Popular Nigerian televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua shockingly passed away in the wee hours on the morning of 6th June. This came as a shock to many since the man of God had a few hours finished one of his televised services. A statement on his ministry’s Facebook page said that he had been called by God and he died while in service to the Lord.
The man of God however much he’s been revered by by many, he’s not been short of controversy. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the fallen pastor.
Temitope Balogun Joshua was born on the 12th of June 1963 in Ondo, Nigeria which is some 260 kilometers from Lagos. He died on the 5th of June 2021 just a couple of days to his 58th birthday. Unsual circumstances surrounded Joshua’s birth. It’s said that he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb and nearly survived death after a stone quarry explosion near his home just seven days after his birth. It’s also said his birth was prophesied 100 years before he got born. His birth name was Balogun Francis.
Balogun was a Yoruba by tribe. After school, his parents took him to a homestead of an Anglican priest. It is said he used to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations every after two months.
“Every two months, I would read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It was the only subject that I believed so much in. It was as if Bible was the only subject that interested me in primary school. In exams, I scored 99 percent consistently whereas I performed woefully in other subjects. My excelling in Bible knowledge affected the other subjects where I performed poorly.” Balogun said in his autobiography.
Joshua lived a good life since his father was an educated man who worked with the British Nigeria colonial government traslating Yoruba to English and vice versa. However things turned for the worst when his father died.
Joshua was sent to live with his maternal uncle who was a strict and staunch Moslem. He was sent to a strict Moslem school by his uncle which could not permit him to read the Bible. This affected him so much but he would hide under the school mango tree to read his beloved book. This greatly affected his academic performance and he escaped from the school.
“So I left school. I left because my life was in danger. I could sense that since I was doing this thing secretly one day something is going to happen to me.” the book goes ahead to tell.
After escaping from school, he moved to Lagos where he got himself a job as a poultry attendant. He had to scrub poultry droppings from the ground into bags which would later be used as manure. He said because of the ordor he got, flies would follow him around when he moved in town. He was the only Nigerian doing this kind of odd job in a group of Ghanaians. This is because the job was seen as a disgrace to most Nigerians and he did it for one full year. He also attempted to join the Nigerian military but failed after the scheduled train left him.
After accumulating some little money from his job, he went back to school where his life would change forever. He says during one lesson, a mad man came into the classroom and everyone fled including the teacher except himself. All those who had fled realising Joshua had remained came back to his rescue because the mad man was known to be violent. He however prayed and the madman calmed down a thing that astonished everyone. From then on, he became the school pastor for all occasions.
This was the beginning of a movement and church that would spread across the world. News spread like wild fire and soon people started flocking Joshua to be prayed for. This is how his Church, the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) came to be born.
It was this mega Christian Church that runs the popular Emmanuel TV channel that is based in Lagos Nigeria. It broadcasts 24/7 and has been his main base for spreading his gospel.
Balogun was married to Evelyn Joshua and the two had three kids together. His networth was valued at over $150 million which made him one of the richest pastors both in Nigeria and Africa. The charismatic televangelist had a private jet valued at over $60 million and a wide range of luxury cars.
Joshua’s work surpassed spreading the gospel to philanthropy. It’s said he spent over $20 million on services such as education, health among others to the former militanst of Niger Delta, sex workers and armed robbers that came to his church for deliverance. His other works included providing scholarships and electricity to some Nigerian areas. He also built schools in countries such as Pakistan and Ecuador among others. By the time of his death, he had also provided relief to some countries such as Ecuador, Haiti, India, Ghana, Philippines in the wake of natural disasters.
His influence was wide spread thanks to social media as it reached as far as Latin America, some parts of Asia, Europe and America. His Facebook page had a following of over 4.2 million followers . His YouTube channel before being suspended over what was perceived as offensive language about the gay community had over 1 million subscribers. This made him the most followed evangelist on the app.
Part of his ministry’s controversy stemmed from claims of healing incurable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola among others. Many people came from far and near to get his holy water that was said to do a lot of healings. A politician in Sierra Leone claimed that his water had helped to stop the Ebola pandemic when it broke out in the country.
A number of celebrities especially from West Africa are known to have flocked his church and got delivered. These claim to have been healed of evil spirits that made them do things such as drugs among others.
Like most controversial pastors, Joshua was never on good terms with fellow pastors in Nigeria who denounced him as being a member of them. Joshua was also blacklisted in Cameroon where he was branded a ‘son of the devil’. Three people are said to have died from HIV in London after they stopped taking life saving medicines on the advice of the pastor. Another confession that went viral was an alleged Boko Haram member who claimed he had come to bomb the church but changed his mind after TB Joshua’s prayers.
The pastor leaves a highly debatable legacy among his followers and critics but it’s no doubt that he was one of the most influential figures on the African continent.