• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

    Previously at:
    blogs.salon.com/0003494
    barthsnotes.wordpress.com

    Email me
    (Non-commercial only)

  • Archives

  • Twitter

  • Supporting

  • Recent comments

TB Joshua: When Prophecy Doesn’t Fail

From the Nyasa Times, 2 April:

Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua of the Synagogue [Church of all Nations] has grabbed the headlines again after insisting that his prophecy of the death of an old African president is now very close

….Malawi’s septuagenarian President Bingu wa Mutharika scoffed at fears about his health and indirectly reacted to TB Joshua[‘s] prophecy when he hosted religious leaders at State House recently:

“I am not going to die because someone wants me to die… It is only God who knowns when I was born and when I will die.”

From the BBC News, 6 April:

President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi has died, doctors and cabinet ministers have told the BBC…

Mr Mutharika, 78, suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday and state media say he was flown to South Africa for treatment.

Joshua’s church subsequently posted extracts from sermons given in February and March, in which he appears to specify that the unnamed doomed president would not be from west Africa, and gave 5 April as the last of three possible dates.

The new president of Malawi is former vice president Joyce Banda, who is a follower of Joshua. Her relationship with Mutharika had been hostile for some time, and Mutharika’s death has inspired some conspiracy-mongering; according to the Zimbabwe Herald:

Social networking sites have been awash with conspiracy theories saying if this had happened in some Western countries, it would have necessitated a commission of enquiry.

…Zanu-PF legislator for Tsholotsho North Professor Jonathan Moyo… alleged that President wa Mutharika had been killed by his enemies who used TB Joshua’s pronouncement to divert attention from them.

Banda made an unannounced journey to Nigeria at the end of April; there was “speculation” that she had used the trip to visit Joshua.

However, it’s possible that Mutharika was simply spooked to death, despite making show of scepticism; he was in poor health and he appears to have been a believer in spiritual forces. A 2005 article in the Telegraph reported that he had

arrested two journalists, one from the BBC, for reporting that exorcists have been summoned to the presidential palace. They were later released on bail.

Mr Mutharika angrily denied fleeing the property and declared that he had never been afraid of ghosts.

A presidential aide had been quoted as saying: “Sometimes the president feels rodents crawling all over his body but, when the lights are turned on, he sees nothing.”

The Rev Malani Mtonga, his official adviser on religious affairs, said the terrified president had already fled his haunted palace. “We have asked clerics from several Christian churches to exorcise evil spirits,” he said.

Shortly after Joshua’s first pronouncement on the subject of an impending presidential death, Malawi Lands Minister Yunun Mussa slaughtered “three goats as a sacrifice” in an attempt to save Mutharika’s life (this was during a visit to a school; teachers and pupils were reportedly “shocked”).

The story may, though, have been overdone: a blog called TB Joshua Watch points to some anomalies:

…None of this [specific] information was publicised by SCOAN until it ‘came true’. On the contrary, before Bingu’s death, SCOAN attacked media outlets for ‘misrepresenting’ TB Joshua’s prophecy. How did the media misrepresent TB Joshua? By claiming that he had mentioned a specific timeframe for the prophecy!

…When we went to the archives of SCOAN full services on youtube, we found that the videos of the services on both February 5th and March 18th (the two crucial services in which he is said to have specified a timeframe) were mysteriously missing from the archive. See for yourselves: TB Joshua Rebroadcast Archive.

Also:

‘Mutharika knew I was talking about him,’ proclaimed TB Joshua in a service in April. He held up a letter, showing the signature of the late Malawian president and an official letterhead. In the letter, TB Joshua boasted, Mutharika had acknowledged that he was the subject of the prophecy and his days were numbered.

However, Malawian officials say that this is completely untrue. Mutharika’s aide for religious matters, Billy Gama, as well as the typist who wrote the letter, confirmed that the letter sent from Mutharika to TB Joshua was simply a routine letter thanking him for a book that he sent as a gift. 

Despite Moyo’s hostility, Joshua is now due to visit Zimbabwe; the Herald reports:

CHURCH leaders yesterday said controversial Nigerian prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was not welcome in Zimbabwe.

The churches argued that prophet TB Joshua’s teachings were of no help to the country as they were judgmental, partisan and unorthodox.

TB Joshua heads the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria and was said to be guest speaker during the National Day of Prayer set for May 25, Africa Day.

…Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly invited the Nigerian prophet to attend the National Day of Prayer slated for the National Sports Stadium in Harare.

Cameroon, meanwhile, has banned Joshua from the country, and citizens are officially discouraged from travelling to Nigeria to attend his services:

Cameroon Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Henri Eyebe Ayissi, in an official communiqué he issued titled: “The Devil Is In the House”, described T.B. Joshua as a “son of the devil” pretending to be “a man of God.”

Joshua also claims to have predicted the death of Michael Jackson:

June 2009 will be remembered as the year when Michael Jackson died.What many people don’t know is that his death had been prophesied by TB Jackson 5 months earlier. On a live broadcast on Emmanuel TV, the prophet said,

“I’m seeing a great star whom the world is shouting, “Hey, hey, hey!” In his own area, he’s famous – he’s known everywhere. He is great – too great… I see something will begin to happen to that star and that may likely end in him packing his load and going on the journey of no return…”

Some have dismissed the prophesy as too general to be associated with Michael Jackson, but later events proved that TB Joshua actually had Michael Jackson in mind. On live TV, former President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Tee Mac, told a congragation,

“The man of God (TB Joshua) called me to his office and said to me, ‘Please, tell your friend Marlon to bring Michael here to Nigeria. Michael needs healing; he needs deliverance.’ I told the man of God that Michael Jackson just went for a medical check up because he is going to have about 50 concerts soon. But the man of God said to me, ‘Send Michael here – he needs healing.'”

2 Responses

  1. […] week I noted that the death of Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika in April had occurred just days after he had […]

  2. […] TB Joshua: When Prophecy Doesn’t Fail(barthsnotes.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.