There seems to be much controversy surrounding the life TB Joshua's disciples are coached to live at the SCOAN. The reasons for the irresponsible inquiry into the personal lives of TB Joshua's disciples by SCOAN critics are unclear.
Though one would really expect nothing less from fanatical faultfinders of SCOAN, even if it means to intrude on the private life of ex-disciples for any filth they can uncover to hurriedly attribute to their former master as his fruit. As a consequence, it's not very difficult to come across defamatory articles online featuring stories of supposed ex-disciples alleging diverse ill-treatments and emotional breakdown taking place in the SCOAN premises.
However, there are also growing concerns from TB Joshua supporters that the bulk of these slanderous insider stories online are deceitfully fabricated. In any case, considering the hateful and biased criticism of SCOAN detractors we've observed, coupled with renamed and faceless accusers that leave nothing to track, we would say their concern is very likely. But as much as SCOAN supporters would love to answer favorably to the allegations with that assumption, only firsthand insider experiences would hold their sway against these distasteful rumors. It is on this note that we publish Sandra's story; a disciple who recently contacted us to publish her story. She tells her story from a unique perspective which we presume you would find in-depth and enlightening.
A couple of people, claiming to have been “disciples of T.B. Joshua” have “come out” regarding their life experiences at The SCOAN. They aim to tell fascinating stories, revealing “what really goes on”. But they haven't told my story yet.
I was one of them. I stayed at The SCOAN for several years before I was pointed to my calling in life through Prophet T.B. Joshua, the man God used to reshape my life, my character and my destiny. I have a lot to say concerning life as a disciple.
The moment I entered The SCOAN so many years ago, I realized that I was not in an ordinary place. As I witnessed the miracles, I realized that I was not witnessing ordinary events. I noticed many people following the prophet in the services and during the week I was there and learned they were called “disciples”. This too, was not ordinary. The only disciples I was aware of where those that followed Jesus in the Bible. What had I just discovered?
I recalled that in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, here were 12, then 72 and many times “great multitudes followed Him”. The same was happening at The SCOAN. As can be expected, in most large public gatherings you have attended, you will find those who believe in the cause with their spirit, soul and body and those who don't believe at all, those who have come to contribute to the meeting and those who have come to steal from the crowd. Remember Judas sneaking out with the money bags in the small assembly of 12. Such was the case with the disciples of Jesus. Such is the case of those who join the ministry of Prophet T.B. Joshua. Not everyone who joins is perfect and not everyone joins for the salvation of their souls.
At the end of my week's visit, I had a meeting with the prophet and was ecstatic when he told me that I could stay and become part of his ministry. It felt as if my life had changed completely – but it was just the beginning of the change.
Life at The SCOAN is unlike anything I could have imagined. Every day, I was witnessing miracles first hand. I received lectures from the prophet himself, worked with the ministry's projects, travelled with them to international crusades and developed a relationship with the prophet, his family and those who were also working with him, people from different countries, with different backgrounds. I met a young man whose family were practicing witch doctors but who wanted to accept Jesus as his Saviour (You can see him on Emmanuel TV). I met people who came for healing, like the girl from a poor family in the US who was healed from a debilitating case of scoliosis, surrendered her life to Christ in response to His love and is still there (You can also see her on Emmanuel TV). I met people who came as if they were on a school field trip, like a secretive technical genius from an affluent family in the UK who came with his youth group and stayed for a time with several of them. I met ladies from South Africa who came separately but lived as if they were twins (You can see them on the Internet). It was amazing. As a disciple, I saw that many at The SCOAN really wanted to be changed and used by God and many simply wanted to get the glory quick, without any change on their part. That was their great mistake.
It is true; there is a lot of hard work going on at The SCOAN. Ask any of the thousands who visit on a weekly basis and they will tell you. There are currently three services a week going on and can last up to 15 hours or more each! I have never seen it done anywhere. Thousands throng to the church to be attended to, interviewed, accommodated, prayed for, listened to, helped. It is the disciples that attend to them. You can imagine the challenges they face.
But let us be sincere. Everyone knows the saying, No pain, no gain. You have to be ready to go through a season of pain to receive a season of gain. Ask every Olympian athlete and they will tell you of the rigorous training and injuries sustained on their way to greatness. Ask every soldier and he will tell you the relentless work and physical and emotional training he underwent to overcome the challenges of wars he would later encounter. Ask every successful businessman and he will tell you the small successes and failures he encountered before his breakthrough. What we are working for is the greatest success of all – the salvation of souls.
