It is no longer news that popular televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua has since gone on to be with the Lord, after living a great life of impact. Many in Nigeria, and Africa, are still trying to recover from the loss of the iconic and phenomenal pastor who was down to earth, yet was disregarded by many for his style of ministry. However, there was one Rev. Dr. Chris Oyakhilome who saw him differently and appreciated what God was doing through him.
Several years ago amidst all the scandal and backlash that TB Joshua received from several pastors in Nigeria, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ’s Embassy still visited his Church to pray for a sick man suffering from multiple sclerosis that was wheelchair-bound.
His name according to Pastor Chris was Jan Westerhoff, who was from Holland. By the time many Nigerian pastors saw the video, they began to criticize Pastor Chris, saying they were both of the same stock. Pastor Chris amidst the backlash was in defense of TB Joshua. He gave a response that was touching and attracted great criticism from several of Nigeria’s most popular pastors.
Many Pastors like Pastor Chris Okotie, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, and Pastor Tunde Bakare, had initially alleged that TB Joshua wasn’t of God, but Pastor Chris Oyakhilome was of a contrary opinion – asserting that their claims were wrong, emphasizing that it was up to God to decide whether or not he was called of God.
During an interview with Daily Champion Newspaper, Pastor Chris made it known that he and TB Joshua became friends in 2001, after Pastor Joshua placed a phone call to him, telling him he loved what he was doing because he had just finished watching a program of Pastor Chris healing a little girl. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. Photo from interview of pastor Chris with Daily Champion newspaper.
Pastor Chris stated that they kept in touch with each other, till a particular Wednesday that year, when they finally met for the first time in Synagogue Church of All Nations(SCOAN) to pray for Jan Westerhoff.
Several theories surrounding their friendship began to surface on the Internet, most especially from very reputable pastors. However, as usual, Pastor Oyakhilome kept mum on the issue. In his opinion, he had a lot to say about their criticism of TB Joshua, but for the fact that they were pastors, he would remain silent. He said that in order not to make them feel bad about their comments, and to prevent concerns members of their church may raise over their leadership.
During an interview on March 21st, 2014 TB Joshua was quoted calling Pastor Chris “his brother, ” after a debate about sin was sparked. TB Joshua stood in support of Pastor Chris as against what other ministers had taught. Demonstrating his respect towards their friendship, after the media tried putting both of them at the center of the biblical debate.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome hasn’t been very close to many top Nigeria pastors, but surely it can be said that he had a good relationship with Pastor Joshua. The demise of Pastor TB Joshua will certainly be felt by his long-time friend.