PROPHET T.B JOSHUA
Untold story of a mystery Prophet T.B. Joshua
Prophet T. B. (Temitope Balogun) Joshua needs no introduction. Everybody has his or her reason for liking or hating the controversial founder of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, probably the most persecuted Man of God in the Whole World. With over 100.000 congregation at a sitting with a unique Cathedral, the type that has not been seen anywhere in the world. Even the legendary King Solomon would marvel at this Temple of God, built by Nigerians, “under the inspiration of God.
From the drive through right view
From the main road view
Successful people don’t just drift to the top. It takes focus, personal discipline and perseverance to reach the top. As we know, there is what we call man’s natural gift and the supernatural gift of God. This church is the outcome of the supernatural gift of God. Man’s natural gift is a gift one can begin to boast of, telling you how it all happened. The work of breakthrough is not our work. It is our faith. The work of breakthrough is God’s work. All what you are seeing now is God’s work. If it is to be man’s natural gift, then one can begin to say this is how I achieved it; this is how I came about it. Up till now, I look at The Synagogue edifice and ask myself: how did it happen? God just wanted someone to do all these things and He sent me to do it. It is not my work, but the work of God. So let no man boast. All boasting is excluded. The Bible says, there is no room for man boasting of his own ability or power. So glory be to God.
Every success story started from somewhere. I was brought up from a Christian home. My father’s name is Kolawole Balogun. He was a Christian. He was a farmer who was also the secretary to St. Steven’s church in our village. When the white people came to our village, he served as a translator. He was translating English into Yoruba. He was an educated man. He lived with the white people as well as serving as church secretary. I cannot say much about my father because he died when I was a small boy. I know that he loved me a lot. I was his pet. I was the one who suffered most from the effect of his death. Being the last born, anywhere he is going, he would take me along. He would carry me to the church. As a little boy, I would be running inside the church. I would jump from the choir to the catechist’s table.
Some people used to rumour that my father was a Muslim. I don’t know where they got that from. My father was a Christian and I am a Christian. When I was very small, I could recall him taking me to church regularly. As a kid attending primary school, my dad would make me to stay after school with a Catholic priest whose house was at the back of the church. I did all the normal things kids do, like running around and playing football.
When my father died, my mum’s brother who became the father figure to me was a Muslim. That does not make me a Muslim. I was brought up in a Christian home. And right from childhood, I was passionate about the Bible. Right from primary school, I was well versed in Bible knowledge. It was my favourite subject and I excelled in it. As a primary six kid, I read the New Testament twice. In my secondary school days, I finished reading the Bible on the average of two months.
Every two months, I would have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It was the only subject that I believed so much in. It was as if Bible was the only subject that interested me in primary and secondary schools. In exams, I scored 99 percent consistently whereas I performed woefully in other subjects. My excelling in Bible knowledge affected the other subjects where I performed poorly. At school, I was the leader of the Scripture Union.
Even though I was second in primary school, I didn’t find it easy getting admitted into secondary school. As luck would have it, I got late admission into Muslim College. In that Muslim College, we were restricted from carrying the Bible openly. To read the Bible, we would have to hide under the mango tree or backyard and the Muslim community would begin to chase us. We were all 20 in number then. Like the early Christians, we would read the Bible in secrecy because they never allowed us to do it openly. I was the leader of the Christian team in the school, at Ansar-Ud-deen Grammar School, Ikare. And because of the pressure, I couldn’t finish a year in that school. It was obvious I couldn’t fit into this dominantly Muslim setting. So I left the school. I left because my life was in danger. I could sense that since I was doing this thing secretly, one day something could happen to me. To avoid that I had to leave. From Ikare, I came to Lagos.
