When Jesus was asked, Good Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life? Jesus replied to him: Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone (Mark 10:17). These extracts from the conversation between the rich young men and Jesus, leads us to a deep reflection. Why Jesus who is God refused to be called “Good” when he said I’m not good but God alone. Is this a modesty? No one knows. For the kimbanguist theology, this conversation has shown us a new light on what should be understood as “Holy” There is no doubt that Jesus himself refused to be called good because he was still as human in flesh. Even if he did not lean himself to human desires, he knew about difficulties and struggles that every God servant must be delivered to in order to remain blameless to the lord. There is no doubt that as God Jesus who is and was holy, did not want to express it himself. The example that the kimbanguist theology take from this conversation between Jesus and the young rich man is that no living human is holy. A human in flesh can constantly strive to holiness without even reaching to it because of flesh. The kimbanguist theology considers the community of saints as of those who are already dead, those with whom Christ have already received in his heavenly kingdom as they were faithfully God followers during their lifetime on earth. Now, being a holy Christian as we are still in flesh is impossible in the kimbanguist theology.
But yes, to those who have overcome Satan as the example of those we can name as Abraham, Noah, Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, John the Baptist, the apostles. Why not Simon Kimbangu and many other young, old, man and women? Does it make any sense to imagine that a king as the head of a government be without court, without friends? Moreover, all citizen of any nation, as good and competent as they are cannot all be part of the entourage of the king or the head of state? Similarly, it is reasonable in the saint community to think that there are people who enjoy the special privilege of being part of the royal court of Christ. The book of Apocalypse says that they are no old people who prostrate themselves constantly in front of majestic divine throne. The condition of being part of Christ heavenly kingdom is answerable only to God in any exclusivity.
We are confident that Simon Kimbangu is part of this privileged environment of Christ just as the apostles and other servants of God. The kimbanguist theology takes the most benefits from the existence of this privileged group around Christ. Indeed, although the Kimbanguism being Christian did not need intermediaries to transmit their complaints and supplications to Christ through prayer, and may seek the spiritual assistance of St. Paul, St. Peter, and specially Simon Kimbangu for their support to any cause to Christ. This is not mandatory because Christ receives directly all prayers. It is evident that kimbanguist use this discretionally possibility. This is comparable to a child who seeks the assistance from his father by using the complicity of his or her mother in order to get whatever he wants. There is nothing wrong to that as it is clear that Simon Kimbangu he is the one who supports our prayers to Christ as they are as a team, so that the lord takes action as quickly as possible. For kimbanguists, Simon Kimbangu is the way that leads us to discover Christ. His ministry and work have given us the living and irrefutable proof that Christ was not only the redeemer of any particular people but yes for all mankind. As of the kimbanguist theology, Simon Kimbangu is a sort of Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus' cross.
Kimbangu he is the one that invites each one of us to carry his own cross and walk behind the footstep of Christ without failure. The kimbanguist theology makes a permanent honor to those who just in time and space, were worthy servants of the lord and his redeemer messiah. These people do not belong to the past. They live as they are with Christ and pray constantly for the humanity because they support the work of the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us to the lord and Christ.
The kingdom of heaven
As Pilate questioned Jesus, and he replied, my kingdom is not of this world. If that was the case, my servants would fight for me so that I might not be delivered to Jews. But my kingdom is not from here (John 18:36). The kimbanguist theology does not embrace the view that mankind would already live in the kingdom of God as claimed by some Christian theologies. It's true that Christ came to fulfill his mission of redeeming mankind from sins to create conditions that would liberate man from the clutches of Satan. As of the Kimbanguist theology, the kingdom of heaven is essentially a heavenly kingdom to those who have left the flesh and put on a spiritual body are part of that kingdom as justified by Christ. Accessing to this kingdom is selective and follows the criteria of grace, faith and the practice of God’s commands. In the other hand, being saved is equivalent to enter this kingdom. There will be a time when the kingdom of heaven will descend down to the earth, according to John’s vision. But it will only happen at the advent of Christ (Apocalypse 21:2). The world of today is plagued and undermined into sin, hatred, violence, immorality, injustice, irreligion, misery, death and even more not mentioned, which none of these are seen in the kingdom of heaven. Isn’t Jesus who taught to his disciples that in his coming he will place righteous on his right, and say come and get my father’s blessing and inherit the kingdom of God? Shortly before his death, Jesus reassured and promised them to welcome them in his heavenly kingdom.
