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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Prophet T.B. Joshua On The Concept Of Christianity

Ezekiel Fajenyo and Sunday Patrick

Attempts to define the true meaning of the church and its relevance constitute an event which started centuries ago, as seen in the Holy Bible. Many remarkable writers, preachers, Bible expositors, thinkers and psychologists, prophets and religious leaders have not stopped working on it. The great works of AA Allen, Oral Roberts, Myles Munroe , Upthegrove, TD Jakes, Beth Moore, JC Ryle, Kenneth Hagin, Dallas Willard, D Campbell, FB Meyer, CS Lewis, GJ Morgans, Arthur Wallis, Bob Roberts, Juan A Monroy, Robert Schuller, Osward J Sanders, SM Leigh and Norman V Pearle have been geared towards explaining the deep concept of Christianity and its role in the world.

From different perspectives, they have perpetually established that Christianity has to do with Christ-likeness; it has to do with people’s unique relationship with God, their ability to relate with the attributes of Jesus Christ, and their mastery of the codes of morality which are acceptable to God and His only son, Jesus. A deep knowledge of God and absolute expression of love and intimacy with the works of his qualify one to be a Christian. But such a person is expected to practicalise such attributes as love, affection, understanding, fellow-feeling, and concern for the poor, the needy, the helpless. Also, obedience to His Word, prayerfulness, unquestionable belief, faithfulness and shared responsibility anchored on the need to assist people to grow and reach their destination in life; all are part of the Christian life. Jesus is the main platform around whom all appreciative attributes revolves: forgiveness, forthrightness, righteousness, expression of truth, discipline, sincerity, etc – all of which should not be alien to a true Christian. Salvation, deliverance and healing are ever assured such a Christian. Of course, this is one term  which will continue to be a special interest to all Christians in the world.

T.B. Joshua, founder of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) has spoken at different times on who is a Christian, and what Christianity is all about. To him, “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” The religionising of Christianity, in modern times, is responsible for acts of misdemeanor, misrepresentation, mismanagement and corruption of it; quite a lot of people do much disservice to it than true service.

As a relationship, Christianity should emphasize love, affection and good neighbourliness, according to Joshua. Therefore,” every true Christian should resist the temptation to isolate himself/herself; you must attend living churches and mix with living Christians”, he preached. He sees the relationship as an avoidance of doubt and a dereliction of loneliness but as a kind of fruitful togetherness which is saliently projected in such a way that the true image of God is emphasised among humanity.

Christianity is therefore, physical and spiritual. Spirituality becomes emphasised through the strength of the physical property for instance, when doubt is removed from the mind of man, salvation is assured. Joshua insists,” Satan can never snatch you away from God if you are a Christian. He would try but not succeed”. He is of the opinion that hard times is meant to strengthen their desire for God and to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

A true Christian’s mind should not accommodate doubts, he/she should never be associated with “murmuring, crying  and lamenting’’

Referring to the experience of Stephen in the hands of his persecutors, a Christian should pray and fast, and especially ‘’pray for their enemies” because “Stephen prayed harder when he was being stoned”. He/she should believe and have faith in Christ, and see Jesus as Lord and Savior and the more the troubles faced, the more the commitment to the believe in the power of the Holy Ghost.  He has particularly used 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 6, to establish his argument.

A Christian is not expected to be lonely or be in isolation because he should praise God in association with others who do not know of doubts and temptation. Such association is best practicalized in the Church has been much bastardized, abused, misrepresented and soaked in poisonous idolatry. Most Churches are not “living” but dead _____________Holy Ghost does not exist in them; worldliness and spiritual hollowness and impotence have conquered  the Church.

A true Christian _______________contrary to the lousy spirit of born againism___________should be truly anointed, blessed, faithful, peaceful, hopeful and obedient; ; he/she should not identify with falsehood, sorcery, rebelliousness, disobedience, envy, pride, cheating, gambling, lust, covetousness, greed, and adultery. Christians must speed away from carnality and devilishness; we must truly love Jesus with mind and soul, and extend such love to our neighbours.  A Christian, according to Joshua, should see his “pain as a reason for believing”; his/her “poverty affliction and insults should be a reason for believing”

Joshua is of the opinion that  a Christian “should never doubt God’s desire or ability to help you” and “When you are struggling with doubt, think of what God has done in your life, because He gives you new hope and strengthens you”. He says that “One of satan’s strategies is to get you to doubt God’s goodness, make you forget all He has done and given you, and to focus on what you do not have”.

