This is the concluding part of this guest post by Solomon, coming forth as a sequel to the previous post addressing the deceptiveness with which tb Joshua watch classified scoan as a cult.
Some embittered and disgruntled ex-disciples made some false allegations against scoan out of malice and wickedness; some as a vendetta for being shown the way out for falling short of standard, and some for their being rejected by fellow disciples for shameful behavior and TB Joshua watch swallowed the allegations hook, line and sinker. They based their conclusion on un-investigated, unconfirmed and unsubstantiated stories dished out by unfriendly elements of scoan who had problems with scoan before leaving the ministry and with these false testimonies matched scoan with 14 cult criteria.
14 CRITERIA USED BY TB JOSHUA WATCH TO CLASSIFY SCOAN AS A CULT
Does SCOAN meet all these criteria as they claim?
1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
REPLY: it is common knowledge that every organization expects loyalty from its members. Loyalty can only be earned and cannot be forced. If loyalty and questioning is absolutely forbidden the ex-disciples who left would not have left so easily. There was no oath taken as done in pagan setting. No blood covenant entered into. As people/ disciples enter freely and go away freely. The claim that SCOAN is a cult is therefore wrong.
2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
Madelaine: “My family has never tried to recruit me because I think they know that I am a lost cause. But they have put huge amounts of effort into publicizing SCOAN”
REPLY: Madeleine should realize that bringing in new members is not done in SCOAN by ordinary publicity; rather it is done by the work of the Holy Spirit by way of miracles when the gospel is preached and the work is confirmed by the Holy Spirit by way of miracles signs and wonders following. Does the work of the Holy Spirit Make SCOAN a cult?
3) The group is preoccupied with making money.
Here Madeleine suspects that her friends sold their property in England and gave it to the SCOAN, Granted her suspicion is true, was the family forced to do so? Mark you this is mere suspicion. Granted that her suspicion is correct does a gift to SCOAN justify saying that they are busy asking for money? Not at all, SCOAN cannot be called a cult on this ground.
Giles under this heading is of the opinion that giving members who pay their tithes regularly the opportunity by way of issuing them with passes to SCOAN’S prayer mountain to pray and worship over those non-serious Christians is wrong. He sees the action as money making. What would he call the youths who do not pay tithe but go there to pray as well? Loosing money?
Regulating the number of people who go to the mountain my issuing those who endeavour to obey Gods instruction and also regulate the number since the space at the mountain is very limited in comparison to the number of people who want to go there. Giles himself in the concluding paragraph of his write up said:
“Again it has to be said here that there is definitely a need to regulate people in some way though”
There are thousands of members waiting to get into that particular bit of land so thy obviously have to take turns but money and control play a big part of the whole thing. If you ever stopped paying your tithes or fall foul of the ministry in anyway, you don’t get to go there anymore” what type of regulation does Giles want the ministry to employ? The use of good standing in the church is most appropriate; this does not make SCOAN a cult, does it?
4) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
REPLY: Giles: when I was a boy, I was told in the Sunday school class that obedience is the first rule in heaven. From the account you have given of yourself on TB Joshuawatch, it looks as though you were disobedient all through. You resented being corrected. Reporting each other is a mechanism the disciples must have devised to check and make sure they were behaving properly, some of the disciples who mean business, whose conscience blame them when a fellow disciple does something that brings shame to them must have devised the method. Thank God you even commended the system when you said
“to be fair, sometimes that disciple might have been approached beforehand and given opportunity to change, like it says in the Bible” it might actually BE THE BEST WAY to deal with a particular sin, I mean its possible that a lot of people never again did whatever it was they were doing out of sheer fear of being reported again”
Thank you again that you commended TB Joshua for not taking sides. What then are you quarrelling about? When Lucifer rebelled in heaven, he was punished by being expelled from heaven. Rebellion ought to be punished. Your conduct brought shame to your fellow disciples, hence according to you, as you said
“I was ostracized by the foreign disciples and banned from the dinning room”
5) Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s)
ANS; the Bible encourages meditation: Joshua 1:8
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night
1 Timothy says:
meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them that thy profiting may appear to all.
Chanting was practiced during the time of David and speaking in tongues is the gift of the Holy Spirit which fell on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2: 2-3. The Bible supports speaking in tongues, whats wrong with them? Is meditation and speaking in tongues cultic?
And as for Giles, following the link provided to the original article, it is right for a trainee disciple to concentrate on God’s work rather than socializing while training, the Bible in Philippians 4:8 says
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Madelaine under this heading said she visited the hope that she would have an opportunity to spend time her son who was there as a disciple but they were always busy and had no time to stop.
I wonder why Madelaine went there to disturb and distract her son from concentrating on his training. She must have contributed very much to her son’s instability and rebellion against the observance of the rules and regulations. Matt 10: 36 says;
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
She constituted herself into a foe to her son, by distracting him from his training. Even though she still had some opportunity to spend some time with her son, she wasn’t satisfied because her son as a disciple prioritized the phone calls coming over her, and would not let his assignment suffer. (the phone calls that she claimed interrupted their discussion were most likely the church lines, which she would have this disciple not take just to discuss family with her) she should thus be equally responsible for her sons failure as a disciple in scoan, there is nothing in this issue that makes SCOAN a cult.
