AN END TO NINE YEARS OF PAIN FROM LUMBAR SPONDYLOSIS

“I believe, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, my problem will be solved forever,” so had Ms Anna Labojo declared as she prepared for her divine appointment two weeks ago. A former Human Resources Assistant with the United Nations, Anne had been forced to retire early due to the problem of difficulty in walking, a condition that had resulted from lumbar spondylosis. 

For about nine years, she had suffered excruciating pains, which she described as feeling like having boiling water on the feet. With no relief from her lumbar corset, the 62-year-old had managed to make her way to The SCOAN. 

As the prayers progressed, in Jesus’ name, Anne fell under the anointing as Prophet Chris declared her free from suffering. “Oh, my God! Now I’m free!” Anne had exclaimed in tears after she returned to her feet. Last Sunday, Anne told the church that she had started following Emmanuel TV in 2016 and had been practising forgiveness,as taught by Prophet TB Joshua. She said she had immediately felt light when she stood up after the anointed touch, and that her daughter had also fallen under the anointing back home in South Sudan. Anne advised people to expect God’s touch wherever they are, since nothing is impossible for Him.

A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

The SCOAN Choir started by urging the weak to confess strength, then they blessed the name of the Lord before asking the Ancient of Days and the Lion of Judah to come forth and “take us in as we surrender to the will” of Oluranlowo, our Helper at all times. Indeed, the praise and worship session prepared congregants’ hearts to receive from the Lord yet again.

Prophet TB Joshua began his exhortation on an interactive note, asking a number of congregants to respond to the question, “How do we know God?” After receiving several different answers, the man of God added: “We know God by the way He speaks. The way He speaks represents His heart.” He stated that “God’s promises are only recorded in the Bible and without God’s promises, our faith is not real faith. He referred the congregants to the Book of Romans 10:17 which says that faith comes through His Word”.

To this end, Prophet T.B. Joshua stressed the need for us to have a right standing with God so that we can receive answers to our prayers. Finally, he again asked congregants to show love to those who despise them, even as they pray in the name of “Jesus in the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Prophet Racine gave a message titled A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART, citing the passages Matthew 15: 8, Acts 13: 22, Galatians 1: 15-17. He began by noting that many tend to fall into the error of appearance, wherein they focus on the physical attributes and skills of those professing to know God, instead of the focusing on the heart, which is the real person since it is “the seat of desire, will, emotions, wisdom, knowledge, conscience and moral character.” For anybody to be used by God, Prophet Racine explained, they have to be melted first, then remoulded into a divine vessel and get filled with the Holy Spirit.

Prophet Racine added that the battle between the flesh and the spirit is the reason why some people are still followers in God’s kingdom when they have actually been called to be leaders. He then stated that “Our way of thinking, our way of life needs to be reformed to suit Christ’s purpose for our lives,” since God makes us useful in His Kingdom by melting and refining us “through tribulation, through trials, through temptation.” As such, he concluded, “The impact of those trials on ourselves separates us from impurities, separates us from pride, arrogance, anger, resentment and causes the character of God to grow in our lives.”

HEALED OF WOMB LEAKAGE AND PROMOTED AFTER 10 YEARS

“The problem that brought me to The Synagogue, Church of All Nations was fluid coming out of my womb,” so disclosed Miss Durgadevi Narasimhan, an Indian. When she had visited, man of God Prophet T.B. Joshua had assured her that God was in control of her situation. True to her faith, God had fulfilled His Word in her life. The fluid dried up and she no longer needed an operation. Yet, God had more in store for the staff nurse: Her 10-year career stagnation ended, as she received her promotion, in the mighty name of Jesus! An ardent viewer of Emmanuel TV, Miss Narasimhan advised people to pray and trust God always.

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HELPLESS HERBALIST HEALED, DELIVERED BY JESUS CHRIST!

