In Malachi 4:5-6 we read: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
One of the unwritten rules that Erlo Stegen has been imposing at Kwasizabantu Mission during the last three or four decades is that children are not allowed to counsel with their parents. (This must of course be seen against the background of another unwritten rule: everybody at KSB must have a counsellor to whom they must go to confess their sins, share their problems, ask for advice, etc.)
Erlo Stegen verbally confirmed this rule to me when I challenged him about it some years ago.
I had asked for permission to speak to him, and my desire was simply to refer to specific passages from God’s Word with which this unwritten rule cannot be reconciled.
When I had just started reading these to him, Erlo became annoyed. He abruptly got up and walked out of the room we were in. As he was walking out the door, he exclaimed in an angry manner: “At this mission, children won’t be allowed to counsel with their parents! Because when (and he mentioned the name of a man who had left KSB a few years earlier) left the mission, his children also left!”
Through his words and his behaviour Erlo Stegen revealed to me his motives for enforcing this unscriptural rule:
- He expects children to be more loyal to him and to his mission than to their parents.
- He positively seeks to prevent a close, trusting relationship and emotional bond to develop or exist between parents and their children.
- Unlike the prophet mentioned in Malachi 4:5-6, he does NOT turn the heart of the fathers to the children, NOR does He turn the heart of the children to their fathers.
- His own unscriptural rules are more important to him than what is written in the Bible.
Loyal followers of Erlo Stegen believe that he is the “mouth-piece” of God, or an anointed “prophet of God”. Some do not even refrain from comparing him with Moses or Elijah, etc.
All this raises some serious questions.
Firstly, what is the rationale behind this unwritten rule? Why is it so important to Erlo Stegen that children should be more loyal to him and to KSB than to their parents? Why do close, trusting relationships between parents and children pose a problem to him?
Secondly, why does Erlo Stegen go to such extremes EVEN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CLEAR TEACHINGS OF GOD’S WORD?
Why does he ignore and despise Proverbs 4:3-4: “When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; Get wisdom, get understanding; Forget not, neither decline from the words of my mouth…’ and Proverbs 6:20-22 “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you…”?
Thirdly, how can someone, who ignores and despises the Word of God, be a true and faithful shepherd of God’s flock? — let alone a true spokesman or “anointed prophet” of God …?