Matthew 24:24: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
It was five days after of the tragic event, when the Synagogue Church of All Nations’ guesthouse collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, that we were told 67 South Africans had been killed. So far. This must be the lowest form of disrespect that self made prophet, TB Joshua, could dish out to his followers and worshippers around the world. Imagine the outrage if 911 was kept under wraps for even 24 hours. But to this day, there is no sense that the ‘prophet’ is taking any responsibility for the tragedy. The local religious fraternity, including the religious leaders’ forum, has also been dead quiet. Pastor Ray McCauley is the only one to have spoken out. The lack of deserved condemnation is sickening.
But the issues raised by the Lagos tragedy run deep, and for the first time, perhaps the issue of false prophets can be put squarely on the agenda. Our journalists have not pursued the subject of healing ministries, even those here in our own country, with any vigour. It is time questions are asked about those who trade in false hope.
One wonders how a man who claims to know so much about people and their misfortunes could not predict the collapse of a building under his nose, killing the very people who came to him for hope. It says something about a rebuff from the most high, showing once and for all that this could be the false prophet the bible tells us about. You will recall that the God of Moses, in particular, trades in miracles and delivers a big showcase to rebuff those that don’t believe him. A short story about the Egyptians being beset by disasters when they refused to listen to Moses comes to mind.
There have been stories about this place having dodgy characters, reports of dark things happening to young people, especially women, who are put up in this guesthouse in the name of deliverance. Few journalists have had the courage to investigate the claims. I say now it’s time to blow the lid off this heresy.
While some have claimed deliverance, many have also been let down and have not emerged from this so-called guesthouse throwing away their wheelchairs. They have awaited their miracles and thousands of rands later, had no sign of release. There is another dark narrative that is spoken of in hushed tones. The fact is there are allegations of people being sacrificed by some of these false prophets. Could it be that some of these people were just sacrificed? Until there is a clear denial this may well be what many people end up believing. TB Joshua must come clean and assure the world there is nothing criminal going on under his watch or in his name. Or much worse, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 17 tells us, “As spiritual adultery increases in the Church false prophets will flourish as highly sought after speakers and Christians will accept more of these false teachings”. It is not for us to judge, however. The bible is very clear that even Satan can easily masquerade as a servant of righteousness.
The big question is why would Joshua rush to make claims about terrorism? There has been no evidence that the collapse was caused by a bomb or any detonation. All indications are that this was a structural collapse induced by unauthorised or bad workmanship as two floors were being added to a building without fortifying its foundation. If this is the case, Joshua must be arrested. He can’t possibly be above the law. Any by-laws of a local authority surely should demand that permission be granted for physical altering a building.
Blaming Boko Haram is a cop-out because it diverts the attention of the authorities. TB Joshua must be held to account if indeed he is the servant of Christ, as he claims. He must be honest that this tragedy was of his making and face the consequences. The families of the deceased must have recourse and someone to be held responsible. One hopes the Nigerian authorities are not tiptoeing around him. His operations must be shut down until the safety of thousands of pilgrims still making their way to him is guaranteed.
Thousands of people came to him to seek hope and met their demise. That does not buy him a licence to kill. This is a test case of equality before the law.
The South African government must not be complicit in this and must insist on a full international investigation to establish the cause of the collapse that killed so many people. There is too much impunity in the world and this must not be left unchallenged.
The drama clearly has all the hallmarks of a cover up. No one can convince me that there was any other reason why so many days went by before anyone could even tell the world about such a tragedy. Reports of emergency services personnel being blocked by Church security simply help to fuel this emerging and probable narrative of a cover up. Louis Mnguni, the South African ambassador in Nigeria, has his work cut out for him and one hopes he won’t be blinded by any feelings he may have for or against TB Joshua to get to the bottom of this scandal. Families of those who perished deserve the truth whatever it may be. It is not too much to ask this prophet to come clean.
At the end of the day ‘prophet’ TB Joshua has displayed every sign of a false prophet in that he has taken this matter so lightly. I am certain on the Sunday following this tragedy he was busy collecting offerings next door with not a care in the world. By now one would have expected some statement of compassion to the families… none has come forth. This does not exhibit character that glorifies God. Christ taught us to beware of these kinds of prophets and recognise them by their bad fruit. DM
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"Look for lessons about haunting when there are thousands of ghosts; when entire societies become haunted by terrible deeds that are systematically occurring and are simultaneously denied by every public organ of governance and communication." ~ Avery Gordon