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What is Kimbanguism in Central Africa

Kimgbanguism is a branch of Christianity in Central Africa that was founded by Congolese pastor Simon Kimbangu in 1921. In many ways, this sect of Christianity most closely resembles puritanism. Kimbangu advocates heavily against violence, alcohol, tobacco and even dancing. Before forming Kimbanguism, Simon Kimbangu was a Baptist teacher, so the worship style of Kimbanguism closely resembles that of the Baptist Church.

The Church Kimbanguist, as it calls itself, has many practices that could be seen as heretical to mainstream Christianity. Kimbanguists believe that their founder Simon Kimbangu is the Holy Spirit, one of the spiritual elements of the Trinity. In Christianity, the Trinity is the idea that the singularity of God is composed of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as one being. Beyond the idea that Simon Kimbangu is the Holy Spirit, the children of Simon Kimbangu are all embraced as members of the Trinity. Father Kisolokele, who was the first son of Simon Kimbangu, is seen as God the Father. Simon Kimbangu’s second son (Dialungana) is seen as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Leaders of the Church Kimbanguist (who are all direct descendants of Simon Kimbangu) are seen as reincarnations of the Holy Spirit.

Simon Kimbangu was born in 1887 in the Belgian Congo, in modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo. Simon became Baptist in 1915 and worked for 6 years as a religious teacher in the Congo. He formed his own church in 1921. During his lifetime, while he was serving in the Church Kimbanguist, there were numerous reports of Simon Kimbangu performing miracles similar to Jesus Christ. He reportedly cured the sick, cast out demons and even brought the dead back to life. The authorities saw him as a threat and arrested him for sedition in 1921, the same year he founded his church. He was sentenced to death but later received life imprisonment. Even though he never again made contact with his church, he was still seen as their leader until his death in 1951. Eight years later, the Belgian government recognized the Kimbanguist Church, and their followers were finally able to practice freely.

Within the church, there are three important dates in their religious calendar. The first date is April 6, which marks the date in 1921 when Simon Kimbangu started his ministry and church. The second date is May 25, which is the birthday of Father Dialungana. Since he was seen as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, his birthday is Christmas. The final date is October 12, which marked the death of Kimbangu in 1951.