The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

TB Joshua & the SCOAN: Getting Rich on Holy Water

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

These days it’s very easy to fake a miracle, and many folks are getting mighty rich by flashing that ever impressive credential of Divine healing. But now wait a minute—if God is the Source of the miracle, why are you paying some irrelevant mortal? Because you think the human is anointed—a title which many healers today flaunt as a means of claiming that God both favors and serves them. You see, God has to be serving them if He always heals at their command, and that’s exactly what He appears to be doing when these healers run their shows.  They claim to be have such mastery over that Holy Ghost power that they can take on random volunteers. People can come from all around and stand in line to receive that healing. There’s no need to wait on God, because it’s guaranteed that whoever Brother Amazing lays his hands on will receive some special blessing.

Healers often act like they are a depository for Divine power.  It’s those magic hands you’re paying to gain access to, or anything that those magic hands touch. In the world of healers, souls are discouraged from seeking God themselves and encouraged to purchase anointed objects from God’s many chosen human taskmasters. Over at the SCOAN (Synagogue Church of All Nations) in Nigeria, Prophet TB Joshua is offering his greedy parishioners all kinds of magical hookups. There’s your standard “Anointing Water”–which comes with a prophetic declaration from that great man of God right on the package which says “I see you receiving whatever you ask for in Jesus’ Name after administering the anointing water.”  And on the other side of the box it says “For breakthroughs in all areas of your life and for the salvation of your soul.”  So salvation now comes in a box?  Who knew?

anointing water

Or maybe you fancy getting Jesus’ Blood in a box instead.  That sounds exciting.  TB hooks you up with another product which he also calls “Anointing Water”, only this time one side of the box has an image of Jesus’ pierced hand with water dripping from the wound above the title “The Blood of Jesus”.  In other words, Jesus’ Blood is in the box.  Okay, so it’s $410 if you live outside of Africa (a mere $310 if you don’t), but this is the Blood of Christ we’re talking about–did you expect bargain rates?

new anointing water

Then there’s the Anointing Sticker.  Paste this handy decal onto your door or bumper sticker and keep evil at bay.  One Nigerian couple swore that it stopped thieves from entering their home.

anointing stickerNow in 2015, TB announced that the words “Good Morning” were anointed for us all, thus a brand new product was born: the Good Morning Sticker.  This sticker comes with TB’s smiling profile greeting you with a background of a sunny field.  We see the words “Brethren Good Morning” on it.

good morning

Confusion arose about the sticker when people were trying to figure out which part had the power.  Some were folding it back and stuffing it into a neck lanyard so that just TB was on display.

good morning wrong usage

Naturally people assumed that the man of God’s mug had to be the potent element.  Well, no, they were wrong.  We came across a YouTube video of a SCOAN service on 1/2/15 in which leaders were instructing folks on proper sticker usage.  The first man said:

“If you just display the picture of TB Joshua and not the words ‘good morning’ then you’re just holding an ordinary piece of paper–there’s no more anointing in it, because the anointing is in the words ‘good morning.'”

Another chap then took over and verified what the first fellow had said.

“That’s right, if you’re displaying the prophet of TB Joshua on your neck instead of the good morning, then the anointing of God in the sticker is nullified.  Remember obedience is better than sacrifice.  Stop displaying the picture of the man of God on your neck.  It is not only a sin but also an abomination.”

Wow.  Who knew God was rendered impotent the moment you folded a piece of paper?  And why is TB trying to terrify everyone with the “abomination” language?  Well, think about it: the man’s mug is a lot easier to come by than his special stickers.  If he lets people think his face has power, they’ll just hop on the internet, download some pics, and be done with it.  It’s far more lucrative to come out with a new magical phrase each year because then he can refresh his line of products and cha-ching.

