Ecclesiastic Terrorism

[Video was taken by Brian Standerfer and is posted on his blog as “Schaffranek’d” and on YouTube.]

It happened! The church I was preaching at this morning got Schaffraneked. Horst Shaffranek’s German cult that I told you about yesterday, sent followers around the UK to infiltrate churches and create a disturbance in order to deliver their prophecies. Two German ladies, followers of Horst, turned up right at the end of my sermon and as soon as I had finished, they launched into their routine . . . the same routine that has got Horst’s followers kicked out of churches and events [and even a funeral] all over Europe.

Once, or so I read, they had to be escorted by police. I had thought of warning the police before the service but decided we could handle it ourselves.

Honestly . . its quite traumatic. People were really shaken up. One lady was in tears. But we were half expecting them to turn up and God had prepared us for them. As you will see in the video, I had some overhead slides on Keynote that I projected during their outburst. I didn’t want to compete in a shouting contest and figured i might as well give people something to read while the ladies gave their word. I used some info from Evangelical Times as well as 4 accounts from yesterday’s comments.

Here is my first slide:

Horstslide

One of the ladies complained that we cannot trust the internet and that this document was 2003 . .. as if being a cult in 2003 is not relevant anymore . . . but i then showed the comments that came in last night and this morning. The two German ladies were quite taken back that information about their sect/cult was displayed on the overhead. They tried handing out their literature to the church people but no one really wanted it.

I offer these same resources here in case your church gets a visit and you need some reading material for your congregation. The movies are self-playing and change slides every 20 seconds. Set them on a loop. If you are preaching, you may want to add them to the end of your presentation just in case they visit your church.

[PDF] Download horst.pdf

[Powerpoint] Download horst.ppt

[Quicktime movie] Download horst.mov

[AVI movie] Download horst.avi

The 3 elders of Stromness Baptist church were great. They had already talked to the ladies and told them they could speak after the service IF they came before the service and passed on their “prophecy” to them beforehand – something that they decided NOT to do – which actually was not a surprise to anyone here.

What really shut the ladies up was the worship leaders (Mark Shiner the harp maker and his wife Kate) starting up some vigorous singing. Mark said later that he had never heard them sing so LOUDLY!!!

Anyway, take a look at the video taken by Brian Standerfer who happened to be standing right behind them. As far as I know, this is the first video anyone has ever caught of this group’s ecclesiastic terrorism in 20 years.

Dscf1219

I spoke to them afterwards. This German lady told me I was full of sin and needed to break it in my own life. I agreed and told her I do this daily. But then she said we should be sinless, without sin because of Jesus. I asked her if she was without sin about 4 times but she never answered my question. I guess ‘sinless perfection” is another of their beliefs.

Eventually they left. And when they were gone, James asked me to get up and talk to the church. Which I did, sharing what i had learned the previous day, complimenting them on the excellent way they handled themselves, and leading them in a prayer. This was quite a healing and completing kind of experience and was much needed.

Anyway, we are guessing they will hit Kirkwall Baptist tonight. Angus, the German teacher who was in our service this morning, will be at Kirkwall tonight and i am sure will be perfectly equipped to deal with them if they come and if they do their thing. And other church members have gone out to warn the other local churches. I guess the whole incident has caused us to work together as one body . .. which of course we are.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

44 Comments

  • The man who was trying to force them to sit down was a bit strange… But I understand his reaction somehow. Well I think you handled it well, but to be honest I wouldn’t have invited them into any congregation. πŸ˜‰

  • the man who was forcing them down is a former policeman and currently a school teacher.- really nice guy who leads worship – understand the the atmosphere was very intense and freaky for those that did not know what was going on.
    the other guy who says “dont touch me” is also a primary school teacher
    i didnt say this but the two ladies also interrupted the childrens time of interaction and this probably also elicited a response from one of the teachers.

  • Andrew, I feel for you. I cannot imagine speaking and being interrupted in this manner. I can’t understand how anyone things that this kind of methodology is conducive to their message in any way. Amazing…

  • Wow. My initial reaction to the video was one of tears. Not sure why excatly, I just felt an over bearing sense of fragmentation between those of us that “act” in the name of Christ. I believe the incident was handled quite well, however I feel/felt moved by what I presume to be “lostness” of the ladies speaking.

