ReligiousNews 4/5/16 - T.B. Joshua: A Burning Passion For God And Mankind

[ Masterweb Reports:  reports ] - Religion has always been an integral part of society. Religious ways and creeds have always commanded deep sentiments and reverence from humanity. No society can do without the role of religion and their torchbearers. Many founders and leaders of religious movements have been known to champion the cause of the weak, oppressed and downtrodden in society. Many prophets and priests – irrespective of creed, faith and dogma – have been known to inveigh vehemently against injustice, poverty, and other societal ills perpetuated by secular authorities. The story of intervention by religious leaders in mankind’s darkest hour are legendary. They have been told and retold. Some have intervened to save individuals like the “Good Samaritan” while others have saved whole tribes, communities, and whole generations by standing up for what is good and spoke truth to power at various epochs in the history of humanity’s evolution. Prophets or messengers of God like Moses, Mohammed (May peace be upon him), Zoroaster, Buddah, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. etc., have all played pious and no less crucial roles that brought salvation and deliverance to mankind at their own time and place. They often conduct many forms of humanitarian activities, including hospices, rescue homes, and places for the care of the poor and needy. Today, religious organizations have added educational foundations to their activities including the grant of scholarship to brilliant but indigent students among their worshippers. It could be recalled that many religious leaders like Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi, and many others contributed in no small measure to the emancipation of this country from the vice grip of military junta through their fiery criticism and activism.

 

 

Notwithstanding the potent force for good represented by religious leaders and adherents alike, many still find it easy to deny their benevolent impact on society especially in their native locale. Many contemporary religious founders have been despised, criticized and even vilified by their kith and kin who find it difficult to comprehend their religious gnosis and way of life. A good example of a religious leader who many love to have but has no doubt earned respect and honour both within and outside the shores of this nation is the Founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, aka TB Joshua. Apart from his religious exploits through diverse healing and miraculous work attributed to him, he has shown himself proved himself as a very compassionate personality through his varied interventions aimed at uplifting the oppressed and down trodden in society.

 

His work has continued to draw commendation from across the globe despite pockets of condemnation at home. However, TB Joshua appears to have successfully transcended the scriptural saying that prophets lack honour in their home. His many award and recognition attest to this assertion.

 

The TB Joshua led SCOAN has been described as “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction” and “the most visited destination by religious tourists in West Africa,” with thousands of foreigners flocking to attend the church’s weekly services. Figures released by the Nigerian Immigration Service indicated that six out of every 10 foreign travellers coming into Nigeria are bound for The SCOAN. ThisDay newspapers had reported that “about two million local and inbound tourists” visit The SCOAN annually and that the church’s popularity has led to an increase in flight routes to Lagos from several African countries. Moreover, in 2009, Joshua started a football club – My People FC – as part of efforts to help the youth. Two members of the team reportedly played for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

 

Apart from his fame which continues to spread like wild fire, Joshua and his ministry have also had their lows characterized by grief and anguish. An instance was the mysterious collapse of the church’s guesthouse on 12 September 2014, killing scores of worshippers. This has unfortunately led to a long drawn litigation between the church and the Lagos State Government. The incident which has been blamed on a myriad of factors notwithstanding, worshippers from across the world have continued to besiege his services in expectation of miracle solution to their equally myriad challenges. Many devotees have continued to testify about the efficacy of his prayers and accuracy of his prophetic utterances on Emmanuel Television.

 

It can be asserted that Joshua is an epitome of humility, selflessness, though a highly misunderstood one at that because so many people only see him in the light of a single story. He is also known to have awarded scholarships to less privileged members of our societies without minding tribe, sex, locality and even faith. As he stated in one of his teachings that we must learn to show love to everyone and differences in faith should not be a barrier. I can say without mincing word that Joshua has shown great love for the down trodden in our country and beyond. He believes strongly that love is what we need in our society today. Lack of love according to him, is the reason monies meant for all is illegally expropriated by a few. Lack of love is the reason why monies meant for infrastructure is cornered by a few. It is my candid opinion that all our religious leaders and by extension all Nigerians should imbibe this attribute of love for country and one another exhibited by TB Joshua. Diverse accounts abound of Joshua’s prophetic utterances believed to have served as guidance for both political and economic direction for leaders and individuals alike. There are media reports that this humanitarian arm has donated money in order to help orphans and the destitute. In 2009 it was reported that one widow received more than N500, 000. In 2012, Joshua sponsored one Nigerian student doing a PhD in Oxford University with Nigerian media reporting the total given amounted to £100,000. There is also a rehabilitation programme for militants from the Niger Delta region and a Forbes blogger estimated that Joshua had spent $20 million on humanitarian activities over a period of three years. Joshua was involved in the meeting of the family of the late president of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson who was responsible for Doe’s death. During this meeting the family publicly forgave Johnson. SCOAN has also established another NGO in Ghana called Passion For Needy. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.

 

I have gone this far to demonstrate that even though the argument still rages as to the role and relevance of religious leaders in politics and governance, our reality as evidenced above demonstrate that they have been useful and will continue to be absolutely relevant and even indispensable for the peace, order, good governance of any society. Besides, it also shows that religious leaders irrespective of their faith and creed ought and should be accorded honour due them both at the Local, State and Federal level. However religious leaders across the divide must strive at all time to balance their divine calling with service to humanity. They must not be deterred by prevalent scepticism and unbelief. They must up their game by being major players in the social and political life of the country. Their scope of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) need to be broadened.

 

The point must be made that there are still ‘prophets’ in this country who can be relied upon to feed the hungry,  make rich the poor, set the captives free and intervene decisively in temporal political matters that assail the body polity of our dear country from time to time. The political rumblings in our polity today call for such urgent intervention by men of good conscience to save our republic from catastrophe.

 

*Photo Caption - T.B. Joshua

 
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