Funeral companies to sue after South African pastor claims to bring man back to life
A pastor in South Africa has recently bred controversy after claiming to bring a man back from the dead. Pastor Allph Lukau was filmed performing the rite amidst a crowd of people outside his church near Johannesburg.
In the viral video, a man can be seen lying down in a coffin - though visibly opening his mouth at various point - playing dead. The pastor speaks to the audience, asking them to raise their hands before he tells the supposedly dead man to "rise up". His body jerks upwards and sits up in shock, as the crowd cheers.
Now three separate funeral companies involved in the event have claimed they were manipulated by the church, and are now taking legal action for the damage to their reputation. In a statement posted to Facebook, Kings and Queens Real Funerals - who supplied a vehicle - wrote:
"As kings and Queens Funeral Services, we would like to distance ourselves from the supposed resurrection of a deceased man by Hallelujah Ministries who allegedly was at our mortuary.
"We were approached by alleged family members of the deceased who informed us they had encountered a dispute with a different funeral service provider and would like to use our transport services which we offered them. We did not supply the coffin neither did we store the deceased at our mortuary and no paper work was processed by Kings and Queens Funerals.
"As a Funeral Services Provider we do not offer services without documentation neither do we repatriate bodies without any paper work. We are in the process of taking legal action for this malicious damage to our image."
In addition to this, funeral services Kingdom Blue and Black Phoenix are also taking action, the BBC reports. The clients allegedly used "Black Phoenix stickers on their private car" to look credible to Kings & Queens Funeral Services when they first approached them about hiring a hearse.
The incident was taken very seriously by some, including the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Prof David Mosoma. He stated that stunts such as this were about exploiting "the hopelessness of our people" in an interview with South Africa's national broadcaster.
"Resurrection means suspension of the laws of nature. When somebody claims to have suspended the laws of nature when someone has passed on, it means there must be credible witnesses, a certification that the person is dead, the person must be in a registered morgue. The morgue must certify that this person is dead.
"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."
Many South Africans, however, took the incident far less seriously, with some sharing memes and jokes using the hashtag #ResurrectionChallenge.
Newspaper The Sowetan has since reported that the church itself has walked back its claim that any ressurection took place, saying the man was "already alive" when he was brought to the premises.
They quote Alleluia International Ministries as saying that Pastor Lukau had only "completed a miracle that God had already started."