CHURCH leaders yesterday said controversial Nigerian prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua was not welcome in Zimbabwe. The churches argued that prophet TB Joshua's teachings were of no help to the country as they were judgmental, partisan and unorthodox. Prophet TB Joshua heads the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria and was said to be guest speaker during the National Day of Prayer set for May 25, Africa Day.
Speaking during an Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe meeting in Harare yesterday, the pastors and bishops said while they were not afraid of TB Joshua, they were wary of his intentions. They said that as custodians of the National Day of Prayer in Zimbabwe, they would not welcome him at their event. EFZ president and spokesperson Dr Goodwill Shana said God should not be used for partisan purposes. EFZ brings together over 100 denominations, churches, para-church movements and individual Christians of the Evangelical persuasion.
"Of course we do not have the immigration powers to ban him (TB Joshua), but we have never invited him as churches. We think it is important to get (into the country) people who can help the country to move forward not people who are judgmental. People have a right to believe what they want, but it is difficult to believe a Word of God that comes on a partisan basis. We don't want judgmental teachings, that is why we don't subscribe to his teachings," he said.
Dr Shana said Christianity should be a platform for people to repent not to die. TB Joshua is notorious for issuing death "prophecies", the latest being his announcement that an African president would die, which coincided with the death of Malawi president Professor Bingu wa Mutharika last month.
"Our God is redemptive and when he pronounces death, he confronts that person and gives him or her opportunity to repent, not what we are seeing," he said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly invited the Nigerian prophet to attend the National Day of Prayer slated for the National Sports Stadium in Harare. The visit, sources said, would be a culmination of the ongoing "prayer" rallies.
Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe leader Bishop Trevor Manhanga said TB Joshua had no power to change the political landscape in Zimbabwe. He said PM Tsvangirai's political fortunes would not be shaped by TB Joshua or any "artefacts" received from him. He said TB Joshua should first pray for the "burning" Nigeria before talking of visiting Zimbabwe.
A fortnight ago, the Nigerian prophet allegedly told his church during a Sunday service that was broadcast on his Emmanuel TV station that he was "headed for a troubled African country".
"Nigeria is in turmoil and Christians are being bombed but he is doing nothing. I personally do not think TB Joshua can influence the Zimbabwe political landscape. Those who think so are indulging in wishful thinking. The leadership of the nation of Zimbabwe will be determined by God Almighty not TB Joshua. Those who visit him in Nigeria should know that the water they are given has no significance here and will not serve as a lucky charm to bring them power political or otherwise. I have questions about some of his prophecies because I do not think that God is particularly interested in the outcome of football games and this has no edification value for the people," he said.
Bishop Manhanga said real teachings should assist and mould people to be better citizens.
"How does the prediction of the death of Michael Jackson help the children of God? So I do not really pay much attention to this as it does not serve to mould my character or make me a better person," he said.
He, however, said Zimbabwean churches were not afraid of TB Joshua's coming.
"If he comes, those who want to go and listen to him should be free to do so. Even if crowds turn up for his proposed meeting, that will have no bearing on our politics. Our authorities have nothing to fear."
The Cameroonian government last week blacklisted TB Joshua, equating him to an agent of Satan who hoodwinks unsuspecting members of the public with "diabolical miracles".
Cameroon, through Foreign Affairs Minister Eyebe Ayissi, described TB Joshua as a "son of the devil" masquerading as "a man of God".
Pastor Godwin Chitsinde of the Spoken Word Ministries said TB Joshua should not be allowed into Zimbabwe because his interest in politics was "too excessive".
"According to the definition of a true prophet in the Bible, TB Joshua doesn't qualify to be one. I would not be happy if he comes on such an important national day because I believe his visit is not good for the nation considering his interest in politics. We have no problem if he comes on another day but we say no when it is an important day like this one," he said.
Pastor Vukani Dhladhla of Abiding Hope Ministries added: "Prophecy is not about telling someone his phone number or the colour of his underwear but it is about the word of God.
"We do not need him here because we have our own reputable apostles and what riles us is that he is coming on a partisan ticket without consulting the churches."
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