By Paul K. Williams
In September 1986 brother Solomon Mzolo phoned me. He is 53 years old, was converted about 1959 by the preaching of brother John Hardin, and has been preaching most of the time since. When the split came in South Africa (1963), he aligned himself with the institutional brethren.
However, some things happened in the Edendale, Pietermaritzburg church which disturbed brother Mzolo. This is the church which runs the preacher training school for blacks and is, therefore, the most influential of the black churches in the province of Natal. They had a youth camp, and brother Mzolo did not agree with what they were doing.
I began making trips to Greytown to teach him and the small church which meets in his house. He drove (2 hours) to Eshowe on two occasions to worship with the church here.
Then he arranged a meeting for Saturday night, March 7, at a school in Greytown. He invited his liberal brethren from all over Natal to attend and I spoke concerning institutionalism. Present were more than 40 men from various churches in Natal, plus brother Paddy Kendall-Ball from Pietermaritzburg, and brother Aaron Mthembu and Freddie Mmbengwa who came from Soweto at my invitation. Brother Aaron interpreted for me.
I distributed charts concerning the two main divisions which have occurred in the church in the middle 1800s and the middle 1900s. I tried to show why they occurred, what errors were taught, and what the Bible teaches concerning these things.
When the question period came I faced quite an hostile audience. One black preacher took up most of the time with irrelevant attacks on my supposed actions in America in the 1950s. Then one of the American preachers from Empangeni (near Eshowe) asked, “Paul, do you teach these things to new converts?” I replied with a decided affirmative and he said, “Then you make them two-fold more sons of perdition than they were before they were converted! ” I thought that was a very loving comment coming from one who is always talking about love. The other white preacher, a South African who has a brand-new M.Th. degree from ACU, said that his education was equal to mine and he was sure that the liberal practices were right. I said, “Brian, I am only asking for the Scripture which authorizes youth camps and church entertainment.” He said, “I will give you the Scripture. The Bible says to preach the gospel, and that is what I do when I go to the youth camp.” So now we know what Scripture authorizes church entertainment.
After that meeting brother Mzolo was completely cut off by his former brethren. According to their interpretation of 2 John 9-11 they are not even allowed to say hello to him. When he drove to a nearby congregation he was told to take his car out of the yard. A new congregation was formed in Greytown and for a while brother Mzolo and his family worshiped absolutely alone. Then one by one a few returned to worship with them. One family is also worshiping alone in Kranskop, 50 km. away, rather than worship with the liberal church there.
The Mzolos are standing firm. Brother Mzolo knows that many of his former brethren will start talking to him about these things. He has been one of the best known preachers among them, having established many churches in Natal. We thank God for his steadfastness and are grateful that God has granted him repentance after all these years. We also believe that his example and teaching will help others see the truth.
Brother Mzolo is not in need of financial support. He owns a small grocery shop which is now being leased by another person, and he owns some small houses which he rents out. He is therefore able to go to teach those who make inquiries, and he is eager to do so. He has five children, from 9 to 18 years old, and a wife who is giving him moral support.
Conrad Steyn and George Harris
Brother Ray Votaw will soon be writing an article concerning brother Conrad Steyn, a white liberal preacher who was converted in the early 50s, and his son-in-law George Harris, who have been sponsored by the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston. Rather than agree to letting the Memorial church take the oversight of the congregation where they were preaching in Capetown, they left with about 6 other Christians to take their stand with the Lord. Conrad and George immediately lost their support and are suffering. Brother Steyn is one of the best-known preachers among the liberals in South Africa. He turned to brother Votaw when this problem came up, and brother Votaw gave him much help in his decision.
These developments give us hope that others will also begin questioning the greater and greater departures of the liberals, will study the Scriptures and come to the practice of the New Testament in the work and organization of the church. Pray that this will be so.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 13, p. 396
July 2, 1987