Earlier this year in an interview with The Guardian Newspapers, the presitigious and renowned Nigerian newspaper, TB Joshua spoke on a range of intriguing issues…Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) was recently mentioned among the world’s leading faith healers by America’s TIME Magazine. He was also awarded the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the government in recognition of his humanitarian activities. He spoke to TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA at his church’s headquarters in Ikotun, Lagos on what the award means to him and why his church attracts high-profile visitors.
“If not for the grace of God, I would be like any other man on the street…” TB Joshua
First, how do you feel with the National Honour bestowed on you by Mr. President?
Honour where? You mean the one that was given to me in January. Well, that is not new to me and is not something special to me. As you can see for yourself, a lot of people, organisations, government, home and abroad and even foreign missions have been honouring the grace of God upon my life. Just last week, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) presented me with an award. But then, the honour is not meant for me, it belongs to God. I am just a vessel God is using.
First, it was your meeting with the Governor General of the State of Bahamas in the early 90s, followed by the visit of President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, a few years later. Since then, other world leaders have come to visit you, most recently, was the new President of Ghana, Prof. John Atta Mills and you are preparing to receive a South African leader in the next few days, what do you think is the source of attraction?
It is a simple answer; it is because their needs are met. People will always be attracted to wherever their needs will be met; and the needs of men vary. What I want and like might be different from what you want; so, you will always go to where your needs are met. It is not in my power, it is God, who is answering the needs of his people. Even in the Bible, people travel far and wide to where their needs will be met. Also, the work of God is like honey. Wherever honey is, insects seek and find it. When God is doing a new thing in a place, people are attracted there. So, these presidents and other foreign nationals come to the church, because of what God is doing here.
Despite this, most Nigerians have still not acknowledged what God is using you to do. Why is it so?
You see, every man of God has his gift. This is my own area. In the academic world, we have professors of English, Chemistry, and Mathematics. If some people do not need my gift, this does not mean that it is not needed somewhere. If what you have is not needed now, that does not mean that it will not be needed tomorrow. So, it would be too soon to begin to say this and it would be too soon to praise or come to the conclusion you have drawn now. God’s time is the best. Sometimes, what you need at the end might be the most important thing to you. Let me give you a good example: a friend you discover later in life may be the most important friend you would cherish more than the friend you have had from the beginning of your life.
Apart from the headquarters’ church in Lagos, which has become a tourist attraction, do you have other branches of the church?
Branches everywhere is not the issue, what is the issue now is making disciples of Christ out of men, making another T.B. Joshua. If this could be possible in the life of Elisha and Elisha came out of Elijah even more powerful than his master, why not also in our time, so that after I am gone, there will be men who God would raise up to achieve His purpose in the world. That is the biggest reward God can give to his servant. Like they always say, there is no success without a good successor. The greatest honour will be to make disciples who will do better than what we are presently doing.
Do you see your children taking after your ministry in the Synagogue?
The ministry is not a will; it is not a property you can will to your children. It is a spiritual inheritance and the Bible talks about the inheritance of saints. You must meet God’s condition and no human hand can be employed to do the work of God, neither can the mouth do the work of God. It is not a matter of ‘I can speak good grammar’, it is only God that will choose who He wants. It is predestined, as it should be by divine will. I cannot force my children to follow in my footsteps, they have to decide on their own, and I can only point them to the way we also have followed. I cannot give them the power because I am not the owner of the power. I can only do my best to train them in the way of the Lord and if they are ready to follow and make a difference, it is their choice, not mine.
Who is T.B. Joshua?
Joshua is a man like you. I am like anybody else on the street; the only difference in my life is the grace of God. That is the difference and that is what separates me from the man on the street. But with that, because I am a man who has known what it is to lack, I do not close my eyes to the needy. Because I am somebody who has experienced what it is to be poor and without money, I give of what I have to help the poor, because I am a man who knows what it is to be hungry, I give food to feed the poor and those who are hungry, as a way of appreciating the grace of God upon my life because if not for the grace of God, I would be like any other man on the street.
SOURCE: The Guardian, Nigeria