Reinhard Bonnke, TB Joshua and Overcoming Division in The Body of Christ

bonnke, tb joshua“Let us have a minute of silence for one of God’s Generals – Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. May his soul rest in perfect peace.” The entire congregation rose solemnly to their feet. Respect. Honour. Acknowledgement. A day earlier it had been announced that German Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke had passed onto glory at the ripe age of 79. “It’s all about Jesus, not all about T.B. Joshua. It’s not about Reinhard Bonnke; it’s all about Jesus.”

It was with these heartfelt words that Pastor T.B. Joshua began his sermon at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) on Sunday December 8th 2019. Hours earlier, his social media platforms – followed by millions – had published a touching tribute to Evangelist Bonnke, describing him as a “missionary with a burning passion for the Gospel.” Celebrating his ‘life and legacy of harvest’, Emmanuel TV declared, “The character of a true believer is that he finds refuge in the secret place of the Most High God. Heaven is our resting place, our dwelling place. Here Reinhard Bonnke rests – in the precious arms of Jesus Christ.”

I’m sure churches around the African continent and indeed the world offered similar sentiments and shared similar tributes. Reinhard Bonnke was, after all, a colossus in the evangelical world whose mammoth crusades led untold millions to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, the significance of Joshua’s poignant tribute lies in the divisive events preceding it, much of which remains shrouded in mystery by the ‘dirty politics’ that unfortunately infiltrated Nigerian Christianity. Indeed, many don’t know that Reinhard Bonnke publicly renounced any ties with TB Joshua – at the specific, urgent insistence of then Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) President Ayo Oritsejafor.

In 2007, Bonnke had been interviewed by Emmanuel TV in one of his public meetings, immediately irking Nigeria’s Pentecostal fold who had denounced Joshua as an impostor who used diabolical powers. Bonnke spoke several weeks later on ABN (African Broadcasting Network) – the channel owned and operated by Oritsejafor – stating he was unaware of Emmanuel TV’s correlation with TB Joshua and renouncing any ‘endorsement of TB Joshua’ suggested by his initial interview. At the period when ‘persecution’ against TB Joshua from Nigerian Pastors was at its fiercest, Oritsejafor was undoubtedly among his chief critics, stating categorically in an interview with the Vanguard in 2009 that he did not consider Joshua to even be a Christian and threatening to ‘expel’ any member of PFN who was caught ‘fraternising’ with him. Oritsejafor’s spiritual father – the late Benson Idahosa – once famously said TB Joshua was ‘below his cleaner’ and defiantly declared he would shortly die. Without jumping to any conclusions, it’s pertinent to note his own passing followed soon after.

In an article from US-based Charisma Magazine in 2002 about the controversies surrounding Joshua’s ministry, Peter Vandenberg, then executive vice president of Christ for All Nations (CFAN), explained Bonnke’s rationale for ‘keeping a distance’ from the Nigerian cleric. “We held a meeting organised by 2000 local pastors and every one of them said that Joshua does things that are occultic and that what he is doing is not doctrinally correct… We stand with the majority of Christians there who have denounced him. Our brothers in Nigeria are on the ground there, and they know best.”

It’s intriguing to note the ministry quoted ‘the majority’ as opposed to ‘seeking God’ for insight. However, years have passed since these controversies raged and time has unequivocally spoken a rather different picture than the ‘majority’ quoted above. Rather than receding away from prominence, TB Joshua has grown leaps and bounds, emerging as Nigeria’s most well-known televangelist with an increasingly large international following. Whilst Oritsejafor has faded into virtual anonymity, Joshua’s ministry has seen exponential, sustained growth (ABN has 1,500 YouTube subscribers and Emmanuel TV has 1,500,000). Prominent figures in Nigerian Christendom who vociferously condemned him such as Mike Okonkwo, Chris Okotie and Matthew Ashimolowo have dipped into ‘relative obscurity’ compared to Joshua’s meotoric rise in influence and acclaim.