  • I have experienced a number of weird moments like this over the years. Darn – I’m jealous. This is good ol’ book of Acts stuff. πŸ˜‰
    I think that such experiences like this led us to a very interactive, open church model. Your people must be used to a relatively open model, because they appeared to handle this as mature, yet open Christians. The church has a wonderful way of being a self-healing organism, and a self-correcting one as well.
    I only wish I could have heard what they were saying on the video. This is a good heads up for us all.

  • A worship leader with a loud guitar is useful for dealing with all kinds of interruptions. But Christmas music? Already?

  • Wow… what an experience for you and the church. It was handled very well and will be stoking conversations well into the New Year.
    What I appreciate from this is the way you have informed others of their ways… power the tinterweb and all that.
    Blessings

  • man… kuddos to ya for handling that with such grace. i’ll remember to sing a christmas song too next time i find myself in a similar situation.

  • well done andrew.
    it seems to me that they are more aggressive over here in germany, but i really like the idea of being prepared and having some material on the screens.

  • Andrew, I just wanted to let you know that we will be in prayer over this. The Lord was certainly was with you during this “event”.

  • Weird.
    It’s great that you had the heads-up on them being around beforehand, finding out info, and that you’re spreading the word around to other churches in the area. That definitely sounds like family looking out for each other.

  • Andrew, while I certainly understand the desire of you and the elders at that church to “protect the flock”, I can’t help but feeling while watching this video that a process was short-circuited.
    In one of your admonitions to the lady speaking, you quoted Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 14 that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophets.
    However, wouldn’t you agree that, in context, that statement is made with regard to weighing prophecies that have been spoken, not in forbidding someone to speak?
    In light of Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth (which it appears were what you and the others were trying to follow), wouldn’t it have been more proper to let her speak, and then have the prophecy weighed by other prophets?
    Sorry that my first comment here on your blog is a contradictory one. But this seemed like a necessary question to ask.
    steve πŸ™‚
    ———
    {TSK] Steve, yes. I am not on the leadership of this church btw. The elders gave them permission to speak as i posted earlier, under certain conditions – sharing before the service with them and then speaking to a bigger group later. But they came 15 minutes before the service ended and then broke into the end of the sermon on the first interruption and then the childrens presentation on the second.
    that is not subject to anyone or anything except themselves.
    the church they tried to hijack later that day were warned by our towns people and they did not allow them to speak at all, or even get near the front.

  • pretty weird stuff
    what would you do differently in hindsight?
    it raises some very interesting questions:
    – should they have been refused permission to come?
    – if so what would that say about ‘the church?’
    – Steve’s qn is a good one too
    I’d be interested in your reflections ‘the day after’.
    I probably wouldn’t have a lot of patience for rude people interuppting me, so glad it wasn’t me!

  • TSK,
    Wendy & I were just re-watching the video, and Wendy reminded me that we had similar run-ins with people like that here in Canada about ten years ago. They weren’t part of Horst’s crew, but similar methodology, trying to use “prophecy” to hijack the service and spread their own ideas and supposed “authority”.
    Or just phoning people and trying to tie them up in knots with their “superior anointing” that coincidentally made all leaders jealous of them (which explained why they weren’t accepted).
    We discovered that even praying quietly under our breath for the silencing of unclean spirits was VERY effective in shutting them up (on the phone, anyway).
    Your slides were excellent, and a brilliant way of refocusing the congregation — but the worship leaders were even more effective!
    ——-
    [TSK] yes – i was pretty useless in the shouting match and they did the right thing. and yes – warfare through worship was on his mind also.

  • I do not get it, the guy who physically forces one lady down and tells the other to sit down is abusing these women, and he the worship leader.
    Im sorry, where is Jesus in all this, just looks like a whole load of fear manifesting itself in actual physical abuse.
    ———
    [TSK} no, Dave. he was not leading worship today. he is one of the church members and was making it clear that they should sit down – that they did NOT have permission to speak.
    i should have probably yelled it more clearly from the stage because these ladies refused to stop talking . . and i am glad he did not have to carry them out.
    Abuse????? no!

  • Hi Andrew and his church.
    You and your church did a great job.
    I think, the right to speak at or to the church, is a matter of deserve. Nobody has the right to stand up and “prophecy” without asking at least the pastor, or the elders for permission. Or someone who is a longtherm church member, with a history of a servant and a long list of “good” things he/she has done for people in the flock. Prophecies from someone outside the church, should only be a fact of encouragement, empowerment and confirmation and should go along with the bible.
    If someone shows up in your flock, and all of a sudden attack the church with something they call prophecy, but is no ecouragement or doesn’t match-up with the line the church follows. This person is an intruder and a big danger, especially if they don’t recieve the request from the pastor. Such people need to be faced in a very strong way. Good to have former policemen at the church.

