Prophet T.B. Joshua, thel founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations. He speaks on the misunderstanding between him and some evangelical and Pentecostal leaders in Nigeria. He also reacts to the trend of church leaders in Nigeria owning planes.
Pastor Adeboye said he would not worship in your church. How do you react to such a statement?
I want to say something. Everybody makes mistake. Everybody. That’s all. Perfection eludes everyone. So, for me personally, I respect integrity. Look at me here. Even if you don’t look at me, look at the so many people of different calibre that believe in what I am doing here. So also, Baba Adeboye has so many people, people that matter in the society that believe in what he is doing, what God is using him for. So if I now open my mouth and begin to speak to such a man, I think it’s uncalled for. It’s unnecessary. It’s not Christ-like. I am not speaking to him, but I am speaking to people that believe in him. I am brought up from a home where we are taught to respect elders. We were taught not to speak against elders, even if elders speak against you. And in the same home too, we were taught that elders should not speak also against the young.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, said you should first of all show him who pastured you before they could consider admitting you into their membership.
As a point of correction, I never applied to be a member of any association. Okay? So that is a point of correction. Two, the way and manner God executes His plan in our lives differ. Some He brought them from this direction, some from another direction, some He allowed to go to Theology school, some He allowed them to go to the university, (and) they may not even go to Theology school. After graduation, they would become whatever God wants them to become. Some, they may not even go to school at all. There is the University of God where you would not be promoted, no matter how brilliant you are, until you take every course. Do you understand me?
You are saying in effect that maybe they are looking down on what you are doing, because you didn’t pass through the formal process they passed through.
Do you say you understood what I said? I told you that the way and manner God executes His plans in our lives differ. Okay? The direction that God would take you through and when we all become pastors, sometimes God would send some to local level, God send some people to national level, God send some people to minister to the whites and some, their anointing cannot pass beyond the black. Some God sent them to minister to presidents and kings. The way and manner God called us differs. That is why we should not compare ourselves with others. And that is why we should not be measuring ourselves to ourselves.
In the process of building this big institution, have you made mistakes?
You see, everybody has dry pits. And also, everybody has his prison condition. Also, everybody has his Potiphar’s house. So that is my answer in the form of a parable. Let me tell you something: When you wake up in the morning and you discover your hand is free, your leg is free, you are okay, that may likely not encourage you to watch and pray the more. Problems make us to pray more and fast the more. Difficulty makes us to pray and fast the more. And, weakness also… Look at Paul, the Apostle. Three times he came to God. He said: “Lord, this is a thorn in my flesh.” The Lord said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you.” There is reason for that. God used that to preserve him from becoming too proud and begin to see himself that ‘I am this, I am that’.
When you look back, are there areas in your spiritual journey that you didn’t do well and you feel like correcting?
I am not God. I am a servant. And a servant looks unto perfection. God is perfection. So that is it.
You are not making effort to make peace with the other ministers so that there would be no question of T.B. Joshua is not this, T.B. Joshua is not that. Didn’t the Bible say you should pursue peace?
If I can give you the audience I am giving you now – this is a wonderful atmosphere. That is my nature. I love everyone. But I trust only God.
How do you feel over the contempt people have for you? The fact that they don’t speak well of you and they say you don’t belong to their fold.
Can I ask you a question? If we remove what is not made in Nigeria from your body, you would remain naked. If I say okay, ‘Give me those things on you that is not made in Nigeria’, and you would find yourself naked. So, what are we talking about?
That is a parable. Put it in the paper like that. What I am saying is that a prophet is not honoured in his hometown. And because you are not honoured in your home, that has nothing to do with the anointing of God. That does not mean you are not honoured.
What is the central focus of your ministry? What is your message?
Salvation. Salvation is the house and when you open the house, you can now see healing, you would see blessing, you would see prosperity. If anybody now begins to ask for healing, healing, healing, it’s like you want God to just give you fridge in the house. What of the whole house?
One of the accusations against you is that you are making yourself God, that you are not submitting yourself to Jesus, that the reason you are called Emmanuel is like you are God Himself.
No, Emmanuel is in the Bible. Emmanuel means ‘God is with us’. That’s our greeting. Like many churches would say ‘Hallelujah’ or ‘Hosanna’. So what is bad about that? You have been here over an hour now – do you see any of that? That is it. That is why you should go and tell the world that this is what you heard and this is what you have seen. How can anybody now see himself as the Master Jesus when all the healing, deliverance, salvation are not brought to pass by anything we have done, except by His name. He who glories must not glory in himself, but in the Lord. So that is it.
