TB Joshua is known to thousands of people around the world as a “prophet of God” with healing hands that can cure anything from disabilities to cancer and HIV and Aids.
“Divine healing is the supernatural power of God bringing health to the human flesh,” says the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) on its website. “Thousands who come oppressed with sickness and disease receive their healing at the Scoan … Truly, there is never a sickness Jesus cannot heal.”
A multi-storey guest house belonging to the church collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday killing dozens of people, including 67 South Africans. The South Africans were believed to be part of at least five tour groups staying at Joshua’s church at the time. Agencies reported that more than 100 survivors had been rescued.
According to the church’s website Joshua can cure just about anything. Videos posted show people who have allegedly been healed by him. One man, apparently in a wheelchair, walked out of the church after being healed. A deaf woman suddenly began hearing. Another woman with cystic fibrosis and various others with HIV and Aids had been “miraculously healed”. The website contains some gory before and after photographs of people whose wounds had been healed. Wounds included dog bites, burns, ulcers and a “cancer-eaten arm”.
The prominent people who have gone to Joshua for help include Zimbabwean politician Morgan Tsvangirai, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika, and ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Sport celebrities reported to have approached him are former Springbok rugby players Joost van der Westhuizen, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Ruben Kruger and Wium Basson.
However, later on Wednesday, a family representative said Van der Westhuizen has never met TB Joshua.
“Joost van der Westhuizen has never gone to Nigeria to meet this prophet and he hasn’t engaged with him and he hasn’t sought his help,” family representative Odette Schwegler said. “If he had, that wouldn’t be a problem, it’s just he hasn’t.”
Basson died of cancer in April 2001. Kruger died in Pretoria in January 2010 after battling brain cancer for 10 years.
“Prophet” Joshua was born in the village of Arigidi, Nigeria on June 12 1963. The church claims he was in his mother’s womb for 15 months. “Significantly, almost a hundred years prior to his birth, it had been prophesied that a young man would emerge from the poor Oosin [sic] quarters and that God would use him mightily,” the website said. Osin is the name of a farm and a community in Nigeria.
“Another remarkable event occurred when he was three days old, as a large boulder crashed through the roof of his house, missing the baby by mere inches,” said Scoan. After the incident, his mother named him, ” Temitope” meaning “What You [God] have done for me is worthy of thanks”.
Joshua went to St Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi, and became the leader of the student Christian fellowship. “He was the smallest in the class but led the prayer during the school devotions and was known as small pastor. “He was unable to complete his secondary education due to poverty.”
Reflecting on his early life, Joshua is quoted as saying: “I found myself in a family background that irritated me. My natural circumstance of birth was poverty. I come from a very humble background.”
In an article written by Joshua, titled Everything Big Starts Little, he says he knew early in life that he needed God. “I was in a trance for three consecutive days, then I saw a hand that pointed a Bible to my heart and the Bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to immerse with the Bible immediately,” he wrote.
“I saw the apostles and prophets … with someone whose head I could not see because he was tall to the heaven and suspended, which I believe was our Lord Jesus Christ sitting in their midst. I also saw myself in their midst. “I am your God; I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the Heavenly Father.”
According to Scoan’s website, the “architectural masterpiece”, which collapsed on Friday, was not the first. The church has had three previous locations, and each time something happened to its structure. “The roof of the first church was blown off by a storm, the second church was washed away by a flood, and the third church also collapsed due to severe weather conditions,” it said. “In every situation, God is still saying something. Today, the Scoan is an architectural masterpiece located in the heart of Lagos.” – Sapa