TB Joshua addresses some of the issues critics have of hima nd the church in this interview with TheNEWS
- Many people are confused and they keep asking the question, what is the source of your power? There are critics who keep saying you use demonic or occult power, while others think otherwise.
The source of my power? It is written that by their fruits, you shall know them. If I open my mouth and say this is the source of my power, it would seem I am arrogant or boasting.
Rather, I should boast about what God is doing in my life. It is by this kind of trial that you know the true minister of God.
In the Act of Apostles, the early Christian preachers were being disturbed by the Pharisees, Sadducees and the High Priests in the Synagogue and the Temple in Jerusalem.
But among the elderly religious Jews was a man called Gamaliel, a doctor of the law. He quoted the example of Theudas who boasted to be somebody and who attracted over 400 men. He was slain and his followers scattered.
Gamaliele cited example of Judas of Galilee (not Iscariot) who rose in the days of the taxing. He attracted many people, but he perished while his adherents were dispersed. Those were in the days when Israel was under Roman colonialism.
Gamaliel, therefore warned the Jewish, elders. “Refrain from these men (Christian preachers) and let them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, yet, haply ye be found to be even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39, King James Version).
So, if I am not of God, I will not survive this trial. But if I am of God, this trial will not destroy me. Trial is the soil in which faith flourishes. God sees his own people through trial.
- Let me ask once again, what is the source of your power, the secret?
I said God. Jesus comes to give abundant life, while satan comes to kill and to destroy.
Are you saying that I use demonic powers to deceive all these foreigners you see around Synagogue here? Right now I am talking to you, there are over 400 foreigners from 10 different countries here. Are these people being deceived, destroyed or killed (as my detractors alleged)? If I have been using occultic power, the congregation here will not increase. If my mission here is not of God, it won’t stand just as Gamaliel said.
When people have their problems solved or they have salvation, they tell others.
- There was one Pastor Solomon who made some serious allegation against you. That you were born a Moslem, that your name was Fatai. That you learnt occultism in Kaduna from a Moslem palmist. Pastor Solomon even added that you consult snakes and even wanted to assassinate a woman journalist who wrote a story about you…
This pastor Solomon you named was just a member of the church. So I will not bandy words with him or give dignity to his tissue of lies. “Iro ni gbogbom kini yen o Olorun fori jin won o (these are all lies, God will forgive them)”. I have never done all these things.
I was born a Christian, my parents were Christians. The only connection I had with Muslims was that I attended Ansar-Ud-Deen school, Ikare. I attended 10 different secondary schools under one year.
I don’t want to go into that. But I thank God.
- We read somewhere that you studied mysticism in India…
I have never visited India. It is a lie.
- What about the Kaduna Mallam or palmist that allegedly thought you magic?
If somebody taught you how to do something, will you be greater than he is? Tell me, somebody taught you how to write, can you beat that teacher? Can you beat that teacher? Can you beat your editor-in-chief in writing? Where then is the Mallam?
- If you maintain that you neither lived in Kaduna nor was trained by palmist, let us know your background.
I was born 12 June 1963 at Arigidi, Ikare-Akoko, at Akoko North Local Government Area of Ondo state.
My father was Pa Kolawole Balogun from Imo quarters and my mother, Madam Folarin Aisha Adesiji Balogun of Oosin quarters of Agbaluku in the city.
Like the John Baptist, whose father went dumb when an Angel predicted his birth or Samuel whose coming was predicted , were there some signs that heralded your birth?
That is a very good question. Over 100 years back, there was one Balogun Okoorun, a farmer, hunter and warrior who was from Oosin Quarters of Agbaluku, at Arigidi Akoko. The man had prophetic powers.
- What were his prophesies which were fulfilled?
He predicted that a section of my town would move from their original place to Imo in the north of Arigidi. That was fulfilled in 1952.
