Erlo Stegen’s letter to the European KSB leadership

The following document is the greater portion of a letter (dated 21 June 2000) which was sent by Erlo Stegen to the European K.S.B. leadership to announce his position concerning the departure of Barney Mabaso from K.S.B. This letter was read to various K.S.B. congregations in Europe soon after.

The letter opens with the text of Colossians 3: 12-14 and explains that this was the theme of the Kwasizabantu Co-workers Seminar on June 9th and 10th and continues:

Here are some points that should help to clarify the situation with Barney Mabaso from Tugela Ferry.

1) Short time ago, Lydia Dube confessed that she had hidden something concerning her kidnapping two and a half years ago. She was guilty in this matter and should have brought it to light already that time. Now she was prepared to publicise her matter immediately. But we asked her first to go home, to examine herself in prayer in front of God, and to thoroughly make her life right. Barney did not agree with this step. He thought Lydia’s confession wasn’t deep enough. But exactly for that reason, she was sent home to examine herself and to ask how a thing like this could have happened.

2) Yesterday I heard from my brother, Friedel, that somebody from Europe reported that Barney said he had cut himself off from KSB. The very same thing he has said already last Sunday in the service at Tugela Ferry. But to me personally he never mentioned that he had been willing to separate from me. In the past few days he is phoning people day and night and speaks with them about it.

3) Again and again, we have tried to speak with Barney to avoid a separation between him and us, but without success. It was agreed that on last Sunday evening at 18:00 we would meet, together with other co-workers, at my house. We waited until 20:00 for him, but in vain. For Monday another co-workers meeting was planned, where Barney should have been present to speak about the situation and so we could help one another. But again he and his people did not come. From his side, Barney acted drastically in the meantime: He gave the Tugela Congregation the choice to continue with me or with him. Because the matter of Lydia was not dealt with as, he thought it should have been. Barney said he would not put his foot again at KSB.

4) Barney says that demonic spirits lead the older co-workers from KSB. Concerning myself, he says, I am fallen. I am not the same as I was before. I just preach about love. You who were listening to my preaching at Europe last time can decide for yourself if it is true or not. If you had no chance to attend the services, you can order the cassettes to make a picture yourself about my preaching. Till now I was always accused that I do not preach enough about love. Before I left Europe, in the presence of some co-workers, I said that we can’t go together to preach if we are not one. Seemingly agreeing to my word, he came with me. Just arriving back from Europe, he revealed things that happened long ago. Only now, he expresses that he is not happy about those things. Should he not have tried to clarify these matters before our departure?

5) Matthias Lubke wrote a letter a few weeks ago, that he is one with me and that he accepts me as the leader of the mission work…

[Erlo proceeds to offer a few extracts from Lubke’s letter mentioned above, in which Lubke speaks of the privilege he felt to be a part of Kwasizabantu organization and affirms his devotion to the revival and Erlo Stegen, the leader of the work. In an attempt to lead the European congregations to believe that Lubke was guilty of deception and inconsistency (that he had affirmed his loyalty to Erlo Stegen and Kwasizabantu yet, shortly after, had departed from K.S.B. ) Stegen neither explains the context of nor the motivation behind Lubke’s letter.

Matthias Lubke, a German co-worker based at Tugela Ferry Kwasizabantu, approached Erlo Stegen with a problem in April 2000. Lubke shared how there had been people in Germany who were accusing Lubke of disloyalty towards Erlo Stegen. Lubke asked Stegen how this false accusation could be dealt with, upon which Stegen suggested that Matthias Lubke write a letter of affirmation to this person in Germany, which he did in April 2000.

Contrary to Stegen’s suggestion that Matthias was being deceptive in writing this letter to the German contact, it was only later, close to the beginning of June, that Matthias Lubke became aware of the crisis developing with regards to Barney Mapbase’s failing efforts to resolve issues with Erlo Stegen and the Kwasizabantu leadership. He had written his letter, upon the instruction of Stegen, and in sincerity, almost two months before discovering the issues which, eventually, in June led to his departure of Kwasizabantu.]

Stegen concludes his criticism of Lubke by claiming:

The ink had only just dried on the paper, when he proved the opposite through his deeds. Were his words just lies and deception? Besides these pious statements, he didn’t even speak with me about the actual situation of the separation. Shortly after this, with Barney, he is doing his rotten work. They tell things and speak about me and the Mission; of those Paul writes in 2 Tim 2:17: ” Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Amongst them are Hymeneus and Philetus.” I hope that we have in our spiritual race so much discernment that we will not stop through this godless scandal. Brethren, if we stumble through those men, upon whom nothing can be relied….….in what poor condition are we? Then we must fear for our future. Heb. 13:9b: ” It is good for our hearts to be strengthened”.

6) Barney was in the last weeks very cheeky and rough. He was not even afraid to speak lies. If a man says something and after two or three days, he denies it, his is in a sad condition. It is a shame if through such men we get in confusion. Are our lives built on hay or straw? Can we build with that the Kingdom of God?

I hope the statement to all the allegations that you heard about me and read about me shows clearly, where these two men stand, Barney and Matthias.

1 Tim 6:20-21

Should you have any further question, I am gladly prepared to answer you. But Paul speaks about Demas, that he has left him that was enough.

Should that not also be enough for us?

Is it necessary to go to Demas, to listen to his side?

This write you slave in Christ

United in HIM

Erlo

There were some in K.S.B. Europe who were disturbed by the apparent attitude of Erlo Stegen in his letter.

In July 2000, Kjell Olsen, probably in response to criticisms of Stegen’s allusion to Barney Mabaso as being like Demas, and thus, it was not necessary to seek his account of why he left K.S.B, wrote “An Open Letter to the Brethren.” This was also translated into German and made available on the internet.

In this document, Kjell writes through the perspective of Demas, his purpose being an attempt to warn “believers to be wary of words which can be used by the devil to hurt and damage ministries which God is using (however imperfect they may be.)”