The book “God among the Zulus” – true or not true?
I, Erwin Redinger, have been asked to comment some more on the books of Kurt Koch and Erlo Stegen: God among the Zulus and Erweckung unter den Zulus. I had previously commented on them, and this should be read in conjunction with the first comments.
The foreword by Justin Michel.
I knew Justin and his wife Dorianne when they first came to Claridge and we came to respect and love them. They were lovely, down to earth people and truly humble, but I have to question Justin’s statement “One must also bear in mind that Dr. Koch has carefully checked every incident he reports here.” By Koch’s own admission, he has not checked what he wrote, but got it from this one and that one, without going to check with the people on whom the supposed miracles were performed. There were a few exceptions, where he did speak to the people concerned, e.g.. The witch Magakanye. Other incidents were based on hearsay.
Now Dr. Koch might want to intimidate one by declaring that the people who don’t believe all these things are accusing him and Erlo of lying. What will he say, if I bring abundant evidence that will show that Erlo lied to people? Erlo did what Koch claimed he did not do. Koch claims to have avoided all exaggeration or embroidery as meticulously as he did when he reported on the Indonesian revival. Now I want to say that in the case of Anagreta, Erlo did exactly that, which Koch said he avoided, namely, he exaggerated and embroidered the whole event to such an extent, that if he had not mentioned Anagretas name, we would not have recognized the incident; although we had witnessed the whole scene. (Read about it in my previous comments).
Peter the apostle says, ” We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty”. We can only speak of the things we saw as eyewitnesses in the case of Anagreta, so obviously Erlo must be following cleverly devised tales when he speaks of the Anagreta event.
On page 39 of his book, Erlo states, “John the apostle, was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he could not understand how a born-again Christian could still lie. Yet Erlo himself told lies according to many witnesses. He also got viciously angry when people tried to talk to him and resolve things. Was that the Holy Spirit? I cannot credit it.
Erlo, Hilda, Josfina, and Helen, delighted themselves talking about Maphica ( Engelbrecht) and others to break them down. When others do that Erlo calls it “Afterreden” talking behind peoples back. ( see p 40) Yet he and his mamas freely indulged in it. He also states that when the revival came all the afterreden stopped. Must one conclude therefore that the revival never touched them, because it had not ceased with them, but they continued to gleefully and despisingly talk about the mistakes of others? In fact what he states in his book contradicts what he told me in the beginning of his revival. He told me how his co-workers, Hilda & co, found it easy to talk about people’s mistakes, whereas we have been taught to be cautious and careful what we say. They just blurted it out. He commended them for it. So much for their consistency. Then afterreden was all right, but now it is all wrong. Could it be that he is trying to keep people from speaking the truth?
Now let us examine the list of people we are told we should contact if we want to know about these miracles listed in ” God among the Zulus ” Page 15.
1. Those who have died:
Josias Dube ( Hilda’s husband)
We can’t ask dead people so that cancels these out.
2.The ones who have severed relations with KSB.
Bodo Stegen ( Erlo’s brother)
Trevor Dahl ( Erlo’s brother- in law )
Horst Witthoft ( Erlo’s cousin )
Barney Mabaso ( Leader of Tugela Ferry Mission )
Mpangeni Mthungwa ( Leader of Mtunzini Mission )
Of the seven who have left the mission, there does not seem to be any who can corroborate the miracles described in the books except for the Anagreta healing which they recount as I saw it and not as Erlo describes it. There are also a few incidents recorded which they can attest as being true e.g. the incident of theft in the hospital committed by a member of the staff. After hearing Barney preach at her mother’s funeral she was convicted of her sinful acts and confessed and made restitution. But generally the records are dubious.
3. Those of the Dube family.
Thembani Dube ( i.e. Hilda herself )
Jabulani Dube ( Hilda’s son )
Thofozi Dube ( Hilda’s daughter Lydia )
Immanuel Kwela ( close associate of the Dube family )
Grema Khwela ( Immanuel’s wife )
( Hilda Dube was also known by the following designations: Mrs. Dube, Magasa, Mama kaJabulani, and now I see they refer to her as Thembani, which is probably her real name when she was still a girl staying with her parents. The Zulu’s often adopt a European name when they go to school. This is not everybody’s habit. )
It is to be noted that Hilda Thembani Dube is the key figure in the movement. Her trances were regarded as the break through of the so-called revival. Her daughter Thofozi’s dreams were taken very seriously when she was still a young schoolgirl of about 13 years. Are these impartial witnesses? Can one accept their testimony? Especially after Thofozi’s so-called death and resurrection and then she committed the atrocious act which left one person half dead? Can one believe these people?