A good Christian, he added “should say thank you as a response of a joyful heart, even if there is nothing to be happy about. This should be the attitude of every Christian”.

Joshua says, “Our life, our focus is changing lives and society” because this world is a centre of competition and “whatever you do must be done excellently”. We are, he has added, “in the world without faith, without hope”.

A thorough understanding of Joshua’s stance is to the effect that every Christian should be conscious of God “who is constantly watching us” since he/she should have the ability to change for good. Significantly also, a Christian should not boast of his born againism, especially when he/she has not been delivered. Many of the “Christians” who recently attended service at The SCOAN were discovered to be very far from Christ, deliverance and salvation;’ the evil spirits in them exposed their life of dubeity, unfaithfulness, adherence to ancestral spirits, temptations, violence and other destructive tendencies. Even international evangelists had to confess to a life of lies, lust, witchcraft, idolatory and hypocrisy; yet “God is God of Justice” though the “devil can use you in many ways”_____he preached. To be born again is not to be mouthed, but acted in total commitment to the approved way of Christ.

“No matter how close you are to Jesus, you can still be tempted”, he said; making use of the temptation of Jesus by satan, for illustration. A Christian, he has added, should also refrain from the odious attitude of pompous self-righteousness associated most often with those who boast that they are born again. The gift of righteousness is a far cry from the spirit and expression of self-righteousness, he preached.

Christianity is still being explained by world-acknowledged practitioners of the faith. But the preaching and sermons of Joshua have done a lot to explain the wealth that is contained in the concept of Christianity.

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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T.B Joshua’s Engaging Emphasis On Love

Sunday Patrick and Ezekiel Fajenyo

Love is one word that is very much misunderstood or limited in daily use. To many people it is the experience of shared responsibilities or common interest between two or more people. To some other is serves the same purpose as infatuations, affection and feelings of familiarity. Of course types of love such as agape, phiko, eros, storge, etc. have been commented on through recorded time in the scriptures and literature, psychology, medicine etc.

Love is the fact, all embracing, and not limited to self but every sequent of humanity. Its creates distance from all obscenities and abnormalities; it has power of renewal and charges one’s spiritual battery. It is recommended by God and draws one closer to Him.

Love has to do with good neighbourliness built on understanding, fellow feeling, reliable relationship, and spirit of forgiveness; love is creative and innovative and rooted in the receptivity of the vast mind. It is the opposite of hatred, envy, troubles, mischief, pains, misunderstanding, discontentment, harshness, discord, selfishness and myopic orientations. It is pure, noble, assured, positive, progressive, humane, and attractive. It is about beauty and the practice of same. God recommends it; Jesus practicalised it; the church is expected to share in its fulfillments; the human race should imbibe its ethics and aesthetics.

Jesus Christ emphasised how important it is that his followers express and show deep love for one another. He said to them: “I am giving you a new commandant, that you love one another ……..By this you will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves” (John 13:34-35). What the two expressions – one another and among yourselves” connote is that Christians should come together in one group. For it is written in the Book of Romans 12:25 and Ephesians 4:25 “just as there are many parts of our bodies, so it is with Christ body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So, we belong to each other and each other needs all the citizens”.

The identification of this group would therefore, be based on the love its members have for one another.

Surely, if a man does not love his fellow man, everything else is useless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

It would be recalled that the early Christians were persistently reminded to have affection for one another, welcome one another, slave for one another, be kind to one another, be tenderly compassionate, continue to put up with one another freely if anyone had a cause for complaint against another, forgiving one another, keep comforting one another, building one another up, be peaceable with one another, have intense love for one another (Roman 12:10;15:7; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:32; Peter 4:8 1 John 3:23; 4:7-11; Colossians 3:13-14:1, Thessalonians 5:11-13).

This does not imply that Christians are not required to shower unfettered love to non Christians. They are mandated to lover others as well. In fact, the Bible admonished all Christians to increase in love to one another and to all (Thessalonians 3:12;16:15) Apostle Paul had written in Galatians 6:10 “let love work what is good towards all but especially towards those related to us in faith” While Christians must therefore, love all including their enemies, they must especially love their fellow members of God association, their spiritual brothers and sisters (Matthew5:44) It is heartwarming, today, that despite the challenges of our existence or the vagaries of life, many Christians all over the world are well known for  the love that they have for one another. according to the second century writer. Tertullian, “people would say of them, look how many they love one another , and how they are ready to die for one another:

 Man’s Inclination To Do Wrong.

