Below we feature the second part of a testimony from a young lady we’ll refer to as Kate who claims to have been sexually abused by the Pastor entrusted by TB Joshua to lead SCOAN Athens. As well as revealing horrifying details about life at SCOAN Athens, the story also shows a pattern of sexual abuse and coverup throughout SCOAN, coming from TB Joshua himself. Before writing off this story as false, readers should be aware that statistics show false rape claims are incredibly rare (between 2% and 8%). Considering the fact there are numerous women who allege TB Joshua or the Athens pastor have sexually abused them, the probability of them all being false is almost inconceivable. If you take the side of the alleged victim rather than the alleged perpetrator, statistically speaking you are far more likely to be on the right side.
Kate’s story part 2
As young people in the church, we were discouraged from having time to think. Andreas’ wife once said to me ‘As young people, your mind is always busy with negative, evil thoughts, with temptations. You need to work, work, work for God so that you don’t have time to think. Your work for God is your relationship with God’. This is another damaging teaching from the SCOAN. It is how much you ‘’work’’ for God that determines your standing before God. And by work they mean editing videos of TB Joshua or working for Emmanuel TV.
By November 2013, I was losing my mind.I gradually discovered that I was not the only girl being abused. This was going on with three other young women at the time. I confided in an older woman in the church called Sandra* and we went to confront Andeas. When we went to his office he said that I had a problem, that I needed prayer because I had seduced him. When Sandra* left, he told me that it was an evil spirit in me that had made me tell her. I told him that he had never been a true pastor for me and that he had totally destroyed my spiritual life.
When the matter became known amongst a small group of us, Andreas panicked and admitted that he had he begged TB Joshua to call him back to Nigeria. Before he left, he said to me ‘you are incapable of living without me. You can never remove what you have in your heart for me.” I then asked him ‘How do you think God sees our relationship?’ He looked at me as if I’d said something weird and said ‘God? He sees it as wrong. But as long as He is first in our hearts, God doesn’t pay attention to this kind of thing. And anyway, you cannot remove what you have in your heart for me.’
One of the main ways SCOAN have tried to cover up this issue was by preaching ‘forgiveness’. Andreas made sure that every sermon after this confrontation was about how if we don’t forgive, God would never forgive us. And by forgive he meant never speak about it, never tell anyone, suffer in silence.
Andreas’ wife appeared to know nothing, and when he left for Nigeria, most members of the branch was still under the impression that he was a wonderful, exemplary pastor. Once he was gone, I knew the situation couldn’t go on with this level of hypocrisy, so I booked a flight and went to Lagos to report him to TB Joshua. In my mind I was so sure that as a man of God, he would have the answer and everything would be alright. I was very mistaken.
After asking to see TB Joshua for 2 days, I was finally let into his office. I brought with me a letter signed by 8 people in Athens. In the letter we begged TB Joshua to take action, to condemn what Andreas had done and to confirm that he would never allow him to return to Athens.TB Joshua said the following shocking sentence:
‘What happened to you happened in the house of God, which means God is aware. If it had happened out in the world, it would be very bad, but because it happened in the house of God, it’s ok’.
Surely sexual abuse is terrible wherever it takes place, ESPECIALLY in the house of God?
He then looked at me very sternly and warned me ‘not to discuss it with anyone’. He said I should tell the people in Athens that the past is over and they should not think about it anymore, that he didn’t even need to read the letter. We should all move on.
This was TB Joshua’s first attempt to cover up the issue. Nothing changed after that. Andreas continued to be a disciple, his wife continued to run the branch without the knowledge of anything and we were all supposed to continue just as we were before. I now realize his incapability to deal with my own situation is because he was incapable of dealing with his own unresolved situations.
