Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre, London speak on Pastor T. B. Joshua. He concludes that the inability of T.B. Joshua to trace his Christian journey and provide proofs of his spiritual conversion, give names of his spiritual fathers and friends give him up as fake. Excerpts.
What is your position on the controversy about whether or not Pastor T.B Joshua of the Synagogue of All Nations might be fake?
A: I followed the whole argument and I noticed that TheNEWS published an extensive interview of Joshua. We kept track of developments, even when I was in London. I knew your magazine interviewed him .I was born in Zaria and grew up in Kaduna. And I left Kaduna in 1964. I went back in December last year. My journey from Abuja to Kaduna, because I was preaching at Abuja, was by road. And the magazine I chose to read was TheNEWS . In the magazine (I wish you keep that interview and put it on the web), it practically settled the matter of Joshua or T.B Joshua. Certain questions were asked him (and I believe the person who asked him must be a committed Christian). “Tell us when you were born, when you became a Christian.” And he said: “I have been a Christian from when I was born.” Zero, Zero, Zero! You do not inherit Christianity.
My dad was a soldier but that didn’t make me a soldier. I loved the Army. I was reading to finish my A levels and go to the NDA when I got born again. My brother ended in the Army. I just never wanted another life but the Army. But being raised in the Army Barracks, spending 18 years of my life there, did not make me any near being part of the Nigerian Army other than to find the fact that I know their rudiments but I’m not on their books.
I quoted the TheNEWS the following week, here in Lagos, I think the same week, I was preaching for Paul Adefarasin. I quoted TheNEWS as having interviewed him: “When did you become a Christian? How did you become a Christian?” He said “I was a Christian from my mother’s womb”. “Who is your pastor?” He did not answer that question. So, he has no pastor. He has no root as to when he got born again. His explanation as to the root of the miraculous in his life is mystical, not spiritual as in the Bible.
Therefore, while on one hand I feel that the whole Chris Okotie, Joshua, Oyakhilome drama was unfortunate because I feel two brothers have allowed their fight to come out into the open, and it has been badly managed, yet, on another hand, I think in the process, they helped us to avert a major danger. It is my personal conclusion based on my observation and that Mr. T.B Joshua, in the beginning never claimed to be part of us.
Probably, because he needed credibility, he therefore began to claim to be part of us. There is no proof of his salvation. We don’t know his Pastor. You ask me who was my Pastor and I’ll tell you who my Pastor was. Every man of God knows. We know the Pastor of Pastor Adeboye; we know the Pastor of Mike Okonkwo; we know the Pastor of Bishop Oyedepo we know the Pastors of all these men. We know where Chris Okotie began. I was in the same show with Chris Okotie. He didn’t know. In September 1979, when he just got born again and he was invited by Sunday Show NTA 10 , Tony Ogunlana, he was the producer in those days. He was interviewed for singing songs like ABC and so on.
I was interviewed by Richard Ikiebe. He used to write for Sunday Times . I was interviewed as a young pastor in 1979. I was only 25 years old or something. We were on the same show. So, you can trace the salvation of Chris Okotie. You can trace that of Oyakhilome. He comes from a family of Assemblies of God. The previous general supervisor was a Rev. Oyakhilome. Where is T. B Joshua’s local Church? So, we don’t know Joshua’s pastor, we don’t know where he was raised from. He doesn’t have a testimony, based on TheNEWS. He has no testimony from where he got born again. He said he was born like that. So, we cannot accept that he is one of us. It is possible. I do not know; I have no proof.
Q: Must he actually have the criteria you have outlined? Can’t one be born and be a man of God without going through the way outlined?
A: You can be born again through a personal encounter with God. That’s an occasion of one in ten thousand. Joshua could be one of the one in ten thousand, so everything is coincidental. Is salvation one in ten thousand? There is no local church we could connect him to. His being called, then, is one in ten thousand . There is no pastor we could connect him to. So, his call to ministration is also one in ten thousand because we’ve seen people who suddenly experienced the power of God. In 1923, Moses Orimolade experienced the power of God – moved in the superÂnatural. Cherubim and Seraphim did not start with white garment; the man experienced the genuine power of God and went out to begin to pray for people. The problem there was the absence of good teaching. There are people who have encountered God. But even then, Moses Orimolade came out of the Church of the Lord, Aladura. So there is a trace. Church of the Lord, Aladura, came out of the Anglican Church.
In 1923, Joseph Ayo Babalola experienced a supernatural encounter with God when he was driving a trailer from Akure to llesa. When he got to a place called Arakeji, he experienced an encounter with God. And that was the place. There and then, he was called into ministry. You must have heard of the Precious Stone Church, the Faith Tabernacle, the Apostolic, the Christ Apostolic. Tell me about any man of God in this life, I’ve studied the history of revival in this country and I will tell you how he got born again. I don’t have a history of T.B Joshua.