Following the BBC’s controversial documentary on Pastor Temitope Joshua, founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Debo Akinyemi, a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, shares his experiences in a write-up for ChurchTimes Nigeria. Having closely interacted with TB Joshua during his time as a journalist, Akinyemi addresses the divisive opinions surrounding the recent BBC expose on the late pastor.
Expressing his personal view, Akinyemi finds it challenging to categorize Joshua due to a seeming disparity between his outward presentation and inner demeanor. He highlights the difficulty of judging based on appearance and humility, emphasizing the biblical warning that outward appearances can be deceptive.
Recalling encounters with Joshua in the late ’90s, Akinyemi describes the pastor’s rise from an itinerant white garment prophet to a controversial figure with influence. He recounts joining The Exclusive, a newspaper owned by Joshua, and noticing the pastor’s significant control over its management.
Akinyemi sheds light on Joshua’s nocturnal activities, summoning senior editorial staff for late-night meetings filled with lavish meals. Despite the generosity of monetary envelopes distributed at these gatherings, Akinyemi questions the disruptive nature of such meetings for editorial schedules.
His experiences also expose the regulated lives of disciples in Joshua’s church—gorgeous young ladies with prohibitions on secular jobs and financial autonomy. Akinyemi paints a picture of a highly controlled environment where disciples lived in fear of Joshua and adhered to an oath of secrecy.
The write-up delves into peculiar practices within the church, such as married couples swapping partners as a ritual to assist childless couples in having children. Akinyemi recounts how Joshua proposed this unconventional solution to a colleague seeking divine guidance with his wife.
Despite Joshua’s outward meekness, Akinyemi notes his purported demonic anger, witnessed by insiders, culminating in the throwing of a glass-topped table during an episode in the office.
Akinyemi concludes by expressing skepticism based on the fog surrounding Joshua’s character, acknowledging his likable persona but refraining from joining the ranks of uncritical admirers, citing the biblical principle of testing spirits.