http://english.watv.org/book/joongang_eng/index.aspTopic: Religion | The Secret of Rapid Growth of the Church of God1,350,000 Registered Members, 46 Years After Its Establishment
Even the UN Was Inspired by Their “Volunteer Services for the World”
The World Mission Society Church of God draws attention in the religious world as it has grown rapidly with over 400 local Churches in Korea and 1,100 Churches in 150 overseas nations in the past decade. We visited the center of the Church of God which opened its doors wide for all to see in 46 years, to find the secret of its rapid growth.
- 1. 20,000 members of the Church of God, who hold titles and positions, pose for a picture after finishing an education meeting at the Okcheon Go&Come Training
Institute located in North Chungcheong Province, Korea.
2. On September 10, the 46th overseas visiting group visits the birthplace of the former first lady Yuk Young-soo, which is located in Okcheon, North Chungcheong
Province, Korea, as part of the Korean culture experience.
In the afternoon of September 10, around 200 foreigners visited Okcheon, North Chungcheong Province, Korea, and it was the talk of the town. The foreigners, who visited the former first lady’s birthplace located in Gyodong-ri, Okcheoneup, were all members of the World Mission Society Church of God (whose chief pastor is Kim Joo-cheol). They were the “46th Overseas Visiting Group” from eleven nations: Australia, New Zealand in Oceania, Rep. of South Africa and Zimbabwe in Africa, as well as Asian nations such as Japan, Philippines,Singapore and India.
The reason that they came to Korea was to experience Korean history, culture and lifestyle. The Church of God said, “The overseas members have much interest in Korea where the gospel work started. Visit to the former first lady’s birthplace is meaningful and also helpful for them to understand Korea more by seeing a Korean traditional house.”
The number of the overseas members of the Church of God, who visit Korea, are over 1,000 every year. They come to Korea because Korea is the birthplace of the “Church of God that believes in God Elohim,” and the Head Office of the Church of God is in Korea as well.
90% of Overseas Visiting Members Come to Korea for the First Time, and 80% of the Visitors Are Young Adults or Middle-Aged Adults
- The Nakseom Church in Incheon (left) and the Gwanak Church in Seoul are regarded as holy places of the Church of God.
This year, overseas members continually visited Korea in March, April, May, June and September. This November, around 400 members from North America, South America and Europe are scheduled to visit Korea. Taking into consideration interpretation, lodging, meals and transportation, the Church receives foreign members according to continent and language, and the size of the visiting group is becoming larger and larger. In actuality, around 1,000 members wanted to participate in the 44th overseas visiting group, but they had to reduce the number to 350.
We can easily understand the characteristics of the Church of God through the 44th overseas visiting group who stayed in Korea from May 28 to June 11. Among the 350 members from 73 local Churches in 20 nations located in three continents, over 90% of them were new and had never come to Korea before; they were aware of the country “Korea” through the Church of God. Another characteristic was that 80% of the visitors were young adults and middle-aged adults in their twenties to forties. This is why the Church is full of vitality.
Being classified by nation, they came from various European nations such as Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Russia; and from 30 cities in USA and Canada in North America; and from many nations in Middle and South America such as Peru, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
Daniel Jose Luis, who visited Korea in May from La Paz, Bolivia, expressed his feeling to come to Korea, and it shows well how eagerly overseas members want to visit Korea: “I didn’t care how long it would take to come to Korea?whether a day, a month or a year. I just wanted to see Mother. It is the most important thing in my life.”
Mark Gaebelein who came from Berlin, Germany, in the same month, was overwhelmed, saying, “I only knew a little about Korea through the 2002 World Cup games, but it has become a special country to me because of God the Mother. My dream to meet God has come true by visiting Korea.”
When we listen from the members of the Church of God, overseas members are very moved from the moment they take their first step on the land of Korea. The interview with Jyonny Ordinola from Lima, Peru, shows why.
“I was really surprised when I arrived at the airport. I was a little bit nervous because it was my first time to visit a foreign country, but the Korean members welcomed me with bright smiles and bunches of flowers. Seeing their warm welcome for me, I could feel the love of Heavenly Mother. We have different nationality, race and language, but we are one family?the heavenly family.”
Overseas members stay in Korea for about two weeks. During the period of time, they study the Bible, travel around the holy places of the Church, experience Korean culture and lifestyle, and learn the Korean language. The schedule to experience Korean culture and lifestyle is made according to the interest of the overseas members.