  • That was incredible! I thought it was brilliant to begin with the singing and have everyone join them in standing. They seemed to be absorbed into the crowd when everyone stood.
    Nicely done.

  • To be honest: I find the whole situation quite embarrassing, both the interruption, and the way it was handled (‘oversinging it’). Think it would have been wisdom to not give them an entrance at all. Why give a platform to false teachers, people who you know are brainwashed?
    Btw, I don’t find Thomas’ instructions very helpful. Of course prophets (or anyone sharing) should speak in a right spirit, but these guidelines are way too rigid, and also unbiblical in the way I understand the ecclesia and the prophetic ministry is meant to function.

  • Wow, that is a great way to deal with crazies. I applaud you for the way you handled the situation, It couldn’t have been handled any better. Using worship music to stop them from spreading lies.

  • Thanks for sharing that with us, I appreciate your openness. My prayers are with you and the church as you continue to reflect.
    (BTW It doesn’t look like abuse from the church to the “invaders” it looks like the “invaders” abused a community.)

  • marc – they came in the last 15 minutes of the service and we were not sure if they would come or not. there were also some in the church who thought they might have a message from God since they had talked with them on saturday.
    do you block people from your church before you have heard them out?
    and the church did NOT give them a platform. they were not permitted by teh elders to speak during my sermon [i am a visiting preacher – not a church member and not an elder or deacon] but they jumped up anyway
    i dont think there was anyway to prevent this.
    they were given a chance and they blew it at this church, but they were physically prevented from the other baptist church that evening.

  • Hi Andrew – just to say my two teenage boys were at the disrupted service and were both very impressed with the calm but authoritative manner in which things were handled. Clearly thorough preparation also helps! It was quite a subject of conversation all afternoon and I think – if nothing else – does show them that the faith is worth contending for against forces that would try to knock us off course. We did have a visit at Kirkwall Baptist Church in the evening but there was no disruption – just handing out leaflets and speaking to people, which is ok anyway. Well done for holding things together so calmly and looking after the flock!

  • Nobody really knows what they would do were the same to occur in their church. These people are nutters of the first degree. Well done for your reponse – standing up together worked well. Barring them may have been a better option…or perhaps a bare knuckle fist fight (only joking!)

  • thanks Les. Glad things worked out in Kirkwall.
    It was really a team effort here in Stromness and everyone played their role in an emergent way. People prayed, i researched, mark sang, men stood up, elders spoke up, bloggers (Brian) videoed the occasion so that other churches could also be better prepared.
    hope your sons were not too freaked out. people will be talking about this for a long time.
    now to read the letter of Jude and see what he was talking about . . .

  • I thought it was handled quite well – though by the slightly detached perspective of the vidcam i could see how the reactions to them could come across as strange – but then OTOH as you said the atmosphere was strong enough to upset a lot of people who were there.
    Two random things that occurred to me whilst watching it:
    Once you pronounced the name correctly I realised that I had encountered these people before – in East London a few years ago.
    The impression from your posts over time has been that Christianity in the Orkneys is pretty vibrant – but it was one thing hearing about it – and another seeing it for how vibrant it really is. You have a bunch of good people up there πŸ™‚

  • chris. thanks. but this is not “my church” in the way you think. the church in stromness manifests in many different aggregations and this one is the baptist church on sunday.
    but you are right – we are part of a great community of Jesus followers here in Orkney. yes!

  • On Order, Leadership, and Prophecy

    One of the questions that often gets raised regarding simple church is how to handle teaching and prophecy that comes into an open, participatory meeting. The thinking seems to be that, with open participation, it is too possible for wrong doct…