Amidst such criticism, Joshua remained silent – letting actions speak louder than words. His sermons are centred on the simple truths of God’s Word, he engages in huge humanitarian projects both locally and internationally and the countless testimonies emerging from his ministry unequivocally give glory to Jesus Christ. Whilst Oritsejafor has been embroiled in the controversy of the Prosperity Gospel – recently caught on camera ‘commanding’ Americans to pay $5,000 each for an ‘anointed mantle’ at Morris Cerullo’s church – TB Joshua has painstakingly made it clear miracles cannot be exchanged with money and openly distanced himself from the excessive greed associated with the ‘Prosperity Gospel’. To surmise the scenario, the advice of Gameliel in Acts 5:38-39 springs readily to mind: “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

I expect Bonnke just listened to what the ‘majority’ said without taking time to personally observe TB Joshua or seek the face of God concerning his anointed ministry. I am sure he – like many others in the Pentecostal fold – realised the truth about Joshua’s genuineness and unique spiritual calling but found it difficult to publicly acknowledge given his past comments. Regardless, this tribute by TB Joshua provides a powerful lesson, especially poignant for those in the vineyard of Christ. Let us forget pain of the past, put aside our differences in the body of Christ and ensure we stand for unity – with Jesus Christ at the forefront of all our actions and attitudes. After all, it’s not about Reinhard Bonnke, TB Joshua, Enoch Adeboye, David Oyedepo, Chris Oyakhilome or any other minister of God – it is all about Jesus! 

Tawia Acheampong is a writer on African affairs based in Accra, Ghana

NIGERIAN FOOTBALLER REVEALS PLOT AGAINST TB JOSHUA!

Sani Emmanuel, the former Nigerian football starlet whose recent social media plea for help to fund an operation for his career-threatening injury made headlines, has revealed a stunning plot against prominent Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua by some ‘big men of God’.

In a tell-all post on Facebook

sani emmanuel, tb joshua

(https://www.facebook.com/emmanuel.sani/posts/10211694606399866)

Emmanuel revealed he received a phone call from “a woman named Bisola Johnson” who spoke to him for over two hours, promising substantive financial benefits if he agreed “to testify against TB Joshua”.

“She spoke on her relationship with some big men of God,” he asserted, adding they would assist him to “raise up to 10 million naira for my surgery” on the condition that he damningly reveal TB Joshua used his “star” for a ritual.

“She said I had to change the name Emmanuel as the name is cursed,” Sani continued, revealing Johnson tried repeatedly “to convince me that TB Joshua is not a real man of God.”

Emmanuel provided evidence by uploading an audio recording of one of his conversations with Johnson onto SoundCloud

(https://soundcloud.com/user-652685043/bisola-johnson-call-to-sani-emmanuel)

where she can be heard coaching him on how to respond if asked about his injury and Joshua’s role in not alleviating it.

Sani’s rise to footballing relevance during the 2009 U-17 World Cup, where he won the coveted Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player, was well connected to TB Joshua.

The young footballer played for My People FC, the grassroots football academy founded and funded by the cleric, revealing in interviews then that he worked as an “altar boy” in The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).

Before Sani and his team-mate Ogenyi Onazi were selected to represent the Golden Eaglets, Joshua also sponsored their trip to Sweden to play for a lower-tier team.

Clearly miffed at Johnson’s smear campaign against the cleric and her attempts to embroil him in it, Emmanuel stated that he “grew up in the Synagogue” and described Joshua as “the best dad in the world.”

“If not TB Joshua, I would have ended up playing street football at a village called Aso Pada in Abuja,” the footballer continued, adding “he raised me from nobody to somebody.”

Sani also revealed that his social media plea for help led to probing questions from people familiar with his connection to Joshua.

“I have received calls and messages from people, asking why couldn’t the man of God help me or heal me,” he stated, explaining that Joshua is just “like you and I” but simply being “used by God”.

“A prophet is not a magician. I believe my time of healing will surely come,” he concluded, before revealing he had been distant from the cleric for a long time and desired to “come back home”.