As was mentioned, the 46th overseas visiting group visited the birthplace of the former first lady Yuk Young-soo, N Seoul Tower, Coex Aquarium and other places. When the 44th group came to Korea in May, they visited Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential residence), National Assembly Building, Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul Square, Teheran Street and Cheonggyecheon Stream. They also visited their local Churches in Korea including the New Jerusalem Temple and the Head Office of the Church located in Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi-do, and experienced the history of the Bible through various movies, miniatures and materials displayed at the Church of God History Museum.Even More Amazing Growth in Overseas Nations
The Church of God has advanced not only into non-Christian countries, but also into Europe and America where Christianity is dominant. They say, “There are few places in the world where you cannot find members of the Church of God,” and they are not just saying that. Moreover, the fact that most members of their overseas Churches consist of local people is very unique and different from other Korean churches which only preach to Korean residents overseas.
The Church of God sees January, 1997 as the starting point of their overseas mission, when they established the Los Angeles Church in the United States. In that same year, they established the Lahore Church in Pakistan and the Essen Church in Germany. The next year, the Colombo Church in Sri Lanka, the Tokyo Church in Japan and the Lima Church in Peru were established. In 1999, they advanced to Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2001, they established Church in South America as well as Asia: the Karachi Church in Pakistan, the New Delhi Church in India, the Hong Kong Church, the Sao Paulo Church in Brazil, the Mumbai Church in India, the Buenos Aires Church in Argentina, and the Ontario Church in Canada. The establishment of overseas churches has been accelerating and as of 2010, it has about 1,100 Churches in the world?it is utterly skyrocketing.
The Churches in the United States, which Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol visited in June, show well their fervor for the overseas mission. In New York, the center of the United States which is a Christian country, the number of the members of the Church of God exceeds 1,000. The places for worship soon become too small because the number of members increases quickly, so they unavoidably have to set up small house-churches and office-churches in other places. Currently, 14 house-churches and office-churches have been established in New York.“The Church That Believes in ‘God the Mother’ ”
Chief Pastor Kim visited Nepal in September 2007. That’s because the Churches in Nepal kept asking for the expansion of the Church, and emphasizing the need to build a new temple. The Church of God, which is the oldest church in Nepal, is located in the downtown area of Kathmandu. Since the Church in Nepal was first established in October 1999, ten years have passed and the number of members has rapidly increased even though Nepal is a Hindu country. So they had to branch out many times to nearby regions, and in 2003 they built a new church building.
When Chief Pastor Kim visited Nepal in 2007, there were three Churches in Kathmandu and they were all over-saturated with members. The 1st Kathmandu Church originally seats 1,500 people, but 2,200 people gathered to worship, so they had to set up a tent and sound system in the yard and alley. The neighboring 2nd and 3rd Kathmandu Churches also have 1,200 and 480 members respectively, and they even filled up the hallways and stairs. The Head Office in Korea became aware of these situations, and the 4th and 5th Kathmandu Churches were established in an instant and they continually establish Churches.
There is something special about the Church of God in Nepal. Other Korean Protestant churches usually send missionaries and provide free medical services to the local residents or give them everyday necessities, considering their difficult economy; most of their mission work focuses on giving them material help. On the contrary, the Church of God carries out a Bible-centered mission. Of course, the Church of God is also concerned about the underprivileged people in Nepal. Then, what kind of message does the Church of God preach so overseas people can occupy half of the members of the Church?
“The Church of God that believes in New Jerusalem God the Mother,” “The Church of God that practices the love of Jerusalem Mother,” “The Church of God that delivers the glory of Elohim”?these are the catchphrases appearing like a banner when you open the website of the Church of God (http://english.watv.org). Here, the core phrase is, “The Church of God that believes in God the Mother,” because this shows the true identity.
Ordinary people prick up their ears when they hear the word “God the Mother,” thinking that they have heard wrong. It is natural because they have never heard about it. When the Protestants hear about it, most of them think it’s absurd. That’s because they have only believed in “God the Father,” and it is the core of Christianity?the monotheistic religion. Nevertheless, the Church of God believes in “God the Mother” and preaches her with great conviction. It is needless to say that they find its grounds in the Bible which Christians believe that they can be saved through. The Church of God says that the word “God” in the Hebrew Bible is recorded as a plural noun “Elohim,” not a singular noun “Eloah.” The word “Elohim” means “Gods,” and it refers to God the Father and God the Mother.