‘I spent 15 months in my mother’s womb’
Back to my early beginnings, I was the last born of the family. When I was born a lot of strange things happened. Seven days after I was born, I was told that I was put on a mat and a big stone nearly crushed me but miraculously I escaped. How did it happen? White people used to come to do borehole in our village. And in our village, it’s all stone under. When they are drilling, they would be hitting stone and stones would be flying out dangerously. Before any drilling, they would publicly announce that everybody must stay at home to avoid the danger of being hit by a flying stone. The stone used to fly because of the nature of the machine they use. It was on the seventh day when they wanted to name me that they put me on the mat and a big stone flew from where they were drilling, pierced the roof where people were celebrating and landed where I was placed. But it missed me, narrowly. The stone is still being kept till now. Nobody has ever heard this story from me.
The other mysterious story about me is that a normal pregnancy is nine months. But I spent more than that in my mother’s womb. My mother was taken to Egbe, which had the best hospital in those days. Egbe is in Kogi State. It was probably the best hospital in the whole of Nigeria then. My mother was carried there for operation. After nine months, she started labouring. She ended up spending three months in the hospital. My grandmother had money and my mum is the only child. At the level of the village, granny was a very rich woman. So she could afford the hospital bills for that lengthy period of time. Each time the doctor wanted to operate my mummy, the doctor would say: “I am not comfortable with carrying out this operation.”
My mother told me this story. She remembers that in that Egbe, some Christians used to come to the hospital to preach to the sick. She said she was just lying down on the bed and a pastor just walked in and said she should not be operated. He said to my mum: “God is busy preparing this child. So, please, they should not operate you. Go back home. If you attempt the operation, the opposite would happen.”
My mum called the doctor and the doctor met the pastor who repeated the message to the doctor. My mum left the hospital after three months back home again to continue the labour. She laboured and laboured. Instead of nine months, she spent 15 months labouring. But one night, they delivered me without operation. So this made the villagers and the whole community to say they must celebrate my birth. And they now gathered on the seventh day to name me and celebrate. It was that seventh day they were doing the drilling and the big stone flew like a missile, heading to my direction, but miraculously missed me. Where the stone passed is still there. Where they laid me on the floor is still there. Because I said they should not touch it. The stone that fell is still with them.
The story began to go round the village about this mysterious child that was born after 15 months, a child they carried to Egbe Hospital and they could not do operation, they came back home, they delivered him safely. Now after delivering him, this stone fell and a mysterious hand carried this baby from the mat. Nobody saw me being carried. They only saw me in another direction, crying: Choo, choo, choo.
The stone was supposed to fall on me, but a mysterious force moved me into safety within the same room. It was a narrow miss. The cloth and everything burnt into ashes. And my mummy fainted. And she was carried to hospital. My mummy was in the hospital for good two days. The ram and everything were all there. The rice, they could not eat it. Because everybody was rushing to the hospital to revive my mum. Nobody did any ceremony again. But eventually I got named. I was named Temitope Olutope Oluwasheun Oluwarotimi Opeyemi; I have plenty names. On the day I was named, I was given 30 names. But I just chose Tope out of the plenty names. My mother one day called me and said: “Your names are almost 30 and they are written down.” And I just chose Temitope. I just picked Temitope.
My mummy woke up after two days in the hospital. My mum’s name is Adesiji Kolawole Balogun. Her father’s name is Kolawole. My mummy is late, my father is late. My father died first when I was a kid and my mother was left with the responsibility of training me and sending me to school. But she was handicapped financially. She told me: “You this boy, I cannot finance your education. You would have to wait until your brothers finish their university education. They would be the one to sponsor your education.”
Mum was the secretary to the union of daily savings collector – what it is called in Yoruba: ‘Aya ni lowo fowo pa mo.’ I remember her going out to collect daily savings from her clients. She used those things to train her children. Now that she was no longer into that business, and was hoping my brother, who was attending secondary school in Gbongan would be the one to send me to college. That was the only hope that I had to go to school.
Based on the hostility and the religious intolerance at Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, I decided to leave Ikare for Lagos. I met some people who used to carry cassava from the village to places like Ibadan and Lagos. I approached them and explained my predicament to them. They would spend four days on the road transporting the cassava to Lagos on the trailer. The trailer would be loaded with stuff like cassava and cocoa while the owners would sleep on top. I decided to join them. I did not tell my parent I was going to Lagos. I stayed inside the vehicle for four days before getting to Ibadan. From Ibadan we landed in Mile 12 in Lagos. They dropped me there and told me: “This is where we can carry you.”
