By Erwin Redinger
former co-worker in the Maphumulo Work during the late 1960s
I have never met Kjell Olsen, so I don’t know the man. From reports one heard, he was regarded by many as a honest and good man, but when he started lying to the Press, his acquaintances and friends were disappointed and hurt. My introduction to him has been through his so-called ” Open Letter to the Brethren “. This letter is supposedly written by Demas to the churches. In it Demas wickedly undermines Paul. Apart from the document being farfetched and totally hypothetical, it is also devoid of truth, as it was written to discredit the people who do not agree with KSB and who have tried over the years to bring correction to the leadership; especially in recent times.
This document seems to confirm what some have said, that Kjell is a clever man, perhaps one could classify him as an intellectual. But, without a shadow of a doubt, in this document he portrays himself as a man with two faces. On the one hand he sees nothing wrong with correction and even encourages it, yet on the other hand he has chosen to deliberately cover up all the errors and deviousness’s of the KSB leadership. It would be much better if he would honestly face up to them, and deal with matters, but he chooses rather to cover them up, and then implies that all those who disagree with KSB are backslidden and are now loving the world like Demas. Offcourse, he chooses to say that, not because it is true, but because he would like it to be true. It is difficult to think that a man like him could stoop so low and use such means to try and discredit men and women who have a concern for truth. Further what his writings also reveal is that he denigrates the Word of God to the level of KSB deviousness, and says that what supposedly happened to Paul is what is happening to the KSB leadership and in particular to Erlo. One can only warn him,as he is obviously not aware that he is on a dangerous collision course.
The saddest thing of all is that, through his writings, he is seeking to ensnare simple believers and is desperately seeking to keep others from leaving while trying to make those who have left, feel guilty. I challenge him, why not come out into the open with the things that have been brought out? Why duck and dive? He has not even answered many letters that have been written to him by those who have left. So much for his readiness to reconcile. I know men who are prepared to meet him face to face and debate these on a public platform. If then they claim to be like Paul, why not do what Paul did, make their defence in public? Paul never shunned that. His appeal to Caesar was only because he realised that he was in danger of being murdered by the Jews. If they want to, they can also appeal to Caesar if they think someone wants to kill them. We have no such intentions or desires. Up to now our experience has shown that they run from exposure and scrutiny. I already experienced that back in 1969.
Let me respond to some of the matters raised in the other document, where they as co-workers of KSB appeal for reconciliation.
2a It is false and misleading to say that those who have left have resorted to the world to discuss church matters. I for one, have never spoken to the Press. The truth of the matter is that a badly wounded soul spoke to a member of the Press out of sheer distress and hurt, and this triggered off an avalanche, so that numerous Press representatives, who became inquisitive, wanted to know what was actually going on at KSB, and because there were so many out there who were hurting, they soon found more people who were ready to divulge information. It is precisely because of the unbiblical course KSB has followed that these things came out to the Press. They did not follow up those people who left to be reconciled, and when they did follow up some, it was to try and vindicate themselves and crush the people into silence.
To imply that the panel of ministers went to the Press is false and to say that the panel is used by ex KSB members to submit to their demands is absolute nonsense. Ex KSB members are seeking truth and are refusing to be hoodwinked any longer and the panel was prepared to listen to them as well as to hear KSB side also, but KSB refused to put their side.
2c The meetings at Claridge in 1977 were a fiasco. Especially in the light of what Erlo said to some Christian leaders soon afterwards, namely, that when he apologised he did not mean a word of what he said as it was only meant to rob his critics of their weapons. Can one imagine a greater act of hypocrisy than that? Further, why don’t they declare openly where they stand toward their trance affairs which Erlo practised on a consistent basis? ( and is probably still practising today). That was the source of their revival. So if they should say, the trances have stopped, then their revival should also have stopped.
When I asked to be brought before the church Erlo refused, but behind my back arranged a meeting at Kingscliff where he denounced me and Ximba. We could not defend ourselves, because we were not there. So much for their following biblical principles.
They knew about people who had grievances and were hurting and the Bible says that if you know that someone has ought against you,you should go to them, and not the other way round, as they demand. We know their strategy of using many to overwhelm one individual, and then afterwards crow over him/her, because he/she had no witnesses. It is therefore imperative that one speaks to them in the presence of witnesses. Offcourse, they are desperately running away from scrutiny as their affairs are not transparent. None of the ex KSB members have run from scrutiny or from the public eye as far as I know. Why does KSB run and hide, and cover up, and duck and dive? It is, because they have good reason to, there are too many skeletons in the cupboard.
3.1.1 Right from the beginning KSB were unwilling to give account to anyone, just as they are still unwilling. When Erwin Freese suggested that the members be informed where the monies were going ( i.e. when they paid back monies to some who had previously given to Claridge work and also helped private persons) they said it had nothing to do with the members what the leadership does with the funds. When others voiced their misgivings about the secrecy of the financial dealings, Erlo said publicly that people should rather not give to him if they did not trust him. Clever! Isn’t it? So much for their openness.
3.1.2 How is it that they claim they are accountable to the wider body of Christ and then when given the opportunity to do so, they refuse? How is it, when I was with them they used to joke about and mock the other Christians as to how dead and wrong they were, but now they claim to be one with them? Strange!