6, The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).
ANS; it is customary that in institutions, where moral rectitude is emphasized people are advised on how to behave and conduct themselves in every aspect of life. What does one expect from a religious body that trains disciples without moral instruction and the way one should conduct oneself in the society. This matter does not come up at all for discussion. It is only that some people have become hypocrites,
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.-
Therefore if the Man of God insists on trainee disciples conforming to the instructions in the Bible, his is not a cultist because the Bible is our standard. Being under his tutelage does not only involve instructions pertaining to faith and service but also involves listening to him as regards more fundamental decisions like a job or marriage, for heavens sake pilgrims come all over the world just to hear the mind of God about their proposed marriage or Job from the prophet to know if its Gods will or otherwise, should his disciples not even be more subject to such instruction?
7) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader have a special mission to save humanity).
Response to Madelaine: with due respect, I see your utterances in the affairs of SCOAN as meddlesome. Most of your comments are speculative, why would you not allow them to do the work of God as they are instructed by the Holy Spirit, this meddlesome attitude may sort of ruin your son’s career there as a disciple. Tb Joshua has always said he is not the healer but knows the healer, not once has he claimed to be the messiah or an avatar. This accusation emanated from his rivals, discredited ex-disciples and detractors.
8) The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.
Here Giles talks about having a problem with the term ‘blasphemers”
What other term is appropriate for disciples who left with shame and ignominy, who go about spreading such debasing false rumors against their benefactor?
9) The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).
Neither tb Joshua watch nor Madelaine have a locus standi to demand for accountability. Madelaine who was so much fascinated by the performance of SCOAN that she allowed her son to train as a disciple in SCOAN has turned against SCOAN for the mere fact that her son failed to make it, if her so called son who is a disciple were one of the WISE MEN would she still be here making such rants? Not to mention that most of it all are mere speculations…
All information about TB Joshua that I have read from the Internet indicates that he is not accountable. I have also met a Nigerian church leader (possible a rival of tb Joshua) visiting England who has said exactly the same.”
Is news from the internet evidence enough? The opinion of possible rival evidence enough? Who else would she rather have TB Joshua accountable to than the author of his calling?
10) The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).
REPLY: under this heading our honorable ex-disciple trainee Giles lied according to him, he said;
When I was confronted with a straight question and had to give a yes/no answer, I chose to lie. I have no doubt that the same thing happens all the time.”
From his own words, it is clear that all he did during his disciple training was to LIE, He himself is claiming to be a deviant, and he succeeded in annoying all the other foreign trainee disciples that they refused him entering the dinning hall. In short they showed him the way out. How can the testimony of a Liar as to condemn SCOAN as a cult be acceptable as the truth?
11) The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
Here they had no standing or even testimony to back this criteria up, yet they deceitfully made it part of the criteria scoan allegedly fulfills, because even they themselves know that this is far from the truth. when Giles was reported to TB Joshua according to Giles, TB Joshua defended him- his comments goes thus:
“So the next meeting, guess what I was standing trial for. I have to be fair here and point out that TB Joshua did actually defend me, telling the disciple basically not to judge me, that she made no attempt to understand me etc. this sometimes happens with other people- TB Joshua doesn’t just accept everything”.
Judging by this statement of his again how TB Joshua can put fear into him when TBJ could demand for fair hearing for him? Once a Liar, always a Liar. Truth cannot proceed from his mouth. There is no case of inducing fear into disciples, Cultism is totally absent.
12) Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.
The SCOAN Base their standard on the scripture; the claim here is completely wrong. In mark 10:21 one thing thou lackest, go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come take up the cross and follow me” the Bible is clear on this issue. Upholding the instruction of the Bible portion above is quite in order, as for Giles who said:
‘families are seen by disciples as a hindrance. When you go there as a disciple you are strongly encouraged to cut all links with your family and friends.
The reason can found in the passages quoted above, they are quite explicit its not tb Joshua made. It is the provision in the Bible, the Disciples of christ left all to follow Him, they were not seen joining family matters with the kingdom business
Madelaine; giving up education at a tender age is not the making of TB Joshua, it is a question of choice of the person and the parents after all, Samuel was born and given to God and he grew up in the temple and later in life became the religious leader of Israel. It is Biblical on the Basis of choice and therefore does not make SCOAN a cult.
13) Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
Madelaine: “Many members of my family have given their every moment of their time for nearly 10 years.”
This option for the training is voluntary. Spending ten years in the service of the Lord is highly commendable and has its own reward spelt out in Mark 10: 29
There is no question here of cultism.
14) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members
This is according to the word of God in ACTS 5; -13 the disciples’ were of Christ were in Solomon’s porch and no man joined himself to them.
For further reading, Acts 4: 32 and Acts 4:34. The Arrangement is not man made, not even TB Joshua’s it is Gods, “Birds of a feather they say flock together”
from the above it is clear that SCOAN Doesnt meet any of the criteria they listed, but they in their usual serpentine deciption cunningly matched scoan to these criteria, and even condemned them for what the Bible even permits, therefore the excersice they undertook has ended in futility.