You might have heard this week of Lethebo Rabalago, the South African ‘pastor’ who killed a parishioner by crushing her with a speaker. As reported by Polemics Report, that is probably not true for several reasons. While Rabalago is a real ‘pastor’ and the church a real ‘church,’ the news reports are coming from outside South Africa and not inside. Likewise, parishioners on Rabalago’s Facebook page have claimed the woman is alive and the ‘pastor’ – still a free man – is laughing off the media coverage. It seems that a more likely story is that Rabalago’s novel approach to ministry raised some eyebrows and the rumor mill got a tad out of control.
Nonetheless, Rabalago is real. That ‘church’ consists of a real group of people who regularly meet and take part in Rabalago’s services. And what is Rabalago’s real ministry shtick? The ministerial dog and pony show consists primarily of Rabalago hitting, stabbing, and abusing his church members to demonstrate God’s power to protect them from harm.
From Rabalago’s social media, it sees that the purpose of the abuse is to show that with the Holy
Spirit’s power, one can’t get hurt. Although the notion isn’t new, how far this ‘pastor’ goes to demonstrate the principle makes the snake handlers in rural America look pale in comparison. After proving that the knife was indeed real (left), having cut up some fruit for the onlookers, Rabalago then went on to stab and hack at young ladies in the front row (right). His claim was that if they were filled with the Holy Spirit, even if they were cut, they wouldn’t bleed.
Rabalago also brought into the ‘church’ tent a pile of rocks on a different night, and proceeded to pelt the audience members, ostensibly for the same purpose (left). He wanted to demonstrate that they could be stoned and not die. That is a rock in Rabalago’s hand, and he was chunking it at people on the floor.
The ‘evangelist’ also made his congregation eat laundry detergent, under the claim that if they did they would recover from whatever kind of poisoning they received (right). The few naysayers on Facebook were quickly shouted down by people calling Rabalago “man of God” and extolling him for his spiritual powers.
Rabalago’s chief claim, however, seems to be the “water of life” that he brings to events. The “water of life” seems to be bottled water that has received a special blessing to heal diseases and all sorts of ailments. It’s available for a price, to the especially faithful.
Lethebo Rabalago seems to be a popular speaker in his circles, and has even appeared on religious television. He is not the fringe of the charismatic movement in Africa. He is the mainstream of the charismatic movement in Africa. Please pray that the doctrines cessationism and the sufficiency of Scripture will grow on a continent so overtaken by charismatic charlatanry.