Kimbanguism is an African religion practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth through his prophet Simon Kimbangu. It has roots in Christianity and has its headquarters in N'kamba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
History[change | change source]
In April 1921, during the Belgian colonization in Congo, Simon Kimbangu started preaching to people and using the powers that he believed he had received from God in visions to heal people. During his ministry, he attracted a large group of people. Under pressure from the Catholic Church, who was afraid of the popularity of the movement, the Belgian authorities tried to arrest Kimbangu on June 09, 1921. They failed in arresting him, and Kimbangu escaped. He continued his ministry in secret before turning himself in on September 12, 1921. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence was changed to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1951.
During Kimbangu’s imprisonment, Kimbanguism was prohibited, but the followers continued to practice it. It grew through the leadership of Kimbangu’s wife, Muile Marie, and his son, Joseph Diangenda. After Kimbangu’s death, the movement was recognized as a religion by the Belgian authorities in 1959  and became a member of the World Council of Churches in 1969. The church was led by Kimbangu’s youngest son, Joseph Diangenda Kuntima, until his death in 2001. Since 2001, Kimbangu’s grandson, Simon Kimbangu Kiangani, has become the spiritual leader.
Belief and Practices[change | change source]
Three dates are important in Kimbanguist beliefs: April 6 (the start of the ministry of healing), May 25 (Christmas), and October 12 (Kimbangu’s death anniversary). Kimbanguism has roots in Christianity and the Bible. However, it has developed its own beliefs.
The basic principles of the Kimbanguist church are Bolingo (Love in English), Mibeko (Laws in English), and Misala (Works in English). According to Kimbanguist beliefs, Simon Kimbangu is God the Holy Spirit. Charles Kisolokele, his first son, is God the Father. Salomon Dialungana, his second son, is believed to be Jesus Christ who has come back in our times. Joseph Diangenda, his third son, is the reincarnation of his Father, the Holy Spirit.
According to Kimbanguist rules, polygamy, smoking, drugs, alcohol, eating pork, sleeping naked, and trading on Sundays are all forbidden. During the Sunday services, believers do not wear shoes in the church. Green and white are the colors used in Kimbanguism. Green represents hope and white represents integrity. The churches are painted in these colors, and the believers wear them almost every day. The Kimbanguist has its headquarters in N'kamba, the hometown of Simon Kimbangu, which is considered “the New Jerusalem.” 
Organization[change | change source]
Kimbanguism has expanded outside of the Congo. Some smaller communities are in other central African countries, as well as Belgium, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The spiritual leader is the supreme authority of the church. He is followed by the elders, who are the highest level of the Kimbanguist clergy. National and regional representatives make the second level of the leadership of the church. Decisions are made by the elders during meetings of representatives from the congregations. The Kimbanguist Church has its headquarters in N'kamba, the hometown of Simon Kimbangu, which is considered “the New Jerusalem.” Baptism is required to become a member of the church.
References[change | change source]
- "African Indigenous Churches — Chapter Fifteen". Institute For Religious Research. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
- GAMPIOT, AURÉLIEN MOKOKO; COQUET-MOKOKO, CÉCILE (2017). Kimbanguism. An African Understanding of the Bible. Penn State University Press. pp. 122–154. doi:10.5325/j.ctt1wf4cr0.10#metadata_info_tab_contents. ISBN 9780271077550.
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- Akiele, Basile (January 1, 1999). "Attributes of Simon Kimbangu: Founder of the Kimbanguist Church". The Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center. 26: 198–199.
- Droogers, André (1980). "Kimbanguism at the Grass Roots: Beliefs in a Local Kimbanguist Church". Journal of Religion in Africa. 11 (3): 188–211. doi:10.2307/1581413. ISSN 0022-4200.
- Dall, Nick (2019-09-04). "In the Name of the Father, the Son and Simon Kimbangu". OZY. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- Pype, Katrien (2013-12-01). "Les Kimbanguistes en France: Expression messianique d'une Église afro chrétienne en contexte migratoire". Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines. 47 (3): 570–572. doi:10.1080/00083968.2014.893959. ISSN 0008-3968.
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