BY AUSTIN KALUBA
I consider it to be a vestige of belief in the supernatural which missionaries condemned when they introduced Christianity to Africa. The belief in the paranormal seems to have surfaced in the guise of the prophetic revelations and predictions from ‘men of God’ who have replaced Sangomas whose practices were rubbished by missionaries as unchristian.
Unlike their counterparts who dressed weirdly in animal garb, these Prophets are Church leaders who don executive suits and drive fancy cars.
The high priest of this ilk is the renowned prophet TB Joshua of the ambitiously named Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Nigeria. The handsome clergyman is among those whose prophecies are being treated as the Gospel truth both by believers and non-believers.
TB Joshua is always in the news telling the credulous followers or the curious what God has revealed to him covering almost every aspect of life – from the death of a president, or a celebrity like Michael Jackson ,to the outbreak of protests and the results of a football match!
Needless to say TB Joshua is no stranger to controversy. His church had earlier attracted controversy for claiming to heal incurable illnesses such as HIV/AIDsand cancer. In November 2011, Pastors from the church were caught on camera claiming to have healed people with HIV/AIDS and recommending that they stop taking potentially life-saving antiviral medications.
Following the publication of this report, T.B. Joshua stated shortly thereafter that he fully supports medical science and the standard treatment of HIV/AIDS.
The ‘man of God’ as TB Joshua is popularly known has attracted massive attention not only from ordinary people but from well known personalities like the late second Republican president Frederick Chiluba, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills (who testified that T.B. Joshua prophesied his ascent to presidency), South Africa’s Winnie Mandela, Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda and The Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
The late Chiluba is said to have sought the spiritual intervention of TB Joshua concerning his third term bid. However, the writing was on the wall for Chiluba to step down.
Long after Chiluba had left power, TB Joshua is said to have predicted the downfall of Rupiah Banda and the Chipolopolo Boy’s victory recently when they won the Africa Cup. However, you don’t need to be a cynic to realize that the victory had nothing to do with the Nigerian mystic but largely dependent on our gallant boys performance and the marvelous coaching of Herve Renard.
If it is true that TB Joshua had predicted Zambia’s victory at the Africa Cup championship, he joins Paul the late psychic octopus which among several accurate predictions picked Germany to win third-place game. The two year old cephalopod based in the German city of Oberhausen also predicted Spain’s victory in the World Cup.
Long before TB Joshua came on the scene with his controversial predictions, there was the late Dr Francis Ngombe, the world-renowned Zambian psychic who like TB Joshua had an array of world leaders among his followers. Dr Ngombe’s followers included Ronald Reagan, Idi Amin and Mobutu Sese Seko. Like Joshua, Dr Ngombe made several accurate predictions.
To put it into context, some time in the late 1970s, Ngombe predicted that Britain would in a short time have a first woman Prime Minister. It was not long before the legendary Margaret Thatcher walked into N0 10 Downing Street breaking all the sexist gender myths that had earlier characterized British politics.
The psychic again made an accurate prediction when he told the world that Uganda’s former President, Milton Obote would be overthrown by a military rebellion. Idi Amin, who was highly superstitious even, made Dr Ngombe his personal soothsayer and prophet.
Idi Amin revered Dr Ngombe who added to the dictator’s dependence on witches and psychis for his day to day affairs. Amin’s decision to chase Asians from Uganda is said to have been arrived at after a dream.
Coming back to TB Joshua, the Nigerian Prophet, psychic,’Man of God’, Sangoma, Ng’anga, Mchape or ‘anointed’ one (depending on which side you are looking at his prophecies) his predictions should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt as they are more steeped in mysticism than in Biblical teachings.
I am considering his backpedaling on the claim that he could cure for HIV/AIDS to dismiss him as a quack.
What about the accurate predictions that TB Joshua made? Some would ask. I am afraid that even witchdoctors sometimes make accurate predictions. What Joshua is doing falls in the category of divination which is an attempt to gain esoteric insight into a situation using standardized ritual?
Our own man Ngombe used the crystal ball for his divinations while TB Joshua is claiming to use the Bible. How are we going to tell if his predictions are really coming from God? I mean the God of Abraham, the father of Jesus Christ.
I am disappointed at the number of purported Christians who are not using this simple but ignored yardstick.
The Bible is full of verses guiding the faithful to test who a man of God is. For the sake of space I will only cite a few verses but most effective tests. I will start by quoting Deuteronomy 18: 22 which states :”When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him“/End..