Town Crier News Nigeria Special
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By Dedeigbo Ayodeji
“Whatever I am today is a product of that conviction that victory through Christ is victory indeed. The rest is history.” – T. B. Joshua
The news of the death of the founder of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Temitope Balogun Joshua has sent shock waves across the nation.
The renowned gospel preacher, known globally for his prophecies and healing of the sick as well as casting out of demons, died on Saturday aged 57.
“God has taken His servant Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for,” his church said in a statement.
However, the cause of his death was not stated. According to TheCable, Joshua had stroke two months ago and was flown by air ambulance to Turkey for medical treatment.
How it began
Born on June 12, 1963, in the tiny village of Arigidi in Akoko, Ondo State, his birth was unique as he was said to have spent about 15 months in his mother’s womb.
Joshua attended St. Stephen’s Anglican primary school in Ondo State which was completed in 1977. He fell in love with the Bible while in secondary school earning the moniker, ‘Small Pastor’. He would later go on to hold Bible studies for kids in his home area. In 1987, he launched his ministry after receiving “a call from God”.
SCOAN: A religious tourist destination
When Joshua founded his church, The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) following ‘divine anointing’, little did he know that the ministry would grow to become a global tourist centre, which, according to The Guardian, attracts more weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.
Described as “Nigeria’s biggest tourist attraction” and “the most visited destination by religious tourists in West Africa,” the organisation itself claims that more than 15,000 members attend its weekly Sunday
Many visitors from outside Nigeria are accommodated in the accommodation blocks constructed at the church. It was also said that the SCOAN’s popular services have also resulted in “an enormous boost for local businesses and hoteliers.”
Failed prophecies — and controversies
Joshua as well as his church, the SCOAN, has always been a subject of controversies, and in most cases criticisms, for his actions.
He had always claimed to deliver many people — including celebrities — from ‘evil spirit’ and spiritual problems. His “deliverance” style, to some, was riddled with exorcisms. He also predicted many global events, including a purported prophecy of Michael Jackson’s death.
Joshua made the news headlines in September 2014 when a section of his church located at Ikotun-Egbe area of Lagos state collapsed leaving over a hundred people dead and several others injured.
In the buildup of the 2016 US election, Joshua incorrectly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win. He would later defend his failed prophecy saying he referred to Clinton’s win in the popular vote and any misinterpretation was due to a lack of “spiritual understanding”.
He also claimed that the COVID-19 would disappear globally on March 27th, 2020 — another failed prophecy.
Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua’s death brings to an end, decades of his ministerial growth (although not known to have many influential religious lieutenants) which brings to the minds of many the question about what would befall SCOAN with his demise!