A report in the famous Nigerian Tribune newspaper regarding a visit to The Synagogue, Church of All Nations, home of Emmanuel TV…
OLU OSUNDE was in Synagogue Church of All Nations last week on interactive session with Prophet TB Joshua. There, he was conducted round the entire synagogue. His reports:
THE radiant peace which pervades Ikotun area where the Synagogue Church of All Nations is located can only be compared to probably the Vatican city. Few meters to the state-of-the-art edifice, which has what looks like an eolithic wall, a man of about 40 atop a motorbike on the other side of the runway who appeared fascinated by the beauty of the synagogue was noticed by this writer just as the edifice came to view. The man with his crash helmet on, raised up his clenched fist, shook his head and with his eyes fixed on the church’s direction nodded gently apparently in appreciation of The Synagogue. As we turned towards the large gate of the church, he smiled wryly and later dropped his head in prayer posture on the handle of his stationary bike.
He probably must be expressing the feelings of joy most other people around the area often express for having such a man of God as their neighbour. Within the Synagogue and its environs is constant illumination courtesy of the church and unending movement of human traffic which gives a boost to the economic activities of the area. Around the church, selling and buying is a common feature while some of the foreign members (whites) add colour to the spectacle enunciating the significance of the name Synagogue, Church of All Nations.
Within the vicinity of the church are people of diverse skills from from all walks of life working in unison. Their attitudes to to one another as they walk in twos, threes and more exchanging pleasantries in their common slogan ‘Emmanuel’-meaning ‘God with us’ reminds one of the spiritual assertion as contained in the bible of a ‘new Jerusalem coming down from heaven’. Without exageration, the spiritual blending of diverse races that throng the church across the globe tends to further explain the significance of the prefix “All Nations” attached to the name Synagogue Church. It appears a fulfilment of an earlier vision of what the church would be.
One significant thing that marks the church out is the freedom of access to any part of the Synagogue despite the controversies that the place has generated within the christendom. While the economic activities around the Synagogue which include petty trading, supermarkets, most of them owned by non- christians give the place out as a community in itself, the ever expansionist policy of the church’s authority keeps the innovative members of the church busy on daily basis.
It’s like, once an idea of what a place within the structure should be is mooted and the authority gives an approval, the members with structural minds and skills set to work. One of such recently mooted idea is the gigantic fish pond that is being constructed including skills development centre.
The auditorium where the worship takes place is a radiance of heavenly beauty. According to a Synagogue spokesman, Evangelist Chris a Briton, “why we are so much concerned about the beauty of The Synagogue is the fact that, we want it to keep us in rememberance of our relationship with God. Anyone who comes in here, no matter his or her condition, should see here as a place of comfort. He or she should be comforted by the beauty of this place and with the words of wisdom inscribed everywhere in the sactuary.”
“The beauty is a reflection of the glory of God,” adding that “Prophet TB Joshua himself believes in excellence, because what is half done is not done at all.” Within the Synagogue are a world class television studio and transmission centre from where the activitiies of the church are beamed across the globe through a cable named Emmanuel TV.
One unique aspect of the studio is the staff composition which despite the superiority of their productions does not follow the standard requirements of the secular studio in Nigeria. It’s like they rely more on spiritual direction for what they do as most of the staff before embarking on the job had no pre-knowledge of TV productions. “They are simply members who showed interest and were picked and trained within the system,” said Evangelist Chris.
In the sanctuary around the altar are various sizes of lighting systems which are centrally controlled from the technical control room few metres away. Also, with the high resolution camera composition built around the altar, every service is beamed live through the cable network to the outside world; perhaps that explains why there is usually an attraction of people from all walks of life to the Synagogue.
For comfort, accommodation which is being expanded according to availability of fund as explained by the spokesman are usually available for first timers and the Synagogue important visitors. Because of non-restriction policy of the Synagogue authority, the visitors cut across religion, race and ethnicity while the auditorium according to the spokesman is however open to Christian ministers of God irrespective of their denominations. “We don’t keep the auditorium to ourselves,” he emphasised.
According to him, many of those working in the Synagogue were not initially members of the church.” “Most of them” he said “just came looking for help and the prophet empowered them making them.” The Synagogue auditorium which takes more than 30,000 people is well equipped with modern electronic gadgets comparable to anyone in the world. The idea, Chris said, is to portray the glory of God trying to capture the unimaginative beauty of heaven, on earth.
An entrepot attached to the Synagogue is an expansive hall large enough to accommodate consignments of goods and well equipped with factory machinery. Inside, rice and some other products often meant for the needy are repackaged before distribution. The simplicity of the prophet finds expression in his sparsely furnished seating room where the Tribune Church crew had to wait for about four hours watching numerous spiritual activities of the prophet on Emmanuel TV.
One common phenomenon about the synagogue is the seeming abhorrence or distaste for secular TV programmes. All over the place, what is commonly watched on the TV screens scattered at every strategic corners of the church were programmes that have bearings with the synagogue. Before the appearance of the man of God to Tribune Church crew, various clips of the prophet’s charitable activities including his family reconciliation efforts in line with the church’s policy on giving were aired.
While the crew watched with rapt attention, Pastor T.B. Joshua came in in a black knicker with a T-shirt to match. “This is simplicity carried too far, why do you always prefer stoic appearance? Tribune Church queried. “What do you expect? he retorted, “TB Joshua with golden wrist watch and shoes that are different from yours – distractive wears that do not glorify God?” he asked rhetorically adding that “I feel what other people feel.” Whatever that means, what could be deducted from that statement has its answers in his down-to-earth attitudes to God’s work which he said dictates the good relationship he always tries to maintain with all men irrespective of their conditions.
“Who mentored you?” Tribune Church fired in apparent bid to get an answer to few of the numerous questions of his critics within the Christendom. “Our God is awesome,” he exclaimed stressing that “as there is a university here on earth, there is also a university of God. He may choose to train you in his own university. He may decide not to send you to Theology School he said adding that in God’s university, every trial serves a purpose because, according to him, each course has a purpose. “God,” he said “can choose to train you with invisible hands and even choose to use foolish things.”
Emphasising the spiritual essence of giving, he said it is when we give and stick to doing so that our destiny can be reshaped. Explaining how he had to at a time spend about N37 million on rice and cash gifts to the less privileged, he said it is in doing so that one can experience continued flow of more money because, according to him, God is always aware of the danger of cutting off the flow on those the money is meant for.
He warned against criticising a man of God saying they should be left for God to judge. On why he keeps no bodyguards or other security men around himself, the man of God explained that he has never been scared of leaving this world anytime as according to him, the comfort of heaven cannot be compared to what obtains on earth. “We are suffering here on earth,” he emphasised.
He said, “no matter the praises, adoration, joy and the popularity you have here, they cannot be compared to what we have over there.” While reacting to his critics, he said “today, many people are found of saying TB Joshua is not a man of God, TB Joshua is this or that, but you cannot fight for God,” he said adding that if God does not call you and make you fit into a role, you cannot play the role.
SOURCE: Sunday Tribune