For five days, I was in Mile 12. It was during the rainy season. The job I was doing was washing the feet of people coming out of the muddy market. I would wash feet and be paid little money with which I fed. I was washing feet until one day I heard two women conversing in my native dialect. I interrupted their conversation and asked if they were from Arigidi, my hometown, and they said yes. I told them I was in Lagos to trace my sister whose whereabouts I don’t know. Luckily, I was able to trace my sister to Egbe area of Lagos. After 10 days, I traced her and started to live with her. That is how I started my life. Today, I have an NGO for motor park boys, because I have also been one myself.
I realized my sister had her own family and I should not be burden to her. I do not like inconveniencing people. If I visit your house and you give me a bottle of soft drinks, I would make sure I put something in the envelope, because I believe we make a living by what we give and we make a life by what we receive. This is what I believe in. In life, you don’t just have to collect and collect. It destroys one’s life. You have to give and give. Because the Bible says, you must see giving as an assignment from God.
‘I carried shit to make a living’
I left my sister to live with a friend. From there, I got a job as a poultry farm attendant. The poultry is still there now. Not long ago, I traced the poultry to somewhere in Ikotun. The job they gave me is to carry shit. Fowl shit. And fowl shit smell is more terrible than human faeces. I was doing this job with many Ghanaians. There were so many Ghanaians in Nigeria then. I was the only Nigerian in that poultry farm. And I never let people know I was a Nigerian. I declared myself a Ghanaian too, because nobody would believe a Nigerian would do that kind of job. I did the job for three days and my body odour changed. When I’m moving about, people would perceive odour and flies would be hovering around me because I was smelling very badly. There was no amount of soap I would bath that would remove this odour from my body. As you are working in the poultry farm, the fowl shit would be dropping on your head. I did this for one good year.
At the same time, I enrolled in an evening school. New State High School is the name of the school. I attended many schools in Lagos. I would attend one school for two months, only to be sent away because of school fees. I attended New State High School, Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, Isolo, and another school called Metropolitan. Because I was very good in athletics, I was given what looked like scholarship. I won gold, silver and bronze in athletics. But I needed to work to support myself at school. That was why I took the poultry job. I was using it to pay my school fees. In those days, evening schools were like full, normal schools. You could easily attend evening school to do your WAEC and GCE. We even received better lessons in the evening than in the day school in those days. I was sending myself to school and at the same time teaching children Bible studies.
My athletics took me to Baptist Academy. When I was running they picked me. Under one year, I attended 15 schools here in Lagos. And I did not finish one year. I don’t remember the year, because I cannot keep records. But it’s all in the documentary on my life. I was born 1963. At least, I remember that one.
‘I confronted a mad man at school’
My first attempt at discovering God’s spirit in me was when a mad man came to my school. In those days, I used to be called Small Pastor. One morning a madman came to our school with a cutlass and everybody was running helter-skelter. The teachers all fled and the classroom was empty. I came and saw this mad person. The spirit of God spoke to my heart, not to my ear. I hear the voice of God in my heart and not in my ears. I heard the voice of God telling me: “Go there and collect the cutlass. Just tell the madman to bring the cutlass.” When I was moving towards the madman, everybody was concerned for my safety. They were saying something like: ‘This is boy, he wants to die.’ I just went to the madman and commanded him: “Give me this cutlass, in the name of Jesus.” The madman gave me the cutlass. I collected it and gave it to a teacher. It was from there they started calling me Small Pastor.
From there, they would call me in the assembly and ask me to pray for them. Every time I would pray for them. If they want to play football, I would pray for them. They began to come to me individually for prayers. It was pray for me, pray for me, pray for me all the way. They asked me how I was able to overcome the madman and I told them I was surprised myself to see what happened.
