By Jiti Ogunye
By the passing of Prophet TB Joshua, Arigidi has lost a son, Akoko a benefactor, Ondo State a hero , Nigeria a giant, and the world a lodestar. Hopefully, the heavens have gained a saint. No doubt, some of his prophesies did rankle, and few occurrences around him were very grave. But humanity is thankful for the light he shed and the lives he touched.
Remarkably for us , there is a kind of social and economic class dimension to his prophetic ministry and enviable devotion to healing and miracles. People went to him for deliverance from spiritual bondage and afflictions. But a great number of the beneficiaries of his work were not only the spiritually oppressed and afflicted. The downtrodden and the economically exploited or disadvantaged went to him for economic deliverance and material comfort. They wanted to prosper in a land of diminishing opportunities and increasing misery.
He was enmeshed in controversy of authenticity, no doubt. It seems, however, that the controversy was fueled by the envy and deep resentment of his “ unschooled” spiritual gift and immense, un-godfathered anointing in Christendom. Not a genuine concern over the alleged lack of purity of his spiritual source. Admirably, he remained equanimous in the face of a persistent charge of fake Pentecostalism, refusing to be drawn into doctrinal polemics or contest for sectarian justification.
The choice of location and continuation of his Synagogue Church of All Nations, in a part of Lagos State , not renowned for the concentration and assemblage of the very rich and powerful, appear to be a signpost that his church and his following derive largely from the ordinary people. The neglected commoners. Yet , the rich and powerful flocked to him for power and spiritual succor.
Here goes a man of God whose communication in the English language was basic and at times inelegant, for he was not called by God to the Ministry from the ivory towers, or an accomplished professional elite circle, but who nevertheless was able to charismatically and faultlessly utter the truest words of the Kingdom of Heaven to mankind; pricking conscience, repairing hearts, healing the sick, feeding the poor, assisting the needy and winning souls for Christ Jesus.
His easily comprehensible sermons and teachings are irrefutable proof that grandiloquence in biblical or scriptural messaging, and living and acting in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Spirit are not one and the same thing.
Fare thee well.
May the Lord grant his soul a peaceful rest, comfort the grieving family and strengthen the church.
Ogunye, lawyer, and human rights activist lives in Lagos
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