By Collins Edomaruse, Abiodun Ajala and Olawale Olaleye,
There could not be a better way to start than
to ask; who’s T.B Joshua?
Well, there’s nothing spectacular about Prophet T.B Joshua. He is just like every other human being. But if there is any difference, it is the grace of God; the righteousness of God. It is a product of the grace of God. So, I am a product of the grace of God.
So, how did your ministry start?
The Church started just like other ministries. And if
there is any difference, it is the way and manner God
executes his plans in our lives. And of course, you
know the way and manner God executes plans in our
lives differs. Sometimes, God can use foolish things.
Our God is awesome. So, in a nutshell, that is just it.
As a person, how was growing up like?
In summary, let me say, I have tasted what it takes
to be poor; humiliated, embarrassed and all what
not. And of course, I have tasted what it takes to be
honoured. So, I think it is that grace that gives me
the strength to face all conditions today. It is the
grace of God. I have tasted what it takes to be humiliated and poor and also what it takes to be honoured and have more than enough. And that is the grace to face all conditions.
Can one then say it is that tough background that gave you the grace to
truly believe and face God?
I think it is just the will of God because for anyone to march for God, you must first
march with Him. For me, I have marched with Him and this is the time I am marching
for him. To march with God is the time to sacrifice and to march for him, is the time of
grace and blessing.
When did you get the calling and what was the sign like?
It was about 23 years ago when it all happened For instance, many will say they
encountered God through a man of God to do this and all that, but in my case and I
know many must have had the same experience that I had, it was a personal
encounter. It was not that one man of God came to me to say this and that. It was a
personal encounter. And if you look at my birth, it is a story people like to read and
listen to. I was in a trance for three consecutive days, then I saw a hand that pointed a
Bible to my heart and the bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to
have immersed with the Bible immediately. Then, the awareness came and I saw the
Apostles and Prophets of old with someone whose head I could not see because he
was tall to the heaven and suspended in the air. I believe it was our Lord Jesus Christ
sitting in their midst. I also saw myself in their midst. After a while, I saw a hand of the
same tall man, I could not behold his face which was glittering with an unimaginable
light; tall to the heavens and still suspended in the air. But other Apostles, I could see
their faces, particularly Apostles Peter and Paul, Prophets Moses, Elijah and others.
Their names were boldly written on their chests.
So, 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”. At the same time, the same hand of
the tall man gave me a small cross and a big Bible, bigger than the one that entered
my heart with a promise that as I keep pressing in his Time and Name, I would be
given a bigger cross but if I failed, the opposite would occur. I also heard a voice of the
same tall man but I could not see his head, saying “I am the Lord your God who was
and who is- Jesus Christ, giving orders to the Apostles and Prophets.” The same voice
said to me “I would show you the wonderful ways; I would reveal myself through you,
in teaching, preaching, miracles and signs and wonders for the salvation of souls.
Since then, I have been receiving in my vision every year and according to my
faithfulness to God, bigger cross that means to me, more responsibilities. The Bible
that entered my heart symbolise spirit and life (the Holy Spirit). God’s word is spirit
and life. He does nothing without his word. The book of Roman 8:16 says “God’s spirit
joins himself to our spirit to declare that we are children of God.”
If you were not doing God’s work, what would you have been doing?
The question you just asked me is purely divine because I don’t know. Listen, we are
created in God’s image and what matters to God is not our physical or mental
disposition, but one with Him in terms of love, kindness and so on. It is the goodness
of our cause that interests God and not our physical or mental disposition. Really, not
that our physical and mental dispositions do not have roles to play, just that the
goodness of our cause interests Him more than that. And since we are created for the
glory of God, no one can say what he or she would like to be. We are created for his
glory and we must live for his glory. Our lives are in God’s hands. We have no control.
We can’t control Him by using the Bible or cross as a good luck charm without a
thorough reformation of heart and life. So, I think that question is for Baba God.
Before that encounter with God some 23 years ago, who were you?