Yes, I worked long hours until I was tired many nights. I sometimes postponed my meals so that I could finish an assignment. I fought with fellow disciples over nonsense and over serious problems alike. I cried when I didn't get what I wanted. I shouted at people who made me angry. I refused to do some assignments. I turned in poor work to my coordinators. I also delivered wonderful messages, kept my room very clean, always showed up for assignments on time and was cheerful with everyone that was “nice” to me. That was in the beginning. That was before I really understood that to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ is not just to change my location (i.e. from living in my country to living in Nigeria) but to change my character (i.e. from lying, stealing, thinking lustfully, behaving rudely to imbibing the character of Jesus Christ). As the prophet used to say, “Anyone can get a Mercedes Benz – you can buy it with money from your salary, you can steal it, you can receive it as a gift – you can have a Mercedes Benz but not everyone can maintain a Mercedes Benz”. To maintain the gift of God, we must have the character of God. This is the ultimate lesson in The SCOAN. This is the primary focus of the discipleship programme. This is the most difficult challenge to overcome.
It was a daily challenge for me. I fought every day, not only with others but mainly with myself. I realized when I went wrong but to prevent myself from misbehaving was my biggest problem. Disciple meetings were my saving grace. Yes, I said it. Disciple meetings saved my life. I received some terrible reports – in response to my sometimes terrible attitude. But listening to the negative impact my bad behavior had on others and most especially the work of God, tore at my conscience. I came to see how destructive negative behavior and thoughts can truly be. Unfortunately, most people cannot change in theory but only in practice. Fortunately, the prophet held regular disciple meetings so that we could discuss those bad habits and make correction. Correction truly makes future possible. I am who, what and where I am today because of the correction I received in those much talked about meetings.
But those who failed to take to that correction went down a long and windy path – a path to destruction. I remember one girl in particular. She was constantly being reported for embarrassing the men in the church. She refused to admit she had a problem. Instead, she would try to lay the blame on the men, claiming they were trying to seduce her, or had stolen something she wanted to retrieve, or were simply “wicked people”. Several times I advised her privately to explain her problem to the prophet and go for deliverance. She flatly refused to believe she had a problem with lust.
There is a saying that goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. This was the case of this girl. As time went on, we realized that her seductive acts had a target – the man of God. When she couldn't achieve her goal, she became literally wild. Hers is the voice one hears throughout many negative sentiments on the internet. It is the voice of a seductive spirit. Now, if you have watched Emmanuel TV, you would have heard the confessions of thousands of people possessed by evil spirits. Many have confessed that they were sent to destroy men of God, pastors and bishops, those who could cause harm to their kingdom of darkness. Many have described the way they dressed, the way they moved or sat, the attempts they made to get attention from the men of God they were seducing. The similarities are crystal clear. It is those who truly desire to be free from the chains of satan, those who truly desire to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that will be open for their deliverance. Countless women have been set free from this life of seduction and destruction while countless others remain in their bondage and continue to capture others thereby. We, Christians, must be careful lest we are drawn into these seducing lies.
These are just a few short stories of the lives of disciples of T.B. Joshua. I promise to reveal more in the next edition and to let you know exactly what I am doing now, by the grace of God. Until then, I encourage you to continue to examine all things in the light of God's Word and watch a few of these eye-opening stories:
When looking at the lives of those around the prophet, you will see that some are there to add, some to subtract, some to multiply and some to divide. Those who have become Wise are those who have overcome their human spirit and been set free from every evil spirit that had been operating in their lives. They are shining examples to all on how God can transform our lives.
But not everyone rejoices in the success of others. Many want to get success cheaply – without the necessary sacrifice on their part. Nothing genuine in life comes cheaply. This is a principle of life.
Jesus knew the disciples were not perfect but He called them around Him for a mutual relationship – one in which each party would benefit. When Peter became a disciple, the kingdom of God benefited by having a superb ambassador and Peter benefited by receiving a new lifestyle, new job and new focus. But it wasn't a bed of roses. Peter passed through serious trials and tests of faith. His character was questioned and he was rebuked and praised before he developed a Godly character. This is the aim of The SCOAN and Prophet T.B. Joshua. I saw that clearly in the years that I was there.
When I joined the ministry of Prophet T.B. Joshua, I became a disciple. I was excited to be part of such a fellowship, It is true that Large crowds followed Jesus, people lived with Him, they went to the mountain to pray, they went to the seaside to rest, they cooked, went fishing, travelled, received lectures from Jesus personally, attended to huge crowds (remember the feeding of the 5,000), reported each other, received rebuke and praise from their leader (remember Peter, one moment he was called satan for his actions and motive and in one moment, his character was referred to as the rock upon which Christ would build His church), fell asleep at the wrong times (remember the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane), were rude to visitors (remember Peter chopping of the guard's ear).
Watch This Space For Part 2
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