A pastor in South Africa has come under fire after claiming to have resurrected a dead man.
The stunt was carried out by Pastor Alph Lukau, and took place in front of a throng of people outside his church near Johannesburg.
In the footage – which has now gone viral and is being widely ridiculed – you can see a man lying down in a coffin as Pastor Lukau shouts, “Rise up.” The man’s body then jerks upright, much to the apparent delight of cheering worshippers in the crowd.
The funeral companies claimed to have been involved in the incident say they had been manipulated into being implicated.
According to the BBC, the three companies are now taking legal action for damage to their reputation.
Kings and Queens Real Funerals – which supplied a vehicle – said in a statement on Facebook: “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.”
Funeral services Kingdom Blue and Black Phoenix are also reported to have been involved, having told local media that church representatives had tricked them in various ways.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Prof David Mosoma, claimed such stunts were used as a way of getting money from ‘the hopelessness of our people’.
He said: “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.”
While the stunt has been condemned by religious groups, some people have been able to see the funny side of what happened – having shared their very own versions of a ‘Resurrection Challenge’ on social media.