The Bible says that when God created the heavens and the earth, he did not refer to himself as “me,” but “us.” The Church says although many people say that they “know” God, only when they know “God the Mother” who is recorded in the Bible along with God the Father, they can say they know God.
The Church explains the existence of God the Mother, giving an example of a family: “In general, a family consists of a father, a mother and their children. The existence of children implies the existence of their father and mother who gave them birth.” And they ask people a common-sense question, “Can a father give birth to his children without a mother?”
They Do Not Keep Christmas, but the Passover
- Worship service in the New Jerusalem Temple, the main church of the Church of God, located in Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do
The Church of God places emphasis on the “the New Covenant Passover.” They say that people can receive the forgiveness of sins and salvation only through the Passover which was established by the blood of Christ. The Passover literally means that “something passes over.” In the Bible, the Passover is the day before the Israelites came out of Egypt. The blood of a lamb was put on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses to be saved from the tenth disaster, the death of the firstborn. This is the origin of the Passover and the Israelites have commemorated it.
After Jesus Christ proclaimed the Passover as the “new covenant” in about 30 A.D., the Passover came to have relevance to all people in the world, not just to the Israelites. On the night before Jesus was crucified, He said that the bread and wine of the Passover is “his flesh and blood,” and promised that “people will receive the forgiveness of sins when they eat bread and drink wine on the Passover.” It means that people who keep the Passover will be protected from disasters and will also receive eternal life. Biblicists say that there are records that the early Church kept the Passover faithfully for this reason.
One of the characteristics of the Church of God, different from the general Protestant churches, is that women wear veils on their heads during service. They also find its basis from the Bible. In the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 11 of the New Testament, there is a verse that reads, “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head.”
This is a good example that clearly shows the attitude of the Church of God members who say, “We follow the words of the Bible.” Besides, it is remarkable that they neither set up a cross, nor keep feasts such as Christmas and Thanksgiving Day which do not originate from the Bible.
Rapid Growth in a Decade?One Million New Registered Members
- 1. In May 2010, the “Messiah Orchestra Tour Concert for Foreigners in Korea” is held at the Olympic Park 1st Gym in Seoul.
2. In June 2010, the 44th overseas visiting group visits Chung Wa Dae (the presidential residence).
According to the Church of God, there are 1,100 local Churches throughout 150 overseas nations. Only in Korea, there are around 400 Churches. As many as 1,350,000 people are registered?this is the current state of the Church, as of September 2010. The Church is now unequaled as a single denomination.
When we look into the history of the Church of God, we can find even more surprises. In 1964, the Church was established, and until 1988 the Church of God only had 10,000 members. In 1994, the number of registered members passed 50,000 and in 1996, 100,000. It has been smooth sailing since then. In 2001, the number of members surged to more than 400,000. In 2008, it exceeded a million.
The number of Christians is decreasing in the global trends. Other denominations in Korea also suffer stagnant growth. Taking these things into consideration, it is not too much to say that expansion of the Church of God is like a miracle.
The Church of God in Nakseom, Incheon, is a good example of that. The Church building which is located at the Shinheung roundabout, junggu, Incheon, originally belonged to another denomination. However, as the number of the congregation decreased day after day, the church was faced with a crisis. Eventually, the church building was reborn as a temple of the Church of God on April 17; this happened one year ago.
The size of this Church site is over 3,306㎡ [4,000yd²], which is very big for a church. However, when the dedication service was held, 2,500 seats of the worship hall from the second floor to the fourth floor were filled to full capacity with 3,000 members. 200 members of the 42nd overseas visiting group from Asian nations graced the dedication service with their presence.
Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol, who led the service that day, said, “The reason why God has granted you this big temple is because God wants you to lead far more souls into the kingdom of heaven,” giving meaning to the dedication of a new temple. He added, “I hope that through this temple many people will find our Mother of life, learn how to love, and receive salvation, comfort and hope.”
The dedication service for the Incheon Nakseom Church was more meaningful because the Church site has a special relationship with the Church of God. That’s because the Founder Ahnsahnghong, who established the Church of God, was baptized at this site in 1948 and the history of the Church began from then.
The Nakseom Church site was originally a deserted island named “Nakseom.” The Church stands on the street corner from Yonghyeon-dong to Soongeuidong. During the Japanese colonial rule, the site was reclaimed to make salt farms; before that, ocean water came up to the front of the site which the present church building sits on, and it was famous for mudskipper fishing. The island has disappeared, but there are its traces left in things like the name “Nakseom Intersection.”
