By Justice I.A Umezulike
By all cogent and credible biblical account, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, about 2000 years ago, healed all manner of infirmities or sicknesses that caught His attention; cast out demons from those possessed by evil spirits; liberated all those in satanic bondages, and gave solace to the heavy-laden. At His command, Lazarus who was dead for three days came out of the grave. That was the greatest miracle ever performed in this universe. Jesus Christ is clearly God Almighty. At His command the forces of nature had to rebuild or reconstruct the decomposing body of Lazarus including the moribund internal organs. He promised that His disciples and apostles would continue the good works or even perform greater miracles than He did.
Under the Acts of the Apostles in the Holy Book, the Apostles of Jesus Christ sustained the trend. They healed the sick, cast out heady demons and fed the needy in the church. No sickness and no demon resisted their touch and supplication. In Chapter 3 of the Acts of the Apostles Peter and John healed the man who was lame from his mother’s womb. Peter’s words to the lame man were very instructive. He said: “I have neither silver nor gold but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ get up and walk”.
The sick man got up and walked to the consternation of the public. Numerous signs and wonders followed their evangelical work and ministration. Thousands and crowds of believers were added to the body of Christ.
After the death of the original apostles, this apostolic faith and feat appeared to have staggered. When, a few years ago some Christian church leaders announced their entry into the Presidential Villa, Abuja to minister unto or pray for Nigeria’s ailing President Yar’Adua, some of us felt that it was a golden opportunity to show case and, or, announce the awesome power and prevailing majesty of Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ before whom all living souls must bow either in life or at death.
We expected the replication of the Apostolic Faith and feat. We expected the ailing President Yar’dua to rise up from his sick-bed and announce his healing to the world. But the encounter turned out to be a colossal failure. It ended on a pious and idle note. The remainder is now history which does not deserve a footnote in Christian evangelical missions. I say so because, Disciples of Jesus Christ are invested with the awesome power and authority that comes from only Jesus.
Out of intellectual curiosity we sought to know those Christian leaders who embarked on the evangelical mission to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The roster clearly showed that the glue that held those church leaders together were: expensive gold chains, gold rings and bracelets; expensive porsh cars and private jets; very fat bank accounts, and real estates; expensive suits and apparels.
It was clear that the Holy Ghost who is a crucial component of Jesus Christ and the awesome purveyor of power and authority of Jesus Christ was clearly not part of that journey. Expensive gold rings, real estates, private jets are too worldly for comfort of the Holy Spirit. They do not evince customary Christian abnegation and self-denial. And the Holy Spirit which is a helper and comforter cannot comfortably be in that company of church leaders that ingressed into the Presidential Villa.
A very important question to pose is whether those announced Church Leaders who went to the Presidential Villa qualify as disciples or apostles of Jesus Christ. A negative answer must be quickly returned. We have hinted above at their lack of tendency for self-denial and their proclivity to worldly acquisition. Speaking to a crowd of his followers in Mark 8 Verse 34, our Lord Jesus Christ said:“if any one wants to be my follower he must deny himself; take up his cross and follow me”.
The phrase “deny himself” used by Jesus Christ above connotes a deep sense of abnegation or self denial which is lacking amongst Christian leaders of the new-world. To many of them, their stomach and the proclivity to acquire private jests and real estates, are their gods. Again in John Chapter 17:16 our Lord Jesus Christ said concerning His disciples: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”.
To qualify as a disciple of Jesus Christ one’s life must evince that detachment from worldly pleasures and acquisitions.
It is important to point out that I am not a member of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). I have never set my eyes physically on Prophet T. B. Joshua. But I have watched his Emmanuel Television for close to two years now. I am satisfied beyond every shadow of doubt that through Prophet T. B. Joshua the ancient apostolic faith and feat have returned to the world. And as is common in history, a prophet is never honored or decorated in his own country.
Prophet T. B. Joshua’s work of charity and care for the needy are unarguably unprecedented and freshivating. By my reckoning from watching the Emmanuel Television, he spends not less than twenty million naira every Sunday on the elderly and needy ones in the church and outside the church. He reminds me of Apostle Paul who when addressing members of a Gentile community told them that he never coveted their silver or gold or goods but had to work with his hands to feed himself and the needy ones in the church.
That apostolic faith had returned to the world through Prophet T. B. Joshua, also finds expression in the fact that I have not seen any sickness resist his touch. The examples could be mentioned with scarcely a pause for breath.
For the past two years that I have consistently watched the Emmanuel Television, I have not seen a single occasion where an infirmity defied his healing power. The examples are simply legion. But permit me to mention just a few and feel discharged.
Obviously the apostolic faith and feat have returned at the T. B. Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). Members of the legal profession to which I belong are by training very conservative. We are always in search of credible and cogent evidence in order to be convinced over a given question.
In the Acts of the Apostles, anytime the apostles preached, the members of secret societies, occultists and idol worshippers surrendered their curious books and objects for destruction. This happens regularly at the SCOAN.
It was after a powerful sermon preached by Prophet T. B. Joshua that one of the greatest and well known occult grandmasters, invocators and herbalists from Ghana, Chief Theodore Adogan, surrendered all his curious objects and books of invocation for destruction at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Lagos. But sadly today, some pastors of our churches seek help from these occult grandmasters and invocators or herbalists.
Evidently, Prophet T. B. Joshua’s spiritual and evangelical achievements have been received with little enthusiasm by his fellow Christian leaders who are simply envious and angry at the height and level the Holy Spirit had propelled him. They have weaved so much storms around Prophet T. B. Joshua but he has come out of those storms far better and less bitter.
In my reckoning he has towered far and above all known evangelists in Europe, Africa and America. Not even the legendary Prophet William Braham and Oral Roberts could stand with him on equal terms.
But he (Prophet T. B. Joshua) should plead “mea-culpa” for not accompanying those Church leaders who went to the Presidential Villa to minister to the late President Yar’Adua. It is my thinking that if he had been part of that entourage the awesome, prevailing, everlasting and paramount name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would have been further elevated, invested, honoured and decorated to the entire world.
•Justice I. A. Umezulike OFR, is Chief Judge of Enugu State.