Temitope Balogun Olutope Oluwasheun Oluwarotimi Opeyemi Joshua fondly called Prophet T.B.Joshua, or simply TB, was born to Adesiji Kolawole Balogun and her husband Kolawole Balogun, farmer who was also the secretary to the village parish of St. Stephen’s Church Arigidi, on June 12, 1964 in Arigidi, Ondo State, South-West, Nigeria. T.B.Joshua is the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organization with headquarters in Lagos, South-West, Nigeria. T.B. Joshua is a pastor, humanitarian and author. He runs Christian televangelism via SCOAN’s Christian Emmanuel Television and on the internet with streaming Faith broadcast portal. According to accounts, a divine had predicted the birth of Temotope Joshua a century earlier. Paranormal phenomena accompanied nativity and early life. Strangely baby T.B. Joshua remained in his mother’s womb for 15 months before his delivery. His mother was taken to Egbe, Kogi State, where the best hospital in those days was located. It was probably the best excellent hospital in the whole of Nigeria then. She ended up spending three months in the hospital. His relatively wealthy grandmother could afford the hospital bills for that lengthy period of time for her only child, but a pastor advised his mother not to go ahead with an operation, that God was preparing the child in her womb. Seven days after birth , at his naming ceremony, a large stone was said to have flown from where workers were making a borehole and pierced the roof where people were felicitating, landing close to baby Joshua, but narrowly missed the baby as the baby was seen in another position even though it could not move, they said. T.B Joshua attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School, Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, South-West, Nigeria, (1971-1977). His father, a devout Christian took him to church regularly and made him stay after school with a Catholic priest whose house was at the back of the church; Joshua did all the normal things kids do, like running around and playing football. Every two months, young Joshua would read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Bible was the only subject that interested him. He scored 99 percent consistently in Christian Religious Studies but performed woefully in all other subjects. Unfortunately, his father soon died and his mother was left with the responsibility of training him and sending him to school. But she was financially handicapped as she lost her job as secretary to the union of daily savings collectors. Nevertheless, Joshua gained admission into Ansar-Ud-deen Grammar School, Ikare, a Muslim College. In that Muslim school, students were restricted from carrying the Bible openly. To read the Bible, they had to hide under the mango tree or at the backyard, and the Muslims would begin to chase them. Thus they practiced Christianity in secret with Joshua as leader. He was called ‘Small Pastor’ because of his obsession with the Bible and extraordinary ability to predict future events within his community. His reputation for spiritual power rose after he confronted and disarmed a mad man in the school compound. Joshua became the leader of Scripture Union. As a result of this conflict Joshua could not finish a year in that school. He left the school claiming that his life was in danger. He decided to leave Ikare for Lagos without telling his family members. He met some people who were transporting cassava from the village to places like Ibadan and Lagos. He explained his predicament to them and they took pity on him. They would spend four days on the road carrying cassava and cocoa to Lagos on a trailer. Joshua joined them. He spent four days on the journey to Ibadan. From Ibadan they arrived in Mile 12. It was during the rainy season so he supported himself by washing the feet of people coming out of the muddy market, until one day he heard two women conversing in his native dialect. He quickly interrupted their conversation and asked if they were from Arigidi, his hometown. They answered in the affirmative and thereafter helped him locate his sister in Egbe area of Lagos. But Joshua soon moved in with a friend and got a job as a poultry farm attendance, carrying foul excrement. According to Joshua fowl shit smells more terribly than human waste. He worked with Ghanians as they were many Ghanians in Nigeria that period doing odd jobs. Joshua was the only Nigerian working in the poultry farm and therefore he hid his nationality, declaring himself a Ghanian as no one would believe that a Nigerian could do such degrading job. His body odour degenerated and people would perceive his stench with disgust as flies hovered around him. No amount of soaped bath could eradicate the putrid odour from his body. Nonetheless Joshua engaged in Bible studies with children, while attending evening school. Joshua attended 15 schools here in Lagos but never finished college. In desperation he wanted to join the army but the train he took to attend the interview at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, developed faults and left him stranded in the bush in Jebba for six horrendous days with little or no provision. In 1987, T.B. Joshua went to a ‘prayer mountain’ to seek the face of God. In this destination he fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights and wrote that in a vision, he had received divine anointing and a covenant from God to begin his ministry. Said Joshua of the experience. “…I saw a hand that pointed a Bible to my heart. The Bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to immerse with the Bible immediately…I heard a voice saying, I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the Heavenly Father…I would show you the wonderful ways I would reveal myself through you in teaching, preaching, miracles, signs and wonders for the salvation of souls…”. Thereafter Joshua opened a church with few faithful, which he called ‘The Synagogue, Church of All Nations’- name he claimed to have been revealed to him by God. Ever since, the church which is like a gigantic Roman amphitheatre with altar, pews, carpets, and audio-visual facilities that give out colourful and spiritual ambience, has grown nationally and internationally. The weekly Sunday service is attended by over 15,000 members, and foreign visitors are accommodated in the church facilities. Reports of incredible signs and wonders that occur weekly made the church and Joshua controversial as many people wondered about the source of his power. Numerous video documents the instant delivery of babies, curing of terrible cancerous sores, elimination of barrenness, healing of incurable diseases like cancer, paralysis, even HIV/AIDS and the raising of the dead by T.B Joshua at SCOAN. Many sick people have also claimed to have been healed by the ‘Anointing Water’ that is blessed by Joshua and given to those who are unable to be physically present in his church in Lagos. The church has spread to Ghana, UK, Greece and Austria. Prophet Joshua is also training many foreign evangelists in the church premises. “The biggest reward God can give His servant …is to make disciples who will do better than what are presently doing.” Joshua declared. In September 2008, it was reported that a man who had been mentally ill for 14 years was restored to sanity and reunited with his family at SCOAN. The wife of a Ghanian goalkeeper Richard Kingston was allegedly delivered of a demon spirit which was hindering her husband from securing a contract with a team since 2011. Joshua is also known for his prediction of world events and disasters. He is said to have predicted the death of Zambian President Levy Mwanawassa, the disastrous cyclone in Myanmar, the Heathrow Boeing 777 Plane Crash, the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt from Colombian jungle, the recent New York Plane crash and the tragic death of former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyn, Michael Jackson’s death and even the late President of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’dua. T.B. Joshua frequently predicts events in the lives of his church members. Many people who have come to the church with the problem of demon possession are said to have been delivered by prayers from T.B. Joshua. Such is Joshua’s fame that TIME Magazine reported spiritual healing at the SCOAN.
