Press statement from Kwasizabantu Mission

By Rev E.H. Stegen – Director of Kwasizabantu Mission

In the light of the many allegations in various newspapers and possible
accusations along the same lines in future articles Kwasizabantu wishes to
clarify the following issues:

1. CULT AND SECT ACCUSATIONS

Kwasizabantu is an evangelical organisation with complete openness to other
churches and organisations. There is nothing cultic or sectarian about the
mission. Our religious beliefs are contained in the Bible and the classical
confessions of the church through history. KSB teaches no new doctrine and
does not believe that it alone has exclusive ownership of the truth. This
has always been our practice and it is evidenced by:

a) No person is ever told by KSB to leave their denomination. Cults and
sects always tell others to forsake their churches.

b) Our pulpits have welcomed hundreds of ministers from a host of
denominations over the years. We need the teaching and wisdom of God’s
people whatever their church background. The Kwasizabantu Ministers’
Conference has been a highlight for the last decade. About a thousand
ministers, pastors, evangelists and Christian organisation leaders gather
at KSB every year for a 3 day conference where leaders from different
churches, locally and internationally, share with the approximately 1000
delegates.

c) People are free to come and go at KSB. There is no “escape” necessary
(as stated in a number of articles.) The attempt to paint KSB as another
“Jim Jones” or “Branch Davidian” cult is absolute nonsense.

d) There are at least 1200 people at the mission at any time of the year
and many of them are not connected to KSB but are visitors and people in
need. People who are helped are never encouraged to sever ties with their
families or churches.

2. VIRGINITY TESTING

The Zulu members of the parent body of Domino Servite School (registered
with the Department of Education) has insisted on this cultural practice
with their own children. About 85% of pupils at DSS are Zulu and we do not
feel it right to impose Western values to abolish this tradition. However,
all cultural practices which are clearly unBiblical are rejected whatever
the racial or cultural background. If some in the media have a problem with
the virginity testing tradition they should take it up with the Zulu nation
and not blame the mission. At the same time we do point out that in an era
when about 30% of KwaZulu-Natal have HIV, anything which helps prevent AIDS
should be commended. KSB strongly insists on the Biblical emphasis of
sexual purity – abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage.

3. RACISM

The accusation of racism at KSB is ridiculous. We have been a beacon of
light regarding non-racism over the last 34 years. Different races,
languages and cultures have lived together in harmony for years at KSB.
This has always been our message and we live it out in a practical way. The
attempt to label KSB as racist because of its rejection of the practice of
ancestral worship cannot be reconciled with the views of church leaders,
politicians and laymen who have visited the mission and have constantly
expressed their appreciation for the racial and cultural harmony and have
called it a “model for the New South Africa.”

4. MILITARY/ POLITICAL CONNECTIONS

KSB has often visited military bases to preach the Gospel. We continue to
do so and will use every opportunity to bring the message of hope and
forgiveness in Christ. There have been, and there continue to be, members
of the military (and police) who are friends or members of the mission. We
gladly accept invitations to address people and always bring the message of
the Gospel. Should Colonel Moammar Gaddaffi of Libya or Bill Clinton of the
USA invite KSB to preach in their countries (at their expense) we will
gladly accept his invitation.

KSB is politically neutral despite the scandalous attempts to make it
appear a stronghold of certain political parties. We have never told people
who to vote for. However, we are not silent when it comes to issues that
involve Christians, for example: abortion, euthanasia, pornography etc.
These are issues that involve politics, but only because politics has
involved itself in these things.

We have had direct discussions with senior political leaders on these
various issues, both before and after the first democratic election in 1994.

We sometimes wonder whether some groupings and some elements of the media
are on a campaign to neutralise organisations such as ours simply because
our views on certain issues are so politically incorrect.

5. FINANCE

Kwasizabantu Mission is financed by various projects and donations. A
number of agricultural and technical ventures help provide employment,
training and finance. No church collections are held and no appeals for
finance are made. No person, visitor, helper or full-time co-worker is ever
asked to part with possessions or money.

The reference to our duping people out of millions is not true. The mission
has never organised any such scheme.

The school is a private institution and normal school fees are paid. The
highest school fees (for grade 10 to 12) are R1,000 a year (which includes
hostel fees.)

We go out of our way to help people in the whole of their lives. The Gospel
is all-inclusive and is not just limited to the spiritual. There are a
number of very successful social upliftment projects run by the mission.

6. CORPORAL CORRECTION

The insults against the mission began with the allegation of regular
“public beatings” at the school. It was the practice of DSS, since its
inception in 1986, to use corporal correction. In 1994, a year before the
Department of Education banned the practice of corporal punishment, DSS
suspended it. In early 1996 it was officially banned by the school at a
special meeting for parents. The school insisted, despite much opposition
from parents, that it was the duty of parents and not the school to use
corporal correction.

Aberrations and excesses of corporal correction, were dealt with by church
discipline and teaching.

It is our view that corporal correction is only one of many options and
should always be within the context of love and care.

In conclusion, we believe that in the context of the new emphasis in our
country on secular-humanist values there is a direct clash of world-views.
Many of the harsh criticisms in the press are not just aimed at KSB but the
Church in general. There will probably be an escalation of such attacks and
a strong effort to brand outspoken churches and Christian organisations as
“right-wing”, “fundamentalist”, “exclusivist”

We, together with other Churches and organisations who stand strongly on
the message of the Bible, will continue to fulfill our commission to
“preach the Gospel to every person”.
(February 9, 2000)