Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

SCIENCE, SOCIOLOGY, RELIGION => Mainstream Religion => Topic started by: Bantu_Kelani on February 24, 2004, 03:24:30 AM

Title: Simon Kimbangu: An African Prophet and His Church
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on February 24, 2004, 03:24:30 AM
Kimbangu, Simon
c. 1887 to 1951
The Church of Jesus Christ on Earth
Democratic Republic of Congo

Prophet Simon Kimbangu was the most important of the prophet founders in the independent church movement. The Church of Jesus Christ on Earth by the Prophet Simon Kimbangu is one of the largest of such communities and was the first both to establish a theological school and to be admitted to the World Council of Churches. Little of this was foreshadowed by Kimbangu's life, however, most of which was endured in prison.

The outlines of his life are simple. Although Kimbangu's father was a traditional religious leader, Simon was converted by the Baptist Missionary Society in 1915. He worked for several years as a catechist, a religious teacher who prepares candidates for baptism, and then had a vision in which God gave him a divine commission to preach and heal. To escape the divine command, he fled to Léopoldville, the capital of the Belgian Congo, where he did migrant work. In 1921 he cured a sick woman and returned to the Lower Congo region to preach. This mission, which lasted only six months, had astounding effects. He drew crowds, to the extent that workers left the plantations to hear him speak and hospital beds were emptied of those hoping for cures. The word spread that an ngunza (prophet) and mvuluzi (apostle, messiah) was among the Congo people. Kimbangu cured the sick and was said to raise the dead. His village, Nkamba, was renamed New Jerusalem. The mission became a mass movement and began to take on nationalist overtones, disturbing both the Baptists and the Belgian colonial authorities. His healing ministry had a powerful impact, as followers proclaimed his cures and miracles. In all this were echoes of the messianism of KIMPA Vita two centuries earlier.

Kimbangu employed Christian symbolism, seeing himself as a Christ figure. He appointed 12 apostles to assist him and laid down three moral rules: the abolition of all traditional religious symbols, the eradication of erotic dancing and the destruction of dance drums, and the end of polygamy. He opposed witchcraft and sorcery. To the shock of the missionaries, who had worked toward these goals for years with little result, Kimbangu's disciples conformed to his rules without a murmur.

Africans often believed that the missionaries held back the secrets of Christianity that were the source of European power and wealth, and therefore Kimbangu's leadership provided a way to unlock these secrets by using a prophet who had talked to God. Kimbangu identified God with nzambi, the Congo supreme being, and preached God's closeness to his people.

The movement also fed on anti-European feeling and thus aroused the Belgian government's concern. Prodded by missionaries, especially the Catholics, the government panicked. Machine guns were posted in the capital in expectation of an African uprising. The first attempt to take Kimbangu failed when he slipped away from a rally, resulting in stories of his miracle-working. Kimbangu turned himself in to authorities, was charged with sedition, and was sentenced to death. King Leopold II* commuted the sentence to life imprisonment with 120 lashes, and Kimbangu was sent a thousand miles away, where he died after 30 years in isolation from his followers.

If the Belgians thought that this would silence the movement, they were mistaken. During his trial, Kimbangu assumed the stance of the martyred Christ during his passion; in detention his figure took on iconic proportions. Even traditional Christians admired his acceptance of his fate, his obvious prayerful piety, and the evidence of his deep personal holiness. Although he could not preach in prison, his demeanor was patient and loving, and he shared his meager food rations with other prisoners. His followers begged him to use his miraculous powers to escape but continued to build his movement without him. The Belgians cracked down on Kimbanguists, but the church went underground, led by Kimbangu's son, Joseph DIANGIENDA. Several related sects soon appeared, all acknowledging Kimbangu as their spiritual father. Kimbangu also became a symbol of Congolese nationalism, and Kimbanguism fostered group cohesion. By diminishing the power of magic and witchcraft, it helped to develop mutual trust and community. It also challenged the authority of the local chiefs, who were seen - quite rightly - as the lackeys of the Belgian authorities.

A church council was established in 1956, five years after Kimbangu's death, and his three sons, led by Diangienda, took over. In 1991, President MOBUTU Sese Seko, who had legalized the church, posthumously amnestied Kimbangu and awarded him the National Order of the Leopard.

