By Senator Anthony Agbo
In the vineyard of the kingdom. Like our master, Jesus the Saviour. His mightiest of servants arrive the stage like an apparition with their divine briefs. They hold time to ransom. Finish their duty in the heat of the day. And like a great comet on inter-galactic journey, zooms across the horizon and returns to the maker in a cloud of glory, even before the world appraise them.
Elijah, John the Baptist, A. A. Allen, Benson Idahosa, David Livingstone, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther King Jr, Samuel Rutherford, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, Soren Kierkegaard, etc.
TB Joshua arrived the stage like a great storm. He brought back the ancient church; when the Apostles thundered at afflictions, demons and sicknesses and they released their captives. He dispensed reliefs to the poor and needy in every country and continent of the world, even in the United States of America. Indeed he went about doing good. Through his faithfulness to his calling, Nigeria became a land of pilgrimage for the white man and the whole world.
Prophet, healer, exorcist, preacher, teacher of the word, restorer of broken homes, giver, guardian, etc, etc.
In the Synagogue Church of all Nations, SCOAN, visitors are transported back in time to the ancient streets of Jerusalem, Judea, Galilee, Nazareth and Damascus, as the scripture is recreated with apostolic atmosphere.
But TB Joshua, like his master, Jesus of Nazareth was never spared of the punches and blunt arrows of the the Pharisees and Sadducees and the High Priests, who standing by, watching the great works of God swells and boils in envy, jealousy and rage, railing one accusation after another: “Why should he heal the sick on a Sabbath Day?; Why should he call himself the son of God?; Who gave him power to forgive sins?; He casts out demons through the power of Belzebub, the prince of demons,” etc, etc.
Few days ago, I read of a Lagos- based top Pastor, who mocked TB Joshua and jubilated at his exit. This Pastor had always attacked and condemned TB Joshua when he was alive. Reading about his inglorious descent to mocking the dead saint, even at his death, I immediately remembered the story of Theagenes of Thasos, a celebrated ancient Greek Olympian, who was the overall champion of Olympic games in 480 B.C. When Theagenes died, the Greek city of Thasos erected a giant statue of him at the public square. But a jealous citizen of Thasos, who hated Theagenes so much for his heroism and great success, will visit the statue every night to flog, beat and spit at it, yet he was not satisfied. Then one night he took instruments and began to dig the statue so as to bring it down. But the statue fell down upon him and killed him. The people of Thasos still erected a bigger statue for Theagenes. I leave this little story for that beloved Lagos Pastor. Envy, jealousy, hatred are great evils, moreover when associated with those who are supposed to be teachers of the word. But for TB Joshua, “the son of man must go as it is written of him.”
Ecclesiastical history has shown that often, the greatest appears momentarily to light up the dark corners of human horizon, and then shortly disappears in a cloud of glory.
Our master and Saviour, Jesus Christ, stated in the scripture that among all those born of women, that John the Baptist was the greatest. But we recall that John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod, just in his 20’s. In today’s christianity, the “High Priests” would have declared that John the Baptist was not of God, having died such death.
Spiritual pride has been the bane of Christianity in Nigeria. Every top minister of God sees himself as the tallest tree in the ecclesiastical forest, and believes that whatever God does not say or do through him, He cannot do or say through any other. That is why up till today, our top Christian leaders have never all gathered together in one place and in one voice, make decrees and declarations over the affairs of our country (which the moment they do it, whatever they declare upon this country, God will establish).
To the world, I declare that I was a fan and a friend of TB Joshua. In my years of battle and determination to build myself a spiritual life, I look out for proven men of God, whose teachings and lives manifest biblical principles and identify with them. I read their books and learn from their challenges. TB Joshua was one of them.
TB Joshua was a unique human specimen. He was a great mystery, a confounding secret of God crafted by Him for extraordinary assignment. He was a human machine assembled in heaven.
TB Joshua, from my personal assessment, lived a full life of suffering and tribulation. He does not sleep. He is on fasting day to day, week to week. No private jet, no personal car, outside the church buses, which he travels in with his workers. He lives in his church with his numerous workers and evangelists.
TB Joshua was love personified. He was deeply humble, compassionate and caring; but firm and principled. He cannot engage you in discussion one minute beyond his strict spiritual duty call of ministering to your spiritual need. He was simply amazing. His sermons, which come in simple, slow, broken, deep and solemn bits, hit your heart with momentary pulsations as if you’re hearing the Saviour speaking from atop Mount of Olives.
TB Joshua opened Nigeria to the outside world in a way that was spectacular. The Synagogue Church brought more foreigners to Nigeria than the totality of other people that visit the country at the instance of government and other organisations and institutions all combined. Heads of States, Presidents, kings of nations and statesmen were always around. And whenever TB Joshua visits any nation on evangelism, Presidents and officials of such nations receive him, and the crowd that turns out for his crusades diminishes that of those that gather for world cup finals and Olympic games.
TB Joshua gave so much to Nigeria, Africa and the world, but Nigeria, through her Pharisees and Sadducees and High Priests gave back to him only pain of rejection, condemnation and criticism.
But thank God, Nigeria is not the eternal land of glory, where the hope of the righteous is rested.
Adieu, humble servant and Prophet of God, TB Joshua.
•Agbo, a writer and politician, is former senator representing Ebonyi North senatorial district.