Unrepentan­t pastor on church’s dog-meat drama

A video of Pastor Peter Rat­satsi feed­ing dog meat to his con­gre­gants caused a public out­cry, but he is un­apolo­getic and says those who crit­i­cise him do not read their Bi­ble

DRUM - - Contents - BY BONOLO SEKUDU

HE claims he can raise peo­ple from the dead, has per­formed a num­ber of “mir­a­cles” and has fed a live snake to his con­gre­gants. And to cel­e­brate his church’s one-year an­niver­sary, Pastor Peter Rat­satsi set out a feast for his fol­low­ers. There were cakes, bal­loons, sparkling wine – and a plate of dog meat.

It didn’t go down well with many South Africans and scores of an­i­mal ac­tivists who la­belled his an­tics dan­ger­ous, ab­surd and in­sane. A video of his church mem­bers tuck­ing into the meat went vi­ral and he found him­self be­ing shunned by other Chris­tians too.

It wasn’t right, peo­ple said. Who did he think he was, they asked.

But the pastor is hav­ing none of it. He’s proud of the work his Heaven on Earth church has done ever since he opened it

a year ago in Mahikeng, North West.

He cooked and fed the dog to the church mem­bers so they “could learn to serve God with­out fear”.

He even posed with the an­i­mal be­fore it was cooked, which re­ally an­gered an­i­mal rights ac­tivists.

But he doesn’t care what peo­ple think, “It’s just noise to me. I’m dis­ap­pointed peo­ple are vil­i­fy­ing me in­stead of see­ing the power of God through me, es­pe­cially in light of our one-year an­niver­sary.”

He proudly posted pic­tures of the cel­e­bra­tion on the church’s Face­book page, which prompted peo­ple to ques­tion the pastor’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Bi­ble.

So he took to Face­book to ex­plain. “When you are the Son of God you take and eat. Noth­ing can kill you and you can eat ev­ery­thing. The spirit of God will min­is­ter. Don’t find your­self be­ing de­ceived by the devil.”

Around 20 church mem­bers joined in the cel­e­bra­tion, he says.

“What I do is simply a demon­stra­tion of the power of God. What good is it when you are sent by God if you are un­able to per­form mir­a­cles? Don’t just preach, show peo­ple what you can do.”

THIS isn’t the first time he’s shocked South Africans. Pre­vi­ously he posted videos of him­self “res­ur­rect­ing” a con­gre­gant who had “died” af­ter be­ing de­prived of oxy­gen. In the video, he asks a fel­low church mem­ber to close the man’s mouth and nose, in ef­fect “killing him”. Pastor Peter then “res­ur­rects” the man, be­fore ask­ing him what he saw on the other side.

He has also fed his fol­low­ers a snake. He dan­gled the rep­tile in front of church mem­bers he said were pos­sessed and told them to bite off pieces of it.

It’s all part of per­form­ing mir­a­cles, Pastor Peter says. The mir­a­cles per­formed in the Bi­ble are mir­a­cles he has

been given pow­ers to per­form, he in­sists.

“I don’t like hav­ing to ex­plain my­self. Those who are against me clearly do not read their Bi­ble. Study first the teach­ings. What I do is as the Bi­ble says.”

Pastor Peter says he wants to change the mind­set of peo­ple. “The snake they ate just came hiss­ing in dur­ing a ser­vice. God spoke to me when I saw the snake, and I then knew its purpose,” he says.

He picked it up and called con­gre­gants to eat it. It was al­legedly alive when two teenage mem­bers went to the front, shak­ing and ap­par­ently “pos­sessed”.

They were re­luc­tant at first but af­ter a bit of con­vinc­ing from the pastor, they tucked in en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

“It is not a snake any­more, it is a choco­late,” he told them. “It is all about you from a mind­set of fear. Why must you be afraid when you be­lieve in God?”

Noth­ing hap­pened to his fol­low­ers af­ter they ate snake and dog, he says. In­stead they re­ceived heal­ing and de­liv­er­ance.

PASTOR Peter is inspired by Ga-Rankuwa-based Prophet Le­sego Daniel and Prophet Penuel Mn­guni (29), another pastor who’s been known to “per­form mir­a­cles”. Prophet Penuel is known for car­ry­ing out extreme stunts at his church – in­clud­ing driv­ing a car over two con­gre­gants as a “demon­stra­tion of power”.

“The man of God then com­manded them to wake up while the car was on top of their bod­ies. He asked if they felt any pain and their re­sponse was ‘we do

not feel any­thing’,” he posted on Face­book.

“Prophet Penuel re­versed the car and again com­manded them to wake up. By amaze­ment they stood up and be­gan to dance and praise God together with the rest of the con­gre­gants.”

How­ever, Prophet Penuel found him­self in trou­ble with the Com­mis­sion for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cul­tural, Re­li­gious and Lin­guis­tic Com­mu­ni­ties (CRL Rights Com­mis­sion) a few months ago.

He’s been asked to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, but in May he told DRUM’s sis­ter mag­a­zine Move! that his rights had been abused by the com­mis­sion.

“I did not harm any­one yet you are still seek­ing af­ter me. I am ready to even go to jail for this gospel, not be­cause I killed some­one nor stole money from any­one. Who died in my church? In­stead they re­ceived their free­dom to serve God with all their hearts. I endure in my suf­fer­ings with great per­se­ver­ance.”

Pastor Peter says he loves the prophet’s bold­ness. “He has a heart for the gospel and he is run­ning his race with courage.”

Pastor Peter is also in hot wa­ter with the CRL Rights Com­mis­sion af­ter the video of him feed­ing con­gre­gants dog meat and snake went vi­ral. But he hasn’t been called in yet, he tells us.

The CRL Rights Com­mis­sion re­ceived a com­plaint about the church just days af­ter the dog meat video went public.

The mat­ter will be dis­cussed once the new com­mis­sioner ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa starts this month, the com­mis­sion tells DRUM.

The com­mis­sion has been kept busy by churches and the pas­tors who run them this year – from the “res­ur­rec­tion” at Al­leluia In­ter­na­tional Min­istries, a story that made na­tional and in­ter­na­tional head­lines, to pas­tors mak­ing con­gre­gants drink petrol. And now this.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, the for­mer chair­per­son of the CRL Rights Com­mis­sion, called for churches to be regulated. “We have been strong in say­ing re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tions must be regulated. This is the case in ev­ery other sec­tor of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in this coun­try. We have the Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil, which deals with health pro­fes­sion­als. We also have the Nurs­ing Coun­cil.”

Now it will be up to the new chair­per­son, Pro­fes­sor Luka David Mo­soma, to take on the churches.

Mean­while, the So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cruelty to An­i­mals (SPCA) raised con­cerns about the treat­ment the dog faced at the hands of the pastor.

SPCA Inspector Me­shack Mat­lou told Daily Sun that the dog must have suf­fered – but the pastor doesn’t see any­thing wrong with what he did. “It is a spir­i­tual dog,” Pastor Peter says. “This dog would just walk in and out of the room dur­ing ser­mons. It is my dog.”

‘The snake they ate just came hiss­ing in dur­ing a ser­vice’

Pastor Vet­eran Peter Rat­satsi holds cooked dog meat while he preaches ‘mir­a­cles’ to his con­gre­gants in Heaven on Earth Min­istries. Although many have called his an­tics dan­ger­ous, the pastor re­mains de­fi­ant.

ABOVE: The pastor feeds his con­gre­gants cooked dog meat (LEFT) dur­ing a ser­vice to cel­e­brate the first an­niver­sary of Heaven on Earth Min­istries.

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