speak God’s word, so prophecy is God’s word, and therefore infallible.
-Prophecy = Scripture.
This belief clearly goes against biblical teaching, and for this reason it would be rejected by all existing forms of Christianity, including charismatic and pentecostal churches who accept the idea of modern day prophets. 1 Thess 5:20-21 tells us that while we are not to despise prophecy, we should test everything, holding onto the good. The words of a self-proclaimed prophet cannot be accepted as God’s words just because he says they are. Read this blog post for a good summary of “what the gift of prophecy is not.” .
Is this what other SCOANites believe? Or is Soe a lone fanatic?
Another SCOAN supporter, John, has stated that TB Joshua’s words are not equal to scripture. So how do we know that Soe’s beliefs are common among TB Joshua’s followers?
Soe is clearly a SCOAN disciple. Although he denies it on one thread, he later admits it when he refers to ex-disciple Giles as a ‘sibling disciple’. An obvious difference between Soe and other SCOANite commenters such as ‘Radicalised’, ‘John’ and ‘Jerry’, is that while the others are very selective in what they write and rarely engage in dialogue, Soe is a talker. He never hesitates to speak his mind or jump into a debate.
Unpeeling the SCOAN onion
Soe’s words may reveal a teaching that usually only committed disciples are exposed to. Many cults have what is known as an ‘onion skin’ structure (Scientology is an example of this). In other words, to the general public, the organization shows a harmless and positive face. This is the outer layer of the onion. The deeper you get involved in the cult, the more you are exposed to unusual and damaging teaching. But by this time, many things make it difficult to challenge this teaching. As commenter Hattie put it:
The deeper within SCOAN you get, the more there is to lose as you will have given up your time, money, your family and loved ones and your very life to supporting it and so it is even harder to acknowledge the truth and deception. At this stage it is very hard to even consider it might be a lie and it is easier to carry on believing…that in itself is lie.
The SCOAN onion looks something like this:
-Outer layer: The viewers of Emmanuel TV and people who come to services for prayer.
-Second layer: Financial supporters of SCOAN and tithing regular church members.
-Third layer: Disciples who live (at least part of the time) in the SCOAN complex in Lagos, ‘Wise Men’, ‘junior prophets’
-Final Layer: TB Joshua’s closest circle of advisors.
We know from ex-disciple Graham, who spent four years as a disciple, that TB Joshua’s inner circle speak Yoruba, TB Joshua’s tribal language. So the final layer of the SCOAN onion even have their own language that even committed disciples and ‘wise men’ don’t understand.
This onion structure is a clear danger sign, designed to hide the truth. We believe that what Soe has said in his comments does represent the teachings of SCOAN, but they are not teachings you would usually be exposed to until you are several layers deep. Those SCOAN supporters who have given a different view may not be in deep enough to have been indoctrinated to the same extent as Soe. Or they may be sensible enough to keep their mouths shut about these extreme beliefs (much like the disciples who advised Giles not to call TB Joshua ‘Daddy’ in front of non-SCOANites).
As outsiders we can never know for certain what is said within SCOAN disciple meetings or in TB Joshua’s inner circle. But we’d be interested to hear from you if you are a current or former supporter of SCOAN. Is Soe’s claim just the strange fantasy of a deceived individual? Or is it a widely held belief? Unless his views are clearly and strongly condemned by other disciples, it will be very clear that this is standard SCOAN teaching in the inner layers of the onion.