Millions of Christians throughout the world who have received the missionary’s gospel from the west, are still struggling to free themselves from the misdeeds and arrogance of a type of theology that some middle north Atlantic wanted to impose elsewhere. Until the end of colonial era, everything happened as if God could only reveal himself to mankind through the west. Nowadays, these people no longer want to be Christians in the image and likeness of these westerners. Some Christians theology consider North Atlantic with contempt and suspicious to any theology coming from elsewhere. As this theology unilaterally defined criteria of a “valuable baptism” even the invaluable baptism. Doubtless, the baptismal practice in the kimbanguist church is mainly through prayer and laying of hands which is rooted in the bible. The church practices what is called “the baptism of the holy spirit “that John the Baptist talked about before Christ’s ministry. I John the Baptist, I Baptize you with water to bring you repentance but the one that cometh after me is so much greater than me and I’m not worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire “(Mathews 3:11)”. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit “(Marc1:8) “, (Luke 3:16). The same as John 1:33-34 I did not know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water,
The church refuses to perform a second baptism to those who already had it when they become kimbanguist and decide whether to accede to it. In the Kimbanguism, children are not allowed to baptism until they reach three months of age in order to be blessed by a pastor as Christ himself was blessed by Simeon (Luke2:22-38). Even this rite is not a sacrament itself, it is important since it represents a step which is in the process towards a full membership in the Christian community.
it’s to remember that the kimbanguist church exists since 1959. This time when the movement attracted so many people who came from different Christian denominations and were in fact converted to the Kimbanguism.
In 1960 during the church establishment, we encountered some difficulties of celebrating communion. Diverging trends emerged on how, when and what elements of the sacrament that should be used to celebrated it. Each one wanted to impose on their conception until that special commission that was formed to discuss the matter was dissolved. In 1965 the second commission formulated a proposal which was agreed by all unanimously. First, they came up with an idea of diluting honey that would be used for Christ blood and a cake made of potatoes, eggs, flour, corn and green banana that would be used for Christ’s body. So, after blessing the honey and cake it actually becomes the body and blood of Christ. For kimbanguists, communion is more than remembering the body of Christ.
To celebrate the sanctity of the communion, the celebration is held three times a year on dates which were chosen by the church because of their meanings:
- May the 25th which the feast of nativity
- October the 12th the father Simon kimbangu’s death anniversary.
- April the 6th marks the beginning of the Christian ministry started by Simon Kimbangu. between these three times a year prior to celebrating communion, the church put all of its members in an intense spiritual preparation on the sermons focusing on what it means to commune with the lord. Whoever has dispute or resentment toward one another should seek forgiveness. Special prayers and retreats are organized in the anticipation of the event where people decide to confess their sins freely to allow the lord to dwell in the house that was cleaned and arranged in a possible order. Even if sanctification is not reached as we are human, at least everyone strove relentlessly on his or her behavior for purification. It is obvious that if the communion would be celebrated every Sunday, the church itself including its members would not have enough time to carry out its advocacy and spiritual preparation. As the kimbanguist church shows tolerance toward other Christian denominations, it refuses to make any judgment on how they do in respect to their communion sacrament.
Meaning of baptism and communion.
Baptism is the sacrament that belongs to Christians after being baptized. Though baptism, we obtain forgiveness of our sins by God’s grace and also receive the Holy Spirit through it. Thus, fellows who have been baptized become as one in Christ as they are in the same spirit no matter what Christian denomination in which they belong. Baptism requires to those who were obliged to overcome their divisions, differences of classes and race to help embrace the sense of solidarity in times of joy, suffering and must act lawfully to ensure the triumph of justice. Also, to accept Christ as you become his servant. That is to say, each individual who become Christian agree to live a new life in Jesus in order to overcome sin, injustice, exploitation and oppression against his or her fellows. So, the baptized individual must show to the world that they now belong to this new breed that Christ has redeemed from sin domination. The primary meaning of the Eucharistic is that the lord comes once again with all humbleness to the person who after communion becomes out of sins.
This is one of the very few moments when human reaches almost to the sanctity when Christian after or in communion unites with Christ. Through this union, the sinner has forgiveness and takes the holiness of Christ who is present. On the occasion of baptism, Christ gives forgiveness to sinners. Then the man who is far from being holy recovers out of sins by getting the opportunity of purity through confession and the communion. Out of these few particular aspects, the implications that the sanctity requires to Christian is similar to those of the baptism. However, the fact that Christ gives the opportunity to the man in communion to purity, it must not in return be abused by taking the sacrament unworthily. That is the raison why the kimbanguist church implemented a period of spiritual preparations prior to the communion. In difference, the lord was sacrificed to redeem the humanity, the man who is about to getting ready for the communion is aware of the event that he, she is preparing in order to receive Christ worthily in his body and soul. Despite the absence of compulsion, a great number of those who complain about wrongdoing in their minds confess their sins, reconcile and forgive. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the lord unworthily will be judged. That is why, each one has been given some time to examine and reexamine is actions. Once you find yourself ready, then eat the bread and drink the cup of Christ which is his blood and body. If not, you are eating and drinking your own condemnation. (Corinthians 11:27-29).
