Here are excerpts from an interview Prophet T.B. Joshua gave to The News Magazine of Nigeria, titled ‘Jesus Christ Is My Mentor’.
Did you have any pastoral training?
Apart from the little training in school, no other formal training. The Holy Spirit has been teaching me since then.
Who are your mentors in Christ?
This question has been asked by many journalists. And this is the area where I have been grossly misunderstood by fellow ministers of God, who are always asking who my mentor is. Apart from the Anglican Church in my village that I attended as a young man, I have no other mentor than Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is my only mentor and he has been very faithful to me because when I look into the bible and look at God’s messengers, I look at the life of Elijah. In 1 Kings 17, the bible says: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead….” That was all we knew about Elijah’s origin. I challenge bible scholars to tell me more about Prophet Elijah. We do not know anything about his background, his parents. My fellow ministers have not asked who his mentors were.
Before you became a pastor, did you take other jobs?
Yes, I did many menial jobs, all because I wanted to make ends meet. There was a time I was working on a poultry farm here in Lagos. That was when I knew that fowl waste can really smell. I worked there as a poultry attendant. If you met me in the street, the odour was always on my body. I worked there for about two years and I was attending some evening classes to improve myself because I couldn’t pay for the regular schools. I did many other menial jobs that I don’t want to bore you with.
There are many churches in Nigeria with prominent pastors, but when celebrities, kings and heads of state seek help, especially healing, they come to your church. What do you think is the attraction?
I think that question should be directed at the celebrities and the presidents who visit this church. The book of Matthew chapter 24, verse 28 says that wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered and moreover, wherever there is honey, insects seek to find it.
But to answer your question in my own little way, works of healing, salvation, deliverance, broken families and reconciliation, charity and so on are not brought about by anything done by us, it is purely the work of grace.
I have always told people that I am not the healer, but I know the healer; He is Jesus Christ. Most of the time, I marvel when I see people healed, the same way those who are watching marvel too, which is purely the work of grace, not my work.
How many members does your church have?
Must we brandish the population of worshipers? Our concern should be the number of souls being saved, the number of lives being touched and the number of people who worship in spirit and in truth.
Some pastors in Nigeria seem to doubt your miracles. Some even claim you are using Satanic power to heal people. What is the source?
The source of my power is the author of the calling and that is Jesus Christ. He is the source of the power. Those who doubt think that because they cannot do what Jesus Christ is using me to do, the power is from somewhere else. All you need to do is to show love. Faith works by love and whoever does not love cannot forgive and therefore cannot be entrusted with such power to heal, to deliver, to bless and to save. This is because such a person will misapply the power. He will harm himself and others with it.
Some pastors have made their opinion about you known in the media and there is a feeling that you don’t always reply them because you have something to hide. Why don’t you defend yourself?
Thank you for that great question. I don’t like joining issues with anybody, either in the media or anywhere else. There are two sets of pastors: those who fight for themselves and those who God fights for. I belong to the second category; God fights for me. I can never go out and start defending myself. If you don’t believe in me, believe in the works I do. If I am not righteous, the work that I do is righteous. It’s not for me to join issues with anybody on the pages of a newspaper.
I don’t do that because I know that one day you will come to me. The Bible says God sets a table before me in the presence of my enemies. If you are saying anything negative about me and I start replying you, then, I will have the burden of apologising to you when we meet. I know that there is still going to be a meeting point.
Some who were close to you and broke away have made some accusations. What do you have to say about this?
I wish you could spend about 24 hours with me here and see how I relate with my workers and the evangelists. There are some pains in building a disciple. Those who are ready to be disciples will have to go through some painful experiences during their training. Those who want to do the work of God will learn by looking at their master and his way of life.
If we all know what it takes and the risk involved in changing a person, in moulding a person to the picture of the grace of God, we will know that you cannot change everyone. That is why people avoid the issue of mentorship. Everybody avoids that area. All over the world today, founders of big or mega-churches place adverts for pastors. Mentoring people is the most dangerous aspect of the ministry. If you mentor 10 persons, five may come out successful, while the remaining five will try to destroy you. This is why church founders prefer to go to theology schools to recruit or employ pastors. But, that is not mentorship. In mentorship, there is a bond between you and your people. If you are looking for pastors to assist you, there are many pastors all over the place. If you go on the internet, you will see many pastors, bishops and archbishops looking for jobs. You only need to employ them and pay their salaries. It is purely the master-employee relationship.
I thank God that today, we now have five wise men who are performing so well that the heavens are rejoicing over them. And more are in the making, both men and women.
Who are the five wise men?
They are: Wiseman John Chi Meh from Cameroon, Wiseman Racine Bousso from Senegal, Wiseman Daniel Emelandu from Nigeria, Wiseman Christopher Orji from Nigeria and Wiseman Harry from Greece.
How do you get money?
Where God guides, He provides. He who gives the commission, gives the provision. We have Emmanuel Television partners, who are moved when they see what we are doing. So, as we are doing it, God is also giving the supply.
When you are not healing people, how do you spend your time?
I pray and I study the scriptures. It varies from day to day. Sometimes, I read more and pray less and at times I pray more and read less. But those are the things I do. I also train with My People FC team.
SOURCE: The News Magazine