Among the many distinguished personalities who visited and supported the church in Lagos were the late former President Fredrick Chiluba of Zambia, the late President Omar Bongo of Gabon, The Zulu King , Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (whose daughter was allegedly healed of epilepsy at the church), Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, South Africa’s Winnie Mandela, Malawian President’s daughter Joyce Banda, and South African Rugby star Jaco Van Der Westhuyzeb, who is said to have healed of some ailment by T.B Joshua’s prayer. The late Ghanian president John Evan Atta Mills was a member of The Synagogue Church and a bosom friend of T.B. Joshua. Joshua predicted had predicted his electoral victory in Ghana’s presidential elections, specifying to astonishing precision that three elections would take place and that the results would be released in January of the following year. Atta Mills named T.B. Joshua as his mentor, and the latest influential visitor who paid homage to the man at the Synagogue about three weeks ago, is the Major Hamza Al-mustapha who came straight from the court to visit T.B. Joshua who had predicted his ordeal as well as his subsequent release from prison. SCOAN’s ‘Another Ministry’ is the humanitarian department of the church. It runs projects that cater for the needs of orphans, destitute, widows, dwarves, physically challenged people and the elderly. The church gives scholarships to orphans and indigent children and provides educational support from primary to tertiary levels. It also rehabilitates prostitutes, armed robbers and militants from Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region, whom the church supports financially to get practical professions. T.B. Joshua makes huge donations to the poor and offers educational scholarships to many physically challenged students, while sponsoring numerous physically challenged athletes. SCOAN has established various NGOs abroad, including the Passion For Needy in Ghana. After the Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected areas who established a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’ Joshua is estimated to have spent over $30million on humanitarian activities. In a recent bi-monthly event for the physically challenged at SCOAN, Joshua expressed plans to build a university to specifically cater for the less privileged that have no means of furthering their education, as well as handing out gifts of more than N30million to thousands of participants. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has also honoured Joshua in recognition of his scholarship schemes for underprivileged and physically challenged handicapped students. T.B.Joshua reconciled the families of the late Samuel Doe of Liberia and Prince Yormie Johnson the former warlord who assassinated Doe. Before the reconciliation, the two families were at dagger drawn. T.B Joshua, a strong believer in the concept of family, is credited with several such feats in his various activities geared towards reuniting families split by false accusations of witchcraft, a practice common in many part of Africa. In recognition of his humanitarian activities, the Nigerian Government honoured him with the National Honour of OFR (Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic). Emmanuel TV, the SCOAN television station works 24/7. Every Synagogue Sunday service is broadcast live on Emmanuel TV and its unique programmes attracts large viewership across Africa and the United State of America. T.B Joshua’s programme are also aired 5 days a week on TBN Africa and CTV, and on a number of Nigerian Television stations. T.B Joshua donated television sets to prisons and hospitals to enable the inmates and patients watch the Emmanuel TV broadcasts. But T.B Joshua is not without his critics as some people have criticized Joshua’s large amount of miracles claiming that he gets his powers from
Indian occult gurus and other diabolic forces. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), an umbrella association of Nigerian Pentecostal Churches, refused admission of T.B Joshua into their fold, denouncing T.B Joshua as an imposter. Pastor Chris Okotie, popular pop singer turned televangelist and presidential candidate on the platform of the Fresh Democratic Party, levied accusations of ‘Shamanist Practices’ against the person of T.B Joshua. Christian critics frequently charge that T.B Joshua’s unorthodox methods are not rooted in the Bible, But Joshua and the Synagogue continue to grow in leaps and bounds.