In the areas away from the capital area, too, the Church of God shows strong growth; local Churches of God are springing up all around the nation. Recently, the Church of God in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, was established and it stands out in size and appearance.
Another one is the Church of God in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, where the dedication service was held on May 11. Its land area is 2,500㎡ [3,000yd²], and the total space is near 3,000㎡ [3,500yd²], so it is known for its supersize throughout the provinces. One of the Church officials said, “We were desperately in need of enlarging Churches because we didn’t have enough room to worship for the increasing number of members.” Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol who delivered a sermon at the dedication service said, “With untiring fervor, you kept preaching the new covenant and practicing the love of Mother and delivering the message about the kingdom of heaven. As a result, you have achieved this good result today.” He also asked the members, “There is a certain will of God who has granted you this big and beautiful temple?it is to allow you to save more souls. Until you deliver the truth of God and the love of Mother to all the 140,000 citizens in Jechoeon, please preach the gospel diligently.”
The nationwide growth of the Church of God results from the members’ fervor to deliver God the Mother. They say that they do not just want to increase members, but they want to save even one soul by preaching eternal life to dying people in disasters.
These days, the Churches of God in Korea and abroad are actively carrying out the “Ten Talent Movement” in the same context. “Talent” is a unit of weight and monetary value in Israel, but it can also be understood as “gifts or calling” in the Bible. The “Ten Talent Movement” of the Church of God is a mission to lead ten souls to God.The Members’ Fervor for “Preaching the Gospel to Ten People”
One of the young adult members of the Nowon Church in Seoul says, “I came to my spiritual senses when I heard about the mission to gain ten talents. This mission contains the will of Mother who wants every soul to repent and be saved. I wanted to fulfill the mission without fail. On top of that, the words ‘saving souls’ made my heart flutter as I repeated the words again and again. I was somewhat afraid, thinking, ‘I am lacking in many ways. Will I be able to do it?’ At the same time, however, I thought that nothing is more meaningful or worthy than saving one soul who is in crisis in this age of disaster.
When I preached the truth of the Bible together with other young adult members, God allowed us to bear fruit as if he was encouraging us. A person was led to God right after hearing the truth, and a friend of mine, who had received the truth during his school days but had stopped coming to Church, came back. As I saw souls being led to God one after another, I gained confidence that I could do everything, and came to know the true joy of preaching the gospel.
One day, my friend, who joined the army after receiving the truth, called me and said, ‘I give thanks to God and to you as well. If you hadn’t delivered the gospel to me, my soul would have been suffering so much.’ I felt very happy and grateful to the point of tears.”
Members of the Church of God say that preaching the gospel is so exciting. Cho Jeong-hee, who belongs to the New Jerusalem Temple, said, “There is no one who feels tired when he is doing what he loves. It’s the same with us. When we think about our problems, we get a headache. However, most of them are trivial problems which have no big effect on our lives. What is truly important is to preach the truth and save souls. As we preach hard while putting the gospel at the center of our hearts, there is nothing too hard or burdensome for us.”
Like Ms. Cho, members of the Church of God say that they can realize the meaning of the teachings of God the Mother with their hearts while preaching the gospel. They try to practice the “Teachings of Mother” which ask them to “give love,” “serve,” “be humble” and “sacrifice.” A member Hwang Sun-mi also said, “As I preached the gospel with a clear goal, I came to understand the Teachings of Mother with my heart. Before, I did not know what Mother meant when She said that it is more blessed to give love, and why I should give in for others and humble myself. When I put the Teachings of Mother into practice, I can lead others’ souls to salvation and my soul can also be revived. I am thankful to Father and Mother for awakening my soul and leading me to the kingdom of heaven, through Their constant counsel.”
Volunteer Services Through “Love” and Humility”
- 1. The Church of God contributes to the success of the Daegu Summer Universiade 2003 by heartfelt support activities throughout the games.
“Mother’s love” is based on the volunteer services of the Church of God. Generally, a mother is a byword for “love” and “devotion.” The Church members, who are taught “love” and “humility” by Mother, always take the lead in sharing and giving love. It is said that the children of the Church are praised for they are respectful to their elders and are very polite. Mother’s love is well revealed through the members’ volunteer service activities.
