Saturday, 6 August 2016

History - Carl Klibbe



Carl George Klibbe (December 1852 – May 1931)

Carl (Karl) George Klibbe was born in the Pomeranian village of Ossecken on December 25th, 1852. He was originally a minister in the Lutheran Church.

Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer (1853 – 1920) was born in Schladen im Harz. He was “sealed” in 1864 by “apostle” Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss. He became a “priest” and in 1883 at age 30 he was sent as an “evangelist” by “apostle” Friedrich Krebs to Australia.

Carl George Klibbe emigrated with his family to Scotland, and eventually from there to Australia.


Carl George Klibbe

In Hatton Vale, a town in the state of Queensland, Carl George Klibbe met “evangelist” Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer once again, having met before in Germany. Carl George Klibbe and his family were “sealed” in Australia.

Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer was ordained as an “apostle” by “apostle” Friedrich Krebs and “apostle” F.W. Menkhoff in Germany on July 25th, 1886.

Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer

In 1889 “apostle” Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer commissioned “evangelist” Carl George Klibbe to travel to and establish the New Apostolic Church in South Africa.

Carl George Klibbe and his family went via sailing ship from Australia to South Africa and en-route his son Herman (John) George was born at sea.

When they landed in Cape Town he bought a small-holding at Bellville and later moved and purchased a farm at Worcester because he depended on farming for his livelihood. His testimony was limited to the sparse population of German immigrants in Cape Town and Worcester because he could only speak German. When his missionary work bore no fruit he turned his attention to Berlin, 60km from East London.

In East London there were many German-speaking people and in the year 1892 a congregation emerged to become the first New Apostolic congregation in South Africa.

As a result, “apostle” Heinrich Niemeyer nominated Carl George Klibbe to become an “apostle” and Carl George Klibbe was called to be an “apostle” by the “Apostle College” in Europe in a letter dated July 8th, 1893.

The congregation grew to 70 members who then built a chapel in Southernwood from their own means.

In 1895 “apostle” Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz and “apostle” Friedrich Wilhelm Menkhoff died. In 1897 “apostle” Friedrich Krebs received the calling to lead the church as “chief apostle”.

In 1901 a shoemaker by the name of Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff visited the congregation with his family. They were “sealed” by “apostle” Carl George Klibbe in 1902. On December 25th, 1902, “apostle” Carl George Klibbe ordained Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff as a “deacon” and commissioned him to move to Cape Town in another attempt to establish the New Apostolic Church there.

Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff

Financial difficulties followed for the congregation in East London, many members left and the congregation was forced to sell the chapel they had built.

As a result of the financial losses, “apostle” Carl George Klibbe left East London and bought a farm in iMvani, a small railway siding 160km from East London.

iMvani 1903

In the meantime “deacon” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff arrived in Cape Town in January 1903 and held services in his home at 41 Argyle Street in Woodstock. By April 10th, 1904, he was able to invite “apostle” Carl George Klibbe to “seal” new members in Cape Town.

In 1905 “chief apostle” Friedrich Krebs died. He was then succeeded by “chief apostle” Hermann Christoph Niehaus. In 1906 “apostle” Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer from Australia went to visit the “chief apostle” and encouraged “apostle” Carl George Klibbe to do likewise.


The home of “evangelist” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff became too small and a hall in Station road, Claremont, was hired until a nearby plot of ground was purchased in Palmyra road. Here a church was built and dedicated by “apostle” Carl George Klibbe on June 4th, 1906.

Palmyra road, Claremont, Cape Town

Services were almost entirely held in German and the church was sometimes called the German Apostolic Church.

Two immigrants from Holland in 1904, Christiaan and Jacobus Kreunen, were “sealed” in Cape Town at the beginning of 1907. Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen, the eldest brother, was ordained as a “priest” to assist “evangelist” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff in reaching the Dutch speaking residents in Cape Town.

Most of the people in iMvani also spoke Dutch or Cape Dutch. Because of this, “apostle” Carl George Klibbe requested “evangelist” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff to send “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen to assist him in iMvani. Without further ado “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen and his family moved to Queenstown in 1907. He was later joined by his brother, Jacobus Kreunen.

In 1908 “apostle” Carl George Klibbe held a farewell service on his farm in iMvani and set out on his journey to go meet the “chief apostle”, following the example of “apostle” Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer from Australia and the other “apostles”. He left by ship from Cape Town and in his absence, “evangelist” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff cared for the church. It was many months later when a jubilant “apostle” Carl George Klibbe returned back to South Africa.


Unfortunately on his arrival back at his farm in iMvani he found that his crops had failed and many of his livestock had died. He had to sell his farm and was left destitute. Fortunately “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen offered him and his family accommodation in his home in Queenstown.

