By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA
The recent passage of the late founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, has continued to polarize the Nigerian Church, with views expressed by clergies on the ‘ill treatment’ meted to the ‘man of God’ in life and in death by his fellow colleagues, as well as on the ‘source of his power’ exposing the sharp divide in Christendom.
“As you can see, the Church is split into two like King Solomon’s baby between his admires and those against him,” Prophet Emmanuel Ekeyode, founder of Christ Apostolic Church (Mountain of Perfection), in Ijokodo, Ibadan, Oyo State told Business Hallmark while speaking on the matter
The popular tele-evangelist, it would be recalled, died on June 6, 2021, a week to his 50th birthday and was buried on the premises of his church in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos on July 9 in the presence of his family, church members and ministers, mostly from abroad and Nigerians that he had touched their lives.
However, many prominent pastors in Nigeria, particularly those in the two major blocks of the faith, represented by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) who disagreed with some of his beliefs and ways while alive, boycotted programmes lined up for his funeral.
Some of the notable absentees at the funeral services include Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG); Pastor Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church (a.k.a Winners Chapel); Pastor Paul Enenche of Dunamis Church; Pastor Lazarus Mouka of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Church and Pastor Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar.
Other are Pastor W.F Kumuyi of Deeper Life Church; Pastor Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church; Pastor Tunde Bakare of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly); Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre, and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Love World Assembly (Christ Embassy), among many others.
Not only did the pastors and Christian bodies boycot the funeral, they initially failed to issue any statement, nor commiserated with SCOAN and Joshua’s family several days after his death.
When they eventually did, many Nigerians who wondered why CAN and PFN would commiserate with others but would wait for a long time before making a statement on one of their own, described their statements and show of sympathy as belated.
Throwing the first salvo against his fellow ministers, the founder of Christ Freedom Church, a Nigerian church based in South Africa, Prophet Andrew Ejimadu, lamented that there is no more love in Christianity.
The prophet, popularly known as Seer1, while reacting to the abandonment of Joshua both in life and death by fellow ministers bashed general overseers of churches in the country, noting that the church is now the official house of hatred and competition.
“It should be noted that Christianity is a religion that preaches love. One of the key commandments in the Holy Bible is to love your neighbors as yourself.
“However, many Nigerians are still finding it difficult to decipher the absence of top pastors at T.B Joshua’s funeral as their presence would have been a show of love.
“Love has left Christianity and the church is now the official house of hatred and competition”, Prophet Ejimadu had moaned.
The fiery General Overseer of Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, soon joined the fray when he said he loved all ministers of God but cannot be friends with every one of them.
Oyedepo, while reacting to the attacks and criticisms that trailed his comments and absence at Joshua’s funeral, said “I love Jesus and I am telling you by the Holy Ghost, do not be the enemy of your destiny. Act smart and walk in the truth. I love all ministers but I am not a friend to every minister. No I cannot be.
”People who scorn your God can’t add value to your life. There are people you must delete from your list of contacts. Delete them!
“There are people that you meet that would end your life. Also delete them from your list,” Oyedepo advised.
Hardly had the furore generated by the absence of prominent pastors at Joshua’s funeral subsided, that Pastor Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church International Ministries, stirred the hornet nest by calling the late T.B Joshua a magician, sorcerer and a vicar of the devil on earth.
The former presidential aspirant, in a one hour, fifteen-minute long video, referred to the late Joshua as the ‘The Wizard at Endor’, maintaining that his church was synonymous with Endor where people looked for temporary solutions to eternal problems.
“Why did I call Joshua the Wizard at Endor? I must find a pattern in the scripture that corroborates what I am going to say because if I just come and say that Joshua is not a true man of God and all of that, it doesn’t follow any pattern in the scripture and therefore, it has no spiritual significance.
“I must find a pattern that represents what he is. And I found it in I Samuel, in the 28th chapter when Saul went to the witch at Endor.
“That is why I call him the Wizard at Endor, the fake church, the counterfeit church where people go like King Saul out of desperation.
“They are not interested in knowing Jesus and He crucified; they are not interested in doctrines, they are not interested in all that pertains to life and godliness; they are looking for temporary solutions to eternal problems, immediate gratification; that is why the place is an Endor and he as the superintendent of that place is the Wizard at Endor.”
This would be a second phase of their clash; in 2003 they duo also were involved in a face off over Pastor Oyakhilome’s romance with him. Not allowing the dust raised by the first video to settle down, Okotie follow-up with a statement warning those he referred to as fake prophets against God’s vengeance.
In the statement titled: ‘Judgment Coming Against Nigeria’s Enemies’, and personally signed by Okotie, the senior shepherd of the Household of God’s Church, said, “I have also promulgated the decree of Almighty God in His final warning to religious charlatans, false prophets, false prophetesses, and self-styled ministers of the gospel.
“The day of the vengeance of our God has fully come to Nigeria. We are about to witness the greatest divine judgment upon those who have become enemies of the Church and our nation,” he warned.
Hell was let immediately loose after Okotie’s latest statement, with many ministers gunning for his jugular.
Opening the floodgates of attacks, the General Overseer of Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention Deliverance Ministry, Prophet Chukwuemeka Odumeje, expressed displeasure with Pastor Okotie over his attacks on Joshua. He argued that Okotie is not in a position to analyse the life time of the ‘Man of God’.
