This past weekend I noticed that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for television have a programme that they screen on their SABC1 channel titled Religions of South Africa - on the Lord’s Day. This is something that I have noticed in the past, but it has given me a righteous anger that wicked people are broadcasting religion that teaches falsehood and lies to a wide audience of people that blatantly blasphemes the nature of Almighty God. This is the first of a new series of blog posts that will be posted from time to time bringing to light the unfruitful works of darkness. As true believers in Christ we are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness and the false religions, churches, and teachers that blaspheme the Holy name of the only true God – Jesus Christ. The three Scriptures for these posts are:
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, ~ 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV)
11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. ~ Ephesians 5:11
28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. ~ Colossians 1:28
In South Africa there are thousands of ‘churches’ that profess to be christian, which are in fact schisms from missionary churches planted by foreign clergy who came to these southern african shores, and there are also splinter churches that have been established due to power-struggles within them. The evil and wickedness of man is seen by the many doctrines that permeate the churchianity that exists and the degradation of Christianity by mixing it with African traditions (culture). This would clearly bring about another gospel as these ‘churches’ have deviated away from the Truth – or in fact never knew the Truth - and therefore we should look to God’s Word to see His warning in this regard as recorded in Galatians 1:6-10 (my emphasis added, and throughout):
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The first episode of “Doctrines of Demons” will commence with exposing the false teachings of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as the Shembe Church. We will start off with some history and background from Wikipedia and the eThekwini Online site, thereafter followed by a video interview that appears at Vimeo.
– ooo –
According to Shembe biographer Irving Hexham, not much is known about Shembe’s youth, except that he was born into a Zulu family near Estcourt, South Africa. After his baptism in 1906, he worked as an itinerant evangelist. In 1910, he began a ministry focused on healing and prophecy, and sometime between 1910 and 1912, he began the Nazareth Baptist Church or iBandla amaNazaretha, an indigenous church for the Zulu people. Later, he established a holy city at ekuPhakameni and a yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Nhlangakazi. In addition to his preaching and healing, he was known for composing Zulu hymns and sacred dances, for creating sacred costumes that combined Zulu and European clothing styles, for developing a new liturgical calendar (that omitted Christmas), and for dietary laws that included a restriction against eating chicken.
Shembe’s legacy has created some controversy. In a 1967 book, G.C. Oosthuizen argued that the movement was “a new religion that sees Isaiah Shembe as ‘the manifestation of God.’” Oosthuizen was attacked by Bengt Sundkler and Absolom Vilakazi as being too Westernized to understand Zulu culture, and claimed that the movement remained Christian. However, Oosthuizen’s view has been embraced by two of Shembe’s successors, his
nephew son Amos Shembe and his grandson Londa Shembe, who (although they fought with each other over who was the legitimate successor and eventually formed two separate branches of the church), both of whom believe that Shembe did indeed create something new.
Nazareth Baptist Church
The Nazareth Baptist Church, often called Shembe, is associated with a small group of churches, often referred to as African “messianic” churches, where the leader or founder is ascribed by his followers with supernatural powers.
The large majority of the three thousand African independent churches are either “Ethiopian” or “Zionist“. The Zionist churches, whose name implies an identification with the holy mountain of Zion in the Old Testament, are largely charismatic prophet-led healing groups. Worship in the Zionist churches is an African variant of Pentecostal spirituality.
Reference: 1. Irving Hexham, “The amaNazaretha”, in Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions, ed. Stephen D. Glazier. Accessed via Google Books on 7 July 2010.
By Themba Nyathikazi
Near Inanda, north of Durban, is a sacred site called Ekuphakameni, the ‘Place of Spiritual Upliftment.’ It was named by Isaiah Shembe, prophet and founder of the Shembe Church. A major festival is held in mid-January at an equally sacred location, the mountain dubbed Nhlangakazi, some 30 kilometres north of Ekuphakameni.
“Our pilgrimage to the mountain is based on the third book of Moses,” says a preacher from the area, Reverend Nxumalo. “It dates back to a revelation Shembe experienced in 1916, in which he was told that the Lord would speak to him on the holy mountain, Nhlangakazi, just as He had spoken to Moses on Mount Sinai.”
