By Wale Adeduro
The so-called BBC’s “ground-breaking investigation” into the life and times of the late TB Joshua was disappointing, to say the least. Released on 7 January 2024, the three-part BBC Africa Eye documentary did not live up to its pre-release hype. There was nothing new about the report. Everything reported in the documentary about the life, times, and activities of the late founder of the Synagogue Church for All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria is basically rehashed.
In the documentary various former residents at the Synagogue in Lagos, called “disciples” who are Nigerians, South Africans, and British revealed how they became victims of alleged sexual assault, manipulation, forced abortion, and a series of other vices allegedly committed by the late founder of SCOAN. However, these were old tales told again.
The story about the founder of SCOAN, especially through the damning revelations from his erstwhile aides, Ms. Bisola Hephziba Johnson and Paul Agomoh respectively have been in circulation since 2009. Indeed Ms Johnson published a 376-page book titled, “The TB Joshua I Know: Deception of the Age Unmasked’ in April 2017.
They got world attention
If the objective of the producers of the documentary was to get the attention of the world they succeeded very well. The documentary quickly attracted over two million views within a few hours after its release via YouTube. As of 25 January 2024, the first part of the documentary had garnered 4,241,876 views. This is not surprising because every news that has the name of the church attached to it is a hot sell in Nigeria. In journalism, When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news. Ironically, the church founded on the gospel of good news is always in the centre stage when bad news is woven around it.
Elymas the Sorcerer
The anomaly of having charlatans in and around the Church is as old as the Church itself. In the eighth verse of Acts chapter 13, the early church recorded the story of Elymas also referred to as “magos” a false prophet and a sorcerer. The popular sorcerer opposed Paul and Barnabas as they were sharing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Roman Proconsul, Sergio’s Paulus.
Going by the fate that befell Elymas, genuine Christians ought not to waste their energy by paying attention to any magician in cassock or fine suits calling the name of Jesus. The New Testament formula is to promptly pronounce blindness upon anyone who is “making crooked the straight paths of the Lord.”
This sentence of blindness is important because most of these charlatans are stargazers, palm readers and zodiac sign interpreters, fortune tellers, astrologers, and destiny hunters. Once they go blind they will be paralysed from being able to manipulate their prey. From the meaning of “Magos”, the other name of Elymas, it is obvious that he belonged to the tribe of magicians.
Origin of the name Church
Not a few god-fearing and heaven-focused Christians have genuinely expressed concerns about the odium that some self-professed Christian leaders have attracted to the Church of Christ. A clear understanding of the origin of the name Church will calm frail nerves about the desecration that magicians and sorcerers across the world continue to bring to the image of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The name, Church (ecclesia), was originally from the popular Greek translation of the Old Testament, where it referred to Israel’s sacred assemblies, called together to worship or conduct business. The early Christians who were followers of Jesus Christ, nearly all of whom were Jews, probably borrowed the familiar term for their assemblies.
God’s word admonishes that whosoever calls all the name of the Lord should depart from iniquity. So, the fact that a place is called a Church does not make it an assembly whose founder is Christ or founded on the doctrine of Christ and eternal life. If a group of persons and their leaders revel in sordid or iniquitous acts they should not get the attention of genuine followers of Christ. It is an anathema to view that assembly as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray, does the fact that a quack takes delivery of a baby in broad daylight, in a lawless society, make the quack a member of the medical profession?
Church of Satan
There is a certain group of persons led by its late founder and high priest, Anton Szandor Lavey who boldly call their assembly the Church of Satan in San Francisco, California USA. The Church of Satan has its own satanic Bible. The magicians, who ply their trade like the late Professor Peller, Janine, and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8-9) and want to be seen as followers of Christ practice the highest level of deception. They delude themselves and manipulate willing followers.
We live in a free world where everyone has the freedom to associate with any group of persons according to Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom includes joining cults and cabals where secret intrigues are the directing principles.
It is despicable when magicians and sorcerers, the descendants of Elymas, parade themselves as servants of the Holy God. The honourable thing to do is to boldly declare your stand like the late Satanist, Anton Szandor Lavey, as the high priest of the apostle of Satanism. Unfortunately, honour is not part of the strengths of depraved minds.
Those who are willing captives in the cult of satan are welcome to repent when they receive real deliverance through Christ. However, such converts should not be encouraged by discerning followers of Christ to explore the power of the media to profit financially or psychologically from their tomfoolery. It is this tomfoolery that the producers of the BBC documentary on the late TB Joshua have capitalised on by serving the world a salacious dish to open the year in Nigeria.
The timing of the release of the documentary is curious. At a time when people in their clime in Europe were busy working on their new year goals, BBC producers decided to release a putrid documentary to distract us from serious existential issues.
No serious-minded Christian should pay attention to an otherwise “groundbreaking documentary” by BBC that says nothing. It only celebrates profanities that have been rehashed for over a decade in the Nigerian media space. The folks on BBC could have done a better job if they had endeavoured to learn from David Yallop, the author of “In God’s Name”. The British author who was formerly a contributor to the BBC comedy series published the book in 1984 based on his elaborate investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul 1, Albino Luciani after spending only thirty-three days as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
David Yallop, in the book, “In God’s Name”, revealed many hitherto unknown details about the shenanigans in the Vatican City and its Bank. He went further to establish the link between attempts to cover up the alleged stolen money in the Vatican Bank and the orchestrated murder of the “Smiling Pope”.
He also revealed the identity of the last person who was with the late pope as well as the identity of the Nun who found Pope John Paul 1 dead. He threw more light on the details of the papers the deceased was holding at the point of his death to buttress the late Pope’s plan to fire some high-ranking officials of the Vatican who were alleged to be corrupt.
BBC: More work to do
It would seem that the producers of the BBC documentary need to do a follow-up on the alleged infractions that went on in the Synagogue for several years. The handlers of the global media need to finish the work they have started to clear all misgivings, prevent a repeat of the alleged infractions, and save innocent people around the world from falling into a grand network of manipulations.
There are still many people operating in the manner described by BBC as the modus operandi of the late TB Joshua. There is a young lady in Los Angeles called Apostle Kathryn Krick, who has started like TB Joshua. The lady who is the founder of the Five-Fold Church claims that the Tanzanian-born Prophet GeorDavie is her mentor.
The ignorant, vulnerable, desperate hapless citizens of the world need to be equipped with more information to protect them from falling for the next Reverend Jim Jones. On 18 November 1978, Jones, the paranoid leader of the California-based People’s Temple Cult led over 900 people including some 300 minors to commit mass murder-suicide in Jonestown Agricultural Commune, Guyana.
Dr Wale Adeduro is the Chairman-in-Council, Pastoral Mentorship Academy, Nigeria.