Days earlier, Emmanuel revealed in an Instagram post that his former team-mate Ogenyi Onazi had paid N1.4m ($4,000) to enable him to undergo surgery for achilles tendonitis which had plagued him since the onset of his career.

After his breakout performances at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Emmanuel had trials with Chelsea and Tottenham before a brief stint at Italian side Lazio but persistent injuries hampered him from making any mark.

Sani’s revelation is not the first-time prominent clerics have been implicated in efforts to publicly discredit TB Joshua.

Earlier this year, a video on Emmanuel TV’s YouTube channel chronicled the confession of an ex-militant named James who admitted he was paid “huge amounts” by a Nigerian pastor to “lie against TB Joshua” and malign his ministry in “a public crusade”.

Bisola Johnson, the initiator of the phone call with Sani, has been a long-term nemesis of Joshua, brazenly accusing him – without evidence – of perpetuating all manner of atrocities within his popular church.

Johnson, who worked in The SCOAN for several years before turning against her former boss, has previously admitted on camera to being mentally unstable and was recently accused of fraud by a US-based businessman.

Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist

Ending This Fearful Year Prophesied By Prophet TB Joshua

tb joshua, scoan, emmanuel tv

Prophet T.B. Joshua

At the beginning of the year 2019, Prophet TB Joshua prophesied that the year 2019 would be fearful. Those of us who had been following him for several years keyed into the prophecy. We knew from his prophecy that 2019 was going to be full of dreadful challenges and only faith in Jesus would see us through. Ordinarily, it had been expected that most of the fear would come from individual attitude to the unknown, all the possible negative feelings and thoughts that would drive our emotions. In short, the prophecy impacted on us that despite the challenges therein living our lives to the fullest was going to be by His grace.

Nevertheless, no Christian should live under any fear, even the fear of the unknown, and expect answers to prayers or joyous living. This is because when we choose to live with the fear of the unknown, the choices and decisions we make would not serve us well nor make us holy in obedience to Jesus. Each Christian should learn that Faith or encouragement in Christ had not been the absence of fear, but our belief and trust in Him is what guarantees our triumph over fear. Every day in the year 2019 had been fearful. In many parts of the world, many had experienced different degrees of political upheavals, terrorism, xenophobia, extreme weather conditions, economic depression, unemployment, food insecurity, and so on. There were physical reasons to have made us living our lives in the fear of the unknown rather than in the fullest potential possible in Christ Jesus. But His grace had been sufficient, making us over-comers.

As we consider the prophecy of TB Joshua, and desire to find a place for our prophet in the scripture, at least two prophecies come to mind. In Daniel 12: 4 it is written,”… ., even to the time of the end, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”. This increase in knowledge has given birth to Emmanuel.TV and other Christian satellite broadcasting stations. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus has also prophesied that “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”. Hence though a fearful year, over 500,000 million people worldwide must have listened to the gospel through Emmanuel.TV this year 2019.

Therefore the fearfulness containing in the outgoing year has been beyond mere apprehension of physical and temporal situations around or fear of the unknown. Rather it is becoming more obvious that Jesus is on His way for a harvest of His faithful followers. Jesus made this known in Luke 21:17-20, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh”. There are still a few days left in this year 2019 for each one to let the Word of Salvation go out freely from our mouth, otherwise, they remain only fearful days ahead.

Prof. R. A.  Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Video – TB Joshua’s Message To Bayelsa Governor Elect David Lyon!!!

Bayelsa Governor, David Lyon, tb joshuaDuring the Sunday Service of 1st December 2019, Prophet TB Joshua gave an important message to David Lyon, the newly elected Governor of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The message delivered is valuable not only for him but indeed for politicians all over…

“Good morning. We cannot leave here without recognising the presence of the Governor-Elect of Bayelsa State, Nigeria – His Excellency, David Lyon. But for your information, this is not the time for testimony. This will come after his inauguration.

“I want to give my brother a message that he will be thinking about after the inauguration. I am not going to say anything that the Spirit of God will not. I will say this and that according to the Spirit.