So then, 2015 is the year of “Good Morning.”  Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that TB is cranking out boxes of “Morning Water”.  This nifty product which is only available at the SCOAN is labeled with the words “morning water anointed by Christ to heal, bless and save.” On another side of the box, are the words “renews you”, and then on the sides we find the brands “Emmanuel TV” and SCOAN written. Huh. Who knew Christ was personally kissing every box of this stuff? Who needs God when you can just get a box that’s been infused with His magical powers?

morning water

But maybe you can’t make a trip to Nigeria right now. Not a problem. Prophet Joshua is so potent that he can beam his magic at you right over the phone. Another banner on the SCOAN website claims that “distance is not a barrier” and we’ve got a quote from TB saying “I can see you being saved, healed, and delivered in Jesus’ Name”. And of course TB likes to quote good old Mark 11:24 where Jesus says:

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Obviously there aren’t any prerequisites to God blessing us—things like reverence and submission. Nope, He invites us all to just go for a power grab and put our faith into believing that He’s forgotten how to use the words “no” and “not right now.” Since when does God ever make people wait for what they want? Since forever, but we don’t like to acknowledge that.

Wade through the SCOAN website, and you are continuously blasted by testimonials of those who received some form of Divine healing or protection. Ceaseless miracles are the main marketing ploy that this ministry is standing on. It’s quite a gamble to try and build a lucrative business on a constant stream of supernatural acts, but many have managed to do this with great success. When it works, it works fabulously, but how does it work when most of the miracles are non-existent? As much as we want to believe God takes orders from us, He doesn’t. Bob Larson can’t exercise demons whenever he feels like it, but gosh those YouTube videos are convincing. Well, they’re only convincing until you think about how hard it isn’t for someone to thrash around and act demon possessed. You might personally struggle to do something like that, but the world is full of talented actors who are hungry to make a quick buck. Get enough actors on your team, and it’s amazing how many miracles you can pump out. Happily God can usually be counted on to slip in a few authentic ones as He has sympathy on souls who are sincerely seeking Him in the midst of the carnal hoopla. The key is numbers—you want lots of them. You also want to attract those who are particularly desperate, greedy, and beat down. Get a guy who is already convinced that God doesn’t love him, and you can easily convince him that he’s the problem when the miracle doesn’t happen. The same guy will readily believe that God is healing everyone else, and he’ll keep throwing money into your coffers, hoping to buy God’s favor.

Once you convince people that you’ve got the power, you don’t have to pull off miracles every time—you just have to have the illusion of pulling them off, and that’s easy enough to do by fabricating testimonials and funding a few “miraculous” turnarounds. On the SCOAN’s website, we find plenty of rags to riches stories. When a guy has nothing, and you’ve got millions, how hard is it to turn his life around and then declare it was an act of God? And once you’re firmly established as sorcery headquarters, wishful thinking will do the rest. Take Mr. Christopher Okoroafor, a man who supposedly used to live in abject poverty “until he came to The SCOAN and had an encounter with the man of God, Prophet TB Joshua.” On the TB Joshua blog of testimonials, we learn that after receiving a prophetic word from TB and acquiring some of that magic Morning Water, Christopher’s life rapidly improved. Now he’s got a successful textile import business, he’s cruising around in “exotic cars”, and check out who he credits for saving him in life:

Thanking God for the transformation of his life, he spared no words in expressing his appreciation for another miracle in which the Morning Sticker in his warehouse prevented loss of lives and property when a trailer rammed into it.

Notice how Christopher views the sticker as a magical talisman. Does our famous man of God take issue with a sticker getting the glory for saving lives? Heck no, he’s all for the talismans.

Now maybe you find that whole Morning Water routine a bit hard to swallow. Then don’t swallow it, just fling it on the stuff that’s giving you trouble. Follow in the footsteps of one Salwa Braimah—a young woman who was anxious to get a scholarship to continue her education. After she got turned down, she showed up at SCOAN. You know what happened: Miss Braimah was handed a box of Morning Water. But the fool girl didn’t “minister” it, and as a result she was turned down for the scholarship. Well, she was quick to learn her lesson.