“There is a woman – this woman from South Africa is a herbalist…. This thing has destroyed your children. You are still practising it, till now.” After these words of prophecy were uttered by Prophet T.B. Joshua two Sundays ago, the woman in question, Mrs Jane Maleto, came out to confirm them. The man of God spoke further, “You know this thing has destroyed your children?” When Jane got on The SCOAN aisle last week to testify about God’s hand upon her life, she began by saying, “I don’t know what more I can do to thank God for rescuing my life from the pit of hell.” Then she told the story of how she got inducted into herbalism, disclosing that it had been suggested as the only way for her to rid herself of the inexplicable illnesses that had troubled her life from childhood, even affecting her children. She said that, owing to her mystery illnesses, she never enjoyed collecting the many prizes that she won as a brilliant student. According to Jane, anytime she needed to collect an award she would suddenly have swellings that would disfigure her skin and mouth and she would look unrecognisable in the pictures taken for the occasion. After failing to find a solution at churches and herbalists’ homes, and after resisting the suggestion for 14 years, Jane eventually agreed to train as a herbalist. After a month of training, Jane started on her own and began ‘treating’ people through the mediums that she had been taught to use. However, her problems worsened, just like her children. As Jane pondered about her situation, a man appeared to her in a vision and afterwards she began reading her Bible more seriously. Later on, she discovered Emmanuel TV as she searched for a Christian channel. “I was at the point of taking my life when I discovered Emmanuel TV,” Jane said, adding that at that point she dreamt of Prophet T.B. Joshua point a palm at her. When she woke up, she said, she received relief from the ailment that had been threatening to take her sight. From then on, Jane continued to have dreams of deliverance. Today, Jane is able to eat like any normal person and her stomach no longer swells. “People of God, I’m relieved. Now I can lie on my stomach and feel no pain. I am free!” she declared to the church. Jane advised people to avoid consulting herbalists for solutions to their problems.

WOULD-BE KILLER NOW A JESUS SOLDIER!

Because he was facing harassment from his creditor friend, Usman accepted the suggestion from another friend to visit a spiritualist who would help him take the creditor’s life. The spiritualist gave him a charm, and all he needed to do was to call the creditor’s name three times and he would die. The money from the creditor had in fact been taken away by somebody that Usman had regarded as a trusted business partner. No longer able to bear the beatings from security agents, Usman had decided on killing his creditor, hence the resort to the charm. Along the line, he came home one day and found his wife watching Emmanuel TV despite having asked her to stop doing so. She calmly asked him to listen to the man of God. That day, Prophet T.B. Joshua spoke on the need to forgive and the message reverberated with Usman. Eventually, he decided to forgive the creditor he had been intending to kill. How was he to get rid of the charm without any repercussion for him or his family? He decided he had to bring it to The SCOAN, hiding it from the security officials. Usman indeed managed to bring the charm in two weeks ago – but the Spirit of God located him through the man of God and neutralised the charm. And the rest is now history. No more does Usman have nightmares. “Now I sleep like a newborn and always think of Jesus Christ,” he added. He advised people to forgive their offenders in order to enjoy God’s forgiveness.

THE SCOAN NOT MERELY A GROWING TOURIST DESTINATION

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The SCOAN

It is true that in recent years Prophet TB Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, (SCOAN), Lagos Nigeria has attracted to his ministry Christian pilgrimage and tourist from around the world. The prophet has been unintentionally working on this, a global image he now has, within the last three decades. Nevertheless, he has been working with the less to do, the high and the low in the society, running international crusades, conducting weekly prophecy, healing, deliverance, etc. Hence under 30 years of his ministry, TB Joshua has become a major world-class Prophet of all time.

The main question and our concern are knowing which ministry best represents “Jesus Christ’s Expectation of Faith”. We all need to know what Jesus expects to find at His return. The apostles Jesus trained, left to continue His works after His ascension became our reference point, especially after they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ represented and performed three functions in His earthly ministry. He was the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:14-22), the Priest (Psalm 110:1-4), and the King (Psalm 2). He raised disciples who would become “Fishers of men”, people who could draw others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is not just the weekly crowds and the economic benefits to the local environment that are most paramount.

Our proper personal response in our relationship with Christ Jesus is what Paul calls “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5, 16:26), or which SCOAN always encourages to new converts as “making the Word a standard for life”. The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the oral tradition of the early apostles, and the written Word, now become our essence. The community is interested in the crowds but within the teaching of SCOAN is the full Gospel of Jesus Christ in His ramifications.

The result of the work of Prophet TB Joshua and SCOAN, aired by Emmanuel TV, will become more visible when the disciples raised by this prophet move out to every corner of the globe preaching Christ and living in His obedience and holiness. In the world today we have academic preaching, Schools of Divinity where deep knowledge of Jesus Christ’s history and work are learned and taught. But (Acts 4:13) now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Being with Jesus in His teaching, living, preaching, and love is what we seem to be seeing in SCOAN. Hence those coming to see prophet TB Joshua of SCOAN are encouraged to come expecting to meet Jesus Who will use His prophets to meet their needs. Of course, SCOAN is a growing Christian tourist destination and shall remain so many years ahead.