You see, God Almighty is awesome. He can use any medium to express Himself. He can use sand, water, stone, rod, he can use anything. When Moses was asking God, what should he do, God asked him: “What is in your hand?” He said rod. Then God said: “Use it to divide the sea.” Or are you talking about Paul and Silas in the prison yard? They were there and they never said: Hey, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus. They just sang praises to God. The used the medium of sound. Or are you talking of Joshua. He said to his people to just shout Alleluia and the walls of Jericho fell. God uses any medium to express Himself.
The ministry started from St. Stevens Primary School where I collected the cutlass from the madman and where I started leading the Scriptures Union, teaching the Bible and everything. This is where the awareness of God’s presence in me started. It continued. Everything big starts little. If everything big starts big, it calls for concern.
I was in Bahamas with the President of Bahamas, very close to Florida when my mother died. This is the picture. I was with him when they called me. Synagogue had already come into being. I was with him when they said my mother was a bit down, that they brought her from the village. They said my mother wanted to see me and have a word with me. Before I came back home, my mummy was gone. My mummy was late. It was too late for me. That was how I missed my mum.
She was a wonderful mother. The only little problem I had with my mum is that she wanted to see everybody succeed in life. I used to tell my mum: success is a two-sided affair. I have a role to play, God has His own role. It is not all up to God and certainly it’s all not up to me. Success is a kind of partnership between man and God. I cannot define failure, because I don’t believe in failure. There is no failure in my book. All I see is success, directed by the spirit of God. But as human beings, we cannot be perfect. Perfection eludes every human being. God is perfection.
What differentiates The Synagogue from any other church?
There is no difference. Whatever happens here in terms of miracles, in terms of salvation – what you are seeing, there is no difference. God is the God of these fingers. Look at these fingers, they are not equal. Look at it.
What differentiates you from other preachers?
Nothing. Nothing differentiates me. Rather, I want to tell you that no matter the level that one reaches, there is always another level to reach.
Your critics say if you pass a place, people would rush and go and touch the sand and all that. What is the symbolism of all that?
We have said it here that God can use any medium. When we look at what happened in the book of Act 19: 11, it says God wrought extraordinary miracles through Paul. Anything that had contact with him were taken to the sick and they were all healed.
Are you a misunderstood man?
I am a tenant. If the landlord was misunderstood, what’s my position? I am a servant. The head of the house was misunderstood. What people do not understand, they call names. But what they understand they destroy.
Are you an underrated man?
Soul has nothing to do with high people. It is all about a regenerate soul. A regenerate sinner becomes a living soul. So forget about having a big church or whatnot. When you talk about soul, it is not about big, big people.
When I look at the size of your church and the fact that it is still growing, I begin to ask: Is it not possible your vision has become too small for the size of the ministry? In other words, five years from now, can this place contain you?
We have branches all in different countries. Our church is one of the biggest churches in Greece. And I think the one God has established here, we need to have the same size all over the world. It is not that important that it should expand, making it for all Nigerians to come here. No. This is my mission. Like I have told you, the way and manner God executes His plans in our life differs. If I don’t have branches all over Nigeria and I have branches in other countries, that is the way God wants it.
Already, you are running two shifts. Which means if you grow some more, you might have to run more shifts. Where will your people park and so on?
When the situation is such that I would be running three services, then it is better I establish in other countries like say Ghana. People can come there. Eighty percent of my members are not from Nigeria. And anywhere that honey is, insects seek it and find it.
What is the honey here?
It is the anointing; the anointing of God.
How did you meet you beautiful wife?
I think she would be in the position to grant you an interview. She is such a wonderful woman. You too know that behind any man is a woman. No man can go it alone. I salute her. This woman, hmm, is a mother. When you say somebody is your mother, she’s more than a wife. And I don’t know the words. I am short of words to describe her. She is someone that amidst all the noise, noise, noise, she would just look. She’s my counsellor, adviser. She would tell you: it’s a matter of time. And you would never hear her voice. If this woman is not a good woman, I don’t think you would find me in the situation I am today. Because, you cannot have problems out there and have problems in the house. Many that don’t have problems in the outside, they have problems in the inside. And the problem inside is greater, is more powerful and is more dangerous than the outside.