- 2. In August, students from the Church of God in Southern Gyeonggi Province clean Jebudo Island located in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
For example, they provided the bereaved family members and condolers with 24-hour free meals for 55 days at the Daegu subway arson attack in February, 2003; their volunteer service is still the subject of people’s conversations. In daily life, they also carry out various volunteer service activities including environmental cleanup campaigns. They keep practicing neighborly love and helping disaster victims in Korea and abroad. In August, the members carried out tens of volunteer activities: Non-native weed removal from Chiak National Park located in Wonju , Gangwon Province, cleanup campaign in Dangsan-dong and Munlae-dong around the 3rd Yeongdeungpo Church in Seoul, restoration of landslide areas around the Seogu Church in Gwangju, cleanup campaign around the Seogu Church in Daejeon, monthly cleanup activities, and various volunteer service activities by middle and high school students during their vacation.
We cannot leave out their support activities at various national and international games; in 2002, they supported the 14th Asian Games (4,000 mandays) and the 8th FESPIC Games held in Busan (3,500 man-days); and in 2003 they supported the Daegu Summer Universiade (90,000 man-days). At that time, the Church of God organized the “Aurah Supporters” and carried out volunteer service activities in various areas.
Operating the supporters’ headquarters, the Church offered services of volunteer interpretation, cheering, welcoming ceremony and farewell ceremony at the airport, and city tour, regardless of the fact that the genre of sports was popular or not. In particular, they gave new uniforms to the athletes from developing countries. At that time, officials and leaders of society said that the supporting activity of the Church of God was the main factor that made the games a success.
They also made a great contribution to the success of the “13th World Soft Tennis Championships” held in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province, in September 2007. At that time, the Championships did not appeal to the public because it was held in a small city and soft tennis was not a popular sport. However, the members of the Church of God made the games a success by performing various service activities such as volunteer interpretation and cheering.
In recognition of their efforts to help our underprivileged neighbors and to develop society and nation, they received a large number of awards, including presidential citations and the order of merit from the Korean government.
The Church of God Messiah Orchestra’s tour concert changes into a charity concert if necessary; the 10th concert, which was held at the Busan KBS Hall in February, changed into a charity concert to help earthquake victims in Haiti; and the 11th concert, held at Gwangju Yeomju Stadium in March, was for earthquake victims in Chile.
Through these two concerts, one hundred thousand dollars was raised, and it was delivered to the United Nations [UN] in June. Monica Belacazar of External Relations and Partnerships Section of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said, “I was very moved by the video message that all the members of the Church are working together to make this world a better place.”
Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships [UNOP], said, “From the UN’s perspective, we think you can change the world. We hope that the UN will work together with the Church of God.”
Since then, the UN is now discussing about establishing a partnership on charity and volunteer services with the Church of God. The Church of God took an important opportunity to show “Mother’s love” to the whole world. ?
Topic: Religion | Interview With Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol, 30-Year Guard of the World Mission Society Church of God
Kim Joo-cheol, the Chief Pastor of the World Mission Society Church of God, has been in the ministry for 30 years as the guard and the pillar of the Church of God. Chief Pastor Kim, who is usually reticent, speaks with the hope that the whole world will receive God
"Heavenly Mother’s Love Has Reached Heaven”Doing many volunteer service activities as the salt that purifies the world by saving 3% of world’s population is also one of the teachings of the Bible.
Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol is the official representative of the World Mission Society Church of God. He started his pastoral ministry in 1981 and has been working for 30 years. The daily life of Pastor
Kim, who starts the day by prayer in the early morning, is a very busy one. He handles Church administration and puts his fervor on giving sermons like other pastors. For about two hours, Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol talked much about the essence of the Church of God and its current status, sometimes sternly and sometimes passionately.? We know that your overseas members visit Korea continually throughout the year. What does it mean and how hot is their fervor?
“Korea is a holy land like Israel to our overseas members. In other words, Korea is the land of prophecy to them. For that reason, over 1,000 overseas members visit Korea every year. When they visit Korea, we provide a Bible seminar, an opportunity to visit the Korean local Churches of God and experience Korean culture. They meet Korean members, visit local Churches, experience Korean culture, learn the teachings of the Bible by attending the Bible seminar, and spend time with Mother. Over 1,000 members apply each time in order to participate in this program, but since we cannot accommodate all of them, we limit the number of visitors. Personally, I hope that the difficulties of accommodation, education facilities and transportation will be quickly solved so that all the overseas applicants can visit Korea.”? Is there any difference in the gospel work according to each continent?