It appears that all is of grace because all our spiritual advantages are from God. Our faith, our conversion, our eternal salvation are not the product of any natural gift or any natural ability. So no man should boast. It’s blasphemy for anybody to say he is Jesus. If anybody calls himself Jesus, that person is not normal – he is mental.
Who is your own father in the Lord or mentor?
When we talk of mentor, we mean someone you want to be like or someone you believe you have gained from. After reading my Bible, I give a total salute to Paul, the Apostle, what God wrought through him after his deliverance. Peter and Paul, the Apostle. But I pray for all the ministers of God. They are all my mentors. Okay?
How has not going to a university impacted you?
When there is the University of Jesus… you know Jesus has a university. That is where you can receive His message in your heart. But if you did not attend His university, you cannot receive His message in your heart. While in the other universities you receive the message in your ears, in the University of Jesus, you receive the message in your heart.
What differentiates The Synagogue from any other church?
There is no difference. Whatever happens here in terms of miracles, in terms of salvation – what you are seeing, there is no difference. God is the God of these fingers. Look at these fingers, they are not equal. Look at it.
What differentiates you from other preachers?
Nothing. Nothing differentiates me. Rather, I want to tell you that no matter the level that one reaches, there is always another level to reach.
Your critics say if you pass a place, people would rush and go and touch the sand and all that. What is the symbolism of all that?
We have said it here that God can use any medium. When we look at what happened in the book of Act 19: 11, it says God wrought extraordinary miracles through Paul. Anything that had contact with him were taken to the sick and they were all healed.
Are you a misunderstood man?
I am a tenant. If the landlord was misunderstood, what’s my position? I am a servant. The head of the house was misunderstood. What people do not understand, they call names. But what they understand they destroy.
Are you an underrated man?
Soul has nothing to do with high people. It is all about a regenerate soul. A regenerate sinner becomes a living soul. So forget about having a big church or whatnot. When you talk about soul, it is not about big, big people.
When I look at the size of your church and the fact that it is still growing, I begin to ask: Is it not possible your vision has become too small for the size of the ministry? In other words, five years from now, can this place contain you?
We have branches all in different countries. Our church is one of the biggest churches in Greece. And I think the one God has established here, we need to have the same size all over the world. It is not that important that it should expand, making it for all Nigerians to come here. No. This is my mission. Like I have told you, the way and manner God executes His plans in our life differs. If I don’t have branches all over Nigeria and I have branches in other countries – that is the way God wants it.
Already, you are running two shifts. Which means if you grow some more, you might have to run more shifts. Where will your people park and so on?
When the situation is such that I would be running three services, then it is better I establish in other countries like say Ghana. People can come there. Eighty percent of my members are not from Nigeria. And anywhere that honey is, insects seek it and find it.
What is the honey here?
It is the anointing; the anointing of God.
How did you meet you beautiful wife?
I think she would be in the position to grant you an interview. She is such a wonderful woman. You too know that behind any man is a woman. No man can go it alone. I salute her. This woman, hmm, is a mother. When you say somebody is your mother, she’s more than a wife. And I don’t know the words. I am short of words to describe her. She is someone that amidst all the noise, noise, noise, she would just look. She’s my counsellor, adviser. She would tell you: it’s a matter of time. And you would never hear her voice. If this woman is not a good woman, I don’t think you would find me in the situation I am today. Because, you cannot have problems out there and have problems in the house. Many that don’t have problems in the outside, they have problems in the inside. And the problem inside is greater, is more powerful and is more dangerous than the outside.
Where are your children?
My children? They are there.
They are there. They are doing fine. That’s why I have plenty children.
You don’t have biological children yet?
I have biological children.
I have three.
How many boys and how many girls?
If I begin to say how many boys, how many girls, those who have no boy or have no girl might feel discouraged. As a minister of God, I shouldn’t discourage anybody. If I begin to say I have so-so girls, I have so-so boy, those who do not have at all would feel discouraged. My words should be words of encouragement, to tell them that what a man can do, a woman can do it, and what a woman can do, a man can do.
How do you feel not having a boy?