The imperfection of man is rooted from our original parents – Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12). And that explains why we are persistently inclined to doing wrong. The Holy Bible says in James 3:2; Romans 3:23 that “we all stumble many times”. Many Christians all over the world, despite their looking up to God’s promises and for mercy, they err persistently, consequently, eroding the virtue of love.

The problem between Apostle Paul and Barnabas clearly demonstrated such imperfection of man.  The Bible says in Acts 13:13, “When they were about to leave on their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin Mark. However, Paul did not want Mark along, since Mark had left them and gone home during their first missionary journey. The Bible says, “ At this there occurred a sharp burst of anger, so that they separated from each other”  (Acts 15:37-40). The anger expressed by the twosome would have questioned how true they loved each other.

Also worthy of note was the refusal by Apostle Peter to continue associating with the Gentiles because of the “fear of being viewed with disfavor by some of the Jewish Christians who were wrongly looking down on their Gentile brothers” (Galatians 2:11-14). Apostle Paul was furious when he saw what Peter was doing, He therefore, rebuked him in strong terms for such perceived misconduct, in the presence of the people that were present. Peter was calm as his looks showed (Hebrews12:11).

THE STRENGTH OF LOVE.

We are however, of the view that anger, like other negative attitudes of man, such as jealousy, hatred, mordant criticisms, falsehood, sadism, etc  are innate, but could be curtailed when love is made to fully permeate all aspects of our lives.  “Human love is but a shadow of God’s love” to quote Prophet T. B. Joshua.

Love can be used as a strong reason to solve most of human troubles. The Bible is fully replete with instances of this.

Peter was not bemused or flabbergasted when Paul condemned him in the presence of the people. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:8,9, that Peter was humble; he accepted the correction and did not allow it to cause his love for Paul to wane. Peter later referred to Paul in a letter of encouragement to fellow Christians, captured in 2Peter3:16 in the following words: “Consider the patience of our Lord as Salvation, just as our beloved Paul, according to the wisdom given him, also wrote you”.

Indeed Peter “allowed love to cover over the difficulty, which in this case had resulted from his own wrong conduct (Proverbs 10:12).

It was also love that settled the misunderstanding between Paul and Barnabus . When Paul wrote to the Corinthian congregation, he graciously referred to Barnabus as a close fellow worker which clearly signified that he still loved him (1 Corinthians 9:5-6).

Albeit, Paul’s grudge over Mark’s involvement in the journey seemed justified , Paul later wrote to Timothy when he observed that Mark had become matured: “Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministering” (2 Timothy 4:11).

These are just two instances. Basically, we have to take cognizance of the fact that God did not give us His conditions which must be fulfilled before He loves us. Therefore, our expression of love for our fellow man should not be anchored on some conditions which may be elusive. Anger and hatred, for instance, only serve to distance us from developing true Christian qualities, the greatest of which is love. Yet, they (anger and hatred) should be overshadowed by love.

The Bible says, “God recommends His own love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans5:8) we should therefore, be ready to follow that example of God and show love to those who do bad and foolish things.( Ephesians 5:1,2, Psalm 10:3-10).

Again, based on our imperfection, our lord Jesus Christ thought us not to be critical of our fellow men, saying that as others have faults, we also have. He therefore asked: “why do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the rafter in your own eyes. (Matthew 7:1-5). The need for us to always express mercy and forgiveness which are also rooted in love is very impressive.

Although, there are genuine complaints, the Bible counsels: “continue to put up with one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another” This is also necessary because Christ freely forgave us. And we have to forgive others if we have to receive his forgiveness, Jesus said: In Matthew 18:21, it is also written “God has forgiven us thousands of times so cannot we forgive our brothers a few times?

It is in fact ironical if we treat our fellow man in an unloving manner at the same time claim to be practicing the truth.

T.B Joshua’s Teaching on Love

We are very much impressed with the teachings of one of the greatest prophets of our time – with the gift of the garb and righteousness – Prophet T. B Joshua , particularly on the need for humanity to always express love,  The teachings have redefined the perspective of our relationship with fellow humans and genuinely refocused our attention on the values of such relationship built on love. The prophet had said: There is nothing to compare to love, it is richer than any mineral and warmer that ant sun.

