John R. Houk
Original © March 31, 2016
In a recent email from Yurki1000, this question was asked:
Shalom John. Would you like to write about the Voodoo and Chrislam (and TB Joshua and the SCOAN)?
So exactly what is voodoo?
There are different types of voodoo depending on the influence of a region of origin. Rather than detailing the different types of voodoo I’ll use Wikipedia as a reference. Whether or not there are more forms of voodoo listed by Wikipedia or if the details are deficient, I don’t know or really care since I am a Christian.
Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo
… describes a set of spiritual folkways that developed from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West Africans and the French, Spanish, and Creole populations of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun. Its liturgical language is Louisiana Creole French, the language of the Louisiana Creole people.
Voodoo became syncretized with the Catholic and Francophone culture of south Louisiana as a result of creolization in the region resulting from the Atlantic slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with—but is not completely separable from—Haitian Vodou and southern American Hoodoo. It differs from Vodou in its emphasis upon gris-gris, Voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi. It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as gris-gris (a Wolof term) and "Voodoo dolls"' were introduced into the American lexicon.
Haitian Vodou (/ˈvoʊ.duː/, French: [vodu], also written as Vaudou;/ˈvoʊ.duː/ Vodun or Vodoun /ˈvoʊ.duːn/; and Voodoo /ˈvuː.duː/) is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Practitioners are called "vodouists" (French: vodouisants [voduisɑ̃]) or "servants of the spirits" (Haitian Creole: sèvitè).
Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye (derived from the French term Bon Dieu, meaning "good God"). According to Vodouists, Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, and thus direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called loa. Every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside. In order to navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, and participation in elaborate ceremonies of music, dance, and spirit possession.
Vodou originated in the Caribbean and developed in the French Empire in the 18th century among West African slaves when African religious practice was actively suppressed, and enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity. Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, and closely related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe. Vodou also incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yoruba and Kongo; as well as Taíno religious beliefs, Roman Catholicism, and European spirituality including mysticism, Freemasonry, and other influences.
Dominican Vudú is composed of three divisions: the Indigenous American Division, whose spirits are of American origin (usually refers to Taíno spirits); the African Division, whose spirits are of African origin (usually Fon and Ewe spirits); and the European Division, whose spirits are of European origin (usually Spaniard and French spirits). The Indigenous American Division is one of the main features that distinguishes Dominican Vudú from other forms of Vodou.
Some major deities venerated in Dominican Vudú include:
… Dominican Vudú is practiced through a Tcha Tcha (“maraca” – which means rattle) lineage. In Haiti, Vodou has come about and become more popular through another lineage known as the Asson. However, before the Asson, the Tcha Tcha lineage was the prominent lineage in Haiti. Thus the Tcha Tcha lineage is one of the oldest lineages within the Vodou tradition.
Dominican Vudú practitioners are often called “Caballos”, but they are also known as Papa Bokos and Papa Loa(masculine); and Mama Mambos and Mama Loa (feminine). One who has obtained this title has gone through the last and highest level of initiation that can take anywhere between 3 to 9 days and nights as well as have spent a time working for … READ ENTIRETY
West African Vodun
This article is about the West African religion. For other uses, see Voodoo (disambiguation).
See also: Dahomey mythology
Vodun (meaning spirit in the Fon and Ewe languages, pronounced [vodṹ] with a nasal high-tone u; also spelled Vodon, Vodoun, Vodou, Voudou, Voodoo, etc.) is practiced by the Ewe people of eastern and southern Ghana, and southern and central Togo; and the Kabye people, Mina people, and Fon people of southern and central Togo, southern and central Benin. It is also practiced by some Gun people of Lagos and Ogun in southwest Nigeria. All the aforementioned peoples belong to Gbe speaking ethnic groups of West Africa.