Exclusive: Inside the Synagogue, Church of All Nations — one of Nigeria’s biggest tourist attractions

tb joshua, scoan

The SCOAN

Nigeria is home to a couple of megachurches that have evolved into self-contained cities, providing services like electricity, water, accommodation and good roads to members and visitors.

One of such religious organisations is The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) which is regarded as the most visited destination by religious tourists in West Africa.

The Maravi Post got a chance to visit this global pentecostal denomination and found a bakery, automobile service area, 5-star restaurants, lodges and even a makeshift zoo.

“Good morning” is the first thing I hear as soon as I get to the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, Nigeria. It is founded by Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua.

I was there on a special invitation from the church to appreciate what God is doing to his children across the global through the healing power of Prophet TB Joshua

It is ranked 11th out of the 97 tourist attractions in Lagos state on the popular travel platform.

I hear this greeting again as I step into the waiting area where I spot a television airing a service on Emmanuel TV, a Christian television station founded by the general overseer commonly known as Prophet T.B. Joshua. It has over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers.

Hearing this for the second time piqued my curiosity since it was clearly afternoon, no longer morning, by the time I get there. I turned to ask a member of the church who says that this phrase is used regardless of the time of the day. “We greet according to the promises of God,” he explains.

This ‘prophetic greeting’ is based on Psalm 30:5 — “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (KJV)

A day inside this popular megachurch

I’m still mulling over this interesting greeting when I’m led inside by someone in the media department. Outside the church looks pretty amazing but inside leaves me awestruck. SCOAN is built with impressive stones, wood and beautiful stained glass windows. It also has a beautifully lit fountain behind the altar and portrayals of the last supper.

SCOAN is so huge, it looks like something from a game or movie set. Reportedly, a Sunday service attracts a minimum of 150,000 attendees every week and the building (empty at the time except for a few staff) looks capable of sitting this many people.

I’m taken upstairs to the media room then downstairs to the church-owned printing press. SCOAN publishes its pamphlets and books including the four written by T.B Joshua. It also has a supermarket close by.

The second part of the tour begins when I’m taken outside to the other side of the road. This part is outside of the main church but it still belongs to SCOAN. Here, you have the bakery, medical section, a gym, 10 ambulances in the automobile service area, two kinds of accommodation — one for average guests while the high end, complete with an elevator, is reserved for important guests like celebrities, ministers and even presidents.

This section also has an area for the children and a zoo with dogs and a couple of exotic birds. I’m told that the Man of God likes to spend time here. As I’m led out of the compound, I notice a couple of tents. My guide tells me that this is the overflow reserved for the thousands who are unable to sit in the main church.

According to the Nigerian Immigration Service, six out of every ten foreign travellers coming into Nigeria are bound for the SCOAN. Reportedly, the church attracts more weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.

“About two million local and inbound tourists” visit The SCOAN annually, The Guardian reported a few years ago. They all flock to the church to see the Man of God who has made a name for himself with his prophecies and by ‘healing’ everything from Cancer to AIDS.

He appears rather humble, almost shy as he takes my hand and introduces himself. We exchange a few words before I’m led away by the guide who proudly tells me about how down to earth his Man of God is. My tour comes to an end when I’m taken to one of the church’s 5-star restaurants. Here, I notice once again that all the TVs are only showing services from the Emmanual network. I wait here until my ride comes.

The Prophet TB Joshua effect

The SCOAN founder came out of nowhere and slowly turned his small ministry into a mega-church with its own self-contained city run on funds from his members and people who believe in him.

SCOAN has had a strong effect on the surrounding area. All the parts leading to the church have people selling life-sized portraits of Prophet T.B. Joshua. Hotels, restaurants and other establishments around the area also enjoy business from the thousands that flock the church every other week.

This explains why many stakeholders in the tourism sector fought against Prophet T.B Joshua’s proposed relocation to Isreal in 2017 arguing that Nigeria would lose billions of naira.

Mrs Ime Udo, the Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NANTA) told pressmen that “Religious practices both under the auspices of Christianity, Islam and traditional practices have in no small way contributed to the development of tourism in the world.

“The local community; hotel operators, food vendors and others around SCOAN must have benefitted from tourists. SCOAN has, no doubt, contributed immensely to the tourism profile of Nigeria with several heads of government from various African countries that had visited there to seek spiritual restoration and advise from Pastor TB Joshua.”

Commenting on the relocation rumors, a hotel operator named Anthonia Chuks, told the press that it would have a negative effect on the hospitality business in that area and the state.