The Church was incorporated under Act 31 of 1909 (Transvaal) known as the New Apostolic Church (Africa) under the leadership of “apostle” Carl George Klibbe.

Financial stress in Queenstown was a motivating factor to move elsewhere. Opportunities looked better in Johannesburg and “apostle” Carl George Klibbe asked “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen to accompany him to Johannesburg. Once again “apostle” Carl George Klibbe resided with “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen in his home in Jeppe. Services for the two families were also held in his home until a vacant shop was rented for services. Because “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen understood Dutch, a congregation was soon founded in La Rochelle and services were conducted in an old bakery.

In 1910 in Cape Town, “apostle” Carl George Klibbe ordained “evangelist” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff as a “bishop”. This ordination was later rescinded by “apostle” Carl George Klibbe to “district elder” which caused some confusion, and “district elder” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff wrote to “chief apostle” Hermann Christoph Niehaus for clarity on this matter.

In the meantime “priest” Christiaan Hendrik Kreunen’s younger brother Jacobus got married and “apostle” Carl George Klibbe called him to move to Pretoria. Jacobus Kreunen moved to Pretoria in 1911. He was then ordained as “underdeacon” and then as “deacon”. He was later ordained as “priest” as his congregation grew and services were held in a hall in Schoeman street, Pretoria.

Back in Germany, the “chief apostle” Hermann Christoph Niehaus tried to strengthen his position and introduced new reforms whereof a conflict occurred. After a general “apostles” meeting in 1911, “apostle” Heinrich Friedrich Niemeyer from Australia was excommunicated.

Reasons for Apostolic Church of Queensland breakaway:
1) Establishment of the office of chief apostle
2) Personality cult that formed around the chief apostle

What happened in Germany and Australia seems to have had a knock-on effect on “apostle” Carl George Klibbe. He started returning all mail received from “chief apostle” Hermann Christoph Niehaus unopened, clearly indicating his severance from the “chief apostle” and “apostle unity”.

An invitation was extended to “district elder” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff by “chief apostle” Hermann Christoph Niehaus to visit Germany. In 1913 “apostle” Carl George Klibbe was informed that he was excommunicated according to the Articles of Association of the New Apostolic Church (Africa) 1910.

On September 21st, 1913, Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff was ordained as an “apostle” while visiting in Germany.

The congregations in Jeppe and Benoni remained loyal to Carl George Klibbe, the congregations in Pretoria and La Rochelle accepted the leadership under “apostle” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff.

On October 16th, 1913, Carl George Klibbe sent a letter to his “fourfold officers” in which he clearly stated that he believed that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again (Klibbe's letter).

In 1914 World War 1 was declared. German subjects in South Africa were interned and forced to leave their homes and face imprisonment in concentration camps. The war lasted until 1918.

There was confusion and bitter conflict because there appeared to be two “New Apostolic” churches, one led by “apostle” Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schlaphoff and the other led by the excommunicated Carl George Klibbe.

According to the official Witwatersrand court settlement papers (pages 1 and 2):
…Carl George Klibbe did in the year 1915 sever all connection with and declared its independence from the New Apostolic Church, whose headquarters is in Germany which is subject to the jurisdiction of the Apostle College and Apostle Unity and under the leadership of Herman Niehaus of Quelle, Germany… (Court Case 432 of 1926).


1915 is 10 years after Hermann Christoph Niehaus became “chief apostle”; and Friedrich Krebs was “chief apostle” even before Hermann Christoph Niehaus.

This matter could only be settled in court and the German-based New Apostolic Church eventually took legal action against Carl George Klibbe in 1926. The court hearing was on December 26th, 1926. The Supreme Court of S.A. (Witwatersrand Local Division - Case 432 of 1926) ruled that he was not to use the name ʺNew Apostolic Churchʺ. As a result of this ruling, Carl George Klibbe renamed his movement the ʺOld Apostolic Churchʺ. In June 1927 Carl George Klibbe registered his church as “The Old Apostolic Church of Africa”.

Reasons for OAC breakaway [Church History of the Old Apostolic Church for Sunday School]:

  •          Niehaus’ ban on prophetic gifts (visions, dreams and prophecies)*
  •          Niehaus’ refusal to appoint “prophets”**
  •          Niehaus’ acceptance of the literal interpretation of the Bible***
  •          Acceptance by Niehaus that the Second Coming is a future, literal event****
  •          Establishment of the office of chief apostle
  •          Personality cult that formed around the chief apostle
  •          The rise of German nationalism within the German church*****

Ernest Frederick Wilhelm Ninow was ordained by Carl George Klibbe before his death (May 21st, 1931) as “apostle” and successor, becoming chairman (leading apostle – primus inter pares) and leader of the OAC (Old Apostolic Church: History of the Western Cape District; Church History of the Old Apostolic Church for the Sunday School). This position was only abolished in 1984. Nowadays a chairman is elected for a period of two years only.

Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? What’s in a word anyway?
  • Chairman – person chosen to preside (occupy chair of authority; exercise control, sit or reign supreme) over meetings
  • Chief – leader, ruler; head of tribe, clan, etc.
  • Leader – person that holds a dominant or superior position, the one in charge
  • Primus inter pares – Latin phrase meaning “first among equals”
Maybe it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other?

Additional notes:

*        Bans of prophetic gifts existed even before Niehaus as well as in the OAC. The end of the Catholic Apostolic Church's “prophetical” element was underlined by the adoption in 1843 of an elaborate new liturgy. During a meeting at Albury in 1860, the German “prophet” Heinrich Geyer called two “evangelists” to be “apostles”. After deliberation, the Catholic Apostolic Church “apostles” rejected this calling and affirmed that no further callings to the “apostolate” would be accepted. Then in the Hamburg Congregation, Heinrich Geyer the “prophet” had already called the coal dealer Johannes F.L. Güldner as an “apostle” in a private meeting four months before “apostle” Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss' death. Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss had refused to recognize this calling and, on his deathbed, designated “elder” Wichmann as his successor. In January, 1972 the “apostle” Robert Lombard was excommunicated from the OAC in part due to a dispute with the OAC apostolate concerning a revelation received by “apostle” Robert Lombard [Harry H. Martin, I tell you the truth, 2009, page 58].

**      The refusal to appoint “prophets” was even before Niehaus. After 1872 “apostle” Friedrich Krebs, in his quest for the “Unity of the apostles” abolished the callings by mouth of the “prophets” and declared the office of “prophet” redundant, for “apostle” Friedrich Krebs would from then on appoint the most important ministers himself.

***    The literal interpretation of the Bible existed even before Niehaus. Edward Irving earnestly preached that the end of the world was nigh and that the church had sinned grievously by not instituting all the posts as he literally interpreted them in Ephesians 4:11 - particularly the apostolate. He pleaded for the immediate introduction of this post so that the “apostle” designate could “seal” the believers for salvation. The Catholic Apostolic Church’s ministry was exclusively male, based on their literal interpretation of the headship of the man over the woman as laid down in the book of Genesis. A Catholic Apostolic Church “bishop” was titled "angel" based on their literal interpretation of Revelation 1:20. The Catholic Apostolic Church’s hierarchy of “angels”, “priests” and “deacons” was not considered sufficient to perfect the “saints” based on their literal interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Some examples of literal interpretation still applied in the OAC today are; the offer box for the tithes (Malachi 3:10) with a hole in the lid being placed on the right hand side of the pulpit (2 Kings 12:9), women wear hats to church (1 Corinthians 11:5-6), only married men are allowed to become officers (1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 3:12) and preach (1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11-12), and of course Edward Irving’s literal interpretation of Ephesians 4:11 on the need for an “apostle”, “prophet” and “evangelist” (apostles today).

****  The Second Coming as a future, literal event was accepted even before Niehaus. Edward Irving declared that there will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and then Jesus would literally return. The main point of the Catholic Apostolic Church’s gospel was that the Church had deviated from its origins and only through restoring the “Universal Church” to its perfect state could the literal return of Christ be ensured. The Catholic Apostolic Church believed that the Holy Spirit was to prepare them for the literal return of Christ which they expected imminently. The liturgy of the New Apostolic Church was originally consistent with the liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church. In 1902 “elder” Julius Fischer came into conflict with “chief apostle” Friedrich Krebs regarding the future second coming of Jesus Christ. According to “elder” Julius Fischer, Jesus Christ had already returned in the re-established “apostle” office and according to him, there was no future second coming. As a result of his views, “chief apostle” Friedrich Krebs removed “elder” Julius Fischer from office. In the same way as Protestantism and Catholicism, the Second Coming of Christ as a future, literal event is at the forefront of the New Apostolic doctrine.

*****This is ironic as Carl George Klibbe was born and raised in Germany, could only speak German and his first congregations consisted mostly of German-speaking immigrants from Germany.

12 comments:

  1. Flawed reasoning. You are using the strawman argument.

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    1. Please elaborate on your reason for saying this.

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  2. You quoted extensively from the NAC version of events that is extremely biased and faulty, trying to paint the Chief Apostle and Schlaphoff in a positive light. Your mistake is that Ap. Klibbe was not removed from office in accordance with the Articles of Association of the New Apostolic Church (Africa) as this particular document stated that Klibbe could not be removed from office. There neither was any court case. It was a settlement reached between parties. Please check the valadity of your sources by consulting Primary Texts, such as the above mentioned Articles of Association.