When another opportunity came up in 2014, she applied. This time, she had learnt to build her faith in God through the teachings of Prophet TB Joshua. Her love of work became pronounced. As she was applying for the scholarship this time around, she ministered the Morning Water on the screen of the computer through which she did her online application. By the time the names of successful applicants were released, she was among the lucky ones granted an all-expense-paid scholarship covering travel to the United Kingdom where her course in Construction Project Management would take place, as well as tuition, accommodation and welfare. Filled with joy and a new-found faith in God, Miss Braimah observed that delay is not denial.

Notice how cleverly the lies are blended with the truth. While it’s acknowledged that God doesn’t always give us what we want right away, it’s clearly being taught that the Morning Water was what made the difference. This isn’t a lesson on waiting on God, it’s a lesson on using your talismans correctly. You gotta sprinkle that Morning Water, otherwise how do you expect Christ to anoint anything? Don’t you get that He’s trapped inside those water molecules?

TB is all about pushing his Morning Water. It’s like taking home God in a box. Parishioners are encouraged to keep ministering their water on various objects in their lives in order to get God into gear. Once you give people something they can do when they go home, you buy yourself time. Every life is in a constant state of flux. Good things are bound to happen sometime, even in the worst situations. But once a fellow has been flinging Morning Water for days, who do you think he’ll give the credit to when a blessing comes along? To the magic liquid, of course. TB is giving his people a way to control God and of course they’re loving it. Testimony after testimony is posted about God healing people through the Morning Water medium. In dire situations, the Good Morning Sticker is also applied, as in the case of Mrs. Obueke. The Morning Water was strong enough to get her pregnant after 11 years of trying, but it took Mr. Obueke flinging the Morning Water and applying the Good Morning Sticker to get the baby safely delivered after three days of strain. Naturally the kid came out dead—what do you expect after three days of traumatic labor? But once that Good Morning Sticker was stuck to his little chest, he sneezed himself back to life. There are a couple of famous child resurrections in the Bible which include sneezing, by the way, so should we really be surprised? Healers love to crank out miracles that seem to copycat well-known biblical accounts.

So what’s the deal with TB? Has he really found a way to trap the power of God in a boxed drink and a sticker? Of course not. Blindly believing everything you read and see on healer websites is a very foolish thing to do. They count on people giving in to the “wow” factor. But how do you know Mrs. Obueke is even a real person? How do you know her baby was a stillborn? How do you know Christopher really went from rags to riches? How do you know the SCOAN isn’t paying people to make up stories and stretch the truth in order to keep promoting their products? Does simply donning a lab coat make a man an expert in medicine? No, but plenty of people think it does which is why we have so many actors wearing lab coats on pharmaceutical advertisements. Maybe they even flash a name onto the screen “Dr. Blakeley.” Who the heck is Dr. Blakeley? You’ve never heard of him, but it doesn’t matter. The lab coat and the title were enough to convince you to buy the product. It’s the same with Morning Water, Morning Stickers and any other product TB wants to dream up. Have a Good Morning Hamburger and you’re guaranteed to feel better. Well, sure you are, especially if TB catches you before lunch. Now the man isn’t passing out hamburgers yet, but you get the idea. The whole thing is a crock. It’s just a way for TB to get the glory off of God and onto his own organization while simultaneously convincing people that he’s leading them down that straight and narrow road.

The SCOAN’s material is infused with Bible quotations—this is standard operating procedure for healers. Our group has been criticized for not quoting the Bible enough in our material, but why should we try to hide what we’re teaching under layers of verses? The constant quotation of verses is a disarming practice that false shepherds love to use. It distracts you from thinking about what they’re really teaching. False shepherds teach you to view the Word as the equivalent of God in your life, because then they can rip verses out of context and get you to think that God agrees with everything they say. On the SCOAN’s Statement of Faith page, they insist that the Bible has to be a central part of your life.

God’s Word refreshes our minds while God’s Spirit renews our strength. To be born again, not only must we have God’s Word but also His Spirit, mixed with repentance and faith in our hearts.

