Joshua Talena is a new generation pastor whose church headquarters is located in Jos Plateau State Nigeria. He must be quite rich, judging from the frequency of the TV broadcast of his teachings weekly.
In one of his teachings televised on Plateau Radio and Television, PRTV, in Jos a few months back, he talked about vision and its significance.
Vision as we all know, is what an individual, group or organization intends to achieve within a specified period of time. As a result setting up a vision spurs one to work harder to ensure he achieves his goal within the given time. Thus teaching about vision is a bedrock module of prosperity preachers.
To me that edition of Talena’s message would have been total except for an instant where he imagined himself as a teacher holding a piece of chalk to teach Mathematics for the State Ministry of Education and prayed that such shouldn’t be his portion. One could see a sense of approval among members of the congregation. Since it is known that one can be a teacher and still be prosperous if in the end he lived a happy life, the message placed a finger on what prosperity is in the eyes of Talena. If prosperity is all about financial abundance, then Talena was right.
Even a moderately educated person however knows that prosperity is life that ends in happiness while on earth. In the Bible, the concept of eternal life is added to the meaning. What will it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul? Coming back to the secular horizon, if you have all the money in the world but spend a greater part of your life on a hospital bed in pain and without happiness as a result, you cannot be said to be prosperous. Also there are people who have all the money their enormous potential can bring but are without children. Such persons spend their lives wishing there were children to spend and inherit the financial wealth. Such childless families are far away from complete happiness. The absence of happiness could also be as a result of life on the run because the law has refused to recognize the source of your wealth. Hence prosperity cannot be total if the society fails to recognize it as such. People may give beautiful testimonies at your funeral. It would however be of no worth if the testimony is not coming from the bottom of their hearts. When loved ones eventually get relieved of the pain of losing you, society will begin to tell them the truth either by word or action. As long as your family is not happy as a result, you will also be sad up there because you worked to give them happiness but in the end you left them sad.
That teaching also amounted to disrespect and insult to the nation of Nigeria. Teachers work to give education to the children and build the nation. Since we cannot have a society without teachers, the comment amounts to undermining the effort of the government to provide education to the people. Undermining the effort of the government could also come from the impression such teachings create in the minds of young children as it teaches them that you are never prosperous as a teacher.
Perhaps Talena could suggest an alternative to education without teachers. Perhaps he never went to a school where he was thought by a teacher. If he did, then he is not only ungrateful to his teachers but has insulted them as well. As far as this issue is concerned, there is a strong line of correlation between Talena’s comment and the views of Boko Haram whose fundamental principle is kicking against western education.
Following incessant sectarian violence in the north of the country that have often been ignited by hate preachers, the state governments of some of those states came up with the idea of issuing licenses to preachers which can be withdrawn when it is perceived that the activity of a preacher can weaken the foundation of peace. The comments of Talena in that edition of his sermon worked to bring to the surface the fact that the snooping eyes of government should be on all persons with followers that can be influenced by his views, religious or secular.
Talena ought to apologize to the nation.