4. Those who are of the Stegen family.
Friedel Stegen ( Erlo’s brother )
Rita Stegen ( Friedel’s wife )
Heino Stegen ( Erlo’s brother )
Hogard Joosten ( Erlo’s cousin – the mothers were sisters)
Joe Newlands ( who married Edith Stegen Erlo’s cousin)
Martin Stegen ( who married Nora Joosten Erlo’s cousin )
One can expect a family to be loyal to one another. This is a common occurrence among the people and the Stegen’s are no exception. So to ask them will not help us nor satisfy us. Those who left are more willing to tell the truth.
5. Those who are not relatives:
These should be more objective in their judgment and should therefore be approached. However, I doubt that we will get any real information out of them, but one can try.
6. Who should one ask?
If they were serious in giving us reliable information they would have given us the names of the people who were healed, e.g. the names of the 19 blind people mentioned by Dr. Kurt Koch in his book . I tried to find out about the 10 healed at Tugela Ferry ( see my previous writings ) . Nobody knew of any blind people who were healed at Tugela Ferry. So what can one believe? Or what must one believe?
Some of the things are hardly worthy of comment.
On page 90 Erlo writes about the fire of God moving through the mountains and valleys and thousands being converted in one day. Surely Erlo must know that he is lying or is he confused? Why does he not tell us where this happened? One thing is certain, one can go wherever there is a KSB work, be it in Tugela Ferry ( which used to be part of KSB ) or any other of the KSB stations, you will not find thousands of converted people. Even when they get a few thousand together at KSB itself, they are not from the area, but are carted from far and wide with lorries, busses and bakkies. Many of those are not KSB members, but people who go there, because they have been invited, and probably have a days outing with free transport and free food at KSB.
I have been asked how large the congregation was at Maphumulo at the time of the revival. I had to honestly reply that I knew of no active congregation at Maphumulo. There were Erlo’s co-workers and a few Christians who worked in Friedel’s shop, and, this more or less, sums it up. You can ask anyone, and you will get the same reply, because there was no congregation there. In fact, I know of no permanent conversions at Maphumulo. One must not forget, that a large percentage of the people at KSB were Christians before they were caught up in the system. So Erlo cannot claim they are the product of his revival.
How is it possible to have a revival in a place without either a congregation being there, or a congregation being established? As far as I have been able to ascertain there is still no congregation at Maphumulo. Now that Erlo has moved with his co-workers to KSB there is nothing left in the village. Jabulani Dube lives a few kilometers away and even he has no congregation according to information given to me. I was at Maphumulo approximately a year ago, and had the distinct impression that the local people are very skeptical towards KSB.
Is it not strange that the great revival took place at Maphumulo yet there is no congregation there? Is it not as strange that the so-called revival has moved to KSB and it has hardly touched any of the local people? Men who were workers at KSB told me that the few local people who are there are mainly those who are employed by them.
The sad part was, because of the horrific emphasis on confession of sin and preaching it all the time, there were children who made up stories and confessed sins, which they never did, just to impress the leaders. The more you confessed, the more you were recommended for bringing it out, and these little kids did not want to feel left out of the scene, so they confessed, even if they had to make it up.
We are not to preach confession of sin, or anything else for that matter, we are to preach Christ and Him crucified, and people will become conscious of their sinfulness and repent, and receive forgiveness and eternal life in Christ Jesus. When Peter recognised who Jesus was, he became very conscious of his sinful state and exclaimed “Lord depart from me; I am a sinful man”
One cannot preach Christ to people if one does not know Him, and I am convinced that there lies the whole problem of KSB. We are expecting them to preach Christ, but they don’t know Him. They are very religious; they have codes of conduct for their people; they have an image what a Christian should be like, which includes rules how people must dress, even to the extent of forbidding denim trousers; their people must indulge in introspection all the time, otherwise they are not revival Christians. Yet they don’t grow in the knowledge of Christ. Even the way Erlo describes himself before the revival, one wonders whether he knew the Lord. In the same way when he describes the young Christians who possessed pornographic material, one can only come to the conclusion , they did not know Christ. (page 24) No one who knows the Lord will occupy himself with pornography.
