By Jude Obuseh
James 4:12: “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Sequel to his highly inflammatory, combative and mawkish blitzkrieg against the late founder of The Synagogue Church of all Nations, SCOAN, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, aka TB Joshua, the highly cerebral Rev Chris Okotie, Shepherd Superintendent of Household of God Church, has fired a fresh bunch of poisoned darts at the deceased Prophet, whom, this time, he described as “a magician who carried Bible around”.
Okotie’s latest acerbic outbursts, which came in the form of a 75-minute video on YouTube, titled: “The truth about T.B. Joshua”, premiered on the social media on Sunday. Just like his first verbal salvo, in which he tagged the late televangelist, humanitarian cum miracle worker, the “Wizard at Endor,” Okotie’s diatribe laced video has predictably attracted the ire of some concerned members of both the body of Christ and the public.
One does not need to be a mage, sage, soothsayer or intellectual Hercules to decipher the real reason behind Pastor Okotie’s ceaseless attacks against the late prophet: They are simply bland, blunt and puerile attempts at smearing the sparkling image of a man who has bested him and his ilk in the body of Christ in every imaginable ramification; propagandist campaigns by a man with low self-esteem, who craves relevance by dragging the image of his betters in the mud.
The one-time Presidential aspirant simply wants to call a dog a bad name in other to hang it. But in his satanic attempt to disparage the image of arguably one of the greatest contemporary giants of the Christian faith, Okotie has inadvertently helped lay bare the fulfillment of prophesy in the life of a man he loves to hate. A peep through his virulently venomous statements in the viral video will enlighten us more.
Okotie’s video opened with a maze of disjointed queries bothering on the identity, mission and ministry of the late cleric. Hear him: “Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus. What is the truth about TB Joshua? Who was he? Was he a product of Christianity? Or a practitioner of shamanism? Was he a servant of the Lord Jesus? Or some itinerant religious quack? Was he a true prophet, who was misunderstood? Or a hypocrite masquerading under the habiliment of the Faith?”
The foregoing questions are pointers to the hazy cloud of confusion shrouding the mind of Pastor Okotie about the identity and mission of Prophet TBJ; a simulacrum of queries ensconced in the mind of an overzealous Christian romanticist mesmerized by the awe-inspiring personae of a superior shepherd. They are mere rhetorical questions that even the most illiterate of men would answer with relish, without breaking a sweat, considering the available amalgam of facts from which answers to his enquiries about the subject matter can be gleaned. This explains why he had readymade answers to these questions; his own definitions of TRUTH!
Okotie’s claim that the late Prophet took the name Joshua because he believed he was “another Jesus” is a preposterous assumption without basis; a fallaciously inductive argument with a very weak premise. Answering another person’s name is not the same thing as claiming to be an exact replica of that person, nor does it translate to possessing the same amount of authority as that individual. Most contemporary Christians go by Biblical names for different reasons: admiration, love etc. Are these individuals also guilty of identity theft? What about individuals who bear the names of their favourite movie stars, political role models, historical giants e.t.c? Does that equate them with these high profile personalities? Does that transmute them into contemporary clones of their illustrious predecessors?
Further proof of Okotie’s parochial mindset is his allegation that TBJ was a fraud, magician, sorcerer and false prophet on the grounds that he chose to be called PROPHET, rather than pastor, apostle, teacher, evangelist etc. One wonders what makes the appellations church heads bear, proof of their divine endorsement. There are so many self-acclaimed shepherds of the flock in church circles these days, who by their fruits contradict the appellations they bear. “By their fruits you shall know them” (See Matthew 7: 16-20), says the great book; it is not what is seen by men that matters, but what is seen by God almighty (See 1Samuel 16: 7; Matthew 5: 20-22; 1 Peter 3:3-4), who alone reserves the right to judge (See James 4:12).
