Dear Moira,

Amazingly, I just received an e-mail from my friend in SA, Prof Johan Malan in the same batch as your e-mail. He had a question from Holland also about KwaSizabantu. This was his response:

It is almost a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Many good things have happened there, which cannot be denied. But then there were quite a number of people who were disillusioned by what they experienced there, to the extent of even warning other people against corrupt practices.

    A theological concern that I have about their ministry is the strong focus on kingdom theology. They also try to reform the present evil world in an effort to realise the kingdom of God before the Second Coming of Christ. That is a futile exercise. Our only focus should be the saving and sanctification of souls. Even in this regard they are sometimes faltering by imposing a very strict, outward form of godliness on people, which does not always lead to an inner, spiritual experience of holiness. That is false pretence.

    On the positive side, theologically, they do take a strong stand against liberal theologians who reject the virgin birth and deity of Jesus. But that is not always a guarantee of the correct orientation on other issues. 


                    Johan Malan

I examined the organization very closely a few years ago. My info is 5 years old, but it is unlikely that much has changed in the interim. I read a lot of info from within and without the organization and had numerous and long counseling sessions with a number of folk who had been very involved with Stegen. One couple were elders in one of the satellite works and thus understood the inner workings. I have made a very detailed study of abusive churches and have studied more than 30 books on the subject and counseled several dozen people who have come out of abusive churches.

Doctrinally, they are not too bad. They hold to the fundamentals of the faith, are strongly evangelical and stand against all forms of liberalism. Prof Malan’s assessment is correct. The main doctrinal problems are extreme legalism with an emphasis on outward conforming, strict dress codes etc. They do indeed teach a form of Kingdom Now. They also over-emphasis deliverance and the casting out of demons.

Outwardly they appear very attractive since they hold to the fundamentals, everything is orderly, people appear to live very holy and segregated lives, people serve with apparent zeal and devotion etc.

The biggest problem is their spiritual abuse. Although they are not doctrinally cultish, their practice and operation is psychographically cultish. They manifest all the evils of cults and abusive churches. These include:

  1. Believers have no right to make any decisions in their lives – the decisions are handed through the hierarchy. These include, choice of careers, marriage partners, buying & selling houses, dress, overseas travel etc.
  2. Believers are expected to live in poverty, giving all their time and resources to the organization, while the leaders live in luxury
  3. Discipline is extremely harsh and does include public flogging of children and young people that do not conform. There have been reports of adults also being flogged but this could not be confirmed. Isolation bordering on imprisonment is a method that is frequently used to drive “demons”, addictions and even bad attitudes from people.
  4. Excommunication is typical of cults which require parents to shun children and visa versa. This also includes rebellious spouses. Shunning means absolutely no contact. The outcast is regarded as having denied the faith even if they are genuinely saved and continue to serve the Lord elsewhere.
  5. Mind control. Through the use of fear they dominate and control the thinking and minds of the followers. This fear includes fear of God, the leaders, being shunned and hell. 

This group is very dangerous and they exhibit all the typical problems of cults such as the Moonies, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Mormons etc. It is extremely difficult for people to leave once they have been assimilated. Once they leave, they will need the help of councilor experienced in deprogramming cult victims for several years. They will certainly struggle with severe fear, depression, anxiety, rejection etc etc. These symptoms last a minimum of three years but some aspects will continue for the rest of their lives.

People are attracted to them for the same reasons that people are attracted to other cults: Their zeal, devotion, holiness and the structure and order.

I hope this clarifies the situation. You need to warn this person to stay away before she is sucked in. Every day she stays in touch with them, the danger increases.

Kind regards