It is distinct from the various African traditional religions in the interiors of these countries and is the main source of religions with similar names found among the African Diaspora in the New World such as Haitian Vodou; Puerto Rican Vodú; Cuban Vodú; Dominican Vudú; Brazilian Vodum; and Louisiana Voodoo. All of these closely related faiths are syncretized with Christianity to various degrees and with the traditional beliefs of the Kongo people and Indigenous American traditions.
Remember I am examining “voodoo” because of reputed West African TB Joshua. One of the criticisms toward Joshua is he is mixing voodoo with Christianity. I included the table of contents West African Vodun because if the accusation is true then Joshua most likely as a West African from Nigeria is dabbling into that lineage of voodoo.
Also Joshua is accused of mixing Islam with his theological practices as well hence the term “Chrislam”. So how do we describe Chrislam?
Wikipedia on Chrislam
Chrislam /ˈkrɪslɑːm/, is a pejorative term, defined by William Lane Craig as "neither Christianity nor Islam",referring to certain interfaith branches of Christianity and Islam. "Chrislamic" Christian sects would be those which reject the position of John of Damascus on Muhammad viewing him instead as an inspired Christian graced with the spiritual gift of prophecy. "Chrislamic" sects of Islam would be those which reject any interpretation of the Quran causing contradiction with the Christian Bible faith. The views are very similar to those expressed by the Nestorian Catholicos-Patriarch Timothy I of Baghdad in his famous "Apology for Christianity". Nevertheless, critics describe these sects as a new syncretic religion which mixes elements of Christianity and Islam.
The most famous branches of Chrislam in recent years inspired by more agreeable elements of the Ansar movement of the Nation of Islam are two different religious movements in Nigeria, one called Ifeoluwa founded by Tela Tella in the 1970s and 80s and another called Oke-Tude founded by Samson Saka in 1999. They are also known as The Will of God Mission or The True Message of God Mission respectively
Ifeoluwa comprises about 1,500 adherents predominantly in Lagos. As in other Chrislamic movements, its followers recognise both the Bible and the Qur'an as holy texts, and also practice "running deliverance," a distinctive practice of spiritual running likened to Joshua's [Blog Editor: Biblical Joshua son of Nun and not TB Joshua] army circling Jericho, or the practice of Pilgrims circumambulating a Church for Palm Sunday or the Kaaba, and Jews around the Synagogue during Sukkot. In ancient Nestorian tradition, Ifeoluwa is still Sabbatarian with formal worship sessions being held three times a day on Sabat (Arabic for Saturday). This is seen as a suitable mid-way solution to avoid favouritism between mainstream Christians who worship on Sundays and mainstream Muslims who worship on Fridays.
However, in contrast to other Chrislamic sects, Tela Tella, while claiming to believe in both the Qur'an and the Bible, says they are incomplete, and is writing his own book called the “Ifeoluwa Book”.
Tela Tella claims that an angel of God came to him and told him that he gave him the mission and the name "Ifeoluwa: The Will of God Mission".
In Ifeoluwa there is an annual pilgrimage to The Mount of Authority, where the people pray for three days, and other annual festivals put on by Tela Tella. Tella also leads the singing of hymns during the Saturday service. Tella claims that these hymns were revealed to him by the angels Gabriel and Michael.
Ifeoluwa has very strict regulations that Tella calls commandments. These commandments deal with behavior, morality, discipline, how to dress, what not to eat and how to eat it, and hygiene and purity. Tella says that these commandments were given to him when he was on the Mount of Authority.
Oke Tude is slightly less recognisable to mainstream Christianity, resembling more interfaith worship with three different sessions or services that take place on Sunday. The first is a Muslim session, then a Christian session, and finally there is a joint session that Saka leads. During this he stresses the similarities between Christianity and Islamic beliefs.
gotQuestions.org on Chrislam
Question: "What is Chrislam?"
Answer: Chrislam is an attempt to syncretize Christianity with Islam. While it began in Nigeria in the 1980s, Chrislamic ideas have spread throughout much of the world. The essential concept of Chrislam is that Christianity and Islam are compatible, that one can be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time. Chrislam is not an actual religion of its own, but a blurring of the differences and distinctions between Christianity and Islam.
