Repost: The Miracles of TB Joshua

The following in depth article was previously posted on TB Joshua Watch nearly 2 years ago. In it we hear from a British doctor and a former disciple who, as former followers of TB Joshua, have had several years experience of his healing ministry in Lagos.
Since this article SCOAN have been subject to a BBC News and Sky News investigation into the healing ministry. We have posted a series of articles revealing their damaging teaching on “maintaining your miracle” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and reported the story of Anna (who sadly died) and Judith (who nearly died) after being “healed” by TB Joshua.

TB Joshua’s worldwide fame is founded on the miracles that are said to have taken place in his church in Lagos and in his healing services around the world. His official TV channel Emmanuel TV shows back-to-back videos of these dramatic miracles. Tens of thousands of people from all over Africa come to Lagos for healing, often at huge personal cost. But how many of them experience the life-changing miracles that are so familiar from official SCOAN accounts and videos? And how many of these stories of healing actually stand up to scrutiny?

In this post we hear from a British doctor and a former disciple who, as former followers of TB Joshua, have had several years experience of his healing ministry in Lagos. Their testimonies show that official accounts of TB Joshua’s miracles give a distorted picture of what goes on at the church, and illustrate how TB Joshua’s approach to healing leads to great suffering for many people who come to SCOAN seeking help.

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Maintaining your miracle, a followup

Healing at SCOAN

The previous post compared the healings of Jesus with the healings of TB Joshua and concluded that because TB Joshua’s miracles are incomplete (start of a process) and require “maintaining”, they do not qualify as biblical healing. Because of this, we concluded that:

“either TB Joshua is a very skilled and dangerous conman, or, like pharoah’s sorcerers (Exodus 7:10-12), he has impressive  power, but the power of God shows itself to be greater”

This is an extremely important point for his supporters to refute, because the miracles are TB Joshua’s main attraction, and his supporters main defense of him. Whenever you bring up the sexual abuse allegations, the highly questionable teachings or the cult like behaviour at SCOAN, his supporters immediately respond by questioning how these accusations could hold any weight against a man who is responsible for healing/delivering/restoring so many people in the name of Jesus? (aside: as we’ve mentioned before, him healing “in the name of Jesus” is not in itself validation of his ministry). If his supporters were able to clearly show that he was responsible for a significant number of bonafide, validated healings which could be shown to be equivalent to those found in scripture, we detractors would be forced to reconsider our position.

So far however, we’ve been given no reason at all to rethink. In fact, every single one of their responses has committed one of these 3 basic logical fallacies:

Red herrings

A Red herring diverts attention away from the major issues to a minor, disputable issue. Doi started off like this by questioning our claim that some healing miracles in the bible were performed without the need for any faith, but just because of the mercy of God. We stand by our original statement, but either view would require an argument from silence, so there’s no point labouring it. The important thing is, even if you concede this one point, absolutely nothing is lost from the issues raised.

Straw men

The straw man argument works by twisting the opponents words to produce a “superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition” (Wikipedia link) which can then be easily refuted without actually refuting the original position. “Just asking” is one example of this “So I have a STD and go to SCOAN for healing but afterwards can still freely sleep around… I have lung disease and go to SCOAN for healing but afterwards can go on smoking to my hearts content… “ [link] No! That’s not what we’re saying! (More on that later) We were also provided plenty of verses showing the importance of faith and righteous living – again, we totally affirm that!

Ad Hominem

The final rhetorical device they used (especially on their own blog) is the Ad Hominem fallacy. In other words, attacking the character of the critics rather than the issues themselves. To paraphrase: “They’re all pharisees, the pharisees were wrong, therefore they are wrong!”. Even if they think they have biblical evidence that we are pharisees, this is an incredibly lazy, not to mention pointless style of argument, it actually says more about them than it does about us! Calling critics pharisees is the Christian version of Godwin’s law which humorously observes that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Once the opponents have been compared to a universally discredited person or group, any chance of meaningful dialogue vanishes.

This only describes the responses which stayed on topic. One blog said that our previous post “attacked the doctrine of the gospel of christ preached here in the SCOAN”. This was very confusing since the last post said nothing of the Gospel of Christ. Perhaps this says a lot about what they believe the gospel of Christ is. Another post claimed that our insistence that true biblical healing is final and complete is the “height of satanic deception”! Presumably that means they believe true divine healing is partial and incomplete? Seems a strange stance for a group so well known for their faith healing!

Despite all this rhetoric, we still do not have:

  1. Any biblical evidence that God heals someone, then takes away that same healing because of subsequent lack of faith or sinful living.
  2. Any biblical evidence that biblical healing is “The start of a process” rather than instantaneous.

What we do seem to have is unanimous agreement that the above two things are taught by SCOAN, despite no scriptural backing. No SCOAN supporter has so far suggested otherwise.

Perhaps we have not been clear enough in the points we’ve made. To be absolutely clear, we believe that:

  1. Personal faith is an essential element of the Christian’s life, and played a key part in many (though not all) of the healing miracles in the bible.
  2. Righteous living is important and some sickness is the direct result of an unhealthy and/or sinful lifestyle.

However, these are not the issues we are getting at. These two scenarios illustrate our concern:

  1. Arthur (not a real person) is HIV+, but after prayer he is healed. He goes to the doctor who confirms his healing and gives him the go ahead to come off his ARV medication. Several years later he is living a promiscuous lifestyle and he again contracts HIV. He has not lost his healing, he has “re-contracted” HIV through not maintaining a responsible and healthy lifestyle.
  2. A woman suffers from Diabetes. A pastor declares her healed and tells her to stop taking her medication. Within days of stopping her insulin, she is in a coma. No evidence of her being healed was ever witnessed. (True story)

Scenario 1 shows a genuine healing, one confirmed by the medical profession. However, some time later he was suffering from the same condition, not because he lost his healing, but because he recontracted the condition through a foolish and irresponsible lifestyle. Anyone living that lifestyle would have been vulnerable, regardless of whether or not they had previously suffered from it and been healed.

Scenario 2 shows no genuine healing at all, though SCOAN supporters accuse the lady of having not had enough faith to maintain her miracle.*

This brings us to the key point: If you have been healed of a condition, it is as if you had never had it in the first place. This is the difference between healing and treatment, treatment must be maintained until you reach a point (if ever) that your body is healed. Healing is the completed process. It does not make you invulnerable against ever suffering from the condition again – but if you never see any evidence of the healing having taken place, that’s not because you haven’t maintained it, it’s because you were never healed!

SCOAN supporters – these are serious issues causing a massive black cloud over the organisation you love so much. You can’t just say this is an issue we’ve invented, two world renown news organisations have investigated SCOAN (nothing to do with us!) and we had been discussing the issues long before their stories were released. Over the days surrounding the Sky and BBC reports, literally tens of thousands of people were sharing links to the story on facebook and twitter, magnitudes more than you see sharing about the supposed good things which go on at SCOAN. It is imperative that you can justify the methods used biblically, if you can’t you need to be questioning what you are doing supporting them in the first place.

We know you respond to our site out of your loyalty to SCOAN, but you do yourself (and SCOAN) no favours when you don’t even try to understand our concerns or represent them fairly. You may have a lot of high fiving going on on your own blog, but the fact is you’re preaching to the choir. Your inability or refusal to actually address the serious issues we raise is glaringly obvious to any third party watching on.

This post is continued in: Maintaining your miracle part 3

* Very similar stories could be told through the stories of 3 cancer victims we know of who died after TB Joshua falsely pronounced them healed. No visible evidence of this “healing” was ever witnessed before they died. The same accusations have been leveled at them by SCOAN supporters.