Let us not forget that Paul regarded the knowledge of Christ as the highest goal to aspire to. To gain Christ and be found in Him, he counted everything as loss, in fact as dung, so that he might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, and to be conformed to His death, so that he might attain to the resurrection from the dead.- We are dead in trespasses and sins and only through knowing Him can we be resurrected unto newness of life. No amount of confession of sins will give us that, only knowing Christ i.e. He becomes our life, our all. You cannot attain holiness by laying down rules and regulations for your people, because law cancels out grace. Our holy conduct must be the result of what God has done in us through the cross of Christ. Self-effort will never meet with God’s approval. Fruit and not self-effort is what is required.
Whether Dr. Koch likes to admit it, or not, the fact remains that their preaching of sin did pressurize people into confession and many of them never got to know Christ.
The illiterate women who got texts from the Lord at Tugela Ferry, and who went to Ximba and asked him to read the texts to them, was before 1966 i.e. before the so-called revival. So this is proof that God worked through His Holy Spirit before the so-called revival. ( p. 33 ).
What strikes one, when one reads those books, is that it was the sangomas ( witches ) who came uninvited to confess to Erlo their sins. Erlo and Kurt Koch write that nobody had spoken to them, they came on their own initiative saying that they felt the urge to come. One wonders whether there was more behind all this than meets the eye. Was it perhaps a strategy of the evil one to send his emissaries as decoys? The biblical principle is ” God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believed “. 1Cor. 1 v 21. How come these people had not heard the Word and yet came to Erlo? Where in the Bible do we find a similar thing? Every incident recorded in Scripture indicates that they heard the message and responded. God apparently ordained it that way. See also Rom. 10 v 13 – 15 ” Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach without being sent? Just as it is written. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things. ” This clearly shows us that God works through the preaching of His Word.
Even in Paul’s case, he had heard the message and knew what the Christians were declaring, and it was then that Jesus appeared to him and he was converted.
I have had the gut feeling that there could be something sinister here. If it was genuine, then we must say, that God acted in a way that we haven’t seen in the Scriptures. But if it is sinister, then it was a masterpiece of the devil’s cunning. But be that as it may, God who knows all the truth, will judge it one day. Perhaps the whole thing was just another one of those exaggerations. In the meantime, let us be cautious and careful. I for one, will not identify with something I am not sure of. May God be gracious to us and help us to walk in truth and light.
The witch Magakanye, mentioned on p.136, seems to be different, as we are told that she was spoken to. But where are these other sangomas ( witches) ? Would it have been possible for us to have spoken to them, and heard their side of the story? It would have helped – wouldn’t it? Although I was there in the beginning and they had mentioned these occurrences, I was never shown one of them, nor were they pointed out to us in a meeting, nor did they give us their names. Why ?That we did not explore the whole thing at the time, is an indictment against us. It was because nobody was tolerated who asked that type of question. He would immediately be regarded as one opposing the revival. With hindsight, it is easy to see why they were threatened. There is just too much they could not explain, neither wanted to verify. But having said that, we still should have examined everything carefully, and whoever refuses to be examined is already proving that he is on a doubtful path. Erlo refused to be examined. He had unconditionally and wholeheartedly given himself over to his revival, and never mind how much the Bible urges people to prove all things, to test the spirits, and not to allow anyone to mislead them, Erlo would resist that. He had made up his mind that anybody doing that, was opposing God, even though they were only doing that what God says they should do. I just asked him one question, ” Is Boy Masango a Christian ? ” and I was regarded as a major enemy.
When I saw this, I recognised there were serious problems. When God showed me that it was the Holy Spirit who invites us, and even commands us to test everything, even Himself, I was released and encouraged not to bow to the terrifying pressure they put on people to accept everything without questioning. If they were so confident of being in the truth, they would have welcomed questions and examinations, because they would not be threatened by anything. Another characteristic of Erlo’s revival was secretiveness. So if someone wanted things clarified he was looked upon as an enemy.The Dube family was, one can say, synonymous with Erlo’s revival. Erlo often told us that he would never separate from the blacks. He repeated this often; sometimes he said it publicly in a meeting, and then again privately to us. When at first he mentioned it, I thought he was talking about the blacks in general, and I admired him for it, because I felt he wanted to be loyal and committed to the people he felt called to. As time went on, it became evident that he was not talking about the blacks in general, but about the Dube family in particular. He easily separated from his other black co – workers. In fact, he treated them like scum; especially if they were critical of Hilda and her family.
