In our last post, we quoted from an article by Pat Zukeran on 8 marks of an abusive church. In this and the next few posts we will look at a few of these characteristics and consider how they apply to SCOAN.
Control Orientated Leadership
Zukeran states that
“A central feature of an abusive church is control-oriented leadership. The leader in an abusive church is dogmatic, self- confident, arrogant, and the spiritual focal point in the lives of his followers. The leader assumes he is more spiritually in tune with God than anyone else. He claims insight into Scripture that no one else has. Or, he may state that he receives personal revelations from God. Because of such claims, the leader’s position and beliefs cannot be questioned; his statements are final. To members of this type of church or group, questioning the leader is the equivalent of questioning God. Although the leader may not come out and state this fact, this attitude is clearly seen by the treatment of those who dare to question or challenge the leader. The leader of the movement often makes personal decisions for his followers. Individual thinking is prohibited; thus the followers become dependent on the leader.” (Source. Emphasis ours)
To say that TB Joshua is the spiritual focal point in the lives of his followers would be a massive understatement. As we have seen several times on this blog, many of his followers consider him a messiah (example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4). Some supporters of SCOAN have claimed that a future testament of the bible will be based around the life of TB Joshua.
Anyone who questions TB Joshua is labelled a blasphemer, even by SCOAN. TB Joshua himself teaches that as a man of God (whatever that is), he is infallible. Questioning TB Joshua is absolutely forbidden. TB Joshua exerts massive control over his disciples, you can see this in the multiple ex-disciple testimonies featured on this site. A reader recently made us aware that some high donating Emmanuel TV partners get the (dubious) privilege of having a “wise man” be their prayer partner. These prayer partnerships becomes a means of control over the family, even to the extent of making major decisions regarding a young persons future.
There is no doubt that TB Joshua leadership style is control orientated, but is that wrong? Zukeran continues:
“In the hierarchy of such a church, the leader is, or tends to be, accountable to no one. Even if there is an elder board, it is usually made up of men who are loyal to, and will never disagree with, the leader. This style of leadership is not one endorsed in the Bible. According to Scripture all believers have equal access to God and are equal before Him because we are made in His image, and we are all under the authority of the Word of God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 believers are directed to measure all teachings against the Word of God. Acts 17:11 states that even the apostle Paul was under the authority of the Bible, and the Bereans were commended because they tested Paul’s teachings with the Scriptures. Leaders and laity alike are to live according to Scripture.” (Source. Emphasis ours)