His broad metaphoric view of love are stated below:

“Love can make a king abdicate his throne, that is resign.”

“Love can make a poor boy, poor man, beggar become a prince”

“If spoken from the heart, nothing is as strong as love”

“Human love is but a shadow of God’s love”

“If God loves us, He will hide pride from us and keep us from being exalted above measures’

“God’s love will enable us to press on”

“God’s love centres in His will.”

“If man loves God truly, he is under obligation to love his fellow man”

“God’s love centres on His will. It is His will to give. It is our will to give back and also to receive the gift freely given. Knowing God’s love will enable us to press on till tomorrow. Nothing is stronger than love”.

“There are only three things on earth that will last- faith, hope and love. The greatest is love.

Since the greatest is love, we need to make the greatest sacrifice”.

“If you help your fellow brother, then you help Jesus”

“If you dupe your fellow brother, then you dupe Jesus”

“If you care for your fellow brother, then you care for Jesus”

“If you ignore your fellow brother, then you ignore Jesus”

“Whether you are educated or not, whether you are a farmer or not, whether you are a professor or not, there is hope in loving Jesus i.e loving others”

“If you can give your love, and somebody wants to stand against you, he stands against God”

“I learn to love everyone because love is the greatest Christian virtue and it Is the real nature of spirituality. If you want to know God, you must love yourself and others…..”

“Love cares more for others than for self”

“Love does not belittle anyone”

“Love does not force itself on others”

“Love puts up with anything, meaning that love is tolerant”

“Love looks around to see who is in need”

These statements clearly reflect the extent at which the Prophet considers love as the strought condition of humanity. And judged by his deep sense of commitment to human growth and development, practically reflected in his humanitarian services, the prophet holds that the greatest expression of love is giving. His words: “We should spend more on others and less on ourselves. This is the only way we can commit more faith and love in the society of which we are a part…..we begin to succeed with our lives when the hurt and problems of others begin to matter to us”

He had also elaborately affirmed that “Whatever our purpose may be, we should let love take precedence over all things. If we have all gifts without love, we are nothing. Love is patient___it does not express itself in anger. Love is goodness____it does not express itself in evil. Love is humble___it does not express itself in arrogance. Love is hope_____it does not express itself in despair and self-pity. Jesus wants to express Himself and carry out His mission of love to others through you. Thus giving becomes the very basis of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no love that does not express itself in giving. God so loved the world that He planted His best seed on the earth so that His peace might abide with men forever. The seed gave Himself up as a living sacrifice for our sake, to heal the broken hearted, give the captives freedom, comfort those who mourn, release the prisoners and defeat their enemies. What a great love! It is in our interest to show appreciation to the Seed on all occasions”

He had further stated that “ I am a solution to one’s problems. I am because you are”.

“No one is created without a gift. And such gift is meant to meet a need. How many lives have you capable of changing”, he asked.

While saying that “There are many people on the sick bed, visit them, pray for them and show compassion on them. That may be the solution to their problems; the prophet believes that love is a way of energising our spirituality and at the same time oiling our philanthropist. He has persistently, in the spirit of love, transformed many lives and permanently enriched them. For example, his ministry SCOAN, has always assisted the widows, widowers, the orphans the physically- challenged, the jobless youths, the indigents, students of secondary and high institution, etc. He has assisted many communities in the country, particularly those that have been neglected for decades and those that faced several disasters.

He gives scholarships to many students irrespective of where they come from A greater consideration is however, always accorded to the depraved, the blind ,the orphans, the deaf, the scholarly- imbued students who had performed excellently well in their studies; the prostitutes, armed robbers, militants who had indicated their interest in going to school or furthering their education etc.

His robust display of love is also glaring in the joyous way he assists the poverty -stricken men and women who troop to the church for financial assistance.

He also extends his giving spirit beyond the chores of the nation. The quick response of the ministry to the Haitian disaster the charity to the poor in Indonesia, the elderly in Pakistan and the elderly in Russia, are mere tips of the iceberg.

Aside all these, the permanent healings and deliverances carried out by the church are quite reflective of the love the SCOAN and the prophet have for humanity.

Today, the responses to such divine gestures have been very impressive, particularly when they are viewed against the backdrop of what the scripture demands of a true man of God.

It is our view that when the virtues of love are concretely understood (as marshalled by SCOAN and the prophet), and genuinely “operationalised the blessings of God will begin to enfold humanity.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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