There are many things that people associate with church; warmth, fellowship, community, speaking in tongues, bible study, the occasional bit of office politics, and ever so often a little bit of molestation and pedophilia thrown in. But until now I’ve never really associated church with death.
After all church is supposed to be a place to heal ‘sick souls’.
In far away South Africa there’s a man who identifies as a pastor. Mr. Lethebo Rabalango says he has been called by God and given power to do many things. Now Rabalango isn’t just any pastor, he’s part of a new wave of faith healers that have infiltrated South Africa’s slums and townships, peddling a different kind of Christianity.
One with ‘signs’ and ‘wonders’.
Now the Bible is filled with great acts of faith, men and women doing the unthinkable, defying everything we know. Mr. Rabalango believes strongly in this, in signs and wonders. He also believes that he can manufacture them. He believes he can see the future, can predict it too. Mr. Rabalango believes a lot of things.
And because we’re human, we believe him too.
Or at least a young woman who attended a service he organized last Sunday, did.
She and the other members of Rabalango’s Mount Zion General Assembly came to church expecting to hear from God, and perhaps receive a sign. So when in the throes of a ‘powerful’ sermon, our good old pastor singled her out of the congregation and asked her to come to the dais, she obeyed.
Mr. Rabalango had received ‘instructions’ to prove the power of ‘God’. And like the men of the Old Testament, he wanted to do it old school and use whatever he had around him. It seems ‘God’ wanted to prove his strength, because Rabalango pointed directly at one of the industrial speakers in his small church, still plugged to the address system and asked some other worshipers to drag it over.
At this point our girl had started to panic, those things are huge, they weigh more than a bag of cement and shake you to your bones when you stand near them. It seemed dangerous. She must have hidden her fear, because when Pastor asked her to lie on the floor, she did.
Imagine the crushing weight when the speaker was lowered on her chest. She was a tiny woman, with small bones. Couldn’t have weighed more than 50kg. She would have been hardly able to move the speaker alone, talk more of carrying it.
She howled, she was in pain.
Pastor laughed, assured everyone that she was fine. Even when she obviously wasn’t. The world was starting to swim around her. She tried to scream again, but the speaker was so heavy, pressing down on her, every word the Pastor said amplified as it shook her teeth.
She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t feel her legs, she blacked out.
When she opened them, people were fawning on her. It took a few seconds but the pain in her side caught up with her. She couldn’t breathe, something was terribly wrong.
Rabalango looked at her with murderous eyes, accused her of having no faith. He didn’t follow when they took her to the hospital. He wasn’t at her side to comfort her when she died.
All she came to do that morning was sing praises to God.
The sad thing is, horrific as it what Rabalango did sounds; he’s basically a J.J.C. beside some of the greats. There is Penuel Mnguni of The End Time Disciples Ministry whose exploits are so great, we’d have to write an entire different post just for his own Key Points.
Daniel Lesogo who asks his congregation to eat grass and drink petrol
And right here in our own backyard is Daddy T.B Joshua, who let hundreds of people camp in a defective hostel and did nothing to help them when building collapsed over their heads.
I doubt the last thing any of the 100+ people who lost their lives that day could have imagined, was that their church was going to kill them.
By misleading them, by neglect, by a general aversion to doing the right thing, these churches are turning into death traps. And you all are saying nothing.
Is it when your mother is the person trapped under tons of concrete that you’ll speak? Or when someone forces 70 kg of speakers on your brother’s chest, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lungs that you’ll decide churches need to be regulated? Or maybe its when someone makes your sister try to swallow a snake on live TV.
Or maybe not even then.
After all, wetin consine you?