Funeral at uMsinga
We attended a funeral at uMsinga, close to Pomeroy, on SUN 20th Sept. Lungi’s relative had died from diabetes. He was a member of the Nazareth Baptist Church, known as ‘Shembe Church’. This African Initiated Church has millions of followers in South Africa and the neighbouring countries. The pastor read from Matt. 5:1-8. This is how he read it replacing Jesus’ name with Shembe. Starting from v.1 “Seeing the crowd, Shembe went up on the mountain, and he sat down, his disciples came to him…’ V.8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see Shembe’. According to the preacher, the main idea of the text was that the deceased has been ushered-in to the presence of Shembe. He now sees Shembe face-to-face. Shembe is going his case with God, thus securing salvation and forgiveness for the deceased. Here is the context to this teaching. In their theology, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah for the whites and Shembe is God’s anointed one who’s specifically sent to the Africans. Deut 18:18 is their key text for this argument. Jesus is NOT like black people. He was not an African. He was white and, to further strengthen their argument, Jesus was only ‘sent to the lost sheep of Israel‘ (Matt; 15:24). So any black person who follows Jesus instead of Shembe is following the One who is NOT like and who was not sent to them. They conclude that such a (black) person is deluded.