A Christian pastor in South Africa has sparked outrage after encouraging worshipers at his church to drink deadly rat poison.

Pastor Light Monyeki told worshipers at the Grace Living Hope Ministries to drink from a bottle of water laced with noxious Rattex to "nourish their bodies" and "heal their sickness," according to the Daily Mail.

After the pastor took a sip from the bottom, "a multitude of congregants voluntarily ran to the front to have a drink of the deadly poison," the church claimed.

Sharing pictures of Monyeki pouring the poisoned water down congregants' throats, the church wrote in a Facebook post: "The man of God, Prophet Light Monyeki demonstrates power of faith by causing congregants to drink Rattax; deadly poison to show forth their faith.

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"As he was doing that he said "we do not need to proclaim faith because we are believers. If nyaope [a street drug] boys can smoke Rattax for more than eight years, who are we? Death has no power over us."

"Then he declared life from above upon the water mixed with Rattax; and spoke nourishment unto bodies and healing unto the sick.

"A multitude of congregants voluntarily ran to the front to have a drink of the deadly poison. After declaring nourishment and healing, Prophet Light was the first one to drink."

Nyaope is a highly addictive drug that has come into widespread use in South Africa, and is made from a range of ingredients including low-grade heroin, rat poison and detergents.

Rattex can lead to death in humans, as it prevents clotting in the body, meaning those who ingest it can bleed to death.

The pastor has faced widespread criticism since the photographs were posted online.

Sampson Gyebi Dankwa said: "This pastor is SICK! Rat poison to your congregants? Have you tasted it? First heal yourself from whatever is causing you to feed your members with a deadly substance."

Brenda Crooks wrote: "Why are you giving people poison in the form of Rattex. You are ungodly and an absolute disgrace to your so-called profession. SHAME ON YOU!"