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South African Pastor Mocked Online After Performing ‘Resurrection’ At Funeral

By Rachel George

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Earlier this week, Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries church in South Africa performed what he calls a “miracle,” resurrecting a man at his own funeral. The act was recorded and posted to Twitter, leading to a viral social media challenge and the questioning religious practices around the world.

Lukau said there would be a “tsunami of miracles” at the funeral Sunday, but no one expected him to “raise someone from the dead.” In the video, the pastor is seen praying over the alleged deceased man in the casket, just before he places hands on him and “resurrects” him. The formerly deceased man, identified in the video as “Elliot,” sits up in the casket, jaw opened wide, like many of us watching. By the end of the video, the man dressed in all white is drinking water, eating, and singing praises of God. The “resurrection,” however, is now being a called a “stunt” orchestrated by the pastor and the church, for which they’ve received backlash and ridicule.

It wasn’t long before social media caught wind of this nonsense and turned this eyebrow-raising performance into the #resurrectionchallenge. Someone even said he was the first person to eat at his own funeral.

For years, there has been speculation about resurrection and healing practices in churches, especially in Africa, where 63% of the population practices Christianity. These ideas are usually shared by “self-proclaimed prophets or messengers who are believed by their millions of devoted followers to have the power to perform a range of miracles from healing the sick, curing Aids and even raising the dead,” according to the BBC. The African government has made it their mission to expose these churches and their leaders for their rather bizarre practices.

Vivian Mponda of Kings and Queen Funeral Services admitted the vehicle used to transport the deceased was theirs, but says the coffin was brought empty from another funeral home. She told SABC News the coffin never had an alleged body in it. She also said the car was “hired” from another funeral home. The other funeral home dismissed those allegations, alleging they never even stored the body and have no records of ever storing his body. Guess no one wanted any parts of this insane story.

There’s speculation about the people in the video, down to “Elliot’s” wife, brother, the landlord where he lived, and the list goes on. Elliot has been identified as by his employer, who detailed his interactions at work just days before the funeral. The church even backtracked and said the man was alive already. At this point, nothing makes sense.


Pastor Alph and the church has since issued a statement, asserting this is not their first time in the media and they “remain steadfast in their people that through the power of God people can not only be healed but they can also, certainly be resurrected from the dead.”

The CRL Commission, a constitutional organization established to protect and promote the cultural, religious and linguistic community rights, has caught wind of the hoax, calling everything into question, especially the witness and proof of death. “All of these things are the questions we are asking ourselves, how did this happen? We have discovered that there are no such things as miracles. They are made up to try to get money from the hopelessness of our people. We cannot allow our people to be abused in this way.”

Churches are among the most prominent institutions in any society, providing faith and education to diverse communities around the world. It’s difficult to say whether or not or exactly how Pastor Alph and the Alleluia Ministries church will be dealt with. The South African constitution protects its citizen’s beliefs through “freedom of religion,” as long as it acts within the law.

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