Temitope Balagun Joshua commonly referred to as TB Joshua who is the leader and founder of Synagogue Church of All nations (SCOAN), that draws people from all over the world including high ranking citizens, on February 5, 2011 delivered a very controversial prophecy through his television station Emmanuel TV, in which he announced that an elderly African president would die soon.
He repeated the prophecy on March 18 and later on April 1 clarified that the said president would not be from West Africa. As if in fulfillment of the prophecy, the president of the Republic of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika suddenly collapsed at Sanjika palace on Thursday April 5th and was pronounced dead on arrival at Kamuzu Central Hospital due to cardiac arrest however the official announcement of his death was made on Saturday April 7.
This development has sparked a lot of talk amongst, not only Malawian citizens, but also people around the globe. The questions resonating in most people's minds is whether or not TB Joshua is truly a man of God? Whether or not his prophecies come from God and if people should believe the prophecies?
Bishop Tengatenga, Chairman of the Anglican Church and Bishop of the Southern Diocese of Malawi says it is not that clear as delivering a prophecy and it coming to pass does not make anyone a man of God.
"It is neither here not there. A person who is not a man of God can also give prophecies which come to pass," Tengatenga said.
As a prophet is given to people to speak on behalf of God, the question of whether or not a particular's prophet's prophecies are coming from God or not is quite contentious. Tengatenga said he (Joshua) says/claims that his prophecies are from God but was quick to point out that people should believe God and not prophets.
"People should believe in God because any prophet worthy so would not want people to believe in him (prophet) but rather believe in the source of his words," he said.
Father Chimombo, national pastoral secretary of the Catholic Church, on his part, quoting Mathew 24:36-44, said on issues of death no-one can foretell the day that someone is going to die.
"Jesus says nobody knows of the hour. So if someone speaks of someone's death and it really happens, there is no way to verify whether the death is a result of that prophecy or it has just happened by coincidence," Chimombo said.
The Bible is clear that being able to give a prophecy does not make one to qualify to become a man of God, according to Winners Chapel resident Pastor for Blantyre, Gift Tikiwa.
"We have so many people that prophecied that had other beliefs that are not Christian and that is why Jesus warns us against false prophets in Mathew 7:15-23," said Tikiwa
And these false prophets, Tikiwa said, are known by their fruits and he further gave pointers that he described as the "acid test" to deduce whether a prophet/cy is true or false.
He said to know whether someone is a true prophet, people should check whether the said prophet is leading people to salvation through Jesus Christ.
"Does he believe in salvation through Jesus Christ? Are his prophecies leading people to God or not?" queried Tikiwa.
Tikiwa further added to say for people to judge whether a prophet is true or false they should ask themselves whether the prophet's prophecies are self-exhorting or they exhort Jesus Christ and whether the prophecy is in line with the word of God, that way they will never go wrong.
Quoting 1 Corinthians 14:3, Tikiwa said a prophecy comes to edify, comfort and exhort people.
"It may come as a rebuke but that prophecy must end up helping a person so that he changes his ways and goes back to God," Tikiwa said.
In conclusion Tikiwa advised people to become addicted to the word of God as it is the only sure word of prophecy without any errors.
TB Joshua has in the past also successfully predicted Zambia's win at the Africa Cup of Nations and the death of Pop singer, Michael Jackson. He founded the SCOAN in 1989 but has become a house-hold name in recent years.