“He is not a new person to us; he is one of the brethren in this ministry. He is one of us. He has been a hardened believer in the Blood of Jesus.

“Don’t think you are just seeing him… You know me. I always believe in Spirit-politics and I know God will use him.

“Going by the politics in the town today, I want my brother to know that the only way the Bayelsa people will believe that he is the one they voted for is for him to meet the expectation of the Bayelsa people.

“He is banking on your prayer because the best is yet to come. My brother, I am at your service. When I say I am at his service, I mean I am at his service to see that the expectation of the Bayelsa people is executed.

“The only way the Bayelsa people will believe that he is the one they voted for is for him to meet the expectation of the Bayelsa people.

“I want to leave you with a Word of wisdom: It is better to live poorly upon the fruit of God’s goodness than to live to plentifully upon the product of our own sin. Listen to the voice of wisdom but also make use of your brain. Thank you.”

*Mr David Lyon rose from relative obscurity to prominence after the All Progressives Congress candidate ended the People’s Democratic Party’s 20-year reign in Bayelsa State in the recently held governorship election.

Renewed Efforts To “Achieve Peace” In South Sudan In Wake Of TB Joshua’s Visit

tb joshua, scoan, south sudanSeveral new developments in the pursuit of sustainable peace have unfolded in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, just weeks after the visit of Nigerian cleric TB Joshua. 

Yesterday, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced the recalling of its South Sudan ambassador, Thomas Hushek, in its ongoing “re-evaluation of the U.S. relationship with the Government of South Sudan.”

“The United States stands with the people of South Sudan in their pursuit of peace and will work in partnership with the region to support efforts to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan,” the statement from the Department of State read.

usa, south sudanPresident Salva Kiir Mayardit and his main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny agreed during a meeting in Uganda early this month to extend the pre-transitional period for three months after a consensus that the steps viable for a unity government formation were not yet in place.

In addition, several South Sudanese opposition factions who in 2018 did not sign the Addis Ababa peace agreement announced they were ready to re-engage in peace negotiations after a meeting held in Rome.

Nine members of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) gathered behind closed doors for three days in the headquarters of a Catholic charity where they agreed to sign a common communique in which they commited themselves to “political dialogue and negotiations to contribute to the peace process.”

In his message on November 12th 2019, TB Joshua publicly prayed for peace at Juba’s Presidential Palace in the presence of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, his cabinet, military representatives and thousands of local residents.

“Time has come to put our differences behind us,” the Nigerian cleric told the nation’s leaders, stressing that “peace has no price”.

His message clearly struck a chord with the public, having been viewed over one million times on the social media platforms of YouTube and Facebook since the video was uploaded by Emmanuel TV.

Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist…

How TB Joshua Reconciled the Son of Liberia’s President with The Man Who Murdered His Father!

tb joshua, scoan

Senator Prince Yormie Johnson and Prophet T.B Joshua

Why This Reconciliation Contributed To Peace In Liberia…

Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua has just returned from a peace-brokering mission in South Sudan where he led President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his cabinet in prayer for peace at the nation’s Presidential Palace.

However, records reveal this is not the cleric’s first intervention when it comes to brokering peace on a national scale.

yormie johnson, warlordIn November 2000, Joshua oversaw a heartfelt reconciliation that touched the nation of Liberia between Samuel Doe Jr and the man responsible for gruesomely slaughtering his father, Prince Yormie Johnson.

In the height of Liberia’s brutal civil war, Johnson – then a rebel leader – captured President Samuel Doe in Monrovia and tortured him publicly before executing him in footage seen on news reports around the world.

“Every night I went to sleep, I prayed that one day God would give me to the opportunity to meet this man and kill him to revenge the death of my father,” Samuel Doe Jr publicly admitted during his visit to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).

Doe Jr said he harbored this “grudge” for ten long years. Unbeknownst to him and his mother Nancy who came to seek prayers at The SCOAN, the former warlord had ‘repented’, become a Christian and was in attendance at Joshua’s church.