“Ninety–five per cent of guests that lodge in hotels in the community are international and local visitors outside Lagos and they are SCOAN members. We have over 130 rooms and are always fully booked every weekend. We usually enjoy huge patronage from Fridays to Sundays weekly; and they are mostly SCOAN members from near and far,” she explained. The preacher has remained in the country.

Over the years, the Man of God has become one of the wealthiest preachers in Africa with an estimated net worth of $10 million — $15 million according to Forbes.

Apart from his ministry, he is well known for giving over $20 million to several causes in education, healthcare and rehabilitation programs for former Niger Delta militants. Since he has no known business, it is safe to assume that this comes from his ministry, which is tax-exempt in Nigeria because of its charity status.

To critics who say these big churches should be taxed, pastors argue that the charity work done should exempt them.

MEDICAL DOCTOR HEALED OF WRITER’S SPASMS, DELIVERED FROM NIGHTMARES

“Emmanuel!” Dr Irma Bendar’s voice rang out in excitement as she began her testimony on Sunday. The doctor from Russia started by praising God for healing her from muscle spasms, which had it impossible for her to write legibly. Unable to sign off her patients’ prescriptions, Irma had had to rely on stamping instead. The muscle spasms also caused her waist pains and prevented her from sitting for long, despite her using a lumbar corset. Realising that she could not help herself, Irma decided to seek a divine solution. As such, a fortnight ago, Irma found her way to The SCOAN, where she received her deliverance from the evil spirit trying to destroy her by tormenting her life with nightmares. “As Prophet T.B. Joshua prayed for me, I felt something come out of me,” she told the church on Sunday. “I am the healthiest person in the world now,” she declared. Irma is now perfectly healed of writer’s spasms. Moreover, she is delivered from evil spirits, even as she no longer feels body pains or experiences nightmares. She told the church, “No disease is incurable; run to Jesus.” Irma also testified about her mother’s healing from poor vision back home in Russia during the Living Water Service of last Monday.

LITTLE LUBA NO LONGER WEIGHED DOWN BY PAIN

Two Sundays ago, 11-year-old Miss Luba Salani came to The SCOAN with her mother, Tebogo. They had come all the way from Botswana and had been seeking divine healing for Luba’s problem of thoraco-lumbar scoliosis, a condition that had caused her severe back pains. Diagnosed in 2017, the condition had made it impossible for Luba to do her chores in the home or focus on her schoolwork. Despite attention from chiropractors and physiotherapists, Luba never felt better and her lumbar corset remained a constant reminder of her daily torture. After prayers in Jesus’ mighty name, Luba received her perfect healing and yanked off her lumbar corset, to the glory of God. “When the man of God prayed for me, I found a difference,” she testified last Sunday. Now, she can bend, walk and stand for as long as she wants. She advised people to have faith in God, as Jesus solves all problems. Luba’s mother advised people to make God’s Word the standard for their lives.

LISTEN TO THE SERMON OF YOUR LIFE

It was a Sunday morning – and from the skies, it kept pouring and pouring. Outside, it was wet, cold, flooded, even forbidding. Yet, the people defied it all, thronging to The Synagogue, Church of All Nations and determined to keep their destiny appointment with God Almighty. Inside, the atmosphere was warm with the love of God and charged with expectation as The SCOAN Choir sang in praise of Yahweh. They sang of the power in the name of Jesus Christ – the power that breaks all chains, works mighty miracles and changes destinies.

In a message meant to encourage self-probing, God’s disciple Prophet Chris urged the church to LISTEN TO THE SERMON OF YOUR LIFE. He read from Romans 6: 20-21, Galatians 5: 16-17, Galatians 5: 19-21 and Galatians 6: 7-8. The message focused on the waning fire among Christians as the flesh seems to be dominating the spirit. Prophet Christ stated that there will always be “constant conflict between the flesh and spirit of man” and that being a Christian “equips you to fight the battle.” Regarding vices such as impurity, sexual immorality, hatred, selfish ambition, idolatry and jealousy, as well as others, Prophet Chris asked congregants to search their hearts for the answer to the question as to the benefits they reap from such vices.

Prophet Chris asked congregants to “surrender all” to Jesus and cautioned them against repeating what damages us simply because our hearts are focused on ourselves and not the Spirit of God. Sin, he said, hurts our soul, yet we continue returning to it because we continue to feed the flesh and not the spirit. In concluding the message, Prophet Chris deplored the tendency of today’s church to pay more attention to the building of churches instead of character and the pursuit of applause for sermons rather than the impact of such sermons on hearts, as well as the drive by church leaders for tithes rather than the saving of souls.