JOSHUA SELMAN IS A FALSE TEACHER
By: Biodun Shotola and Deji Yesufu
“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that the truth of God is attacked and yet remained silent.” – John Calvin
We acknowledge, along with the rest of the Christian community, that God operates in mysterious ways and may employ even the most unqualified individuals to tend to his flock. However, we reject the notion that a man who consistently assails the inspired scripture and preaches messages contrary to the holy scriptures can be deemed “a man sent from God.” Joshua Selman, a self-proclaimed apostle from Nigeria, has been lauded by certain “Christians” for his purported feat of shutting down the largest indoor arena in the UK. These “Christians” consider Selman’s achievement in the UK as a sign of a 21st-century revival.
Yet, as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, we stand in opposition to this man, his false doctrines, and his so-called revival. We choose to distance ourselves from the fallacious belief that a man, merely by invoking God’s name or amassing a considerable following, is divinely ordained to spearhead a revival. It would have been preferable, or at the very least prudent, if his works had not been attributed to our Lord. We shall persistently and resolutely employ all the resources that our God has provided us to denounce this imposter. While we empathize with our critics, who are easily swayed by their emotions, we derive no satisfaction from being labeled “holier than thou” or “assistant to Jesus.” Our critics may hurl insults and utter whatever they wish, but it is our duty to expose false teachers.
We shall refrain from laboring to expound in detail on the erroneous teachings of this man. Such an undertaking would be superfluous and an article like this one cannot document all the false messages of Joshua Selman. Perhaps we may briefly touch upon a few of them. This is not an act of cowardice or an attempt to misconstrue the man’s sermons. Many sincere Christians have already highlighted the egregiousness of this man’s teachings. However, instead of adopting the Berean attitude of scrutinizing Selman’s message, his followers and sympathizers have resorted to name-calling.
In one of his messages, Selman attempted to explain the involvement of Joseph of Arimathea in the burial of Jesus Christ, stating, “The name of Jesus is so weighty that it requires financial resources to exalt it before the world.” However, this teaching by Selman deviates from scriptural truth, the teachings of the apostolic fathers, and the spiritual leaders of our faith. Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus or any of the Old Testament prophets suggest that financial resources are necessary to elevate the name of Jesus.
In another video, Selman boldly declared to his audience that not every verse in the Bible is the word of God. He went on to say, “There are many things Paul said in the Bible that are inconsistent with the character of God.” This statement directly undermines the divine inspiration of the word of God and amounts to an attack on its authenticity.
In yet another video, Joshua Selman tells the story of how he obtained his apostolic credentials. He talks about meeting Apostle Paul and conversing with him. Yet again, he meets with no other than Jesus Christ, who imparts apostolic authority and prophetic mantles on him. In the video, titled “MY ENCOUNTER WITH APOSTLE PAUL AND THE LORD JESUS”, Selman recounts other encounters with both biblical figures and historical Christian figures – who are long dead. It is the stock in trade of false teachers to employ vision of encounters with divine beings, like angels, to legitimize their claims to the apostolic. When you remember that the foremost modus operandi of false teachers is to resort to dreams and revelation, rather than depend on the simplicity of teaching scripture, you understand that Selman is yet another false Apostle – a false teacher that the Bible command we beware of.
Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon delivered on March 18th, 1885, regarding the Bible, eloquently proclaimed, “Thou book of immense authority, thou art a proclamation from the Emperor of Heaven; far be it from me to employ my reason to contradict thee. Reason! Your role is to stand and discern the meaning of this volume, not to dictate what this book ought to convey. Come, my reason, my intellect, sit down and listen, for these words are the very words of God.”
Certain critics, driven more by their emotions than by scripture, adamantly assert that the gathering of such a multitude can only be a work of God. They contend that it is inconceivable for someone who is not a true apostle of God to attract thousands to their meetings. We remind our critics of the inspired words of Peter:
2 Peter 2:2 – And MANY will follow their destructive ways because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (Emphasis added)
In a rather derisive manner, our critics have asked us, “What have you done to preach Christ’s gospel?” While we could respond to our critics with a detailed account of our endeavors, our sense of piety restrains us from succumbing to the sin of pride. Instead, we implore our critics to focus on the matter at hand and refrain from constructing straw man arguments. Is the message that Selman preaches aligned with the teachings of Christ? If Christ were to descend today, would he commend Selman’s efforts or rebuke him? How else should we describe a man who fails to proclaim the excellences of Christ? It is far from acceptable for us to remain silent when our Savior is diminished and a man is exalted. We shall not permit an impostor to usurp the honor that belongs to our God.
A newly converted Christian, who has embraced the true Gospel and recently placed their faith in Christ Jesus, would find it utterly preposterous to be instructed that they must journey to Abeokuta and Lagos in order to succeed in life – as Joshua Selman once suggested in a sermon. The new Christian understands the redemption offered by Christ from the consequences of sin. They acknowledge that they possess no inherent goodness and will never be capable of fulfilling God’s righteousness through their own efforts. They find solace in the good news that the sins of sinners can be transferred to Jesus Christ, while the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner.
Scripture contains numerous admonitions regarding false teachers. None of these impostors would brazenly declare to a congregation, “I am false and an enemy of Christ.” Instead, they present themselves in sheep’s clothing. They may employ the language of the chosen, yet they are deceivers. They may invoke the name of Christ and perform miracles in His name, but they are enemies of God. We implore our readers, who may perceive our fervor as unrestrained, to reflect upon the words of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 24:24 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Deji Yesufu is a missionary pastor to Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Ibadan. Biodun Shotola, the lead writer of this piece, is a graduate of Archaeology, University of Ibadan, and a member of Providence Church.