Distinguishing between orthodox churches and religious cults continues to confuse many.
Churches and religious cults are increasing in Windhoek; with a number of them being opened in most Katutura backyards.
In Leviticus Street, Katutura there are about five churches next to each other, all claiming to be serving the same God, yet practising the Gospel differently.
Founder and Pastor of St. Stevens Church, Tombia Mutirakuti whose church is in the same street this week seeks to enlighten The Villager on how they practice their religion and what makes his church different from the other four.
St Steven is one of the commonly seen around church groups, referred to as traditional prayer groups. Their parishioners are commonly clothed in plain white robes with blue scarves wrapped around their shoulders.
Mutirakuti claims that his divergence from the known Pentecostal and Protestant churches was due to the fact that he wanted to focus on preaching about one section of the Bible only, believing that it makes the understanding of the Bible for his parishioners much easier.
“We believe more in the Old Testament and we adhere to the Laws of Moses. We hardly practice the New Testament as it just complicates things and we prefer to keep the first and original teachings of the beginning of the world,” he explains.
They base their faith on traditional foundations of Christianity and have incorperated the OvaHerero culture into their faith.
The parish members are still allowed to believe in ancestors and the holy fire.
“We cannot run away from our identity and forget all the values that our forefathers taught us. That is why we do not forbid our members to visit the holy fire,” Mutirakuti says.
All the members from the church are expected to wear their church robes as a sign of anointment and they are not allowed to visit ‘holy’ places without their white gowns.
The robe also gets special treatment as it is not allowed to be hanged in the same wardrobe with the rest of the clothes to avoid transferring evil spirits from the ordinary clothes. They try to help their members with prophecies and prayers to prophesy and apply different treatments to patients depending on people’s problems.
“We can prophesy who bewitched you; if some has stolen from you, we can still tell you who did it. We have that gift of vision what many do not have. We also have the power to undo witchcraft and send it back to the owner,” the pastor explains.
“When we discern the origin of one’s problem, we prepare a mixture of salty water, milk, ashes and vinegar that we use to clean away all the evil spirits and cancel things such as generational jinx."
The church will then ask the patient to sacrifice a sheep. They also have an annual baptism in the Atlantic.