While it is undeniable that there are many similarities between Christianity and Islam (and Judaism, for that matter), Chrislam ultimately fails because Christianity and Islam are diametrically opposed on the most important of issues – the identity of Jesus Christ. True Christianity declares Jesus to be God incarnate. For Christians, the deity of Christ is a non-negotiable, for without His deity, Jesus’ death on the cross would not have been sufficient to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).
Islam adamantly rejects the deity of Christ. The Qur’an declares the idea that Jesus is God to be blasphemy (5:17). Belief in the deity of Christ is considered shirk (“filth”) to Muslims. Further, Islam denies the death of Christ on the cross (4:157-158). The most crucial doctrine of the Christian faith is rejected in Islam. As a result, the two religions are absolutely not compatible, making Chrislam a concept both Christians and Muslims should reject. -READ ENTIRETY
CompellingTruth.org on Chrislam
Chrislam is a modern-day attempt to blend the teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam. Historically, Chrislam began under a Nigerian leader named Tela Tella in the 1970s. It recognizes both the Bible and Qur'an as holy books and reads from both sources during its gatherings. Likewise, both Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated as equal. God and Allah are considered the same god.
Both biblical Christianity and traditional Islam reject modern attempts of Chrislam. The Bible teaches there is one God (Genesis 1:1) and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Islam rejects the idea of Jesus as divine, rejects the Christian view of God as Triune, and rejects the Christian belief in salvation by faith alone. These two religions logically contradict one another in numerous ways. The only way in which these two belief systems can be blended into one is to choose only those beliefs that fit one's preconceived notions or to reinterpret both the Bible and Qur'an to fit a particular agenda.
Some have begun calling interfaith gatherings in the U.S. that involve combined worship services with Muslim and Christian elements Chrislam. Theologically, this label is accurate, though these participants are not connected with the movement in Nigeria and would likely reject the label.
Ultimately, however, Christians must be aware that the blending of Islamic worship elements with Christian worship is to be rejected (Jude 3). Instead, Muslims need a clear example of Christians who stand firm in their faith, present the biblical view of Jesus Christ, and live the teachings of the Bible. Only then will the biblical gospel message be clear to Muslims who seek salvation. -READ ENTIRETY
If TB Joshua is mixing Islam with Christianity, he is in danger from Muslims demanding Quranic purity or else. I wonder how Joshua would fair in the hands of the Nigerian Islamic terrorists Boko Haram?
Frankly I have had a bit of difficulty locating any of the actual practices of TB Joshua mixing Voodoo and Islam with Christianity EXCEPT from those who have been disaffected from Joshua’s ministry. Joshua can easily claim the sour grapes argument to criticize these detractors. NEVERTHELESS, that does not mean Joshua’s detractors are actually misrepresenting or lying about Joshua’s practices. It does mean a bit of a Joshua’s word vs. detractors’ word has to be weighed.
Also Joshua’s detractors have complained about cult-like practices which I might note, have similarities to other Christian cult spin-offs such as the Jim Jones cult (simple, clinical and historical), the Branch Davidian cult or various Mormon polygamous cults.
Here is an example of a former Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) minister sharing his experiences in private out of fear for his life from TB Joshua which reminds me of the scenarios of the cults in the above links:
Malawian staff of SCOAN accuses TB Joshua of faking prophecies
Respected Nigerian prophet, TB Joshua, has come under heavy bombardment from staff members of his church in Malawi who have accused him of making fake prophecies as well as stealing medical records of their former President, Bingu Mutharika and converting them into his death prophecy, making fame for himself along the way, reports My Zimbabwe.
The report that is making waves on social media in the East African country, adds that Joshua asked his trusted staff to get him the late president's medical records in 2011 when Muthurika was suffering from a serious a terminal disease and with it, came out with his 60 Day Death Prophecy.