Really? A book refreshes us? We can’t get saved without the book? No, this is utter garbage. The Bible is not God, it is a collection of historical documents. The Bible is a polluted product—it has some stuff in it that was clearly inspired by God, but it also has a lot of carnal rot. Paul teaching that Christ is some temporary ruler who will one day step down and hand all power over to Yahweh is a load of rot (see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ). John saying that anyone who doesn’t love other human beings is a child of Satan is a bunch of rot (see Salvation According to 1 John). James says God has nothing to do with our temptation. Samuel says Yahweh would never lie or change His mind. Matthew says Christ fulfilled the Immanuel prophecy from Isaiah. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says animals and humans have the same eternal future, therefore all that matters is to try and enjoy your life while you’re living it, since this is it. Oh, and by the way, there is no reward for the righteous—they end up the same as the wicked in the end. How does this pass for wisdom? Should we be calling such faithless dribble “Divinely inspired”? No, but we do, and once we stamp the whole Bible as a tangible version of God, guys like TB Joshua can have a field day with it.

What makes organizations like the SCOAN so ragingly popular? As much as we want to focus on the shadiness of the leaders themselves, the reality is that these guys didn’t make it big time without a whole lot of help. Whenever you find people making a buck off of God’s power, remember that no one can make a profit unless someone’s willing to buy.

People hate the idea of having to submit to God. They refuse to revere Him. Instead, they want to dominate and control Him. They want to be the masters, not the servants. They want to believe that God Almighty can be trapped inside a box drink and then flung about at will. “Here, Jesus, sic ‘em!” Isn’t that what we really mean when we start rebuking things in His Name? “I zapped You with my magical powers—now You’ll have to do what I say!” Isn’t that what we’re really saying when we start whipping out the anointed toys and chanting Bible verses? “You blessed Jabez now You have to bless me because I’m saying exactly what he said!” Is this a reverential way to address our glorious Lords? Do you think Yahweh appreciates us throwing verses in His face? Do you think Jesus likes this constant abuse of His Name? Do you think the Holy Spirit finds it honoring when we say He’s the One making us roll on the ground retching our guts out?

Our Gods have warned us time and time again that there will be serious consequences for defying Them on this earth. How quickly we blow off Their warnings and pop open that next round of Morning Water because so far we haven’t seen any lightning strike. Well, this life is just the first chapter of our eternal existence, yet it’s a very important chapter to God. He says if we make certain choices down here, there won’t be any way to recover from them later on. The very existence of Hell should make us quite leery of testing God’s patience by refusing to give Him the reverential submission that He demands. There’s no room for holy toys in the serious Christian’s life. There’s no room for trying to manipulate God and act like your Creators exist to serve you. TB Joshua is making a mint passing out the Morning products and implying that God exists chiefly to make our carnal dreams come true. Well, no He doesn’t. But if that’s what you want to believe, then by all means, slap on your Morning Sticker. It isn’t a bummer to God when human beings refuse to stop spitting in His face. He gets as much joy out of trashing us as He does saving us. After all, He’s the One who has arranged things so that most of us will end up in Hell. Jesus said the road to life was narrow and few find it. Why? Because it turns out that He is a whole lot more particular about who He saves than we’ve been led to believe. You’re not getting anywhere without sincere reverential submission to all three of your glorious Creators. You’re hardly submitting while you’re spending your life trying to wrestle earthly goodies out of God’s hands. Stop with the directive prayers. Stop with the sacred toys. Stop with the rebuking and chanting and other wannabe sorcerer activities. Our Gods are not idiot humans who we can push around and fool with phony acts of sincerity. In eternity, we’ll be judged by our soul motivations, not by our worldly acclaim. Do you really want to explain to Jesus why you felt it was necessary to improve His listening skills by breaking out the Morning Water?

FURTHER READING:
The Eternal Cost of Defying God: A Warning for Christians
Deliverance Ministries: Scamming You in the Name of Jesus
Sacrificial Giving: A Favorite Teaching of False Shepherds
Trained Shills & Blind Trust: A Winning Combination for False Shepherds
What’s holy about holy water? (Understanding Labels in the Church)
The Laying On of Hands
Recognizing Wolves: By Their Fruits You Won’t Know Them
Anointed: What it Does & Doesn’t Mean

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