“….upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”– Mathew 16:18b
Nigeria is one of those nations blessed by God with great Ministers of the gospel called with a unique impartation of God’s supernatural grace to preach the gospel to nations of the world with power. These great Men of God are so mightily used by God that their names being mention, send waves of confusion in the kingdom of darkness. So great they are, that their names are in symbolic to modern Pentecostalism, but then comes the bone of contention, some among them doubt the calling of their compatriot professing the same Faith of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ and this Satan has used to sow seeds of contentions amongst the heads of the different dominations of the Church.
Indeed Christ warned the church to beware of fake Prophets, Pastors and false teachers who are wolves within but in disguise, comes outwardly in sheep’s clothing. However, Christ Jesus gave the Church a clue on how to know these false teachers – “By their Fruits”.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” – Mathew 7: 15-16
This means the outcome of their works which must be measured only by biblical standards ought to be used to determine their genuineness. The standards spelt out by the scripture did not say we should determine their callings by what we hear other people say about them or from what we heard and read in the news media, but according to the light of God’s word. As Christians, the Bible is our standard, not public opinion or how logical the issue is to our reason faculty because the human interpretation of truth is always limited when it comes to the things of the Spirit.
God works in mysterious ways, He does not need anyone permission to call whom He wants to call nor does he always need the role of another man of God to anoints whom He wants to anoints; God does as He wills. Therefore, we should always be careful with what we say and conclude about others because the future is a mystery. Irrespective of our great works of spreading the gospel, the crowd we control and the calibres of men/women that look up to us for mentorship, God is still far-far ahead of us in everything we have accomplished. There is no perfect one on earth, as humans, we can make wrong judgements; only God is infallible. That’s why as believers we should always try and go deeper to find the truth of everything, instead of just taking whatever our pastors or anyone tell us and the purest truth is always right there before us in the word of God, the Bible.
I once heard a popular man of God said in one of his Sunday sermons that the work of God is so complicated that a genuine man of God can sometimes not recognised another man of God. I was like, how is that possible, I discovered that even in the scripture, there were controversies among God’s brethren. Some persons in the early Church challenged Paul’s calling to be an Apostle. They went as far as attacking his credibility and spiritual qualification. They believe he was not called by God and not worthy of the respect he was getting. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church, he responded and counsels the believers not to be led astray by those causing strife in the Church. He wrote that even if what he was about to say sound unreasonable and foolish, he would say it anyway so that they would return to the true gospel.
“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” – 2 Corinthian 11: 22-29
In the passage of the scripture above, Paul listed out what he has gone through for the sake of the gospel. He gave those lists to proof his genuineness. He was trying to make them understand that if indeed he was not genuinely called by God, he could not have been able to go through all those challenges and does all those great works he had done to spread the gospel. He was able to stand firm in Faith even in the face of tribulation and hardship because God was involved in his ministry.
What can we believers learn from Paul’s letter? Before anyone must take a conclusive stand about another minister of the gospel or any person, he/she should take a time to go through that person’s antecedents, what they have gone through for the sake of the gospel and how resolute they are in the kingdom business even in the face of tribulation and attack.
For anyone out there to even think of start castigating Prophet T.B. Joshua and his ministry, why not take a look at his unwavering passion for the work of Christ even in the face of persecutions, intimidations and rejection. There is an online video of the Prophet- “Where Will T.B. Joshua Go Next؟؟؟.” There is a scene in that video of the Prophet being welcome to the nation of Botswana for a crusade. He said something to the cheerful crowd that caught my attention. He said, “I am here to do what I was born for, and I am living for, and I am going to die for.” It only takes a man of great passion and a strong vision for the work of Christ to make such declaration. Can one die for what he was not genuinely called for? It only takes a genuine purpose to live and die for something. And indeed, one can clearly see that the life and ministry of the Prophet is a testimony to that declaration. TO BE CONTINUE