T.B. Joshua, general overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations spoke to editors of Newswatch on his relationship with President John Evans Atta-Mills of Ghana and other African leaders, his prophesies and works of charity.
Read the following excerpts:
Newswatch: The Synagogue Church of All Nations is fast becoming a Mecca of sorts for many African leaders. Recently, John Evans Atta-Mills, the new president of Ghana visited the church for thanksgiving a few days after his inauguration. Could you tell us your relationship with Mills and other African leaders who have visited the church?
Joshua: No matter how highly placed you are, there is always another level to reach. People who are rich in every sense of the word understand that life is a learning experience. Learning never stops. When you consciously strive to improve, you build character. So, these African leaders who have visited The Synagogue at one time or the other came in search of God's guidance, wisdom and knowledge of how to lead their countries. My relationship with these leaders is for what I stand for which is redemption.
Newswatch: What exactly attracted them to your ministry?
Joshua: The attraction is knowledge. It is not just knowledge of the outside but internal renovation.
Newswatch: How did your relationship with Atta-Mills start?
Joshua: He has been a member of this ministry in the past 10 years. Our relationship started during my first crusade in Ghana and he came to the crusade to experience the ministration. That was 10 years ago when he was the vice-president of Ghana.
Newswatch: When Atta-Mills was giving testimony at the recent thanksgiving service, he said you had predicted that he would secure victory at the polls after three different pollings and that the result would be announced in January 2009 and that your prophesy came to pass. Could you throw more light on this?
Joshua: What happened from God's throne is beyond human comprehension. It is not something you can begin to explain how it was said before it manifested. When God speaks, He never goes back on his word. So, it is a mystery. My relationship with Atta-Mills is all about internal renovation. He is a professor of law, so what would he learn from me in terms of human natural gift. Human natural gift is on the outside while the supernatural gift of God is mysterious. So, it is the supernatural gift of God that made the prophesy to come to pass.
Newswatch: How did you convey the message about the prophesy to the new Ghanaian president. Was it through phone call or you met him personally?
Joshua: He comes to church here nearly every Sunday. So, on one occasion, he told me that the Ghanaian presidential election would be held on December 7, 2008, and that there was a possibility that the result would be announced a few days later. And I told him that I don't see it that way. Rather, I saw three different elections ahead of him then. I also told him that the result would be announced in January 2009. By the grace of God, he believed in the prophesy, we prayed over it and we glorify God that it came to pass. After his inauguration, he came for a thanksgiving service. Before he became president he regularly attended this church. But since he became president, I decided to be visiting him myself. I will not allow him to continue to be coming here regularly. I believe it is now my turn to be visiting him. Since he is now the president of a nation, it will not augur well for me now to say he should be coming here every Sunday to worship.
Newswatch: At what stage in your life did your gift of prophesy manifest?
Joshua: As a child I read the Bible voraciously. This was how I gradually drew close to God and received the calling and divine gift of prophesy. In 2 Peter 1: 20 – 32, the Bible says: “Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of the scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God often uses men as instruments of His wisdom, revelation and divine purpose. Just as God appointed Prophet Jeremiah to be His mouthpiece to the nations, so also today, God still speaks through His Servants who are willing to hear and ready to deliver His message to the world. In every situation, God knows what the future holds. The book of Amos 3:7 tells us that God does nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets. Therefore, a prophet of God is a communicator between the visible and invisible worlds. The Synagogue Church of All Nations is a ministry to all nations and God continues to use my humble self as a vessel or mouthpiece, revealing prophetic messages to individuals, nations and the world at large. It was the prophetic message from the ministry that actually guided our brother, Professor Atta-Mills. He had contested for the presidential election in Ghana twice before the recent one where he emerged victorious. I had prophesied to him that he would not make it during the first and second pollings but the third time, he would make it. And he believed in the prophesy and worked towards it. He was strengthened by the prophetic message and that was why he came out triumphant. You know that when there is a prophetic message to you about what is going to happen to you in the nearest future, it will give you the strength to endure whatever tribulation. That was exactly what happened to Professor Atta-Mills.
Newswatch: Were you born with the gift of prophesy, or you developed it when you were growing up?
Joshua: I think that the power of prophecy is a mighty gift God gave to me. It is greater than any other gift God gave to me. Many people associate me more with miraculous healings and deliverances, but the gift of prophesy is greater. When you want to categorise the gifts of God in my life, they are: healing, prophesy, teaching and preaching the word which leads to salvation. To know exactly when the gift of prophesy started manifesting in my life, you need to find time so that we show you our documentary which recorded the transformation that I have undergone since I was born. The recording started right from when I was five years old till date. When I was in the primary school, it was recorded. When I built the first church which I started with a few little children, it was recorded. When I proclaimed that the ministry will be called the Synagogue Church of All Nations, it was recorded. Since then, I have built four churches. The place where we are now is the fifth church. When I went to the mountain prayed and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, it was recorded. During my first crusade at Arigidi, my home town, where I said that this church is presently made up of eight members but it will soon become a church for virtually all nations in the world, it was recorded.
Newswatch: Can you recollect some of the African leaders who had visited The Synagogue Church of All Nations at one time or the other?
Joshua: If I begin to tell you the African leaders that have visited me I will be laying emphasis on personalities. But it is the soul that God is after, not whether you are a president or not. The church is about the number of those who are being saved, not the number of personalities that visited the church.
Newswatch: Are you not disturbed that while many African leaders visit you to seek spiritual guidance on how to lead their various countries, Nigerian leaders are not. Is it the case of the saying that a prophet is without honour in his own country?
Joshua: God's time is the best. Nigerian leaders are coming gradually. At least, the recent national award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, OFR, conferred on me by the federal government is a good beginning. So, gradually we will build upon the new relationship.
Newswatch: Since you are very close to many of these African leaders, do you advise them on the need to develop their countries and salvage the African continent from poverty, starvation and underdevelopment?
Joshua: My life speaks for them. They watch Emmanuel TV and see how I care for the needy. I am worried by the high level of poverty among our people and I often advise them to rule well so that people can be rescued from the pangs of poverty.
Newswatch: Over the years, you have been quietly touching the lives of the aged, destitutes widows, physically challenged persons and dwarfs through your philanthropic disposition. Why are you so passionate about the welfare of the needy?
Joshua: I will tell you that I know the pains they are going through because I have equally had difficult times in the past. I also derive joy in giving because if you are a cheerful giver, you will never lack. We must understand that life is all about giving and sharing. It all began with the way God saved us. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to die on the cross to save us from our sins. So, there can be no loving without giving and there can be no giving without receiving. It is whatsoever you sow that you reap. Again, if you know what it means to be poor, you will not close your eyes when you see poor people around you. You would want to be their benefactor.
Newswatch: About how much have you committed to your outreach programme for the needy and award of scholarship to physically challenged persons in the universities?
Joshua: I cannot tell you how much I have committed to the programme because if I begin to do so, it means that I am boasting about what I am doing for God.
Newswatch: But how do you raise the funds to care for these people?
Joshua: If God has given you the grace to care, he will supply. Sometimes, I will just sit down and somebody will phone and say he has seen the works of charity that I am doing and would like to donate to support what we are doing. That is how God supplies the money we use to care for the needy.