Pietermaritzburg - There has been yet another public outcry about strange church activities after a Pietermaritzburg pastor allegedly poured boiling water into the hands of congregants and defended the act, saying it was backed by the Bible.
The founder of Thy Word Kingdom Harvest Ministries, Thamsanqa Sambulo, 23, now dubbed the “Kettle Pastor”, lashed out at critics who questioned the need for, and credibility of, the demonstration.
“When believers (Christians) do not know about something, they simply conclude that it is Satan’s work. Whoever wants to prove me wrong must either come and do so or remain silent,” he said.
Sambulo, whose church is in Mpophomeni, Howick, said he could not explain the “miracle”. He said people must come and see it themselves.
“No one has been burnt and for people who ask how is it possible for a person to have hot water poured over them and not get injured, they must read about Moses where he saw a burning tree. That is one of the miracles God performed. What I am doing is not new,” he said.
Churches have made headlines on numerous occasions lately with “miracle performances” which have elicited mixed reaction from the public. Cases include those of Penuel “Snake Pastor” Mnguni, 24, of Limpopo, who fed congregants snakes and rodents, and Lesego Daniel Mosuoe, of Pretoria, who made followers eat grass and drink petrol.
Amid the public outcry, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities launched a study to probe the commercialisation of religion and culture, and the exploitation of people through capitalisation on their beliefs. It is about to table its report and recommendations in Parliament next month.
Speaking to The Mercury about Sambulo’s demonstration, commission chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the commission was was astounded by the claimed “miracle” activities and felt that they were taking religion too far.
“What value does it add? Are all these miracles about praising God or about a man proving he has the power to make people do anything?
“There isn’t anything one achieves by asking people to burn their hands. It is not a religious phenomenon. There is nowhere in the Bible where Jesus says people must throw themselves to the wolves or anything to harm themselves,” she said.\
“What happened to the simple phenomenon of prayer? Pray and God will hear you. We urge the ministers of God to do the normal thing and run churches with dignity and respect. This is God’s work and He needs all of us to deal with His matters in a dignified way. We have been stressing that God is a God of order and I do not see any order in boiling a kettle and pouring it over people’s hands.”
Pictures of Sambulo have made the rounds on Facebook and there have been varying reactions.
Bonginkosi Zondi said: “When people don’t understand something they criticise and underestimate it.”
Njabulo Zulu said: “Can’t you do miracles that help people like deliverance from HIV, cancer, TB and drought? That is where people want to see the power of God.”