People in the modern world are overloaded with problems. They seek miracles in order to solve them and address the ministries of Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and of course, Jesus and the apostles.
The renowned T.B.Joshua’s Ministry does not need much introduction. The famous Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) is located at Ikotun-Egbe in Lagos State. The main hall has a capacity for about 20,000 members of congregation, with approximately 25% of them are from foreign countries, all seeking to experience the miracles.
The tragedy which struck on September 12, 2014, at one of the premises belonging to the church claimed at least 115 lives. Out of them, 84 were South African citizens. The development sparked lots of controversies from the very beginning.
The war between the media and the official position of the Church has escalated even more after one of the most influential newspaper / online media Vanguard, questioned the reality of T.B Joshua’s miracles.
The reporters got an immediate and clear reply from the SCOAN. We would like to invite you to have a deeper look at the issue for better understanding.
In the beginning of the much-discussed article Vanguard noted that the crowd at the SCOAN may not just be ordinary spectators. It also pointed out that Prophet TB Joshua has effectively convinced the people that their load of problems would be solved no matter how hard they are.
Saturday Vanguard found both past and present members of the church, including some foreign worshipers, and asked them to share their opinions on the issue of reality:
Michael French. Cameroon.
This man is 45 years of age and he suffers from acute Diabetes. One day he embarked on over 13-hour-long bus ride from Cameroon to Lagos to seek help at the SCOAN. His trip was a nightmare, because due to his condition he was stooling and urinating very often. This made the passengers extremely annoyed and angry at him. Mr French arrived Lagos in the night and had to sleep at the park, because there were not options of how to get to the church.
In the morning he was among the first to enter the church. The adrenaline boost and excitement made him feel great, and much healthier than before. He knew it was his day to be healed. After all the songs and Sunday School, the Prophet climbed on the podium. The man of God prayed for sick people.
“I prayed so hard to be the first to reveive the healing. I wanted to tell the world what God has done for me through the prophet. But l didn’t get to give my testimony that day. l didn’t receive any sign of healing. So many people came out to give testimonies of their healing and I envied them, but I prayed and hoped that my own healing would come, perhaps on the second day.
“As usual, l was there early alongside my sister the following day. We had carried everything we had saved for this trip. We believed so much that God would settle us that second day. We went there the second day and it was the same thing, a few others received their healing, but l still didn’t get any. By the third day, I became worried because I was running out of money.
“I called Cameroon for money to be sent, but l didn’t received any alert. We were still spending money on accommodation, feeding and by then, our faith which was aflame when we entered into Nigeria began to die fast just as our pockets were draining fast.
“It got to a point when all we had was our transport fare back to Cameroon; we approached the church, but they couldn’t help to sustain our stay. We were so sad and left Lagos utterly disappointed. I prayed to God for help to survive the long journey back to Cameroon so that I can manage my health just like l was advised by the doctor in the first place. I came to Nigeria because l was told l would be healed; l would say that l spent the worst one week of my life in Nigeria and l didn’t receive what l came for.”
A 37-year-old mother based in Lagos has also recounted her ordeal. It was even more horrifying as compared to the above mentioned case. Awele was a breast cancer patient. The doctors told warned her that she had to options: surgical removal, or painful death in less than 8 months.
The woman did not want to die and to make her only daughter an orphan at 18. She decided to seek miracle at the church and turned to healing by faith and was directed to see one of the four wise-men.
“After discussing my case with the Wise men, I observed there were three other similar cases involving two men and one other woman. We were all kept in a room. Few days after, we were not attended to and I insisted on seeing the prophet himself.
“But after three days, instead of the prophet, it was one of the wise-men that visited us and nothing was done.”
On the fourth day group’s stay in the church, one of the two ailing men felt extremely bad. His lifeless body was taken away by the members, who even had not said a single word of prayer in the process. The man never returned to the room. However, his luggage remained there.
“Two days later, they visited the room again to check on us as they usually did that period. We asked after the man’s whereabouts and we were told that he had been healed and had left.
“I sensed a lie because the man’s luggage was still with us and the man was taken away lifeless. So, if he was healed, he would have returned to pick his luggage and would have given testimony of the miracle. But we never saw him again. All this while, we were feeding ourselves while waiting to be touched by the servants of the Lord.”
A couple of days later, another man felt very bad in the night. Awele is sure that he passed away because his body was very cold. The church members were called in. Just like in the previous situation, they took the body away, but did not tell shocked women what had happened to the person. The breast cancer patient waited for the next visit of church members to learn more about the man.
“They said that the man had gone home because he had been healed. So, l asked the impossible question. ‘Why didn’t they come back for their belongings when they got healed?’”
The church members were not really ready to answer such a question, so they came up with an awkward explanation: “the church had made provision for them to go home with new clothes, so, they did not need their old luggage.”
It was a turning point for Awele to leave the Synagogue a.s.a.p. The hope has been lost.
The woman agreed for the surgery at a hospital. However, her time has been gone. She reportedly passed away at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital shortly after the surgery.
“How my brother was deceived by the church”
A lady, identified as Mrs Ruth, in her interview with Vanguard narrated how the deceit in the SCOAN was discovered by her brother who lives in Norway. The lady revealed that one of the major criteria for seeing the man of God, especially if you are a foreigner, is that you keep sending e-mails until you get a reply.
“My brother who is a Redeemed Pastor, based in Norway with his family, has his two children, his son and daughter, deaf and dumb right from birth. The man being ignorant of the procedures for seeing the man of God, flew into the country with his family with the hope of seeing the man of God for a miracle, but he was told he could not see the man of God since he did not get any reply to his mails. So, they were asked to go back and keep sending mails until they get a reply. The man went back and kept sending mails to see the man of God. When they eventually got the nod to come, they did not go with the kids.
“The wife was scheduled to go to the (Synagogue) mountain as well, but after going through all these processes of mountain and anointed water, the children still remained the same, nothing changed in any of them,” she explained.