  • here is Pastor Don Currie’s comment from the next post. i am reposting it here because it is very relevant . .
    “Hi, I’m Don Currie, the Minister of Kirkwall Baptist Church. Following the experience of our friends at Stromness Baptist, we were Schaffranek’d at our Evening Service, but not nearly as badly as Stromness was. On Saturday night (9th) I received a text message and an email from different local church leaders advising me of the German visitors and of their modus operandi – to disrupt services. I then received a small battery of phone calls (genuine thanks to those who phoned!) from our pals in Stromness about what had happened on Sunday morning. So, forewarned was forearmed. I advised several of our Deacons and Stewards as well as our Guest Preacher that there was the potential for disruption. We had in the order of 200 folks at our Carols by Candlelight Service – it was a pack out and a great service and I’m very grateful that there as no disruption to the service. However, our German visitors then appeared at coffee time after the service and began to pick people off and talk to them and give them their literature. I moved in, didn’t mess about, told them who I was and intimated that they were not welcome to proselytise at our service. I was told I had sin in my life – well, there’s a great revelation!!!! – I told them that we had contacted the local police because we were concerned about the potential for disruption at a public service of worship. When I went to get my phone and they saw I wasn’t kidding, they moved out to the street and continued to pick off some more vulnerable people and give their unwelcome literature. These folks are bad news and evangelical Christians should be aware that they are, at best, an unwelcome – and typically uninvited – and annoying influence who are best kept at arm’s length.
    Don Currie”

  • re: “sinless perfection.” the story is told of a woman who went to talk with Charles Spurgeon, a well-known pastor. at one point, she told him she hadn’t sinned in decades. to which Spurgeon reportedly responded, “you must be proud of yourself.”
    re: disruptive and contemptuous people in the churches – whether they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” or “sheep in wolf’s clothing” (think about it …), are we not bound to protect the flock? either type of infiltrator can wound us. but, as in other kinds of traumatization, how we respond in the immediate aftermath is critical to how much long-term damage develops. sounds as if the leaders and people did many things that were reasonable to shield the body from harm. commendations to you in a handling well as possible a very difficult situation.

  • Hi Andrew,
    hard enough, that something like that happens. But evan harder, if you get reprimanded for not being cool in this (by brothers). I think you’ve done a great job! Bless you man – and keep your daily confessions, you sinning but forgiven brother! πŸ˜‰ Love
    rob

  • I am the Priest-in-Charge at St. Olaf’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Kirkwall. On Saturday 9th, they called at the Rectory and spoke with my wife whilst I was attending Synod in Aberdeen. They requested to take part in our service on Sunday morning. My wife, however, advised them that it was probably too short notice. When asked as to which denomination/tradition they represented they proved rather vague, claiming to be simply ‘missionaries from Germany’.
    Immediately before our Sunday morning Eucharist they arrived at church, again politely requesting if it would be possible to address the congregation. Again, the duo – who introduced themselves as Ortrud Wiewinner and Julianna Toteberg – seemed hesitant as to their tradition. However, not wishing to appear uncharitable, I did agree that they could speak for a literally two minutes at the beginning.
    After the lighting of our Advent wreath candles I invited them to come forward. They sang a brief song (in German)and thereafter explained its meaning, before telling us that “Jesus loved us all” (Something of a coals to Newcastle approach in a Christian church!)
    They then left us, leaving us all rather bemused.
    I confess to having harboured suspicions that they were possibly members of a cult or something similar, but as we all agreed after the service, it might have seemed a tad uncharitable, perhaps even un-Christian to have refused them some time.
    What they said (not surprisingly one might add with hindsight and acknowledgement of how these cults operate..) was not controversial or contentious.
    Whilst recognising the very real dangers that such cults pose, I do, however, feel that their attending church services was less threatening than had they been infiltrating youth clubs, schools or other venues largely patronised by young people…not that we do not have young people in our churches!
    Having now read Eryl Davies’ article on evangelical-times.org concerning Herr Schaffranek, I appreciate the concerns being aired. Both he and his ‘disciples’, including the poor, misguided Julianna Toteberg and Ortrud Wiewinner, are deserving of our prayers…something of loving the sinner but hating the sin.
    Revd. David Dawson

  • hey…it’s erika from texas…when i read this on brian and whitney’s blog…i came on over here to read your thoughts on it…as i did…i thought of the scripture…from the message…matthew 5:10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
    …and the verses that follow are pretty cool, too…
    anyway…i first thought of the verse…and then of your kiddos…and then i remembered them one by one…and my hope is that the people in the church in scotland have the strenth, courage, and wisdom that your children have…if they do…they’ll heal beautifully…
    texas-sized thoughts of your community…

  • Andrew, I do appreciate the grace that was shown to these women as many others who have commented. But, upon watching the video, I was grieved that the demons they were manifesting were not soundly dealt with (or at least did not appear to be). Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Satan showed up with skirts on (smiles).

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