*A South African pastor has provoked outrage after beginning a recent sermon with the claim that Jesus Christ was HIV-positive.
Xola Skosana stunned his congregation in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township with the bold statement, news of which then quickly spread across the country.
And Christians have reacted angrily, claiming it portrays Jesus as sexually promiscuous.
‘The subject of my Jesus being HIV-positive is a scathing matter,’ said another local pastor, Mike Bele.
‘I believe no anointed leader with a sound mind about the scriptures and the role of Christ in our lives would deliberately drag the name of Christ to the ground.’
Pastor Skosana, whose non-denominational Hope for Life Ministry is part of a growing charismatic movement in South Africa, insists his message is more about giving hope than anything else.
By making the claim, he hopes to remove the stigma attached to HIV suffers in his country.
More than 5.7million people live with the virus in South Africa – more than in any other country. Pastor Skosana himself lost two sisters to Aids.
HIV is predominantly transmitted through sex but can also be spread by the transfer of contaminated blood into the system through needle-sharing.
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