Graham Heslop
Graham Heslop Graham has an insatiable appetite for books, occasionally dips into theology, and moonlights as a lecturer in New Testament Greek at George Whitefield College, Cape Town. He also serves on the staff team at Union Chapel Presbyterian Church and as the written content editor for TGC Africa. Graham is married to Lynsay-Anne and they have one son, Teddy.

A Word from Jesus on T. B. Joshua

A Word from Jesus on T. B. Joshua

I woke up this morning to a handful of messages from various people, all about the same person: T. B. Joshua. If you know the name, then you might be asking why. After all, the self-proclaimed prophet died over two years ago and while he was no stranger to controversy or criticism, none of the major allegations ever stuck. But that’s all changed. If you google T. B. Joshua today you’ll note innumerable articles with decidedly disturbing headlines. Two of those are: (1) “Megachurch leader raped and tortured worshippers”; (2) “We thought it was heaven but then terrible things happened.” Those articles come off the back of a three-part documentary by the BBC. The revelations are deplorable, enraging—and sadly, for many, unsurprising.

Reading the articles linked above and watching the documentary stirred all sorts of feelings. I found myself desperate to write, to say something. But what? We’ve been down this road far too often in recent years. It wasn’t that long ago that online platforms across the Christian world scrambled to take down eulogies to Ravi Zacharias, replacing them with articles about dealing with the moral failures of high-profile leaders. Is T. B. Joshua any different? Do his—to put it frankly, as well as biblically—abominable sins set him apart from the well-documented, abusive behaviour of Mark Driscoll? Is Joshua in the same boat as Zacharias? Only Charon knows. What we can say for certain is this: T. B. Joshua was no man of God; he was an evil man.

In one of the aforementioned articles, a former “disciple” of T. B. Joshua called Rae says, “T. B. Joshua dying before facing justice for the atrocities he committed, has been deeply frustrating. It’s only added to the gross sense of injustice felt by all of us as his victims.” This is perfectly understandable. It’s how many women felt in the wake of Ravi Zacharias’ death. If we step out of the church, countless victims across the ages have known similar, painful frustration. Wickedness often goes unpunished. A theme throughout the Psalms. This world is full of victims whose perpetrators never face justice, like Rae. The powerful have preyed on the weak since time immemorial. But I realise this observation is of little to no comfort for sufferers—whether T. B. Joshua’s or Jeffrey Epstein’s. So let’s see what our Lord has to say, in conclusion.

These words, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, are in my opinion especially applicable in the case of T. B. Joshua. Though I would caution both readers and writer against the perils of self-righteous resentment. Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

I dare not make any categorical claims over whether or not T. B. Joshua knew the Lord. We can’t. He certainly prophesied and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, doing many mighty works. Simultaneously, the emerging reports reveal that he was also a worker of deplorable lawlessness and calculated evil, never confessed but instead well-hidden. It is some consolation that those atrocities have been unearthed, though as Rae admits it is scant because he will never answer for them before man. That being said, he will answer for them to God.

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