Ekuphakameni is the place where the Shembe’s holiest shrines are to be found. Most of them were erected by Shembe himself. Egumbini, the ‘House of the Tabernacle,’ one of the holiest of holies, lies to the east of the Inanda Road. It adjoins a tree-lined open area termed ‘Paradise.’ As a token of respect, visitors must remove their shoes before crossing this terrain.
It is said that the late founder of the Shembe movement was alone on a hillside when struck down by lightning. The Voice of the Lord thundered the command: “Go south!”. Isaiah Shembe was carried, unconscious, to his hut. He was paralysed, and taken for dead. The women of his village wailed and ululated in hysterical fear.
Sangomas and witchdoctors were summoned, and rituals performed to revive Shembe. When he came to, he told his followers that he was among spirits who had instructed him to go south. He duly left on his pilgrimage, carrying his Bible, blanket, stick and precious gifts from his followers.
Among the sacraments stored in the Tabernacle at Ekuphakameni is a supply of holy water used for purification ceremonies. The Shembe village is divided into five distinct living areas. Young women live in specially set aside stone dwellings. They are carefully brought up in age differentiated groups by the elders, and subjected to rigid discipline.
Within the temple area, the Shembe leader resides in ‘eGumbini langaphakathi,’ near the Tabernacle. The married quarters for men and women are known as ‘ekamu,’ and the older men’s quarters as ‘Inhlalisuthi,’ whereas women live on the eastern side of the main church in an area referred to as ‘Kwa Fourteen’ or ‘Jamengweni.’
In future, boys living within the village will be divided into two age groupings, and once they are older they will move to the ‘Inhlalisuthi’ – quarters reserved for older males. Female children are divided into three groupings, known as ‘Amasheshakungena’ (up to 11 years), ‘Amatubhane’ (teenagers, not yet of marriageable age) and the ‘Twenty Fives’ or ‘amakhosazane’ (those who are ready to marry).
The Shembe Church is well known for its spectacular dance festivals and the church’s structure is a fascinating mixture of Christian dogma and the tenets of Zulu culture. The founder of the church inculcated in his followers a belief that closely mirrors the traditional norms of social and moral behaviour among the Zulu people.
“Our rituals include baptism by immersion, the keeping of the Sabbath, observance of a seven day fast before Holy Communion, and the celebration of Holy Communion at night, preceded by feet washing ceremonies,” says Enoch Mthembu, spokesman for the Shembe Church. “Holy Communion is celebrated twice a year, during the January and July festivals.”
The January festivals, particularly the one held in mid-January, see Shembe followers, clad in traditional white garments, flock to the holy mountain of Nhlangakazi.
Some worshippers travel very long distances to reach the holy mountain, where they participate in ritualistic song and dance. During the exodus to the mountain, the Shembe take part in a hypnotic, trance-like dance, with the men leading the way. The married women follow, carrying furled umbrellas and tiny ceremonial shields in the same colours as their church clothing. They are, in turn, followed by young maidens in full traditional regalia. A constant stream of vehicles and barefooted worshippers snakes along the dusty road to the holy site.
Praising the Almighty on top of the mountain, and executing traditional Zulu dances, the Shembe reflect an alternative version of Christianity, which has evolved based on the Old, rather than the New Testament. The festival has evolved into one of the most colourful spectacles in Southern Africa, and it attracts increasing numbers of tourists each year.
– ooo –
Mwelela Cele interviews Mr Ximba as part of the Memories of Inanda documentary, produced for the eThekwini Municipality’s Ulwazi Programme. Mr Ximba discusses the Shembe Church.
Nazareth Baptist Church (Alternatively called “The Nazarite Church” “iBandla lamaNazaretha”, or the “Shembe Church”) is an African Initiated Church founded by Isaiah Shembe in 1910.
It has approximately 4 million members. The religion bans smoking, drinking, and fornicating. It is seen as a mixture of Zulu tradition and Christianity. It reveres Isaiah Shembe as an African Messiah and emphasizes the Ten Commandments.
