South African Pastor Feeds Churchgoers Engine Fluid 'To Demonstrate The Power Of God'

A pastor who allegedly fed churchgoers an engine cleaning fluid has been condemned as "reckless", and follows a string of South African ministers to engage in similarly controversial practices.

Prophet Theo Bongani Maseko of the Breath of Christ Ministries in Daveyton told his congregation to drink the chemical during a recent service, according to South African newspaper The Star.

Photos posted to Facebook appeared to show people being fed the liquid under the caption: "The fullness of Christ is in this bottle. Healing and strange deliverance #Mark16:17 -18."

Photos posted to Facebook appeared to show people being fed the liquidFacebook

Maseko told The Star on Monday that the practice was "to demonstrate the power of God".

"When we pray over anything, its poison dies. So it can't harm people. Nothing happened, no one has been to hospital," he reportedly said.

Citing the Bible, he insisted that drinking the liquid had actually "saved, healed and delivered" members of his congregation.

"Jesus spat on the ground and made mud. He took that mud and smeared it on the eyes of a blind man and, instantly, that blindness was healed. Mark 16 v 17-18 says 'in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover'," he said.

However, the controversial practice has been condemned by South Africa's Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Communities.

Chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said many "lives are at risk" and urged religious leaders to work together to end such "reckless" abuse.

She also called for a review body to monitor church pastors.

In 2015, vigilantes burned the tent used by End Times Disciples Ministriespastor 'Prophet' Penuel Mnguni, a South African church leader who fed his congregation live snakes to test their faith.

Previously his church made headlines after photos were posted of congregants stripping their clothes off during a service and lying down while the pastor stood on them.

Last year, Lethebo Rabalago, a self-proclaimed prophet, shared photos on Facebook that showed him spraying a pesticide called 'Doom' into the faces of his congregation at the Mount Zion General Assembly in the far north of South Africa.

Rabalago told the BBC that he had sprayed the face of a woman who had an eye infection, and she was "just fine because she believed in the power of God".

According to Eyewitness News, the South African Council of Churches has called for an investigation by the country's Human Rights Commission and for the creation of a regulatory body to deal with leaders who behave unethically.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said: "Let's have some kind of pact together, an agreement where we will have a structure that allows certain for standards to be created so that when somebody does something that is out of line, we can go there."