Sky News in London does some investigative reporting to look at a faith healing group known as The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).
According to Sky’s report, at least six people have died of AIDS after being told by the pastors they were totally cured and could stop taking their medication.
Sky sent three undercover reporters to the Synagogue Church of
All Nations (SCOAN), which is based in Southwark, south London.
All of them told the pastors they were HIV positive – all were told they could be healed.
Once a month, the church has a prayer line, where people from across Europe come to be cured of all kinds of illness.
At registration, they have to hand over a doctor’s letter as evidence of their condition.
They are filmed giving before and after testimonies, which are put on SCOAN’s website.
The healing process involves the pastor shouting over the person being healed for the devil to come out of their body, while spraying water in their face.
One of the pastors, Rachel Holmes, told Sky’s reporter Shatila, who is a genuine HIV sufferer, they had a 100% success rate.
Ms Holmes said: “We have many people that contract HIV. All are healed.”
She said, if symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea persist, it is actually a sign of the virus leaving the body.
“We’ve had people come back before saying, ‘Oh, I’m not healed. The diarrhoea I had when I had HIV, I’ve got it again,'” Ms Holmes said.
“I have to stop them and say, ‘No, please, you are free.'”
SCOAN told Sky’s reporters they would be able to discard their medication after their healing and that they would be free to start a family.
Not only have individuals suffered, some of them passed on their disease.
Emmanuel came off his medication a year ago on the instructions of a pastor at his church in north London.
He said: “(The pastor) told me I’d been healed – ‘You’ve got to stop taking the medicine now. I’ll keep praying for you. Once God forgives you then the disease will definitely go.'”
Emmanuel admitted he suspects he may have passed HIV onto his boyfriend.
He said: “Yeah, I think I’ve passed it on. He got ill. Physically, he’s lost some bit of weight.
“He’s very small. I think he’s worried… Yeah, I feel guilty, if I’m the one who passed it onto him I’m feeling guilty. Yeah, very much guilty.”
The founder of this church is self-styled Nigerian born prophet TB Joshua. In true prophet fashion, myths have developed around his birth.
Right from the outset of his incredible journey, the hand of God has been clearly evident in the life of Prophet T.B. Joshua. He was born on June 12th, 1963 in the small village of Arigidi in Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria. The pregnancy period of his mother was by no means ordinary, as the baby remained in her womb for 15 months before he was born. Significantly, almost a hundred years prior to his birth, it had been prophesied that a young man would emerge from the poor Oosin quarters and that God would use him mightily. Another remarkable event occurred when he was three days old, as a large boulder crashed through the roof of his house, missing the baby by mere inches. This incident led to his mother naming him, ‘Temitope’, meaning, ‘What You (God) have done for me is worthy of thanks’.
He was called to ministry by a vision he received from God and a number of holy men, clearly labelled for ease of recognition.
“I was in a trance for three consecutive days, then I saw a hand that pointed a Bible to my heart and the Bible entered my heart and my former heart seemed to immerse with the Bible immediately. Then the awareness came and I saw the apostles and prophets of old with someone whose head I could not see because He was tall to the heaven and suspended, which I believe was our Lord Jesus Christ sitting in their midst. I also saw myself in their midst. After a while, I saw a hand of the same tall man, I could not behold His face, which was glittering with an unimaginable light, tall to the high heavens and suspended in the air. But other apostles I could see their faces, particularly Apostles Peter and Paul, Prophets Moses, Elijah and others. Their names were boldly written on their chests. [emphasis mine]
His ministry is built upon healing by prayer, even at great distance. SCOAN’s website is full of testimonies and stories, as well as offers to sell books and DVDs, and requests for donations. Somehow, prophets can make a lot of money. No desert wandering for him.
According to the Sky News story, the Department of Health has made a clear statement that prayer is no substitute for evidence based medicine, and the government is also looking at the tax exempt status of the church.
They should also be looking at laying charges for fraud and murder against these charlatans.
This is not the first time SCOAN has been criticized. Back in 2009, The Ghanaian Journal investigated reported on claims of deaths at TB Joshua’s Synagogue that we detailed byu a former pastor in the church.
Pastor Godswill Agomoh Paul, Pastor who claimed that miracles being performed at the Synagogue Church were faked also revealed in his interview with the LifeWay magazine that he witnessed many mysterious deaths during his tenure as the second-in-command to Prophet T.B. Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue.
There is even a blog devoted to exposing Joshua and his church.
The cost of belief can be your life.