– ooo –
Here is an extract from a book titled The theology of a South African Messiah by Gerhardus Cornelis Oosthuizen at page 38 which shows the doctrine of demons, quote:
The exclusion of Jesus is also due to Shembe’s emphasis on the law which is the very source of their redemption – the Sabbath is according to Shembe, the very core of the law. cf. Isl. 218. …
Shembe restored the Sabbath so that “the road which goes home to Jehova our iNkosi” (“indlela yokuya ekhaya Inkosi yethu“, Isl. 571; see also 578). It is no longer the way of Christ but of the messianic Shembe and his Jehova. In Isl. 604 Jehova has to be praised for sending “Isaiah his Servant”. It is natural development that Shembe should be on the side of the lawgiver. The worshippers of Jesus are the breakers of the law; they worship the Sunday-God not Jehova.
Other reasons could be mentioned for pushing Jesus into the background. Jesus’ emphasis on His being “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 146) has excluded the possibility of accepting the saints of the pre-christian Zulu world into the fold of the Biblical God. This is unacceptable to a society in which the emphasis is so strong on the communion of the saints – and to them all those who were of significance are holy ones. At the gate is no more Jesus and the Cross but Jehova, Shembe and the law.
After his confession of faith in Isl. 73 the emphasis is on the Supreme Being and in the last approximately hundred Izl. the name of Jesus is totally omitted and iNkosi either refers here to Shembe himself or to Jehova, Thixo, uNkulunkulu, Simakade or Baba. It is easier to bring Jehova and Baba together than Jesus Christ and Baba with whom the whole Zulu history is associated.
The aspects of the Shembe doctrine of demons and the Zulu traditions that are contrary to God’s commands need to be exposed. Some of their evil and wicked beliefs and practices are listed here under:
They Worship God through ancestors
They offer up sacrifices of cows or goats to their ancestors who then speak to God on their behalf
They hold to the Old Testament (Shrines, Holy of Holies, The Ark and other Holy vessels belonging to the prophet, sabbath-keeping)
Shembe is the prophet of God to the African (black) man. They also see him as their ‘messiah.’
They don’t pray in the name of Jesus – they pray to the god of ekuPhakameni
They practice polygamy. It is believed that
AmosJohannes Galilee “J.G.” Shembe ( 1907 – 1986died 1976) had 62 wives.
Sangomas and witchdoctors play a significant role in Zulu tradition.
We will now let God’s Word, the Holy Bible speak from hereon:
Only One Blood of Jesus Christ
24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” ~ Acts 17:24-31
28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. ~ Acts 20:28-30
25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. ~ Romans 3:25
16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? ~ 1 Corinthians 10:16
12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. ~ Hebrews 9:12,22
4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ”Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:4-22
20Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20,21
Jesus Christ is the Only Mediator
19Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ~ Galatians 3:19-22
3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. ~ 1 Timothy 2:3-6
1Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. 8For he finds fault with them when he says:
”Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
13In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ~ Hebrews 8:1-13
15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. ~ Hebrews 9:15-24
24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire. ~ Hebrews 12:24-29
Only in the Name of Jesus Christ
11This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:11,12
39And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” ~ Acts 10:39-43
5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:5-11
13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:13
11Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. ~ Revelation 19:11-16
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:19,20
43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. ~ John 5:43-45
12“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ~ John 14:12-14
16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. ~ John 15:16
14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. ~ Galatians 1:14 [The apostle Paul who became a doulos (bondslave) of Jesus Christ]
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8
18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, ~ 1 Peter 1:18
6he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. ~ Matthew 15:6
To conclude this doctrine of demons post hear the Word of God:
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. ~ 1 John 4:1
Footnote: Here is a quote from the Sunday World Newspaper reflecting some of the ‘high profile’ members who belong to the Shembe Church.
Pilane is the latest celebrity to join the church . Others include the slain reggae star Lucky Dube, Prosper Mkwaiwa, Brenda Fassie, former President Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma and Mbongeni Ngema.
Read the full article HERE.
One often see on Shembe followers’ vehicles “bumper-stickers” that declare “Shembe is the way”. This is true, “Shembe is the way … to Hell”. For God’s Son:
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6
15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” ~ Mark 1:15
Filed under: Christian, Christianity, Doctrines of Demons, God, Jesus Christ, Law and Gospel, Nazareth Baptist Church, Prophets, Repent and Believe, Shembe, South Africa, The Bible, The Word, Videos, Zion, Zionist, Zulu