Evangelist Evelyn Joshua
Where are your children?
My children? They are there.
They are there. They are doing fine. That’s why I have plenty children.
You don’t have biological children yet?
I have biological children.
I have three.
How many boys and how many girls?
If I begin to say how many boys, how many girls, those who have no boy or have no girl might feel discouraged. As a minister of God, I shouldn’t discourage anybody. If I begin to say I have so-so girls, I have so-so boy, those who do not have at all would feel discouraged. My words should be words of encouragement, to tell them that what a man can do, a woman can do it, and what a woman can do, a man can do.
How do you feel not having a boy?
Ah, ah, how do you come to the conclusion that I don’t have a boy?
As a man of God, can you look God in the face and admit you have not cheated on your wife?
(Silence). The question again.
Have you ever cheated on your wife?
Come to my knowledge.
Have you followed another woman outside your wife to have an affair?
Let me tell you one thing about the situation. What is happening, you are seeing it happen between me and my wife. So the level of understanding and the obedience in union. So…and if you call her, she would tell you that eh…well, because, I don’t want to say words that would discourage other ministers or other people out there. So…
But you are a handsome man. Don’t women tempt you?
You say what?
Don’t you face temptation from women, a handsome man like you?
Like I have said, if you are not tempted with money and you are not tempted with woman, and you are not tempted with pride…I want to tell you that God Almighty has been manifesting His strength in my weakness. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Thank you. Are you okay? (Laughs)
How rich are you now?
Mmmh, this is a question that I think if…I want to advise the whole world. And whatever you hear from me, take it. Because if I am telling you what I am not, I am, God is there. Because as a servant of God, because we cannot misinform the public. I am not a politician. I have to tell you. If I am telling you something now, you hardly believe, but I want you to believe. In terms of cash, I am zero. When I have hundred million today, I have one thousand five hundred people I have given scholarship. Leeds University alone in England, one person cost hundred thousand dollars. It is one of the best universities all over the world. And I have people all over.
I can give you my account number to check. I am zero. But people look at me, I don’t mind. My responsibility is so much that if I have trillion dollars today, I would not be able to save one dollar. It is not enough to care for the responsibility. Are you talking of dwarfs, widows, physically challenged, old age? When we leave here, I would take you to our store opposite here. It’s full of rice. We have five trailers of rice we just brought. Every month, it’s like that. And you know one trailer is five point three million naira. So I want to declare, I want to tell you today, you would find zero money in my accounts. But I am not owing banks and I am free from that. But I am just a zero. But my responsibility, God has been taking care of it.
When are you going to buy your own jet?
When I say I don’t have cash…(laughs); when I say I don’t have money, cash like this, where would I get money for plane? But I want to tell you something: there is nothing bad having a private jet. But the only condition I can have it, if God says I would have it, is for people to give me. And when you give me, you should also be ready to pay landing fee because I don’t know how I would get it. But I want to tell you that if ministers of God have it, there is nothing bad about that. It aids the gospel. I tell you that our fathers that have it, there is nothing bad about that. The way and manner God executes His plans in our lives differs. Some ministers, God says: ‘You, you would not have a private jet, I would send people to give you.’ While some, God says: ‘You, buy it, with your money.’
I am not supporting those who are criticising the ownership of jets by men of God. It is true that there is difficulty in the society, there is poverty everywhere, but trial is the soil in which true ministers of God flourish. But I am not criticising because the way and manner God executes His plan in our lives differs. But as for me, I know, that even every car I have there, there is no single one I used my money to buy. Since I started this ministry, there is never a day I have been able to gather money. If I have one dollar, one responsibility is there to take the dollar. If I have 20 dollars today, 200 people are waiting to take the 20 dollars. It’s like having these things attract responsibility. I even say I don’t want money because money brings responsibility.
Are you planning to build a university?