Norbert C. Brockman

Title: Re: Simon Kimbangu: An African Prophet and His Chu
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on February 24, 2004, 03:26:28 AM
While Black Africans for hundred of years have been paying homage to Gods fashioned in an image and an agenda of other people, the acknowledged Nationalist and anti-colonial Congolese prophet Simon Kimbangu (1889-1951) claimed to be the God and Christ of Black people. The Kimbanguist churches of DRC Congo counterattack the ideological, religious and political beliefs and dogmas which call for and encourage Black enslavement or oppression. These independent Christian churches search for an indigenous form of Christianity better suited for native Africans spiritual and social needs. However, how the Kimbanguist movement psychologically liberating Black people, focused on Judeo-Christian theology?? Any board member might enlighten me on the issue.

Bantu Kelani.

Title: Re: Simon Kimbangu: An African Prophet and His Chu
Post by: Oshun_Auset on February 24, 2004, 12:18:09 PM
Very interesting piece of history. The development of this movement parallels along the lines of Rastafarianism quite a bit. I admire both for their fight against the oppressive colonial forces...but I have issues with using the white man's Bible as a medium...but it is better than being "obediant Christians"...BUT...I will never understand taking on your oppressors belief systems...and disrespecting your ancestors by doing so. I have the same question as you Bantu Kelani.

Africans and African-Americans have not yet learned that no other people have continued worshipping another's God, especially their colonizer's and slave master's god or gods and freed themselves from cultural and physical genocide. Why should Africans and African-Americans be the only exception to this historic reality.
--Dr. Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan

Title: Re: Simon Kimbangu: An African Prophet and His Chu
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on February 24, 2004, 04:10:08 PM
Thanks for your post Ashun_Auset, I agree with you wholly. Being the Black African that I am, I personally dislike Christianity because of its history in terms of the holocaust to Black People the world over. I think the mainstream religions contribute to a great deal of the problems in Africa. I also think there are many ways to advance on the path of spiritual evolution and religion as our ancestors have for millennia practiced African indigenous religions. Moreover, it's in Africa that the origin of the Christian religion is rooted and many of the early church fathers where North African: Augustine, Cyprian, Tertullian, Origen etc. So perhaps the Kimbaguists are here practicing one form or another of indigenous Christianity culturally relevant in Africa?? Still, I have a general problem/issue with them using the 1612 or King James English Version of the bible, something wholly and absolutely "white". Let's understand the systematic concept of print capitalism. No Black African, Diaspora African or Negro has ever had anything to do with the writing of the books of the bible, the printing in different languages and the worldwide distribution of bible! Aside from Teretullian who translated the bible into Latin well before the 1612 King James Version, none of the others have anything to do with the actual printing and distribution of the modern English bible. Thus, print Capitalism made the bible "white", there is no escaping to that. The very fact that Hollywood continues to present the story of "Jesus" to the entire world in the white person form is clear and irrefutable proof that the Christian faith as well as the story of "Jesus" is a totally white thing. Until Black Africans or Negroes control what is actually written in the torah, bible, qur'an their meaning, their distribution and translation to the variety of the worlds languages, the world will never believe that Christianity, Islam, Judaism are indisputably Black or Afrocoid! IMHO, herein rest the unquestionable weakness of Kimbanguism.

Also, the fact that the Kimbaguisit movement beat African Animism beliefs that is more proof that their religion is weak or maybe it's just their loyalty to the Caucasoid religious theories that needs lessening. We can see this flaw in the N.O.I and the Rastafari movements as well. Many of us continue to foolishly separate from our ancestral religions in its many forms and expressions (Nubian-Khemetic mysticism, Vodou shamanism, Akan, Igbo, Zulu, Shona, Shango, Condomble, Yoruba, etc.) because of fear and ignorance, some because of selfishness and greed. Fortunately, there are more and more information available today, so we can choose self-initiation or choose collective initiation to gain the noble principles and virtues of the Great Spirit the way of our indigenous ancestors. I hope to read how a few Kimbanguists on this forum feel about the subject. So Kimbanguists please... share.

Bantu Kelani.

Title: New Sect of Rastafari...
Post by: Oshun_Auset on February 25, 2004, 05:32:31 PM
I was just reading an article on Capleton...and I'm about to celebrate! I just found out that there is a NEW sect of Rastafari...It is called Coptic now there is Bobo Shanti, Twelve Tribes of Isreal, Nyabingi, Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox.

The exciting thing is, this new sect was formed because they are incorporating the ancient Egyptian/KMTian mystery system into Rasta, hence the name after the Egyptian Coptic Church which does the same thing with Christianity(like the Gnostic teachings).

I think Mutabaruka had a lot to do with the spread of this knowledge to Jamaica...I wish i could thank him personaly.

If I am late with this development, and others already know,  pardon my ignorance...