The Nkanyezi Church of Christ has distanced itself from Bishop Bheki Ngcobo’s statements that saw him calling on his church congregants to defy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s restrictions and attend church in their numbers.
The church’s national executive committee’s (NEC’s) secretary, Veli Sinqana. told Daily Sun that while the NEC noted Ngcobo’s statements, they had been in deliberations when he’d made the comments.
After deliberation, the NEC decided to heed Ramaphosa’s call and, as a result, they distanced themselves from Ngcobo’s comments.
Vali pleaded with government not to send police to churches but instead send health practitioners as a means to promote health and safety.
While Ngcobo reportedly said he was not made aware of the decision of the NEC, Vali said that was unlikely since Ngcobo was part of the NEC and was in the NEC’s WhatsApp group.
Ngcobo rose to prominence after calling for his congregants to defy Ramaphosa’s ban on more than 100 people at a gathering.
After Ramaphosa announced the ban, the bishop claimed the rule would not apply to his church as Ramaphosa was not God.
“I’m not disputing what the president is saying because it is his country. God is above presidents declaring this state of emergency [it’s actually a state of disaster, not yet emergency]. I’m not saying people must take a risk and do what they don’t believe in. We are saying in our congregation we are going to worship the Lord in numbers,” he told the SABC.
Ngcobo questioned why companies had not been closed down, but were rather given safety precautions.
“Why can’t those same precautions be given to the churches so they can continue with Easter preparations?”
According to Ngcobo, this was the perfect time for the church to take its position and fight against Covid-19, because this was not only a “flesh and blood” issue but “spiritual warfare”.
“We took the decision looking at the Bible because we are controlled by the Bible and we are controlled by the prophets of the Bible. What I’m saying is that when we sat down as a structure, we decided that, at the current moment, the church must stand up in numbers and pray for all the challenges that are happening in the country.
“But not to go to Easter services, I don’t think it’s proper. What government should do is to give up proper precautions. We came to the conclusion that the church must stand up and claim the position because this thing is not only a flesh and blood issue, it’s spirit warfare. This is why we’re saying let’s go and worship the Lord.
“God knows more than everyone in this world. I trust God more than the medical practitioner. I trust God more than presidents of all countries. If God needs to be worshipped in this time when the country is moving up and down, when presidents are declaring that churches must not gather and praise God, this is what I’m not agreeing upon.
“I am going to defy the president of the country,” he said.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko. Background reporting: Vhahangwele Nemakonde)