Odumeje told Okotie that spirituality is not English. “There is a man who doesn’t want the general to rest in peace and allow his family to mourn him. The person is Chris Okotie.
“Young man, we have respected you enough, I have not seen you do anything in this life, save souls like TB Joshua did. And for you to come out to say T.B Joshua was a devil and you began to analyse. Does answering Emmanuel mean I’m a devil?
“When I named my church synagogue because I have a right to bear the name of my father, does answering the name of Jesus mean you are Christ?
“When you can’t do what a man can do, you have no right to talk about him because you are not on the same level and you don’t have the same qualification and you are not in the same spiritual balance.
“Before you open your mouth to speak about a man, you must have done what he did, but when you can’t do such things, then, you are not qualified to talk against him because he is too far from you.
“What you don’t understand, do not criticize. What you need to do is to keep quiet. Talking against it makes you more childish. Chris Okotie, I’m still warning you. English is not our own language, go and deliver yourself first,” Odumeje warned.
Speaking further on Okotie’s presidential ambition to lead the country, Odumeje urged him to seek medical help.
“When I hear you say you want to rule Nigeria, I see that you are suffering from insanity, and requires slap to correct the senses.
“I don’t reply people with stories; I reply them with deadly spiritual weapon. Some men of God may call police, but I don’t because I’m a man of power”.
The visibly angry Odumeje compared himself to Prophet Elisha in the Bible, saying “Emmanuel Television can be the preacher of love but I’m Indaboski Pahose. I am not a preacher of love, if you attack me mistakenly, I will kill you by correcting you. If you talk against T.B Joshua, Emmanuel Television or on Facebook speak against him, I will answer you in spiritual altar, wait for me.
“Enough is enough. Nobody speaks against TB Joshua. This is a warning; don’t say I didn’t warn anybody. Go to any filling station you won’t see someone roasting corn, nobody tries it because they will catch fire,” he warned.
The General Overseer of Champions Royal Assembly, Abuja, Prophet Joshua Iginla, also took a punch at Rev. Okotie for criticising the late T.B Joshua, insisting the reverend was suffering a mental problem and needs psychiatric attention.
Iginla, while describing Okotie as a disgrace to Christianity, said the senior pastor of Household of God Church is a disgrace to the body of Christ.
“How do you talk about the dead in this manner? How? Don’t you know that those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones at others?
“You did politics, you failed! Ministry, you failed!,” Iginla fumed, adding that even if Okotie lives 1000 years, he could not stand the exploits of Joshua.
In the same vein, the General Overseer of Shiloh Word Chapel in Apo, Abuja, Prophet Ikechukwu Okafor Samuel, frowned at Reverend Okotie over his comments on Joshua, insisting that he lacks wisdom.
“His exit will expose so many men of God that preach for pockets and luxury; the hungry will attack them, the poor will resist them; the oppressed will come after them, the followers will discover, and recover from fraudulent transactions and brainwashed sermons of give and be given year to year.
“They are agents of demon, they have made themselves tax collectors from their followers; instead of soul collectors by salvation as pastors of branches; the love of money is all they are concerned about.
“As for Reverend Chris Okotie, he lacks wisdom; he does not have a credible father, if he has he will know the value of Prophet T.B Joshua in the entire world of Christians; his light changed people, Jesus said let your light shine that people shall see and glorify your Father in heaven.
“Brother Chris Okotie, you need to allow the light of Christ shines through you towards mankind today; I am disappointed, you sound empty, you need to give your life to Jesus Christ then value heaven more than material things.
“T.B Joshua was not materialistic! He was never given to luxury and vain lifestyle like you in his lifetime; pray as holy spirit comes into you; all your ambition will change from presidency to prayer revivals then your words will not sound as a heathen and dirty. Time will tell, evidence will show.
“I can’t be surprised; in Mark 6:4 Jesus said a prophet is not honoured in his own town. But God is not mocked, whatever a man sows he shall reap and the wicked will not go unpunished Miriam and Aronwere anointed but speaking against God’s servant gave them shame.
“Be warned, God is a consuming fire. The anointing that’s saves can also destroy. If a man could know when God is about to take him, he is sure of his place of reward; Snr. Prophet T.B Joshua went home like the saints.
“Read your Bible about the prophets. From Moses to the apostles, many died brutal deaths. Even some men of God died in plane crashes. Will you because of that call them dragons?
“Papa Benson Idahosa went to be the Lord after preaching benefits of death, is he now a dragon? Heaven and earth which one is better? Early apostles were killed by sword and through hanging, all to the glory of God.
“Rev. Chris, you abused T.B Joshua many years ago, till now he has proved you wrong and went to heaven, yet your result is new wives and lies that God sent you to be president …I am highly disappointed in you. Look at Pastor Chris (Oyakhilome) you abused, he is a world changer today. Shame on you the accuser of the brethren of our time.
“My own grace is not the same as of my father; mine is double and dangerous. Some will speak about me and won’t go free because you can lie against James and John but not with Apostle Peter. Be warned,” Pastor Okafor Samuel admonished.
Meanwhile, as the battle rages on between Okotie and defenders of T.B. Joshua, silence seems to be the order of day among the leaders of the group, as at press time, none of them has intervened to quench the inferno.