This is how the popular online site captured the story:
"More than 3 months before TB Joshua ever opened his mouth, back in November 2011, Mutharika’s health and his impending demise were public knowledge such that the President would several times come out telling people, “I am not dead yet.”
Furthermore, in the days and months running up to President Mutharika’s death on April 5th, 2012, the Malawian president was regularly consulting the preacher on many things and documented letters reveal this fact.
Mutharika’s deputy at the time, Joyce Banda, who would soon afterwards replace him, also frequented the preacher’s private residence where she would secretly engage TB Joshua weeks before he made his prophetic claim as the church’s videos show.
Banda was at the time at war with her boss, Mutharika, the latter who was also seeking to fire her from government and so she would privately confide with Joshua."
What do you make of this allegations? (Malawian staff of SCOAN accuses TB Joshua of faking prophecies: The social media in Malawi is agog after some staff of Prophet TB Joshua accused him of fake prophecies; By Isaac Dachen; pulse.ng; 11/20/15)
There is a reason Isaac Dachen placed an as positive spin as possible to the bad news of TB Joshua being exposed. An example many critics of Joshua are metaphorically face-slapped for their criticism. A couple of years ago when one of Joshua’s ministry buildings collapsed from too much occupancy killing over 80 individuals, many Joshua critics hollered for an investigation especially when the structure was ruled in violation of construction protocols for several floors that would not be able to bear the weight. Joshua did not concur with the ruling but blamed a mysterious plane seen by no one flying by and causing the building collapse. One of those critics was a respected minister whose name is Rev. lsaac Owusu Bempah. Joshua’s attack machine immediately began the attack machine of the reverend’s credibility by impugning him with a how dare you attack:
T B Joshua’s Man Blasts Owusu-Bempah
THE credibility of Rev. lsaac Owusu Bempah, General Overseer of the Glorious Way Chapel as a man of God has once again been questioned by Pastor Alan Kwesi Nazantra, a senior pastor of the Redemption Gospel Ministry, a Navrongo based church.
Rev. Owusu Bempah’s call on Christians to be wary of the head pastor of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) after the collapse of the latter’s church in Nigeria, seems to have surprised and angered the Navrongo pastor.
“I was completely shocked and sad when I read in the dailies that Isaac Owusu Bempah had cautioned Christians to be wary of Prophet T. B. Joshua, founder and leader of SCOAN. I just could not believe that Bempah would go to that extent. Is he a true man of God”? Pastor Nazantra quizzed.
According to Pastor Nazantra, a true man of God at this time would have prayed and sympathized with the deceased persons’ family. He continued that it was wrong for Bempah to have attacked the person of Prophet T. B. Joshua at a time when the church was faced with the death of persons from different parts of the world, who had gone there to seek the face of God.
He wondered why Rev Owusu Bempah is always quick to attack T. B. Joshua without any provocation from their Nigerian counterpart. “Is he Owusu Bempah telling us that he is the only man of God in this country? Why does he continue to attack T. B. Joshua when the man has not offended him in anyway? Pastor Nazantra quizzed.
Continuing, he condemned Rev. Owusu Bempah and others who attacked T. B. Joshua for not being able to prophesy about the collapse of his church hostel. He said true men of God understood that it was not always that God revealed everything to his prophets.
“Prophet Elisha as mentioned in the Bible in the book of 2Kings Chapter 4: 8-37, at one time prayed for a barren woman who went ahead to deliver a son. The said son later fell sick and died, which God did not reveal to Elisha.
The mother, upon the child’s death, went back to Elisha to seek God’s face and actually declined to tell the Prophet what had befell her as she approached him. It was when she got to him that she announced the death of the son to him. What would have been said about Elisha’s prophecy today, if he were with today’s generation? Pastor Nazantra asked.
He termed as a disgrace the claim by the Ghanaian reverend that the unfortunate incident, and the subsequent deaths of people at SCOAN Church Headquarters in Ikotun, Lagos State, was an act of human sacrifice.