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    1. The court hearing was on December 26th, 1926. The Supreme Court of S.A. (Witwatersrand Local Division - Case 432 of 1926). Copy of the document can be seen here: http://www.oldapostolicforum.co.za/witwatersrand.html

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    2. Man cannot decide the things of God :-)

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  3. By 1910 the church under Klibbe expanded to English and Afrikaans speaking people. There is also evidence of the existence of black congregations as far back as 1908, and it was reported in the Dutch congregations newsletter. Klibbe by that time had accepted British citizenship. German Nationalism grew in the first decade of the 20th century and culilated into the First World War. Ap. Klibbe, even though he was of German origin decided that the church would stay neutral in this conflict.

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    1. In 1904 Klibbe sent a Xhosa-speaking brother Malachi to New Brighton near Port Elizabeth to work among the Xhosa people there. Unfortunately there are still strong racist undertones in the OAC. An example is how “avondmaal” was changed from a shared cup for the whole community to the more clinical use of tweezers to dip the matzo bread in the grape juice. This because white members did not like the idea of black lips touching the same cup they would have to drink from. Declaring oneself to be neutral during a conflict may sound very noble but the OAC didn’t exactly stay neutral during Apartheid now, did they?

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    2. Yeah, about those racial undertones. I remember investigating the OAC-offshoot Twelve Apostles Church of Africa; although no mention is made on their website anymore, at the time (a few years ago) they essentially said they were mainly a church for people of colour. Basically, OAC for black people.

      Check this though!
      http://www.twelveapostlescc.org/History_of_TACC.php

      "Apostle Klibbe died on 22 May 1931. He was succeeded by Apostle C.F.W. Ninow who was the first Apostle to appoint a black Apostle, Apostle S Hlatshwayo in 1953. Apostle S. Hlatshwayo, together with his wife, founded the women’s movement in 1954.

      In 1966, Apostle Ninow was succeeded by Apostle Ndlovu, who had been anointed in 1961. The presence of black Apostles led to acute problems in what was predominantly a “white” Church during the apartheid era of South African history and there were many difficulties and much resentment towards both Apostle Hlatshwayo and Apostle Ndlovu. These problems resulted in attempts being made to charge Apostle Ndlovu with fraud and to have him removed from office. In 1968 he had a revelation, which led to him founding “Twelve Apostles Church of Africa”."

      He had a revelation... lol that is precisely how cults get started.

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    3. Isn't it funny how denominations and cults all have a particular man/woman who starts them?

      Roman Catholics - Emperor Constantine *
      Islam - Muhammad *
      Anglican Church - King Henry VIII
      Dutch Reformed Church - John Calvin
      Methodist Church - John/Charles Wesley
      Presbyterian Church - John Knox
      Mormonism - Joseph Smith *
      Christian Science - Mary Baker Eddy *
      Christadelphians - John Thomas
      Seventh Day Adventists - Ellen G White *
      Jehovahs Witnesses - Charles Taze Russell
      Shembe - Isaiah Shembe *
      ZCC - Engenas Lekganyane *
      St Johns Apostolic Faith Mission - Christinah Nku *
      OAC - Carl Klibbe
      (and these are just a few of many)

      * = they claimed "special revelation from God" to start their religion/cult

      Indeed you can pretty much trace all denominations back to Catholicism (the mother of harlots in Revelation 17:5, hence if RCC is the mother of harlots then there must be offspring = little harlots), and trace Catholicism back to Babylon.

      A good sermon about church/cult foundations is on here.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnw-1QTiUq8

      And an awesome sermon on cults, using Jim Jones as the basis but right at the end you start recognising other cults, such as OAC, in the pointers...
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv4nsR3rtak

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    4. I can't really comment on the other churches as I have no experience with them, the OAC is the one I grew up with. I think some people are more concerned about the "lable" of their so-called church than about Jesus. I'm wary of any man-made organization calling themselves a church.

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  4. Apostle Ninow died in 1951, so how did he appoint Apostle Ndlovu in 1966? guys you feeding people false information.

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    1. There were several “apostle” Ninows.
      Carl Friedrick Wilhelm Ninow died in 1951.
      His brother, Ernest Frederick Wilhelm Ninow died in 1966.
      Both of them were ordained as “apostles” in the OAC.
      Ernest Frederick Wilhelm Ninow’s son, H. H. Ninow was also ordained as an “apostle” in 1960.
      Jim Scotch Ndlovu was ordained as an “apostle” in 1961 to succeed “apostle” Samuel K. Hlatswayo.

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