Spotting Johnson amidst the large church crowd, Doe Jr said he felt his blood “run cold” and looked for a weapon to enact revenge.

“I felt like running inside the kitchen to pick up a knife,” he recounted. However, Doe Jr was ‘supernaturally restrained’ from carrying out his vengeful intentions as he was “under the control of the Holy Spirit”.

After publicly confessing what was ‘hindering his salvation’, Joshua counselled the Doe family about the need for forgiveness, after which he prayed for them.

“If Jesus can forgive us of our sins, then who am I to hold a grudge against a child of God,” Samuel announced to rapturous applause from the congregation.

Prince Yormie Johnson then came forward from the crowd and the duo warmly embraced, subsequently joined by Liberia’s former First Lady Nancy Doe and TB Joshua.

In a meeting the next week, Johnson revealed the reconciliation went beyond just the two families but extended to the warring tribes in Liberia.

“This reconciliation will go a long way to unite our two ethnic groups. The war in Liberia started between us and the reconciliation will have to begin with us,” he revealed.

Liberia has enjoyed peace nationwide for over fifteen years and is steadily cementing its status as a growing democracy in West Africa.

Prince Yormie Johnson has since returned to Liberia as a Senator and plays an active role in his country’s politics.

In the run-up to Liberia’s last elections, Johnson visited The SCOAN with George Weah, eventually choosing to endorse the football legend, which proved pivotal to his eventual ascension to Liberia’s Presidency.

TB Joshua also played an important reconciliatory role in Tanzania in the wake of the divisive 2015 elections which saw John Magufuli emerge victorious.

Joshua visited the East African nation, holding extensive meetings with both President Magufuli and opposition leader Edward Lowassa, both of whom had previously visited his church in Lagos.

Citizens acknowledged Joshua’s visit significantly reduced the palpable tensions that existed in the aftermath of the disputed elections and restored peace to the nation.

Ihechukwu Njoku

 

What Chance has Prophet TB Joshua of SCOAN for Enduring Peace in South Sudan?

tb joshua, scoanThe civil war in  South Sudan started after December 2013  when President Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état. Many attempts had been made and severally by neighbouring countries, the African Union, United Nations to end the war but with little result so far. The United Nations has peacekeepers in that country. Several ceasefire agreements had been signed but they didn’t endure.  Briefly, this is the messy situation where prophet TB Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Nigeria is attempting a peace mission. The question now is “What chances have SCOAN prophet for peace in South Sudan?”

It is now well-circulated that on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the President of South Sudan together with his government officials had welcomed prophet TB Joshua upon his arrival at Juba International Airport, on a peace mission. Prophet TB Joshua was quoted saying, “The time has come for us to put our differences behind us. This is the voice of God. Our leaders should overcome their division and agree to work together for the good of the country”. This is a bold statement and the entire world is awaiting a positive outcome.

South Sudan is perhaps the youngest nation amongst the committee of nations in the United Nations. Hitherto it has a long history as part of Sudan where it broke away after a protected civil war, a British colony like Nigeria. Unless a lasting peace is found for this country it may end up a country dead on arrival. This is where prophet TB Joshua’s peace mission is significant. The second very import reason is whether prophets can end wars where the army generals fail with all their modern warfare.

We read the story how by divine intervention the people of Israel were led out of Egypt and how when the same Israelites had remained in captivity in Babylon a divine intervention also came after 70 years for their freedom. In each case, it was peacefully negotiated. All that would be said is how to pray along with prophets of God on peace missions in our today troubled world. God is not limited by our constraints and can move as He wills at any time. The Church of Jesus Christ is currently facing diverse oppositions, maybe because the Devil knows it’s time up for him. Hence a national crusade might also be envisaged for that part of Africa, for total deliverance from the yokes of war and division. If the South Sudanese, a fairly homogeneous people, would agree to work with one accord with Jesus Christ their land would be healed and their citizens blessed. We shall continually pray with prophet TB Joshua on this enormous task for another miracle to happen here. With God, we are reassured that everything is possible.

Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria