Some of South Africa’s pastors are at each other’s throats, battling for Christians’ hearts and souls; or is it their cash and savings?
Even Ray McCauley made his voice heard, rebuking a fellow man of God on behalf of the International Federation of Christian Churches.
This is serious business and any padre worth his dog collar has an opinion on the latest development, what some are seeing as the ultimate blasphemy.
It’s one thing preaching your own divinity and access to the Almighty, but raising someone from the dead ... that’s desecrating the holiest of holy ground.
The man at the centre of this unholy storm is Pastor Alph Lukau, whose faithful flock gave him a Rolls Royce and a penthouse in upmarket Sandton for his 42nd birthday two years ago.
In what can be seen as a reward of sorts, last week he concluded his sermon by apparently bringing a dead man back to life.
In the video that went viral on social media, the man looks not only surprisingly composed (as opposed to decomposed), but also relatively unsurprised at his sudden return to the land of the living.
I would’ve been a lot more bewildered, but also livid at having been brought back without my permission, from what is surely a heavenly celebration; only to be given a paper plate of ordinary food, while being stared at.
Which I suppose explains the zombie-like glances he gives the camera every now and again.
Prophet Paseka Mboro is equally unconvinced, which is a bit surprising, considering that he heads up the Incredible Happenings Ministry.
I thought if anyone was going to blow the heavenly trumpets in support of a modern-day resurrection it would be him, since he’s allegedly been to hell to slay satan himself.
But alas, no!
Instead, Prophet Mboro is laying a charge against his fellow preacher, saying the resurrection brings the name of pastors, Christianity and God into disrepute.
Now when it comes to biblical battles, there’s been a lot of disrepute over the past three years.
Before all of this, Pastor Penuel Mnguni was probably the most controversial, having driven over congregants with his car once to test their faith.
But he regularly makes headlines for feeding his followers snakes, rats, frogs, petrol and, most recently, dog meat and blood to heal them from whatever ailments they have.
There’s been a veritable gospel of God-fearing men keen on showing us their virtue.
Remember Lethebo Rabalago, the pastor who healed his faithful by spraying Doom in their faces? He’s been prosecuted for assault.
Then there’s Pastor Tim Omotoso, who is facing charges of sexual abuse and human trafficking.
Authorities are also looking into the business dealings of Shepherd Huxley Bushiri, whose “Enlightened Christian Gathering” has 178 branches across the world.
He would like us to distinguish between him as a minister, and him as a jet-setting entrepreneur, though.
Last year, five police officers were shot dead, allegedly by members of the Seven Angels Ministries Church.
And let’s not forget a few months ago there was a video clip making the rounds of Nigerian Prophet Andrew Ejimadu vomiting money into a bag at a church service in Limpopo.
He even did the whole verification thing where he got people to check the bag beforehand and afterwards; you know, just like a magician would do at a performance.
All of this has been more than enough for the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) wanting religious practitioners to be regulated the way lawyers and doctors are.
Despite what many see as con artists and charlatans taking desperate people for a ride, these men of God inexplicably enjoy a huge and ongoing following, while practicing something called prosperity gospel.
With that in mind, and in a world where brands must stay ahead of their competition by means of well-crafted social media hype, certain preachers have to think up clever publicity stunts to remain relevant.
And Pastor Lukau is ahead of the pack at the moment. And he is being crucified by others.
After all, there are tithes to consider and if those tax-free “donations” dry up, it could mean the end of a lucrative career as a profitable prophet.