When we talk of encounter, there are different stages of encounter. The one we are
talking about is the deeper encounter. You know, there are deep, deeper, and deepest;
that is the three stages in the life of a Christian. So, every Christian must go through
the stages. It is about our responsibility to God; how we obey His rule. We have many
Bishops who are just deep in the Lord and we have many Christians, just ordinary
Christians without any title whatsoever either as a pastor or Bishop who are deeper in
the Lord. We have many pastors who are deep and their members are deeper. So, not
until you are in the line that you’ll begin to know this. But before I got the calling, I
was a member of the Anglican Church and participated actively in many Church
activities. On three different occasions, I was appointed the chairman of children’s
Harvest/thanksgiving ceremony. During my primary school days at St. Stephen
Anglican primary school, Agbaluku, Ondo State. I was the leader of Student Christian
Fellowship. I taught my colleagues the scriptures without formal Bible training. In my
dream, I was always taught the scriptures that gave me an edge over the other
student colleagues even above my teacher. I was the smallest in the class and I led
the prayer during school devotions. My teacher, Mrs. Margaret Tolani Adejumo and my
colleagues usually called me small pastor. So, it is God himself who performs the
divine anointing on all who have the wonderful privilege of becoming His children.
The essence of the question is to know if you have lived a kind of life that
negates outright, the life of a Christian before you were called to serve. So,
who were you before you became a man of God?
That’s a nice question. When you look at my life, you’ll see that there was no
opportunity to live a funny life. I don’t know my father. It was very, very difficult. In
fact, there was no opportunity to live a funny life because all through, it was rejection
and isolation and it really helped me. It was not by power of mine, so, we should not
make jest of those who lived funny lives because the book of Galatians 6, says, if one
is caught out of sin, you that caught him should take him gently; restore him gently so
that you also will not be tempted. For instance, you saw someone smoking and you
began to make jest of him; saying, ‘Ha, you are a smoker.’ Be careful because you
also may be tempted. For anyone to live right, it is not by his power or by his might, it
is the grace of God because without God, no one can live right. The Bible says ye
should be careful because the first may be the last and the last may be the first.
It’s Christmas. Let’s talk about its essence. What does Christmas connote?
Well, I would not want to say anything that will run contrary to the theology, but I’ll
put it in a way that a scholar of the scriptures will understand. Christmas is the period
of opportunity for everyone to show our true remorse for our unworthy past. I don’t
want to say anything that will elicit controversy but it is an opportunity to show true
remorse, and not an occasion to show off. Simply put, God has a son and he planted
him in the earth to produce a family. Today, millions are born again through this seed.
And if that is it, how then do we celebrate Christmas? How do we register our
appreciation to him? That’s the question. If God has a son and planted him in the
earth to produce a family, and today, millions are born again through this seed how do
we show appreciation? We show appreciation to him by giving every good thing
without asking of us: our love, our time, our strength, our faith, our loyalty and our
money. You see, there is what we call humility; total humility and submission to his
will. That’s our offering and when you want to give him, you should remember the
quality ones because for instance, in Nigeria today, we are good givers, but we do
give when it is convenient. That is Nigerians for you. But as true Christians, do not
give only when it is convenient for you. You should give even when it causes some
pains. Even when you are not happy, people can rush to you and say please help me, I
have not eaten today and you say leave, go, I am not happy, why should you ask me
for money? But even when it causes pains to do, please do because God has only one
son and he planted that son in the earth. You can imagine that. So, when you give
when it is not convenient, your offering will be a sacrificial giving. So, as we go out to
celebrate Christmas, we should remember the weak, the poor and the lonely in the
society. It is praise-worthy to give, not only to our power but also beyond our power. If
this is our aim and objective of giving, even if we gave out a little, that offering will be
acceptable to God. That’s Christmas for you. Some may say where is it written in the
bible, but the truth is that it is an occasion for us to truly remorse our unworthy past.
What this means is that a time of giving is a time to show true remorse, not the time
to show off.
But don’t you think your analysis of the significance of Christmas would
have been apt for Easter?
Sometimes, I wonder if we don’t read our Bible. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and 40
night and you have also been doing the same. But the same Jesus Christ walked on
the sea, why can’t you walk on the sea? But Jesus was led by the Spirit to do so. He
was not led because someone was doing it; he was not copying people. If you begin to
look through the bible, all the events that happened were not repeated. Look at it; he
walked on the sea, he turned water to wine. But who else repeated this? Also, in the
Bible, Peter said to the people at the beautiful gate, silver or gold I have not, in the
name of Jesus…but no other man of God has done that. This is because they received
from heavens. They came to change the world, but today, we are copying. And when
we keep copying, we cannot change our world. We’ll continue to live the same world.
We are sent to this world to make a difference, but we cannot make a difference