Erlo adored Hilda Dube. He once told me that she is such a wonderful person that he could just hug (umarmen) her, but because people would not understand that, he could never do it. He always thought highly of her children and revered them. The only one he would speak disparagingly about was Hilda’s husband.
So one must give him credit for sticking to his promise of never separating from them. He stuck to them through thick and thin; through all the horrible things that have emerged. It looks as though he never wavered, but was prepared to stick with them no matter what else would surface. Surely there must be more hidden under the surface, especially in the light of what Jannie Le Roux said of Thofozi, “This is only the tip of the iceberg”. Others were expelled for relatively minor offences, but here you have someone who was prepared to murder to get her way. But Erlo exonerated her and kept her in the movement. Why? Is it because of his promise and commitment to Hilda and her family? Or is it because she knows too much and if she had been expelled, she would bring out everything and would destroy the work?
Erlo in the beginning used to pray for the sick and when they were not healed, he used to say it is because they still were sitting with unconfessed sin. What does he say now where his own people are sick and dying untimely deaths? Suddenly we are told they are heroes.
They mentioned the death of a young man, saying what a fine man he was and that the Lord wonderfully prepared him for his death. Personally, I knew him as a lovely young man and have no reason to doubt his integrity and faith, but there could be reasons for his death. Firstly in the early days they would probably have declared that there must have been something wrong with him to have had an accident i.e. some unconfessed sin or something. When a lady had an accident at KSB, Erlo told her to go and search her life, because there must be something wrong with her, otherwise she would not have had the accident. Then next it was Erlo who had an accident. The car was rushed to the panel beaters so that the people should not see it and the whole thing was hushed up. Did he search himself? Apparently he did not like it when someone asked him.
I wonder whether they ever gave it a thought that the Lord was gracious to the young man that He took him out of the KSB scene? This is a distinct possibility.
As long as we were at Maphumulo ( + – 18 months) they had no prayer meetings. I know of other workers, who were at KSB many years, who testified that there were no prayer meetings while they were there. One man talks of one prayer meeting that took place in all the years that he was there.
When Gertrud complained to Heino Stegen that we don’t pray together, he answered, ” How can we? Each one will pray to his own god.” That also showed us that there were serious problems, and we wondered to which god they were praying. We wanted to pray to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ through the efficacy of His blood. So who were they praying to? One wonders!
When Erlo said, he was going to pray about something, he meant, he would go to Hilda and together they would pray and she would go into a trance and speak out the answer to Erlo in Zulu. He took this as the answers to his prayers, in fact, he believed this was God speaking to him directly. In this way, he believed, he had direct access to God, and even if it should conflict with the Bible it would not be regarded as serious. I remember Erlo saying that God is not bound to the Bible; He can do what He wants.
These were their prayer meetings, and very seldom, in those days, were there more than Erlo and Hilda present. These were not public prayer meetings where the people could participate, as intimated in their books. Those meetings did not exist.
For the umpteenth time I am asking, if this was from God, why is it kept so secret? ( Jh. 3v 20 & 21) Why is there no mention of the trances in their books? Let them come out into the open and declare what they did and what they are still doing. When they talked about revival, this was the central issue. Erlo called it the breakthrough of the revival. All his guidance was confirmed by this method and it continued all the time I was there. This was the touchstone. This is where all the people had to come to, to test whether they were in the will of God or not. When someone received the gift of tongues, this is where he came to enquire of the Lord, whether he had the genuine article or not.
I remember when a man came to Erlo to talk to him about something, that Erlo told me he knew everything the man was going to say to him, before he came into the house, as the Lord had already told him everything. Whether he got this through the trance, I don’t know, but this is very likely, as that was his modus operandi.