As is typical of people who impugn the wrong person for speaking the truth the good Pastor Nazantra failed to relate the rest of the story about the dead son, the once barren woman and Elisha. Here it is:
20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”
23 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.”
And she said, “It is well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 26 Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’”
And she answered, “It is well.” 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”
29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.”
30 And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.”
32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. (Bold text added by Blog Editor - 2 Kings 4: 20-37 NKJV)
Pastor Nazantra tried to allude that not all prophets get the full revelation of God on upcoming events thus trying to protect the reputation of TB Joshua. However, Pastor Nazantra fail miserably that God indeed honor the promise made through Elisha that she would have a son. And even though every mother’s nightmare occurred losing a son in death before her own did happen, the power of God flowed through Elisha and raised her son from the dead fully alive and well.
The rest of the story that Pastor Nazantra failed to share is actually one of the great revelations in the Bible of the power of faith. Please notice the Shunammite woman never agreed with the appearance of death even though her son did die. Instead, when her husband asked why she was visiting Elisha so hastily she simply answered, “It is well”. When Gehazi went to meet her before her arrival before Elisha, Gehazi obeyed Elisha and asked her if everything well with her, her husband and her son. She answered, “It is well”. When Gehazi went ahead of the Shunammite woman and Elisha then report back to the soon arriving Prophet his report was, “The child has not awakened.”
Gehazi did not say, “Bad news boss, the child is dead.”
Then Elisha prayed and acted in an eccentric manner by stretching himself twice on top of the boy who awakened from dead – WELL!
According Pastor Nazantra’s analogy TB Joshua should have utilized the anointing of God as a Prophet and raise the 80 or so dead victims of the faulty structure from the dead just as Elisha did in faith.
Now in full disclosure, I am one of those Charismatic-Pentecostal Word of Faith guys that are so heavily criticized for faith that the Word works just as much now as it ever has. But I have to tell you. There are people that exist who take on some mantle of ministry and deceive people with false prophecies, fake healings and twisting the Word of God for self-aggrandizement. Then fool people to give to his ministry under false pretenses. If TB Joshua does do this, God knows the truth. Again if that was the case, the Bible is clear a judgment will be exacted upon those who knowingly misrepresent God Almighty.
Honestly I know very little about TB Joshua so I do want to be careful before I outright pronounce him a pretentious faker out to exploit people of their finances and property.
With that said I suggest that one judge the fruit of TB Joshua not to convict him Judgment, that is in God’s realm. Rather judge his fruit to decide under the guidance of the Holy Spirit moving on your Redeemed new creation inner man if you should associate with TB Joshua.
Below is the edited email sent by Jyrki as a starting point to examine TB Joshua. I added a little of my thoughts as the Blog Editor.
Voodoo & Chrislam (and TB Joshua and the SCOAN)
By Yurki1000 (aka Jyrki Soini)
Sent: March 29, 2016 11:17 AM
A Cocktail of Christianity Voodoo and Chrislam
Joshua's critics, including prominent pastors in the country who don’t deny that he heals people. But they say he draws his power from indigenous African occultism, not from the Holy Spirit.
One person who has stayed silent about Joshua until now is Bayo Ajede, a 37-year-old man from Lagos who served as Joshua's assistant for four years. In 1996 Ajede ran away from The Synagogue--fearing for his life--and eventually became a Christian. He decided recently that he must warn others about the source of Joshua's power.
"People need to know that Satan can also perform miracles," Ajede said. "The Bible says that in the last days even the elect will be deceived."
Ajede claims Joshua never converted to Christianity and that he mixes Islam and African folk religion with Christian doctrines. Ajede also claims that when he worked at The Synagogue, Joshua used incense, candles, "magic writing" and demonic power to work miracles.
Did He Prophesy about Brussels?
March 24, 2016
Global Watch Weekly
Temitope Balogun Joshua (born June 12, 1963), commonly referred to as T. B. Joshua, is a Nigerian prophet and televangelist. He is the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a religious organisation that runs the ... READ THE REST at SlantRight 2.0