Opinion: Why eat a snake or get sprayed, for God’s sake?

2016-11-27 13:12
Doom pastor. (Facebook)

Doom pastor. (Facebook)

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Limpopo prophet sprays Doom on congregants

2016-11-21 13:18

Limpopo prophet Lethebo Rabalago is seen spraying congregants with Doom in photos posted to his church, Mount Zion General Assembly's Facebook account. Watch.WATCH

In Exodus 20, verse 7, God cautions: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.”

This verse came to mind as news of the insecticide-spraying Lethebo Rabalago, pastor of the Mount Zion General Assembly in Limpopo, emerged.

Rabalago joins a growing list of “men of God” and “daughters of God” who use questionable means to heal people. He claims that by using Doom insecticide spray, petrol and fire, he “glorifies” the healing powers of God.

Such shenanigans have been happening for decades.

Take Umama waseChancele from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape. She became famous in the 1980s for her “holy water”. People travelled long distances to get multiple litres of the stuff, with some dying in accidents en route.

The Eastern Cape hosted another notorious pastor, MaNgconde from Flagstaff.

Then there was the female pastor at the African Religion at All Saints in Ngcobo, who locked up some congregants in her church, forced children to quit school and forbade older followers from working.

Earlier this year, Penuel Mnguni, AKA “the snake pastor”, hit the headlines as people watched parishioners at his End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve in Pretoria being ordered to eat snakes, rats and grass, and drink petrol.

"He also drove over people as “proof of how mighty God is”.

People are made to buy water, candles, oil and other accoutrements deemed to be “holy”. Prayers – to the tune of R5 000 – can be recited for single women naive enough to believe that this will score them a husband.

There has been condemnation all round for such charlatans, but two things are particularly vexatious.

Firstly, that big churches such as the Assemblies of God, the Apostolic Faith Mission and the African Gospel Church – all pioneers in the Pentecostal Christian movement in South Africa – are not shouting out: “Not in our name!”

Secondly, it grates me how naive some people are. Anyone who wants to spray me with Doom, make me eat a snake or do anything else using hazardous materials, would be told to get lost.

That these things are done in the name of the Lord – despite pastors’ knowledge of the verse quoted above – is an abomination. Yet it is now trendy for people to quote selectively from the Bible to support dastardly acts.

Those who claim to heal diseases such as HIV/Aids, for which no cure has been found, are likely to quote Matthew 10, verse 1:

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

Mnguni would probably enjoy quoting from Luke 10, verse 19, where Jesus says to his disciples:

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

God gave us all discerning minds. There is no need to be so gullible.

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