If one may ask, who CALLED Okotie and his fellow Joshua haters, the sanctimonious saints who play God in the lives of the members of the several Christian congregations in Nigeria? When, where and how were they called? What is the evidence of their calling? Does owning a ministry qualify one as having been called by God to serve in His vineyard? Is having a large congregation of largely brainwashed sheep proof that one is a chosen vessel of the Most High? Brother Okotie and his fellow perfectionists should tell us why we should believe that they are called while others are not. Who made them judge over others?
Contrary to Puritan Okotie’s concocted fib, TBJ, throughout his earthly stewardship, never claimed to be Jesus Christ nor that he was sent by God to the earth to bring “reconciliation between God and mankind, exactly the same way the Lord Jesus was sent”. If Okotie has proof of TBJ making these blasphemous claims, he should come forth with his evidence – documentary, video, verbal or otherwise – for the whole world to see and pass judgment. He should refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations against others. Considering his legal background, he shouldn’t be assuming the position of accuser, judge and jury in a matter in which he is a complainant.
Saint Okotie was actually in order when he vituperated that “When God begins a work in scripture, particularly from the Old Testament, He begins with Patterns, what we call types, shadows, adumbrations”. This statement is simply an affirmation of the irrefutable signs and wonders performed by TBJ during his earthly stewardship, which were in themselves fulfillments of Christ’s prophecy that those who believe in Him shall “do greater works” than He did (See John 14:12). Yes, God truly works in patterns!
Again, by accusing TBJ of fulfilling the “exact pattern of Bar-Jesus, a false prophet, who equated himself with Jesus”, while expounding on Acts Chapter 13 v 6, Okotie was inadvertently aligning with a set pattern, for even Jesus Christ was called a magician, sorcerer and demoniac during his earthly ministry by his Jewish traducers, who never believed in his several indisputable miracles, works of charity and exemplary lifestyle, and who, like brother Okotie’s adversarial disposition towards TBJ, gave our Lord a bad press. So, by labeling TBJ Bar-Jesus, Okotie has simply fulfilled the exact pattern set by his predecessors, the unbelieving Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.
Rather than cast aspersions on the image of others, Pastor Okotie should instead take a break from his canal pursuits and reexamine his unstable Christian faith. Like Christ’s admonitions against self-righteousness, he should first of all endeavor to remove the Giant Sequoia in his own eyes before attempting to remove the speck in the eyes of another person (Matthew 7:5). A dirty kettle should not call a sparkling glass black.
TBJ was a genuine prophet of God sent to deliver men/women of little faith, such as the Okoties of this world, out of the soggy labyrinths of doubt and fear they wallow in. He was not just a mere product of the Christian religion, but a true servant of Jesus Christ and soldier of the gospel, divinely commissioned to demonstrate the awesome power of God on earth, in contemporary times, for the benefit of the unsaved, through mind-blowing signs, wonders, teachings and works of charity.
The prophet from Arigidi Akoko knew his mission on earth and strove to achieve it. He was not a charlatan masquerading as a shepherd of the Most High’s flock, but a virtuous champion of the faith who came, saw and conquered in the name of the Lord. Proofs of his highly successful stewardship are strewn everywhere, and are being attested to by all men and women of goodwill who were lucky to have encountered him before his transition to the afterlife.
A word of advice for our obviously confused brother, Chris Okotie; rather than dissipating energy disparaging the image of TBJ, ask yourself these pertinent questions: “What is the truth about me? Who am I? Am I a product of Christianity? Or a satanic mole in the body of Christ? Am I a servant of the Lord Jesus? Or some sassy, peripatetic religious zealot? Am I a true shepherd in the Lord’s vineyard, sure of my mission and assignment? Or a charlatan camouflaged as an arrowhead of the faith?” Finding answers to this plethora of questions will free him from his deep-seated mental slavery.
Our brother, Pastor Chris Okotie, needs our Prayers!
Note: This writer is not a member of SCOAN, but of the body Jesus Christ. He is an unbiased champion and seeker of gospel truth.
Jude Obuseh, a public affairs commentator, writes in from Benin City. firstname.lastname@example.org