The second prophesy was about my humble self. He said that a young man would emerge from Oosin quarters, who would be powerful, famous and would have a multitude of followers, as well as that his life and works would explain that the human grace is one, notwithstanding different religions, culture and skin pigmentation.
- Tell us more about Arigidi…
It is one of the biggest towns at Akokoland in Ondo State and it has a population of over 70,000. The town has two nursery schools, 10 primary schools and three secondary schools. All these serve the different quarters of Agbaluku, Ayase, Ekiteji, Ilepa, Imo, Ita, Iyu, Oguo and Osin. The entire town is ruled by an oba called The Zaki of Arigidi.
- So much about your town. You said your birth was predicted. Were there signs that you were the one?
My mother was pregnant in April 1962. After six months, the foetus did not seem to be moving. My mother was taken to a medical doctor and the baby kicked.
- That was medical science and not mystery…
Wait now! The response was not permanent, because the child stopped kicking again. Seven, eight and nine months, there was no kicking. A strange man advised my mother to stop visiting medical doctors. The old man recommended prayers and that my mother should move to a different area entirely.
After the 14th month, my mother gave birth to me. The information was conveyed to my father in the farm, who became so happy that he threw away his hoe and cutlass, ran home and named me Temitope (my experience requires gratitude to God).
- There have been cases of prolonged pregnancies. But was there anything in particular that was mysterious about your birth or childhood?
Let me narrate one story to you. On the eight day when people gathered for the naming ceremony of this new child, I was sleeping on a mat. Nearby, the Water Corporation contractors were blasting rocks to make way for their pipes. They were using this thing called dynamite. The site of the blasts is the present saint Luke’s Anglican Church, Arigidi.
As the blasts were going on, my mother carried me off the mat and placed me on her lap. No sooner did she do that than a big boulder pierced our roof and landed on the very mat that I slept. And would you doubt the mystery of that also?
- Ok, when you were growing up did you display certain extraordinary qualities?
You see, I attended St. Stephens Anglican Primary school, Imo, Arigidi from 1971 to 1976. That time, I lived with an uncle of mine. In the secondary school, I taught my colleagues the Scriptures, although I did not have any Bible training. You can go and find out from one of my teachers, Mrs. Margaret Tolani Adejumo who would attest to my brilliance, ability to lead during school devotions and aura of power that surrounded me. At school, my mates called me “Small Prophet” because of my power to foretell.
- How and when did your church start?
I used to bring children together for the word of God. In 1992, the church began because people who came to listen to the word of God were increasing in number.
Thus, the Synagogue Church of All Nations became a church for the rich, poor, the powerful, the powerless.
- What do you charge for the different healings?
I am not the healer, but I know the healer. His name is Jesus Christ. If I collect money from you, then I am indirectly telling you that I am your healer. In Mathew chapter 10 verse 8, Jesus says: “freely you receive, freely you should give”.
- Did you ever experience what is usually referred to as the baptism of the Holy Ghost?
What a question to ask a man of God of this stature?
I experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost which changed my life completely. Apart from experiencing peace and joy, I was able to praise God in other languages. I also conducted a service that was characterized by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- How come you were accused of using demonic powers?
When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I had power in my prayers. I do everything in the power of the Holy Spirit who is a Divine Person, Helper and Comforter.
- All these criticism must be a big weight on you…
Whatever happens, I give myself to prayer. When people hate or criticize you in spite of all you do, remembers Christ’s rejection. If Jesus Christ, himself could be ill-treated and called names, (he was even accused of using the power of Belzebub, the King of the devils), who am I, a mere servant, to feel exceptional?
- Many people still think that you are a mysterious person…
Nobody really knows you more than you know yourself. The belief of others about you does not really matter in life. Rather, it is what you believe about yourself.
- So, how do you cope with attacks, misconceptions and criticisms?
Persecution is a tonic to my anointing. Jesus was slandered and falsely accused. But he believed in Himself, knowing that his accusers were ignorant and proud. He ignored them because he knew the truth. He stayed focused.