When South African Pastor Alph Lukau claimed to have resurrected a dead man recently, the biblical story of Lazarus may have echoed in the minds of his congregation.
But the action that day (Feb. 24) by the senior pastor and prophet at Alleluia International Ministries in Kramerville, Sandton, in Johannesburg, has stirred a storm after the video showing the alleged resurrection went viral.
Lukau, in the video, is seen standing before a coffin that contains the body of a purportedly dead man in a white suit. Lukau calls the man’s name twice, speaks in tongues and touches his body. The man then sits up inside the casket with his mouth wide open. The congregation breaks into wild celebrations and prayers.
The man — whose name is given as “Elliot” — had allegedly been dead since Feb. 22 and his body had been kept at a mortuary.
“A dead man came to life in this service. I speak the miracle of resurrection,” Lukau later posted on Facebook on Feb. 24.
As the video spread, a wave of condemnation followed, with Christians across Africa expressing shock.
“I condemn the act. Any pastor who claims to collect a body from a mortuary and give it life is dramatizing a lie,” the Rev. Martin Wesonga, principal of Bishop Hannington Institute, an Anglican theological college in Mombasa, told Religion News Service.
The Rev. Jan Cloete, moderator of South Africa’s Calvyn Protestant Church, said the stunt had made the churches a laughingstock of the nation and dealt a serious blow to the call of true discipleship.
“We believe the actions of this so-called man of God may have caused serious damage to those seeking a life-affirming relationship with Jesus,” Cloete said in a statement.
While they had remained in the periphery for many years, Pentecostal or charismatic churches are now influential players in Africa’s Christianity, building hospitals, schools and universities and addressing challenges such as HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, along with providing spiritual nourishment.
But some pastors who claim miraculous powers are bringing disrepute to the positive work, according to church leaders.
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Source: Religion News Service