Over the 5 years we’ve run TB Joshua Watch, we’ve had a lot of responses from pro-TB Joshua readers. One of the most common objections we get is “don’t fight God’s battles, leave it to him – if TB Joshua isn’t of God, God is perfectly capable of taking care of him”. The more biblically literate critics would often cite the story of Gamaliel, the pharisee who saved the apostles lives in Acts 5 by famously warning the council “keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”.
What should we make of this advice of Gamaliel? It was good that he gave this advice at the time he gave it, it saved the apostles lives which in turn resulted in continued growth and strengthening of the church. But taking this account and making it a universal principle is misguided. Do you really think this one account completely neuters the churches ability to call out false teaching? Can anyone claim they have heard from God with total impunity, because we have to “leave it to God in case we be found opposing God”? Should we assume that any religious movement that doesn’t quickly fail is “of God”? Of course not! If this were the case, it would nullify many teachings of Jesus (who warned frequently that we should be on the look out against false prophets), it would mean Paul was mistaken to call out false prophets by name (2 Timothy 2:15-18) and it would mean Jesus was wrong to commend the church of Ephesus for testing those who called themselves “apostles” and finding them false (Rev 2:2).
More to the point – if you tell us we should “leave it all for God”, we hope you’re consistent enough to say the same to TB Joshua. After all, he’s well known for diagnosing people as having “demons” and “casting them out”. Why can’t he leave it to God? Does God need him to fight his battles?
God delights when we serve him, even though he doesn’t need it. Does he need us to preach the gospel? Does he need us to pray for the sick? Does he need us to give to the needy? Does our righteous living make him any more “God-like”? The answer to all these questions is of course an emphatic NO! But we all recognise these as important elements of the Christian life. So too is warning people about “deceitful workers disguised as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).
By all means disagree with our conclusions regarding TB Joshua, but don’t lazily object to it because you think it should be left to God. Nobody really believes this, and even the people who use this objection are quite happy for others to “do God’s work”, as long as they agree with them.