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Kimbanguism (French: Église de Jésus Christ sur la Terre par son envoyé spécial Simon Kimbangu; "The Church of Jesus Christ on Earth by His special envoy Simon Kimbangu") is a sectarian branch of Christianity founded by Simon Kimbangu in what was then the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). A large, independent African Initiated Church, it currently has an estimated 5.5 million believers.
In April 1921, Kimbangu, a Baptist mission catechist, inaugurated a mass movement through his supposed miraculous healings and biblical teaching. The Belgian authorities treated the faith with suspicion and imprisoned Simon Kimbangu for most of his life, where he died. The church was formally recognised by the Belgian colonial authorities in 1959.
Life and works of Kimbangu
According to the church, Simon Kimbangu is said to have come down to earth from Mount Zion as a Congolese infant. He was raised by a Pentecostal minister and his poor wife, and was supposedly of supernatural ability, with the wisdom of Solomon and the power to bring salvation to sinners. He grew up to be an Anglican. When he was 20 years old, he married his aunt, Muilu Kiawanga Nzitani, whom the church teaches was the Virgin Mary returned to earth. He did this because, when his uncle was on his deathbed, he asked Kimbangu to marry his wife, Mrs Kimbangu.
The church teaches that while Muilu was asleep in bed, she heard somebody talking to her husband. Approaching the garden, she saw Kimbangu talking to a "divine stranger", whom Kimbangu told her was Jesus Christ.
In 1921, the mother of a deceased child is said to have approached Kimbangu while he was talking to his disciples. He said to her, "Have faith in Me. I will give you a miracle and you will know the truth about me. I will do something great for your daughter and you will see God's glory", and raised her child from the dead.
Beliefs and practices
The church eschews politics and embraces puritan ethics, rejecting the use of violence, polygamy, magic and witchcraft, alcohol, tobacco, and dancing. Its worship is Baptist in form, though the institution of Holy Communion was not introduced until 1971.
The three key dates in the Kimbanguist are 6 April (marking the date of the start of the ministry of healing), 12 October (Kimbangu's death anniversary) and 25 May (marking Christmas, falling on the birthday of Father Dialungana). The church is largely non-sacramental, with large services that are well-organised.
The church also believes that Father Simon Kimbangu is the Holy Spirit, in accordance with John 14:15-17. Like many Christian groups, the Kimbanguists begin and end prayers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Alongside Simon Kimbangu, the Holy Trinity are, Father Kisolokele (first son of Kimbangu) as God the Father, Father Salomon Diangani Dialungana (the reincarnated Jesus Christ and second son of Kimbangu), Father Diangienda Kuntima (last son, reincarnation of Kimbangu and second human form of the Holy Spirit), and Father Simon Kimbangu Kiangani (grandson of Kimbangu, third human form of the Holy Spirit, and current spiritual leader of the Church since 2001).
- The spiritual head (Diangienda)
- Adjunct spiritual heads (Dialungana and Kisolokele – the other sons of Simon Kimbangu)
- Bansadisi (healers)
- Legal representatives of churches in the various countries
- Regional representatives and their staffs
- Subregional representatives and their staffs
- Main parish ministers, evangelists and helpers
- Parish-section ministers, evangelists and helpers
- BBC: Christmas comes late to DR Congo, published 25 May 2007
- Official Website (mostly in French, some German)
- Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (in French)
- Kimbangu resource (in French)
- Kimbangu: An African Prophet and His Church Marie-Louise Martin (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976) ISBN 0-8028-3483-3