The year 2021 has been a year of mourning of seemingly biblical proportions, Prophet TB Joshua, Dare Adeboye, son of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Rev. Stephen Akinola General Superintendent of Redemption Ministries, Worldwide. Losses in the religious world included people known for their contributions to preaching, civil rights, or people who were connected to religion.
A friend of the poor and the downtrodden, Temitope Balogun Joshua was the founder of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations. He was one of Nigeria’s most popular televangelists but was perhaps the least flamboyant of his peers. Tens of thousands of people have attended his weekly services in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos.
His rise to prominence in the late 1990s coincided with the explosion of “miracle” programmes performed on national TV by various pastors. TB Joshua was often mocked for lacking the finesse of his colleagues during “deliverance” sessions – an intense prayer that resembles exorcism
His ministry professed to heal all manner of illnesses including HIV/Aids and attracted people from all over the world. His demise has left so many questions begging for answers.
Even before TB Joshua died on Saturday, June 5, Christians in Nigeria had been asking for years, “Who can be the next TB Joshua?” Who would succeed him?. These questions come from a place of religious and mercantile concern seeing that many popular clerics had their sons lined up to take up the apostolic mantle should God call them home. For Joshua, it appears none of that was in place and worshippers have a burning desire to return to the synagogue. Who would replace TB Joshua the celebrated but questionable televangelist and prophet, the answer seems clear: There isn’t one now, and there may never be again.
TB Joshua- Controversies
When he was alive, Joshua was known for making predictions and for his claims to cure various ailments and to make people prosper through miracles. He was, however, controversial, with critics questioning his claims and saying he profited from people seeking hope.
According to Forbes, he had an estimated fortune of several million dollars. Many African presidents, senior government officials, international football players, musicians, and other high-profile guests have worshipped in his church.
In September 2014, the guest house of the church collapsed, killing more than 100 people, most of them foreigners who were in Nigeria to attend his services.
While authorities say the building collapsed because of structural defects, TB Joshua insisted the building was blown up by a small plane that he claimed flew over it shortly before it came down.
In April, the pastor’s YouTube channel, which has more than 1.8 million subscribers and 600 million views, was shut down over allegations of hate speech against LGBTQ people.
The reason there won’t be another TB Joshua is that the Nigeria that produced him doesn’t exist anymore. But his philanthropic example may well accomplish what a single successor won’t. While in all likelihood there will never be another TB Joshua, there may well be revival through the foundation on which his own ministry was built: the questionable miracles, the controversies, the simple truth of the gospel, the generosity. If other popular Nigerian overseers take his generosity to heart and limit the acquisition of private jets, the revival his ministry pointed towards caring for the poor may well come to pass.