Mbabane, Swaziland | 24 September 2014
For the past few weeks I’ve had a sore knee. Nothing serious, just a niggle.
Now that I’ve hit the ripe old age of 30, I expect these niggles to only get worse. Next it will be the ankle, then the shoulder. All of these aliments and imperfections, I expect, will work their way up my body until I start forgetting where I put my reading glasses.
But if I do end up suffering from bad eyesight, I’m crossing my fingers that by then science and (evidence-based) medicine will have found a cure for such an infliction.
Speaking of cures, I’m sure you’ve caught up with the latest incident involving the church of controversial Nigerian faith healer, the one and only T.B. Joshua.
Did you know, according to the official website of Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations, that the great man spent 15 months in his mother’s womb? Unlike that other great man of history, I couldn’t establish if T.B.’s mother was also a virgin.
“Right from the outset of his incredible journey, the hand of God has been clearly evident in the life of Prophet T.B. Joshua,” reads his website.
And wait for this: “Significantly, almost a hundred years prior to his birth, it had been prophesied that a young man would emerge from the poor Oosin quarters and that God would use him mightily.” (Osin, which sounds like ‘Oosin’, is the name of a community in Nigeria.)
If that’s not enough modesty for one day: “T.B. Joshua is the General Overseer of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). The Founder is Jesus Christ! He is just one of those who has humbly submitted to the will of God (Isaiah 6:8).”
I wonder if Jesus is aware of his position as the founder of T.B.s congregation? As the Son of God, one would certainly hope so. On his return, I expect Jesus will put Joshua at the top of his agenda, particularly if J.C. is looking for an interest free loan.
It’s remarkable how many big names call Joshua a personal friend. According to the Mail & Guardian, Joshua “has the ear of some of Africa’s top politicians, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Morgan Tsvangirai and Ghana’s late president Mills”.
Even that (alleged) tax dodging rabble-rouser Julius Malema said he hopes the preacher can continue inspiring hope after the collapse of one of his church buildings.
I often wonder who really is funding Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters?
I have to admit, however, that I too have been sympathising with T.B. after the collapse of his building. He said the it fell down because of a plane that was flying overhead. (Tell that to the families who lost loved ones.)
But he’s been right about everything else, why not this?
However, then I thought, for a man who is said to cure everything from Aids to cancer, could he not also cure a case of cheap and unsafe architecture?
A quick search of the news offers more to suggest the great man is actually no saint after all. “How T.B. Joshua took my wife”, reads one mischievous headline. “Fresh bribery claims against T.B. Joshua,” reads another.
Though I’m sure this is just the Devil using the media to bring down our man of God. You never know.
What I do know, however, is that after some consideration I have cancelled my trip to Nigeria to visit Joshua’s church. Instead of going into debt to buy an airfare ticket, I will spend a smaller amount of money to see a proper doctor who can help my sore knee.
On a serious note, though, I have little doubt that T.B. is a sincere man who holds honestly held beliefs.
I have no doubt, too, that a false prophet is a false friend. And offering false hope in the name of a warped reality only leads to more suffering. But rest assured, if T.B. had been injured in that building collapse he would have received quality medical care from doctors using modern medicine. Can the same be said for those he pretends to help?
But don’t ask these niggling questions – all grace be unto Lord Joshua! Hallelujah.
This column was originally published in the Times of Swaziland on 24 September 2014