Temitope Balogun Joshua died suddenly, unexpectedly on 5th June, 2021; Seven (7) days to his Fifty-Eight (58th) birthday.
He neither gave his nuclear family nor his close disciples, church leaders, and followers an inkling of his imminent demise. No media ever reported the global Tele-Evangelist as having nursed any deliberating ailment before his sudden death in the early hours of Saturday 5th of June, 2021.
Much of what Nigerians knew was that T.B Joshua as a bustling preacher, was active in ministration, counselling and evangelism till the last hours of his eventful life.
Accounts pieced together indicated a flurry of activities around the Synagogue of All Nations, (where he held forte) in the week that preceded the passage of the charismatic gospeller.
So when T.B Joshua left the prayer mountains and preached to his large congregation that fateful 5th day of June, none could have fathomed the possibility of an eternal rest for him.
But T.B Joshua had taken a departure which left mouths agape and thrown many into deep mourning. He was said to have expressed reservations about celebrating his 58th year birthday and instead, urged his congregation to step up their steadfastness in prayers.
If the popular tele-evangelist attracted controversies to his person while alive, so much that critiques branded him a fake and a man given to sorcery, comments credited to Pastor Kris Okotie, founder Household of God Church did add much vapour to the controversies that trailed T.B Joshua in his life time. Kris Okotie was reported in an Instagram post to have mocked the leader of the Synagogue of All Nations, immediately news of his death went viral on the internet.
Pastor Okotie’s post, contemptuously described dead T.B Joshua as ‘the wizard at Endor’ who having assumed the title of Emmanuel, was eventually consumed.
Contents of Pastor Okotie’s Instagram post which he supported with biblical quotations also dealt greater blows on T.B. Joshua’s pastoral exposition.
Hebrews chapter one (1) verse thirteen (13) were deliberately churned out by Rev. Okotie perhaps, to cast the late tele-evangelist in a mould, that is averse to the body of Christ. Quoted verses such as “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool” further articulated negative perception of a priest he saw as less than a prophet.
While millions of worshippers and internet followers of prophet T.B. Joshua weep and mourn his demise, Rev. Chris Okotie believers his exit was ignominious. Okotie’s Instagram message had so much venom as can deduced from various uncomplimentary languages unleashed on the memory of prophet T.B Joshua.
What about the sentence?
“No marvel, one third of God’s angel followed the disgraced anointed cherub Lucifer”.
Rev. Okotie’s Nunc dimittis on the departed leader of the Synagogue of All Nations left no one in doubt of what he thought him to be and without any anticipated conjecture, readers of the Instagram post were simply told to look at T.B Joshua in the image of the Dragon which the book of Revelations extensively talked about.
In Rev. Okotie’s opinion, T.B Joshua’s death fulfilled “The striken down of the Dragon’s head with the mighty blows of Jehovah-Jesus, who descended from the mountain of spices with the fiery sword of his indignation” Although these are biblical verses which have survived generations, Rev. Kris Okotie gave no qualms in relating the contents to the sudden demise of Prophet T.B Joshua.
As millions of faithfuls and followers of the departed T.B Joshua struggle hard to contemplate the nuances of Okotie’s Instagram message especially its contentious innuendo, they are likely to ask repeatedly why Rev. Okotie chose the exit of the spiritual leader of The Synagogue of All Nations to vent his spleen on his memory.
Okotie had concluded his post with accusations that list the late tele-Evangelist among adversaries of the Church, and predicted God’s vengeance on those he perceives as unrepresentative of the body of Christ in Nigeria.
Rev. Kris Okotie’s fiery outbursts reflect the billowing rumpus among Christian adherents in Nigeria today. Schisms, intrigues, unhealthy rivalries, scams, corruption and occultism have crept into churches and prayer houses nationwide with the result that, Christians are further estranged from the true teachings, doctrines, spiritual and moral obligations of Christ.
Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was one of the most popular tele-Evangelists who drew millions of worshippers from different parts of the world. At his death, his Facebook account grossed over three point five million (3.5m) followers. The high and the mighty, among whom were presidents and leaders of Nations sought spiritual counselling and deliverance from him.
His one-branch Church, The Synagogue of All Nations is a mecca of some sort to those who sought his face. He demonstrated the essence of communal living which made him a toast of peoples within and outside his immediate environment.
He gave freely and generously. T.B Joshua was a celebrity who did not live the style, because he shunned the glamour that has become a prefix of twenty first (21st) century Pentecostal preachers and Church leaders.
It is difficult to fully discern the raison deter of Rev. Kris Okotie’s vituperations on Prophet T.B. Joshua. Such may not lead observers and analysts beyond the common realm of personality differences which are cocooned in envy and possibly, hatred. In this context, this writer is not joining issues with any school of thought on whether prophet T.B Joshua erred or distinguished himself in his calling.
What is crucial is the unity of the Church against all known human and societal malaise that continuously make Nigeria, a country of so many religions without God.
OLUSOLA AJIBOYE, a Veteran Journalist and Media Consultant, Contributed this piece from Osogbo, Osun State Capital