In this post we want to draw your attention towards a helpful article on The Gospel Coalition website. We quote extensively from it below and encourage you to thoughtfully and prayerfully read it through and consider how it might apply to TB Joshua and SCOAN.
The article starts with a quote from 2 Peter:
“There were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.” (2 Peter 2:1)
Peter is talking to the church here about false teachers among them. As the article says, this makes it clear he is “not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.” (Emphasis ours)
The article then compares 2 Peter 1 with 2 Peter 2 where we are shown the difference between true and false believers. These points are summarised into 7 traits of false teachers.
1. Different Source—Where does the message come from?
Peter says, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:16). And then he says the false teachers exploit you “with stories they have made up” (2:3). So the true teacher sources what he says from the Bible. The false teacher relies on his own creativity. He makes up his own message.
There are thousands of myths surrounding TB Joshua. He routinely diagnoses marital problems as being caused by spirit husbands or wives, he heavily edits his prophecies to make them seem more accurate than they are, and his miracle videos are deceptively presented to impress people. When you think of TB Joshua, you think of his circus of deliverances and healings, you don’t think of sound and careful bible teaching.
2. Different Message—What is the substance of the message?
For the true teacher, Jesus Christ is central. “We have everything we need for life and godliness in Him” (1:3). For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” (2:1).
Notice the word secretly. It’s rare for someone in church to openly deny Jesus. Movement away from the centrality of Christ is subtle. The false teacher will speak about how other people can help change your life, but if you listen carefully to what he is saying, you will see that Jesus Christ is not essential to his message.
It is key that the word “secretly” is emphasised here. We have previously pointed out the outrageous claims of TB Joshua being a messiah, but had replies from supporters telling us they’ve never heard him say this. Of course you haven’t, he’s not that dumb. He spreads this destructive heresy through devoted followers and by dropping hints along the way. Not only this, but TB Joshua’s message is not the gospel, his message is dubious claims of miracles. We challenge any supporter of TB Joshua to point us to a video where he clearly teaches the gospel message.
3. Different Position—In what position will the message leave you?
The true Christian “escapes the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (1:4). Listen to how Peter describes the counterfeit Christian: “They promise . . . freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity, for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2:19). The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it.
According to TB Joshua, every problem in life is caused by a spirit. Every problem in life is solved by a deliverance. Little to no emphasis is put on the fact that many issues are overcome through discipline, hard work and self control. He promises freedom, but at the cost of becoming enslaved to him and his teaching (we have heard many stories of people getting addicted to Emmanuel TV, at the expense of their family relationships and involvement in a local church). Additionally, there is ample evidence that he himself is, as the verse describes a slave of depravity.
4. Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce?
The true believer pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brother kindness, and love (1:5). The counterfeit Christian is marked by arrogance and slander (2:10). They are “experts in greed” and “their eyes are full of adultery” (2:14). They also “despise authority” (2:10). This is a general characteristic of a counterfeit believer.
What kind of people does TB Joshua’s message produce? As a reader once said “those who come on [TB Joshua Watch] to support a man they believe to be a ‘man of God’ have frequently been rude, unbiblical, antagonistic, with no clear reasoning and often downright offensive to those they believe to be against their beloved TB Joshua.” We have had people claim they are praying that our sons and daughters will die in an accident. We’ve had someone else “pray” that Boko Haram would kill us. SCOAN have attempted to blackmail us. Everyone who has used their real names on this site (and some who haven’t) have been ruthlessly slandered on other blogs (with stories that are outright lies).
5. Different Appeal—Why should you listen to the message?
The true teacher appeals to Scripture. “We have the word of the prophets made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it” (1:19). God has spoken, and the true teacher appeals to his Word.
The false teacher makes a rather different appeal: “By appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error” (2:18). So the true teacher asks, “What has God said in his Word?” The false teacher asks, “What do people want to hear? What will appeal to their flesh?”
What is the lure of SCOAN? Deliverance from poverty, deliverance from spirit husbands, deliverance from marital problems, deliverance from sickness, deliverance from lust, deliverance from eating disorders. Deliverance, deliverance, deliverance. That’s all you need, and your life will be effortless – or so people are led to believe. That’s the appeal of SCOAN.
6. Different Fruit—What result does the message have in people’s lives?
The true believer is effective and productive in his or her knowledge of Jesus Christ (1:8). The counterfeit is “like a spring without water” (2:17). This is an extraordinary picture! They promise much but produce little.
What is TB Joshua’s fruit? Some would point to the “thousands” of healings. How have you heard of these? Ah yes – because Emmanuel TV have reported them. What about the many who have been proclaimed healed and died? What about the broken families? What about the angry and hateful followers (see point 4)? What about the dead and injured Ghanians?
7. Different End—Where does the message ultimately lead you?
Here we find the most disturbing contrast of all. The true believer will receive “a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:11). The false believer will experience “swift destruction” (2:1). “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2:3).
Jesus tells us that there will be many who have been involved in ministry in his name, to whom he will say, “Depart from me; I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21). Who are these people? Surely Peter is describing them in this passage.
We know many who have become involved with SCOAN. In every case, “destruction” is a fitting word to describe the consequences of their involvement. Destruction of relationships, destruction of marriages, destruction of faith, destruction of lives. Here we leave you with a few quotes from those who have seen the destruction first hand. There are many we could have chosen from, but this gives a sample:
“Name Changed” said: “I can’t speak for everyone but the reason I am here is because he is a destroyer. I have experienced that destruction of health and relationships and spiritual life first hand. I won’t describe all the details in case my loved one should see my posts and fly into a rage. But I will say that TBJ is a DISASTER. He is a DESTROYER of spiritual life, of marriage, of family, and of health. […] I am hated, rejected, despised, and neglected by someone who made a vow before God to love me and cherish me.”
Beth said, after leaving SCOAN: “I gave up hope at times and considered taking my own life. I drove out in my parents’ car several times with the intention of crashing it, hoping to make it look like an accident. But I could not bring myself to do it. What stopped me was not thoughts of my family or friends being upset (despite how loving and accepting they had been), nor even for myself. I couldn’t do it because I knew I would be connected with TB Joshua and SCOAN and that my death could damage their reputation. My fear of them simultaneously kept me alive and made me want to die. That is the terrifying hold they had over me.”
Emma said, on leaving SCOAN: “I have no qualifications, no job reference, no proof of what I’ve done with my life. I’m only beginning to see the effects of many years of sexual and emotional abuse I received from TB Joshua.”
Madelaine said: “I can give examples of lives being changed by SCOAN. Families grieving, relationships broken, Christian faith being questioned. I do not believe that those changes come from God.”