Remembering TB Joshua: A personal testimony of warmth, compassion and industry – TheCable

Posted By on June 2, 2022

AYODEJI A. ADEDARA

I first met the late T.B. Joshua one Thursday evening in either September or October 2018. At that time, Emmanuel TV was in need of English language experts to support the international studio team in their quite demanding work of laying text on materials for broadcast. T.B. Joshua gave the message to a top Lagos-based journalist, who promptly contacted my then head of department. About four hours after being made the offer at the University of Lagos, I was sitting in close proximity to T.B. Joshua in a living room at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun, Lagos.

T.B. Joshua was indeed a man without airs. He had come in wearing a T-shirt and combat shorts extending way over the knees, engaging me in light-hearted conversation as he sat down. He asked an aide to show me a mobile phone video of an ongoing project in Israel. When I was leaving the country the last time, he told me, airport officials did not clear me until somebody from the presidency had spoken with me and received assurances that I was not relocating. He later asked, Have you read the Bible? I said I was familiar with virtually all Bible stories as a former Deeper Lifer! Thats good, he replied. Then we discussed a bit of national politics before he handed us sizeable parcels and told his aides to get my number.

Two days later, he asked me over again and this time I met him in his main officea busy place indeed. A few questions after, the days meeting was done and he handed me another sizeable parcel. Could he please pray for me? With a warm, understanding smile, he told me there would be time for that later. I pushed again. Dont worry, he assured me. I bowed in gratitude and made for the door, both of us being already on our feet at this time.

There was a break of about a month or less, but I remember that by December 2018 I had become a fairly regular face in the studio. A week or two before Christmas, T.B. Joshua gave me two bags of rice and a parcel that was three times the size of what he had now given me at least three times previously. It is a testimony to the humanism of T.B. Joshua that, although the focus of this article is not his financial generosity towards me and countless others, it is impossible for anybody who ever had engagements with him not to notice his incurable openhandedness. To the extremely hard-working, go-getting T.B. Joshua, money was never an object to crave in itself but something with which to run material life for the benefit of all. Therefore, the first lesson I learned from him is never to look down on anybody in need but to help out cheerfully whenever one can. As he always said, Somebody somewhere is in desperate need of what is in your hands.

The second lesson from my brief but deeply impactful interactions with T.B. Joshua is never to judge media-exposed people without having personally encountered them. In the course of interacting with T.B. Joshua, I realised that media portrayal of newsmakers can often be wilfully malicious, especially when engineered by respected, influential authority figures. In T.B. Joshuas case, perhaps because of his limited formal education, the unconventional way in which he launched out without a so-called father figure in ministry, the exceptional grace that saw him commanding extensive internal attention within a relatively short period of time and the early media manipulation of his public image, it was easy for more established clergy to sell falsehood to members of the conventional church about him and his ministry. Yet, even if I was not there in those early days, I daresay that it would have taken very little effort for any objective person to reach the conclusion that T.B. Joshua was indeed a man favoured by God Almightygiven his personal growth trajectory and the expansion and impact of his ministry.

Although those who like to fancy themselves as spiritually deep may be quick to dismiss me as ignorant, undiscerning, I do not hesitate to declare that around T.B. Joshua I saw nothing but light and continue to see nothing but light in The Synagogue. As someone with exposure to philosophical scepticism leading to some sort of objective detachment from spiritual claimsI have been calling myself a Critical Christian since 2009, for example, at times viewing the Bible as a historico-cultural document which cannot help but take sidesthis declaration must come as a surprise to those who knew my views on such matters at least 15 years ago. In the life and legacy of T.B. Joshua, all I see is that a determined person who is destined to be great will always attain phenomenal success if they strive as if it all depends on them and pray as if it all depends on God. Indeed, I believe those who have benefitted most from the grace that is upon The T.B. Joshua Ministries have been the ignorant, that is, people who keep an open mind when encountering those more spiritually evolved than they could, perhaps, ever be.

And so, when I hear some self-assured Nigerians dismiss miracles at The Synagogue as a hoax, I often wonder at the level of hubris that makes them believe they are so superior in spiritual knowledge to the hundreds of thousands from across the continents whose lives were transformed by virtue of their encounter with T.B. Joshua and his ministry. Leaving aside the physical miracles for a moment, how about the deep changes that have occurred in people: the addicts who overcame their fleshly desires, the demon-possessed who embraced God, the pitiably poor who entered into permanent prosperity through divine grace, the husbands or wives who returned home and pled for forgiveness, the depressed who found limitless happiness and endless hope, the children who tearfully apologised to parents for their former wayward lifestyle, the criminals who turned to God so they could better the lot of humanity, and so on and so forth? I would like true Christians to consider these questions: Is it possible to cast out devils with devils while calling the name of God? Is it possible for darkness to produce lightI mean in the form of the positive changes that have been experienced by thousands of people of all races and creeds across the world, after open-mindedly receiving the message of salvation, love, compassion, charity and forgiveness that T.B. Joshua preached throughout his life?

Many more are the lessons from my encounter with T.B. Joshua, as well as his acts of unforgettable generosity towards me, but there is not enough space to recount them here. As I close this article, I would like to quote one of T.B. Joshuas most impactful sayings: The beauty of life does not depend on how happy you are but on how happy others can be because of you. Nothing else beats that in the practice of Christianityor any other religion, for that matter!

Rest on, Gods servant T.B. Joshua (June 12, 1963 June 5, 2021). Only your Creator knows why He let you face such persecution and vilification from fellow Christians who should have known better.

Adedara (PhD) wrote in from the department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.

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Remembering TB Joshua: A personal testimony of warmth, compassion and industry - TheCable

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