Nigeria knocked out of the 2012 African Cup of Nations, and players blame TB Joshua

examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess 5:21)

Nigeria versus Guinea

On Saturday the 8th of October, Nigeria’s 2012 African Cup of Nations bid came crashing down, thanks to a 2-2 draw in their match against Guinea. This result has made many Nigerians mad with TB Joshua. Why is this?

The previous Sunday, in a live service TB Joshua made the following claims:

“I was just sitting down and God showed me the game between Nigeria and Guinea next week, What I saw was not favourable towards Nigeria. If at this time we are stopped, it would be very shameful.” Expounding on the match details, he said, “Anyone who scores first takes the day… I am seeing the Guinean side shouting.” (source).

He then finishes the prediction by leading the congregation in a rousing chant (mis)quoting St Augustine “Pray as if it all depends on God, play football as if it all depends on you”.

This is an unusually detailed “prophecy” for TB Joshua. Usually his prophecies are undated, and vague enough that the chance of them being applied to an event in the future is assured (see for example his London riots prediction and his prediction of Steve Jobs’ death). This time however, his prediction related to a clearly stated event (Nigeria versus Guinea), he predicted that it would not be favourable towards Nigeria (it wasn’t!) and that whoever scored first would “take the day” (Guinea scored first, they didn’t win the match but the draw did get them into the finals – “take the day” is vague enough to apply to this scenario).

What should we make of the apparent accuracy of the prediction?

First up, we shouldn’t overstate the accuracy. Really there were only 4 possible outcomes:

  1. Nigeria score first and win the game (prediction mainly correct, tables were turned due to prayer)
  2. Nigeria score first and lose or draw (prediction partially correct)
  3. Guinea score first, Nigeria win (prediction incorrect)
  4. Guinea score first, Nigeria lose or draw (prediction correct)

This shows TB Joshua had over a 50% chance of the outcome being favourable to his prediction. The only outcome which would show his prediction entirely wrong would be number 3, but even then he could claim they won thanks to his prayer.

However, the reality is, the outcome did match his prophecy. Maybe he did “see” the game a week before it was played? Does this prove he is a true prophet? Some are claiming that the fact TB Joshua made this public prediction despite it being unfavourable with his fellow countrymen proves that he is a true prophet, not one tickling the itching ears of his followers with whatever it is they want to hear.

The bible clearly shows us that these facts are not enough. In the book of 1 Samuel Saul consults the witch of Endor who accurately predicts that that Israel was going to lose its battle and that Saul and his sons would be killed and Saul’s kingdom handed over to David (1 Samuel 28:5-9, 11-19). This is an accurate prediction, unfavourable to the receiver. It also absolutely was not from God. Even today there are numerous seers, mediums, soothsayers and prophets of different religions and spiritual persuasion who produce accurate predictions. The bible warns us that even some of those who prophecy, perform miracles and drive out demons in Jesus name are not of him (Matt 7:21-23).

What this looks like is another shameless attempt at self publicity. These prophecies as always involve simple binary outcomes (it will be good for Nigeria, or bad for Nigeria, there will be a fire in a place starting with EN or there will not be, an American hero will die or… well actually that one’s fairly certain). These predictions are setup to make TB Joshua the winner no matter the outcome. Imagine Nigeria won the match and got through to the finals, was that a wrong prophecy? No – they won because TB Joshua saw the impending failure, warned them about it and prayed it away. Man of god to the rescue! Alternatively it happens the way he predicted it, proving his prophetic prowess. Unfortunately for TB Joshua the stunt backfired slightly this time. Many Nigerians (including some of the players) hold his prophetic powers with such high regard that they believe his prophecy actually caused the loss. There are even rumours that the Nigerian senate are considering putting through a bill banning TB Joshua from making negative predictions in the future.

There is one thing we can be sure of from these prophecies: they bring a lot of attention to TB Joshua. The big question is: do they bring any glory to God?