Ordination is the sacrament in which the church raises some of its members on behalf of Christ to the dignity of religious ministers as deacons and deaconesses. Ministers of religion (pastors) in the kimbanguist church is consecrated and dedicated in the name of Christ by the spiritual leader or any other leader such as pastor who is specially delegated by him. The ordination ceremony takes place during public ceremony and solemn. This essential rite is done through a prayer and lying of hands, when in this special moment, we ask Christ for his assistance during this special ordination to guide pastors in their ministry so that they should always take any decision conforming to the divine power of the Holy Spirit. Only someone who is already ordered may proceed with the ordination. That is to say, only pastors are entitled to administer the sacrament of baptism, communion and marriage ordination. They also carry some important rituals as the blessing of children and burial. The role of pastors in the ministry is essentially to guide and continue Christ mission just as Jesus had trusted his apostles to perform his work by teaching and remaining in prayers. The pastors are put in connection to the lord as a spiritual advisor and facilitator of the community's sake. They also contribute to the solution of moral problems which could be spiritual or social challenges which is faced by individual and the community. In the early years of the church existence, they were pastors who did not have any pastoral degrees in theology. But today, two essential conditions are required to anyone who would intend to serve in the church minister. It required to any interested individual to study theology and must possess a very strong Christian experience and have the vocation to serve the lord and the church as pastor, deacon or deaconess. The church makes it clear that these pastors in charge should not be regarded as a social elite or spiritual. In fact, the spirit can use who he wants to act on. It is because of this consideration that the pastor has no monopoly on evangelical action. It is a responsibility of each member. Christian must be aware to know that, despite everything, the pastor is a human who is not immune to any weakness and errors. So, the community must in their turn also pray for him for protection. The ordained must be the one who is capable to live in harmony with the community and must meet the requirements of any exemplary Christian. Ordination is done without paying anything.
Marriage The marriage sacrament is the one in which a man and a woman are united in front of Christ together with Christians who serve as witnesses. This special sacrament was instituted by God himself upon human creation. God created human in his image and from man came a woman. God blessed them and said, be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue to it. (Genesis1: 27-28). Christ presence at the wedding in Cana has given us some important instruction on marriage which reflects the importance of this sacrament.
there are chapters that explain it clearly. “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and both shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5). The church requires a number of conditions prior to administering the marriage sacrament. The bride and groom must at first be Christian and at the time of marriage, the groom is not under the state of discipline or penance when sometimes Christians are banned to participate in the communion ceremony because of having committed any serious fault like adultery, fornication, murder, theft, violence and any kind of bad behavior. When the same repeated mistake is noticed after confessing in private with the pastor, the parish council makes a decision to postpone or cancel the marriage ceremony until all of the conditions are met. It is evident that the pastor or deacon who is placed under the state of discipline cannot be authorized to perform the marriage sacrament. Secret marriage is not tolerated in the kimbanguist church. The marriage sacrament must be administered by a pastor in front of all congregations. In the other hand, the congregation must be informed ahead of time by the groom who are about to be married. Practically, the religious marriage is solemnized after the customary marriage. Before marriage the groom may not have any sexual intercourse. Kimbanguist church only recognizes monogamous marriage. Polygamy is not admitted. Spouses are required to love each other for life. Having sworn allegiance to one another, the couple must far themselves out of adultery relying only on your spouse. In fact, kimbanguist cannot divorce. However, in practice there has been times when mistakes occur as we can name some like adultery, attempt of murder, poisoning etc.…… in these cases the church may serve as mediator in order to bring back the harmony but does not pronounce separation. As a result, they may decide to live separately on their own. But with both parties' consents, and after death, the other partner can remarry religiously. The church offers moral and spiritual assistance in case of any difficulties. Any non-monogamous marital union debases and alienates those who contract it. Polygamy violates the dignity of men and women and causes enormous social problems in the society. In fact, God gave both Adam and Eve the opportunity to live in togetherness. That indicates God’s intentions about marriage. God never allowed all forms of non-monogamous marriage. There is also a fact that in every society, polygamists are only intentional to people’s minds.