I returned to Athens and we up telling his wife the whole truth. She refused to believe us, we were banned from the church and called liars, prostitutes and betrayers of the ministry. SCOAN members all over Greece were split between believing us and not believing us. Most people called us blasphemers. When seen on the street we would be given dirty looks by church members. This was going on for a month and TB Joshua was doing nothing about it, despite our hundreds of emails asking for help. One evening, we were shocked by a phone call from TB Joshua himself. He said the following ‘I want you to be by Andreas’ side when he returns to Athens, you know, as a wise man like Harry’. We felt defeated. How could Andreas be sent as a wise man after all this? He tried telling us that he would send Andreas as a wise man in order to silence us with the fear that he would return as a holy man of God. When he saw that this tactic didn’t work, he sent Wise Man Harry to claim that TB Joshua never knew him in the first place. This showed terrible judgment and confusion on the part of TB Joshua.
After I told my parents the truth, they wrote an email to TB Joshua threatening to sue the ministry and Andreas if action was not taken and we were not justified. They demanded that a representative of the branch who can speak Greek be sent to sort the situation out. Hundreds of emails had been sent by SCOAN Athens members but TB Joshua had done nothing about it. The moment he was threatened however, he responded. 2 days later Wise Man Harry was sent to Athens. We were hopeful because we thought we would finally be vindicated- but no such thing.
Wise Man Harry stood on stage at about 12pm on Sunday June 1st 2014. He delivered a sermon of lies to the congregation. TB Joshua totally disassociated himself with the branch and denied having any connection with Andreas. There was no mention whatsoever of sexual abuse or the names of any girls. Wise man Harry was told by TB Joshua to say that it was Andreas’ arrogance and anger that led him to open the branch without the permission of TB Joshua. It’s interesting how for 8 years, SCOAN claim that they had no control over the Athens branch and that it was opened by Andreas on his own. If that is truly the case, then why are there videos all over youtube saying ‘TB Joshua has sent the anointed water to the Athens Branch? Why is there a whole DVD of wise man Harry holding a service at the Athens Branch? Why did they have the control to close it 8 years later? Why were the tithes of the branch sent to Nigeria and used for TB Joshua’s expenses? Why were most of the church members Emmanuel TV partners? Why did TB Joshua call us from time to time during a Sunday service in Athens and ‘greet his people’ over loudspeaker? And why up until June 1st was there a section on the SCOAN website called ‘Branches’ which included Athens with the address and phone number?
Harry’s message brought tension and confusion throughout the congregation. When people stood up and protested to what he was saying he said ‘do not blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ’, after he had just told lie upon lie to cover the reputation of the ministry. You can listen to the full audio recording and read the transcription in the other article. Shortly after this, a riot broke out amongst SCOAN followers and armed riot police had to come and break it up. By the next day, the Athens Branch was closed down and outraged members gathered outside to ask for their money and possessions back, having made huge financial investments in the church over the last eight years.
Unfortunately this is just the way SCOAN deal with their issues. TB Joshua will pay any price for the sake of his reputation. He did not care for the broken hearted. He totally betrayed his faithful followers. He will stop at nothing to protect the name of the church while people suffer. It is a dangerous organisation. I want to mention that I was a young person who had given my heart entirely to this ministry. I waited patiently for TB Joshua to be the man of God he claims to be but I was devastated and my life was turned upside down by the level of deception and hypocrisy.
This ministry is very good at putting on a very attractive performance but unfortunately that’s all it is. At the end of the day the life and soul of this church is about the worship of TB Joshua alone. The moment you start to think for yourself is when you become a threat to them.
I know that SCOAN will respond to this article with it’s usual attacks. There are disciples in the ministry who are specifically dedicated to this activity. This is the reason they film your confession when you first join the church. They hold you hostage with the knowledge that your intimate confessions could be made public at anytime in the future. I am sure they will do the same with me but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
It’s hard to believe these serious allegations when you have dedicated your heart and soul to the ministry. I know I once read TB Joshua Watch and refused to believe a word of it. SCOAN will always say that people speaking against the ministry are of the devil. It’s not true. We are all people who have had a terrible experience and want to warn others. It does not benefit me in any way to share my experience with you. If anything, it’s incredibly risky and difficult. But if this can help someone then it’s worth it.