“Each continent is almost the same. Generally, the gospel work in Asia and South America proceeds a little faster, compared with other continents. However, the fervor for the gospel is the same everywhere. I wish the African continent to be awakened quickly. The gospel was delivered last to the African continent, so there are still many regions that have yet to be cultivated with the gospel. I want to give much help to Africa.”? Why is the name of the Church of God accompanied by the title “World Mission Society”?
“The official name is the World Mission Society Church of God, which implies the meaning that the last church to complete the world mission is the Church of God. The name “Church of God” can be found in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 1. In many other chapters of the New Testament, too, the name “Church of God” is recorded. And at the end of the Gospels, Christ gave us the mission of the world mission as he ascended to heaven, so we put our will to fulfill the mission in the name of our Church and Society.”? What is the goal of the Church of God?
“We have two goals for the gospel work: a visible goal and an ideological goal. Of course, our ultimate goal is to save the world. Our visible goal is to preach the gospel in every country of the world, preaching in all cities and all towns. For this, over 4,000 short/long-term mission teams are going abroad to preach this year. Not only the domestic Churches, but also Churches overseas are carrying out the mission in their neighboring countries and cities. And our ideological goal is to deliver the news of salvation and the truth of the forgiveness of sins to all mankind, so that all the people of the world will receive God Elohim and become the glorious heavenly citizens.”“Asian and South American Continents Grow Relatively Fast”? After the year 2000, the number of the Church members has increased remarkably. What do you think the reason is?
“First of all, I give thanks to God the Father and God the Mother for granting us this great blessing. The success of the mission is all thanks to God because God is always at the center of the gospel work. Among God’s words, the prophecy of Isaiah, “The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation,” and the mission given by Christ, “Go to all nations and preach the gospel,” have inspired us to have fervor for the gospel work. After 1990, we prepared for the overseas mission according to God’s instructions. First, we established a Church in every continent, next in every country, and then in every city. While doing the mission work in this order, God the Mother opened the way and has led us until today.”? What difficulties do you have in the domestic mission?
“I think it is natural to have difficulties in preaching the gospel. You’ve asked me about the difficulty of preaching in Korea, but the gospel work of ‘the Church of God’ began to show its eye-opening growth from the beginning of 1990 in Korea. After 2000, the seeds that
had been sown by then began to bear fruit in overseas countries as well. So about 400 Churches in Korea and about 1,100 Churches overseas have been established, and the number of members has increased remarkably. The growth is truly rapid and amazing. I believe that this was all possible because God led us in the work. However, it is true that there were some difficulties until we have achieved the amazing growth of the gospel. It was nothing but people’s fixed ideas and prejudices. Just as the Jews crucified Jesus who came in the flesh 2,000 years ago, saying, ‘A man cannot be God,’ today too, people with the same mindset spread evil rumors about our Church, and because of that our innocent members suffered unjustly. For this I was truly frustrated. However, as time goes by, people visit our Church for themselves and see the truth. And through the Bible study, they resolve their misunderstandings and apologize for trying to make problems with us in the past.”? How much have you accomplished the gospel work until today?
“I don’t think it is time to discuss the results of the gospel work just yet. In order to discuss the results, shouldn’t we finish saving the whole world first? One day, I have read an article: “Although the sea receives all the dirt of rivers, why does it not rot? It is because of the 3% of salt in the sea.” Seeing that, I was suddenly
reminded of what Jesus had said, ‘You are the salt of the world. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?’ I was greatly surprised at the providence of God who made the sea have selfcleansing ability to purify 97 % of sea water with only 3 % of salt. As God called us the salt of the earth, I was convinced that if we saved 3 % of the people in the world, we might purify the whole world and save all mankind. So we are preaching the gospel diligently in all countries with the catchphrase, “Save the World!” When I announce the results of the gospel, I will invite you then.”? What meaning does the birth of the Church of God have in the history of Protestantism?
“The birth of the Church of God is an amazing blessing in human history. The appearance of the ‘Church of God’ is like firing a flare that announces the appearance of the Second Coming Christ who will save the world; it is the moment the faith of the early Church is restored and the teachings of that age is restored. Actually, not only Protestantism but the entire world should welcome the appearance of the Church of God.”? Would you summarize the history of the Church of God from the viewpoint of the Chief Pastor?
