Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as Prophet T. B. Joshua, is a Nigerian Pastor, televangelist and philanthropist. He is the founder and general overseer of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organisation that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos.
Childhood And Education
Born on June 12th 1963 in Ondo State, Nigeria, unusual circumstances surrounded his birth. He says that he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb and narrowly avoided death after a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof just seven days after his birth. It is also alleged that Joshua’s birth was ‘prophesied’ 100 years prior.
Joshua, then known as Balogun Francis, attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko, Nigeria between 1971 and 1977, but failed to complete one year of secondary school education. In school, he was known as “small pastor” because of his love for the Bible. He worked in various casual jobs after his schooling had ended, including carrying chicken waste at a poultry farm. He organised Bible studies for local children and attended evening school during this period. Joshua attempted to join the Nigerian military but was thwarted due to a train breakdown that left him stranded en route to the military academy.
From dropping out of secondary school in his first year to working in a poultry farm; from teaching little children while attending evening classes to washing people’s legs on the muddy streets of Lagos; from a forty day fast to receiving a divine call and starting a ministry with a mere eight members – T.B. Joshua’s journey is a humbling story of how God raised a young man from a poverty-stricken home to lead an international ministry that would attract thousands worldwide to witness the reality of God’s power today.
Joshua is known for his popularity across Africa and his online presence with 2,000,000 fans on Facebook and over 400,000 YouTube subscribers. Described as the “Oprah of evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor”, Emmanuel TV is Africa’s largest Christian television network.
The SCOAN has been described as “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction” and “the most visited destination by religious tourists in West Africa,” with thousands of foreigners flocking to attend the church’s weekly services. Figures released by the Nigerian Immigration Service indicated that six out of every ten foreign travellers coming into Nigeria are bound for The SCOAN, a fact discussed in Zimbabwean parliament when addressing the economic potentials of religious tourism.
This Day newspapers reported that “about two million local and inbound tourists” visit The SCOAN annually. The church’s popularity has led to an increase in flight routes to Lagos from several African countries in 2013.
SCOAN claims regular occurrences of divine miracles. Several hundred Nigerians and international visitors come to the SCOAN each week to register for the prayer lines where the visitors are prayed over by Joshua. SCOAN has published numerous videos claiming to document the healing of incurable disabilities and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, blindness and open wounds.
Many have also claimed to be healed through ‘Anointing Water’ that has been prayed over by Joshua and given to those who are unable to physically attend his church in Lagos. Others claim they were protected from deadly incidents because they had the water with them. SCOAN is also known for the purported “deliverance” of those allegedly possessed by evil spirits during its services.
Many questions have been asked and speculations made about TB Joshua’s marital life. Prophet T.B. Joshua is married to Mrs. Evelyn Joshua, and together they have three children; the first two are Serah Joshua, Promise Joshua.
SCOAN claims that Joshua has successfully predicted events in the lives of individuals who attend his church services as well as worldwide events, including a purported prophecy of Michael Jackson’s death, and the outcome of two African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final matches, which were won by Zambia and Nigeria respectively. He has been voted by the public among the most famous prophets.
His prophecy about the impending death of an African president was widely reported in African press. Joshua’s followers believe the prophecy concerned the former president of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika who died in 2012, aged 78.
False rumors spread using Joshua’s name are known to have caused widespread panic in communities, affected sporting events, music concerts and led people to stop using social networks.
When Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security Officer of former Nigerian President Sani Abacha, was released after eleven years of imprisonment, his first port of call was to Joshua’s church in acknowledgement of a ‘prophecy’ the cleric allegedly gave him when Abacha was still in power.
Critics argue that Joshua’s predictions are too vague.
Emmanuel TV, the SCOAN television station, broadcasts 24/7. Its Sunday services are broadcast live. Joshua’s programmes also air weekly on a number of local television stations across Africa. It debuted on DStv and GOtv in November 2015, as well as StarTimes in February 2016. In its profile on Joshua, the BBC described him as “Nigeria’s best known televangelist”