A South African pastor has come under fire after he made his congregants drink water laced with rat poison for "nourishment and healing."
Light Monyeki, the pastor of Grace Living Hope Ministries in Soshanguve in Pretoria, reportedly mixed Rattex rat poison with water and drank the concoction himself before he gave it to the congregants.
The church noted on its Facebook page that the pastor made the congregants drink the poison so that they could "show forth their faith." The pastor referred to a highly addictive drug called nyaope, which is made up of ingredients ranging from low-grade heroin, dagga, rat poison and detergents containing chlorine and ammonia.
"As [the pastors] was [feeding the congregants] he said, 'we do not need to proclaim faith because we are believers. If nyaope boys can smoke Rattex for more than 8 years, who are we? Death has no power over us.' Then he declared life from above upon the water mixed with Rattex; and spoke nourishment unto bodies and healing unto the sick," the post read.
After the pastor's declaration, the congregants voluntarily ran to the front to have a drink of the concoction, according to The Citizen.
Monyeki is just one of several controversial pastors who have used bizarre methods during church services.
In 2014, Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries made his followers drop to the floor and eat the grass on the ground, telling them that it will "bring them closer to God."
In 2015, Pastor Penuel Mnguni of the End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve made the members of his congregation eat rocks and snakes, claiming that they have been turned into bread and chocolate.
In November, Lethebo Rabalago of the Mount Zion General Assembly in Limpopo was seen in photographs spraying his followers with Doom pesticide to cure various ailments.
Last month, Prophet Bongani Maseko of Daveyton's Breath of Christ Ministries was shown in pictures making his congregation drink what appeared to be engine cleaning fluid.
Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, the chairperson of Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Communities, called on religious leaders to rally together to put a stop to the controversial practice she described as "reckless" abuse of Christianity.
She said that pastors should allow their churches to be regulated in order to prevent similar incidents.
"Doctors have a peer review body, so do lawyers, so they know they can't do anything unacceptable. Why should it be different with them (pastors)?" she remarked.