Now this whole trance affair has also been operating through Lindiwe the daughter of Hilda. All the wonderful things reported by Koch, about Lindiwe in the book, are revelations uttered while she was in her trances. Did Koch know about this? People have witnessed her trance utterances. They were there when on occasion she would flake out ( quleka ) and make those utterances, which Erlo and Friedel wrote in a notebook.
Another one of those escapades in which Lindiwe was involved was the debacle with the little children on the Kranskop farm. Why? This is not mentioned in the book. It was Lindiwe who was the instrument for calling the kids to the farm. They were separated from their parents, for shorter or longer periods, depending on Lindiwe’s revelation whether they were ready to go back to their parents or not. I have spoken to some who were little kids in those days; who have in the mean time grown up to be mature men and women. The hurts and damage done to those people through what they experienced there, took years to heal. In fact, some are still suffering under it. Some of these have only recently shared it with their parents and friends. One can imagine how shocked their parents were, actually they were angry when they heard it. I wrote about some of these things previously.
Even speaking generally, there has been incalculable damage done to people’s souls here in S.A. and overseas. I spoke to many who have shared their sad stories about KSB with me. Only Christ can heal and restore those people to a full and complete relationship with Himself.
My assessment of the KSB work is, that the top leadership gets all its guidance through these trances and this filters through from the top to the ordinary folk, who seem to be unaware of any of these things, but because they are told that the Lord revealed it, they just accept it without further questions. There are many ignorant followers at KSB, who are sincere and totally unaware of what is actually going on in the top echelon and are following blindly, because they are scared out of their wits. They believe that any checking out will probably be punished with hell.
But what do the Scriptures say? They leave us in no doubt as to our personal responsibility. I cannot turn around one day and say to the Lord, so and so deceived me. He has warned us and commanded us ” See to it that no one misleads you.” Mth. 24 v 4 ” Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing”. Mth. 7 v 15.
In all the gospels Jesus warns us, time and time again to be watchful, to be on the alert and not to allow people to mislead us. It is noteworthy that Jesus commands his people not to be frightened ( Mth. 24 v 6 ), because He knows that fear robs us of our sound mind. If you fear people they will easily mislead you. Fear God and not people. ” Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. ” 2 Thes. 5 v 21 & 22. Paul knew there are many forms of evil, and some very pious looking ones, and for that reason everything has to be examined. Deception does not come in one particular form, but the devil changes his approach and ways all the time to achieve his aims of misleading people. Even when it comes to the return of the Lord, Paul has to tell them ” Let no one in anyway deceive you.” 2 Thes. 2 v 3. Most people are just too lazy to pray to God and ask Him to give them revelation and guidance. Others don’t want to face the embarrassment of having to disagree with their loved ones. So it is better, in their eyes, to keep the status quo, not realizing that this leaves them in a dangerous position of real deception. Anyone who does not love the truth will be deceived. 2 Th. 2 v 10
The following are just a few Scriptures that warn us against deception. There are many more. 1 Pet. 1 v 13; 1 Pet. 4 v 7; 1 Pet. 5 v 8; 2 Pet. 2 v 1 & 2; 2 Pet. 3 v 17 & 18; Heb. 5 v 11 – 14; 1 Tim. 4 v 1; 2 Tim. 4 v 4; 1 Jh. 2 v 26; 1 Jh. 3 v 7; 1 Jh. 4 v 1; 2 Jh. v 7 & 8; Mth. 16 v 6 & 11; Mth. 24 v 23 & 24 & 42 & 43; Mth. 26 v 41.
We are not watchful enough. When the thief comes and breaks into our house, we let him ( Mth. 24 v 43 ). I am speaking spiritually. He finds very little resistance from us, especially when his emissaries come and tell us that they have actually come to help us. And while he is busy with us, he robs us of everything that we have and in the end we become his slaves and we may not even be aware of it.
He robs us of our sound mind, our insight, our discernment, our loyalty to God and to His Christ, our freedom in Christ, and eventually we become entirely dependent on man. He makes us believe, if we follow certain men and listen to them, we are totally safe and walking in the truth. Whereas, Jesus has come that we should hear His voice and follow Him and not mistake foreign voices for His voice. I am not suggesting here that Jesus does not speak to us through our brethren; of course He does, but not for people to dominate us and impose themselves upon us to totally control us. We want to rather be slaves of Christ, than slaves of man. May God graciously deliver us from all forms of deception.