3.2 If then there is a willingness to face dialogue and reconciliation, why then refuse an open invitation from the panel? Is it because they still uphold the strategy of overwhelming one person while he has to face a whole group of them? And then afterwards things get misrepresented, which makes one look stupid and them look righteous, because one had no witnesses on ones side.I state categorically here that in the beginning they refused reconciliation unless they could subjugate the person who sought reconciliation. Why should it have changed? Has their revival perhaps changed? The people who have left recently, report that it is still the same.
3.3 They claim not to be elitist and exclusive. Elitism and exclusivity was the hallmark of the KSB leaders when I was there at Maphumulo, where their revival began. It is an undeniable fact that Erlo and Hilda regarded themselves as elitist. Even his family treated him as elite. They would make sure there is Ice-cream in the fridge especially for him and many other little privileges and whatever he demanded, if at all possible, it was done for him, not only by his family but all his followers. He was the one who was regarded as high above everyone else, except for Hilda who was his equal. He acted this out all the time.
I have known people who have come to see Erlo early in the morning and sit all day waiting for him and never seeing him although he was there. To the one couple, who were workers, this happened a few times and everytime they had to go all the way back to PMB. and then try again another day. What was Erlo doing that could not see people who had travelled a long way to see him? Was he praying? Was he busy in his trance engagements? Or what was going on? Or was he trying to humiliate them? One thing is certain that he regarded himself above others, otherwise how could he act like this?
Erlo used to say ” Honour those whom God honours ” and that meant him and Hilda. He showed us how to do it in the way he served and supported Hilda showering her with gifts.
As far as being exclusive one need not comment on that as they themselves know they are.Their planned interaction with others from other denominations has a hidden agenda. It is their recruiting ground.
3.5 They claim to be totally biblical and that they test everything by what is written in the Word. They used to tell us that God is not bound to the Scriptures, because He is sovereign and can do what He likes. It was in this way that they explained Hilda’s trances, namely it was a sovereign act of God and even though it looked the same as spiritism it did not matter, because God chose to do it this way.
They always talk revival, preach revival, boast revival, but when I was there, for nearly two years, I never saw or experienced revival. I have asked others who were there ten years and longer and they could not say that they saw anything that they could equate with revival in that place. When I was at Maphumulo God showed me that the whole set-up was like a communist regime that rules ruthlessly over its people, and as much as they want to deny the use of fear to manipulate and control people the facts are against them. The people who are still there fear to challenge the leadership on anything they might have a problem with, and the people who left will tell you how they were suppressed by fear.
Why is it that KSB talks about revival? We don’t read that the N.T. Apostles and Teachers preached revival. They preached Christ and that resulted in true life. To constantly talk about revival is nothing less than trying to convince themselves and others that they are experiencing revival. If it was true revival outsiders would know about it and there would be no need for them to propagate it. They should talk about Jesus, but when you meet any of them they talk about Erlo, or the Mission, or the Revival. Christ does not feature. Why not?
3.7 Try as they may to deny it, excessive physical punishment was metered out, even to little children, and this was sanctioned by the leaders. It will not help to try and cover up with sweet flowing words, because that is the same as lying. They knew about it all along and it did not just come to light after investigation ( at least Erlo, Friedel ,Hilda, Thofozi, Lindiwe etc. etc. all knew about it ).
Because the facts are so strong against them, they now begin to admit to them. It is only sad that they are still pussyfooting with the truth instead of telling it as it is.
3.8 Erlo can deny it as much as he likes, he did put curses on people and if proof is needed we will supply it. Also for them to deny divulging what was confessed to them is lying. Erlo himself is guilty of it and we can prove it.
3.9 To say a counsellor who divulges information is not worthy of being a counsellor, is another way of saying that Erlo and some of his colleagues are not worthy to be counsellors, because they have divulged the things confessed to them.
3.10 It was in their power to restore marriage relationships but they refused to do so, and there is ample proof of that.
3.11 They have spread rumours about people who have left KSB, and to deny this is again just telling more lies. This fits in with their understanding of telling lies to protect the work of the Lord.
3.12 What we hear about this female ( Thofozi ) who has been supposedly been expelled from the Mission is different to what has been stated here. Friedel, Kjell and others even thanked her for humbling herself and telling the truth when in fact we were told she was still lying and covering up. Please, what next? How can we believe that she has been expelled, when they praise her for humbling herself and making right, when in actual fact she was still lying?
3.13 The members of KSB tell us that KSB is the Way. Where do they get it from? They did not suck it out of their thumbs, they heard it from their leaders.
3.14 If what they claim about marriages is true, how do they explain those who were expelled and cast out of their families, because of marrying outside the KSB fold? It is not only recusing themselves from taking the ceremony, but actually disowning them. They also refused to attend the weddings. The one father was hailed a hero for disowning his son who wanted to marry an ex KSB girl. These people are hard and callous, thinking they are doing God’s will.
We, unlike KSB, are prepared to discuss these matters publicly, because we have nothing to hide. If they have things to hide they will not be willing. The time for covering up has long gone past. If they don’t confess and make right, then they must bear the consequences of what our Lord Jesus said: ” It will be shouted from the rooftops”.