Balogun Temitope Joshua, better known as T. B. Joshua, was a charismatic Nigerian pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist.
He was the founder and leader of the Christian megachurch, Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which oversees the Emmanuel TV television station in Lagos.
TB Joshua was conceived on June 12, 1963, in Ondo State. Joshua claims that his mother carried him for 15 months and that, seven days after his birth, a quarry explosion nearby caused boulders to fly through the top of his home, but he miraculously escaped being crushed by one of the boulders.
His supporters claimed that T. B. Joshua fulfilled a prophecy made 100 years earlier about the birth of a man of God from the underprivileged areas of Oosin in Arigidi Akoko.
Between 1971 through 1977, Joshua, who was then known as Balogun Francis, attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko, although he did not finish one year of secondary school. He was referred to as a little pastor in school due to his devotion to the Bible.
After finishing school, he took on a variety of part-time occupations, including hauling chicken excrement at a farm. He organised Bible groups for neighbourhood kids and went to night classes during this time. Joshua tried to enlist in the Nigerian military but was unsuccessful because a train breakdown prevented him from getting to the military academy.
TB. Joshua was a charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist from Nigeria. He was the founder and leader of the Christian megachurch Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which oversees the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos.
Aside from the Synagogue Church of All Nations, he also founded Emmanuel TV on March 8, 2006. It broadcasts live Sunday services. Additionally, a number of regional television stations throughout Africa broadcast Joshua’s shows every week.
It premiered on DStv, GOtv, and StarTimes in November 2015 and February 2016, respectively. Joshua was referred to as “Nigeria’s best recognised televangelist” in his BBC feature.
Changing lives, changing nations, and changing the world is the motto of Emmanuel TV. The station is also well-known for its catchphrase, Distance Is Not A Barrier, which invites viewers to touch the screen to pray alongside T.B. Joshua. Many others claim that these prayers have brought them miraculous ‘healing,’ including prominent Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh, who claimed that Joshua’s prayers helped her kick her 14-year smoking habit.
Joshua has a reputation for avoiding the prosperity gospel, and Emmanuel TV has a reputation for being one of the few Christian stations that avoid live fundraising.
Joshua was accused of using hate speech in some of the channel’s programmes, which led to YouTube suspending the Emmanuel TV channel in April 2021. There were 400 million views and more than 1.8 million subscribers before the service was suspended. The accusations of hate speech related to statements made by Joshua in at least seven films, according to which homosexuality is caused by demonic possession and can and should be treated through spiritual deliverance. It was the most watched Christian ministry on the platform when the channel was suspended.
One of Emmanuel TV’s YouTube videos was listed by Google as the fourth-most watched segment ever in Nigeria.
T.B. Joshua claimed in his writings to have received the supernatural anointing and a promise from God to launch his ministry during a vision of heaven. Joshua then established the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). More than 15,000 members, according to the organisation, attend the weekly Sunday service, while guests from outside Nigeria are accommodated in the housing units built at the church.
According to The Guardian, SCOAN draws more people each week than the combined attendance of Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. The well-liked services provided by SCOAN have also given nearby companies and hoteliers a huge boost.
Joshua was well-liked, yet the church only has one Ghanaian location. Joshua claims it was not yet time for him to expand internationally because “it will be too much for my character.”
Numerous foreigners swarm to the church’s weekly services, making SCOAN both Nigeria’s top tourist attraction and the most popular place for religious travellers in West Africa. According to the Nigerian Immigration Service statistics, six out of ten foreigners entering Nigeria are headed for SCOAN. This statistic was brought up in the Zimbabwean parliament when discussing the economy.
Many claim that anointing water that Joshua had prayed over and delivered to others who couldn’t physically attend his church in Lagos cured them. Others claim they were carrying the water and shielded from fatal accidents.
Four persons died in a stampede in 2013 when an unannounced service in which the water was being provided drew sizable crowds that overwhelmed the church’s capacity in Ghana.
The tragedy almost brought Accra, the capital of Ghana, to a standstill.
Joshua gained notoriety when he asserted that his anointing water could heal Ebola patients. He then delivered $50,000 in cash and 4,000 bottles of water to the Ebola-stricken country of Sierra Leone. This happened after Joshua was visited by representatives of the Lagos State health ministry, who asked him to publicly prevent Ebola patients from attending his church for prayers. Later, a lawmaker from Sierra Leone claimed that the water had treated multiple Ebola patients and stopped the disease’s spread.
Each week, several people from Nigeria and other countries visit SCOAN to participate in prayer lines where visitors were interceded for by Joshua. Various conditions considered medically incurable, including HIV/AIDS, blindness, and open wounds, have been purportedly healed in numerous films by SCOAN.
Cause of death
Joshua was married to Evelyn Joshua, and together they had three children, all girls. Just one week before his 58th birthday, he passed away on June 5, 2021, in Lagos, Nigeria, following one of his evening sermons. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
According to a Forbes writer, Joshua invested $20 million in programmes for former Niger Delta militants’ rehabilitation, healthcare, and education. A rehabilitation programme is also available for Niger Delta insurgents, repentant armed robbers, and sex workers who sought deliverance at the church.
Joshua donated money to many struggling villages, most notably giving two electrical transformers to a nearby hamlet when fire destroyed theirs. He gave more than N26 million to end the more than a two-year power outage in four councils in the Akoko region of Ondo State. He also contributed significantly to the police forces of Ghana, Nigeria, and Colombia.
SCOAN provides a scholarship programme that meets the academic needs of thousands of students at all levels of education, from primary to tertiary. Joshua sponsored a Nigerian PhD candidate at Oxford University in 2012. According to Nigerian media, she received £100,000 from the church. He also provided a young Motswana with a scholarship to attend Harvard Law School in the United States.
Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Joshua dispatched a group of medical professionals and aid workers to the area, constructing Clinique Emmanuel as a field hospital.
He received a letter of gratitude from the United Nations and a national honour from the Nigerian government in 2008 for his humanitarian work. In addition, he received an award of excellence from ZAKA, Israel’s top rescue, and recovery volunteer organisation. He was recognised as an ambassador of peace by the largely Muslim Arewa Youth Forum.