Ah, ah, how do you come to the conclusion that I don’t have a boy?
As a man of God, can you look God in the face and admit you have not cheated on your wife?
Let me tell you one thing about the situation. What is happening, you are seeing the level of understanding and the obedience in union between me and my wife.
But you are a handsome man. Don’t women tempt you?
You say what?
Don’t you face temptation from women, a handsome man like you?
Like I have said, if you are not tempted with money and you are not tempted with woman, and you are not tempted with pride…I want to tell you that God Almighty has been manifesting His strength in my weakness. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Thank you. Are you okay? (Laughs)
How rich are you now?
Mmmh, this is a question that I think if…I want to advise the whole world. And whatever you hear from me, take it. Because if I am telling you what I am not I am, God is there. Because as a servant of God, we cannot misinform the public. I am not a politician. I have to tell you. If I am telling you something now, you will hardly believe, but I want you to believe. In terms of cash, I am zero. When I have a hundred million today, I have one thousand five hundred people I have given scholarship. Leeds University alone in England, one person cost hundred thousand dollars. It is one of the best universities all over the world. And I have people all over.
I can give you my account number to check. I am zero. But people look at me, I don’t mind. My responsibility is so much that if I have trillion dollars today, I would not be able to save one dollar. It is not enough to care for the responsibility. Are you talking of dwarfs, widows, physically challenged, old age? When we leave here, I would take you to our store opposite here. It’s full of rice. We have five trailers of rice we just brought. Every month, it’s like that. And you know one trailer is five point three million naira. So I want to declare, I want to tell you today, you would find zero money in my accounts. But I am not owing banks and I am free from that. But I am just a zero. But my responsibility, God has been taking care of it.
When are you going to buy your own jet?
When I say I don’t have cash…(laughs); when I say I don’t have money, cash like this, where would I get money for plane? But I want to tell you something: there is nothing bad having a private jet. But the only condition I can have it, if God says I would have it, is for people to give me. And when you give me, you should also be ready to pay landing fee because I don’t know how I would get it. But I want to tell you that if ministers of God have it, there is nothing bad about that. It aids the gospel. I tell you that our fathers that have it, there is nothing bad about that. The way and manner God executes His plans in our lives differs. Some ministers, God says: ‘You, you would not have a private jet, I would send people to give you.’ While some, God says: ‘You, buy it, with your money.’
I am not supporting those who are criticising the ownership of jets by men of God. It is true that there is difficulty in the society, there is poverty everywhere, but trial is the soil in which true ministers of God flourish. But I am not criticising because the way and manner God executes His plan in our lives differs. But as for me, I know, that even every car I have there, there is no single one I used my money to buy. Since I started this ministry, there is never a day I have been able to gather money. If I have one dollar, one responsibility is there to take the dollar. If I have 20 dollars today, 200 people are waiting to take the 20 dollars. It’s like having these things attract responsibility. I even say I don’t want money because money brings responsibility.
Are you planning to build a university?
We put it before God and God says yes, He would give us the grace. But this university would be for the needy; those who are brilliant but cannot afford to go to university. And the physically challenged too. The university would be mainly for the needy whom we are giving the scholarship. But before that, let us send people overseas to attend university there or here. Let us see what we can do to make the existing one better and better.
How do you explain your strategy of inviting heads of states to your church?
It’s you that know that they are heads of states. For me, a soul is a soul. Church is all about those who are being saved, not head of state. Why are you interested in Presidents?
Do you have any message for Nigeria?
My message is that it is high time we became a producing-nation, not a consumer-nation. If we know what it takes the producer that produces what you put on, you would know how you would care and how you would go about having plenty of it. And two, a producer sees whatever he does or whatever he gives as an assignment from God. Giving is an opportunity to reshape our destinies. When you are giving, you are reshaping your destiny. But mind you, what you give does not all that matter to God, but the way we give it.
Did you ever meet President Obasanjo?
President or no President, church is all about soul. Those who are being saved. It’s we that know this one is President, that one is President. So, we pastors should talk about souls being saved more, not the calibre or the class of people.
What are your success tips in life?
The secret is, feel what others feel. Jesus feels what we feel. You begin to succeed with your life when the hurt and problem of others matter to you. So, this is the problem we are facing in this country. When we feel what others feel, the public fund, public money and when you are voted to a position, you would consider the people that brought you there.