We put it before God and God says yes, He would give us the grace. But this university would be for the needy; those who are brilliant but cannot afford to go to university. And the physically challenged too. The university would be mainly for the needy whom we are giving the scholarship. But before that, let us send people overseas to attend university there or here. Let us see what we can do to make the existing one better and better.
How do you explain your strategy of inviting heads of states to your church?
It’s you that know that they are heads of states. For me, a soul is a soul. Church is all about those who are being saved, not head of state. Why are you interested in Presidents?
Do you have any message for Nigeria?
My message is that it is high time we became a producing-nation, not a consumer-nation. If we know what it takes the producer that produces what you put on, you would know how you would care and how you would go about having plenty of it. And two, a producer sees whatever he does or whatever he gives as an assignment from God. Giving is an opportunity to reshape our destinies. When you are giving, you are reshaping your destiny. But mind you, what you give does not all that matter to God, but the way we give it.
Did you ever meet President Obasanjo?
President or no President, church is all about soul. Those who are being saved. It’s we that know this one is President, that one is President. So, we pastors should talk about souls being saved more, not the calibre or the class of people.
What are your success tips in life?
The secret is, feel what others feel. Jesus feels what we feel. You begin to succeed with your life when the hurt and problem of others matter to you. So, this is the problem we are facing in this country. When we feel what others feel, the public fund, public money and when you are voted to a position, you would consider the people that brought you there.
We believe that the Holy Spirit worked with the Father and the Son to create the world. The Father gave His Spirit to make us like His Son, Jesus Christ. The Jesus Christ we know is Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. He made a wonderful promise in John 14:16-17: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”
The Holy Spirit is to be with us forever. He is not known or received by everyone, but only by those who are prepared for Him. The Holy Spirit shows us how wrong our sins are. He helps us to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour. He completely changes our lives. This is called being converted or born again.
We believe, first and foremost, that Jesus Christ is a soul-winner. That is what He came for, lived for, died for and rose again for. He came to restore the relationship and fellowship between God and man. As to His human nature, Jesus Christ was a descendant of David. As to His divine nature, He was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death on the third day. Now He sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2; Romans 1:2-4). He was at all points tempted just as we are, yet was without sin. Jesus Christ loves us, died for us, reigns in power for us and still prays for us.
God Does Nothing Without His Word
We believe that holy men of God were carried along by the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God. The Holy Bible is more than long-ago events and ancient wisdom. It is God’s message of grace and truth to us today (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
We believe that sin points one to eternal death and destruction but God’s Word points one to life. If Christ Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, a new body, a new soul and a new spirit await us one day. God’s Spirit joins Himself to our spirit to declare that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16).
We believe that salvation is to be set free from sin and its penalties and is received by faith in the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus Christ. Each man has to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour, otherwise Jesus’ death will not save him.
We believe that God’s Word refreshes our minds while God’s Spirit renews our strength. To be born again, not only must we have God’s Word but also His Spirit, mixed with repentance and faith in our hearts.
We believe that divine healing is the supernatural power of God bringing health to the human body. It is received by faith in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the punishment Jesus Christ received before and during His crucifixion was for our healing – spirit, soul and body. By His stripes, we are healed. Divine healing was included in the benefits that Jesus Christ bought for us at Calvary.
We believe in water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit. We also believe in speaking in tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance (Acts 2:4). All who enter into the number of the body of Christ do so because they are baptised in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9). When you are baptised in the Holy Spirit, God’s power will come upon you as it did on the first disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). When God’s power comes upon you, the Holy Spirit will affect everything about you. The Holy Spirit produces rivers of life, joy, love, peace and power to flow out of your spirit for the needs of others (John 7:37-38).
We believe in the Lord’s Supper as was celebrated by Jesus Christ and His disciples in Matthew 26:26-28,”While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” As the disciples of old were instructed to partake of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus Christ, we also partake of the Lord’s Supper (2 Peter 1:4), upon the instruction of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10; 11:26-31).
We believe that Jesus Christ will come again, just as He went away
(Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians. 4:16-17).