Controversial South African pastor, Alph Lukau, is facing lawsuits, a probe and social media ridicule for claiming to have resurrected a dead man at his church, Alleluia International Ministries, in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The “miracle” occurred on Sunday and was captured on video showing the pastor walk up to the supposed dead man lying in a coffin wearing a white suit and gloves with cotton stuffed in his nose outside the church’s auditorium.
At the bewilderment of the congregation which was looking on, the man rose from the coffin gasping for breath after the pastor touched his stomach while speaking in tongues.
“Can you see what happened? This man died since Friday, he was in the mortuary. This is a sign that no matter what the devil has done, it is over. Devil, I told you wherever I find you I will kick you,” said Lukau amidst the cheers and applause from the perplexed congregation.
The video has gone viral on social media including its aftermath which shows the “dead” man walk into the church’s auditorium and eating the food he was offered in the front row while fidgeting.
Only 24 hours after the video went viral following anger and amusement of social media users, three funeral homes have reported the church to the police on Monday for allegedly being duped into taking part in the act.
“It is with regret that the outcome of such a plot has adversely affected our reputation as service providers. We have reported the matter at Jeppe police station for further investigation,” said lawyer Prince Mafu who is representing the three funeral homes, Kings and Queens, Black Phoenix and Kingdom Blue.
He told local South African media that the funeral homes were approached individually by people linked to the church who bought a coffin from one, stickers from another and hired a hearse from the third home through various forms of misrepresentation.
Later, South Africa’s Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) has stated that it will investigate the resurrection incident at the Alleluia International Ministries.
“As a commission, we need to get to the root of this. Unless we do that, South Africans are taken for a ride and their intelligence is insulted,” said the commission’s deputy chair David Mosoma who was quoted by local media Eye Witness News (EWN).
The church leaders only commented after the lawsuits were filed. Church minister Busi Gaca and pastor Rochelle Kombou told local media Sowetan Live that Alph Lukau had not resurrected the man but only completed a miracle God had started.
“By the time the man of God [Lukau] got to him he was already breathing. I was screaming. I saw his tongue moving. It was not a resurrection miracle, we are saying the testimony was completed by the one who is chosen to do what he does,” said Kombou.
“These miracles of healing and deliverance were not an unusual sight at the church. The responsibility of the man of God is to help the testimony to come to life. The man of God completed the miracle by praying because prayer is the key,” she added.
Gaca also explained that the man’s relatives were on their way to Zimbabwe for the man’s burial when they decided to visit the church and church leaders were alerted that a hearse had just arrived at the gate.
“As soon as they got here they started hearing movement coming from the coffin. And you know [in] our culture, if a person is dead and you start hearing movement people get scared,” she said after claiming the hearse driver ran away in fear before Lukau decided to inspect the body.
Since the video was posted online, many social media users expressed dismay at the incident while others ridiculed the event by staging the #lukauchallenge mimicking the actions of Alph Lukau and supposed dead man who was “resurrected”.
Pictures have also been shared online showing a cameraman of the pastor who people claim is the dead man in question. Others also spotted what looked like a smartphone in the breast pocket of the man’s white suit.