The story of how bogus sign interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, mis-signed his way through the Nelson Mandela Memorial speeches is common knowledge by now. And every blogger, reporter, and major media outlet has reported on this bizarre story. The “joke” was so obvious that it even made for some good humor on Saturday Night Live.
But “the story that couldn’t get any stranger” just has…in a BIG way. It turns out that Jantjie, a man who stood a few feet away from some of the world’s most powerful leaders, was charged with murder in 2003! He was, sources say, one of several men who “accosted two men” and “burned them to death by setting fire to tires placed around their necks.”
Unlike the other men involved in the attack, Jantjie didn’t go to prison because he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial! Rather, Jantjie was institutionalized for over a year. When he got out of the mental institution, he began sign language interpretation at events. So, despite his past, previous complaints that he lacked even a basic knowledge of sign language, and a clear metal imbalance, Jantjie was chosen to sign for South Africa’s most important memorial ever.
No one likes being lied to. And as a preacher, there is no greater frustration than seeing people fall victim to false interpreters of God’s Word. Doesn’t anyone vet these people? If only there were some way to check them out… Oh, wait. Of course there is! We can, like the Bereans, test every word against scripture. Rather than blindly accepting credentials, Bereans searched the scriptures daily to check if Paul & Silas’ words were accurate.
But like those who hired Jantjie, most people don’t take the time to properly check their sources. Most people blindly accept that their preacher must be telling the truth because a lot of people are listening to them! Check every word that anyone tells you about God’s Word…even mine! And if any of us (even a prophet or angel) should teach a gospel different from the one the Apostles taught, Paul warns that they will be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).