“The Church of God started as Christ Ahnsahnghong was baptized in December, 1948, at Nakseom Island, Incheon. In 1964, according to the prophecy of the Bible, the name ‘Church of God’ began to be officially
used. In 1985, according to the prophecy of King David, Christ Ahnsahnghong ascended to heaven after finishing his 37-year ministry. Since then, Mother has been taking care of the Church and members. Since 1985, the gospel work has grown remarkably for about 25 years. Over 1,500 Churches in Korea and overseas were established, and about 1,350,000 members have been led to the truth. Christ Ahnsahnghong laid the foundation of the gospel and Mother now proceeds to fulfill the work. Before long, the gospel will be spread to the whole world.”
“The Birth of the Church of God Is the Revival of Faith of the Early Church”? What is the difference between the Church of God and other Protestant churches?
- Chief Pastor Kim Joo-cheol teaches the Bible at the Elohim Training Institute.
“Protestant churches only believe in God the Father, but the Church of God believes in God the Mother as well as God the Father. This is the biggest difference. And the Church of God believes that God surely comes in the flesh as a human. Jesus came in the flesh as a man
2,000 years ago. At that time, there were two types of people: those who believed in the man Christ Jesus, and those who opposed the people who had such a faith and accused them of heresy―the Jews like the Pharisees and the Sadducees who did not believe in Jesus as Christ. I think it is the same today. Besides, the Church of God keeps God’s commandments such as the Sabbath and the Passover, which other churches do not keep. Generally, there is a big difference in understanding the same Bible and believing its prophecy.”? On what basis do you believe in “God the Mother”?
“People believe that the heavens and the earth were created by one God. But according to Genesis 1:26-27, God is referred to as ‘us’ which is plural as it is written, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . .” ’ Through this verse, we can clearly
understand that God who is referred to as ‘us’ created man. It was also written, ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’ God created male and female in the image of God; God created male in the image of God and also female in the image of God. People call the male image of God ‘God the Father.’ Then, what should we call the female image of God? Of course, ‘God the Mother.’ Through these teachings of the Bible, we believe in God the Father and God the Mother.”
“God the Mother” Who Has Appeared in the Last Age? For ages, people have read the Bible. Then why did they not realize the existence of “God the Mother”?
“When we study the prophecy of the Bible, God the Mother is to appear in the last age. There is a time for a prophecy of the Bible to be fulfilled. Before, God the Mother was hidden as a secret. That is why churches that have been around along time do not know Mother.
And because of their traditions and customs, they cannot understand the correct teachings of the Bible. When Jesus came to the earth for the first time, the Jews who adhered to their faith in God Jehovah did not recognize Jesus who was their God and came as a man, but
rejected Him. Because of their traditions and customs that had continued for thousands of years, they could not recognize their God, but crucified Him. The reason was because they had no knowledge about God and the prophecies of the Bible testified in the Bible. Even today, because of the existing churches’ fixed ideas, that is, the faith in God the Father only, they cannot easily accept the teachings of the Bible about God the Mother.”? Who revealed the existence of “God the Mother” and when and how?
“According to the prophecy of the Bible, God the Father is to make known to us God the Mother. Christ Ahnsahnghong himself taught his disciples the truth about Mother through the prophecies of the Bible―‘Jerusalem Mother,’ ‘Abraham’s Family and Mother,’ ‘Mother the Source of Water of Life,’ ‘Heavenly Family and Earthly Family’ and so on, which the Church of God now teaches. At the beginning of the 1950’s, Christ Ahnsahnghong revealed the existence of God the Mother in his book, ‘Unsealing the Secret of the Seven Thunders.’ And in his book, ‘The Mystery of God and the Spring of the Water of Life,’ he let us know the existence of Mother through the subject, ‘Last Adam and Eve.’ And in His own handwritten notebook, he clearly explained this truth.”? How does “God the Mother” differ from “God the Father” in the Bible and in reality?
“When you understand the principle of this earth, you may easily understand the principle of heaven. For example, when you think of the role of a father and a mother in a family, you may know the answer. A father is more concerned with the family’s order and
regulation, and a mother makes efforts for her family’s peace and love.”? How do existing Christians and ordinary people respond when you talk about “God the Mother”?
“Because they hear about God the Mother for the first time, they are very surprised. They say, ‘Are there such words in the Bible?’ And there are a variety of responses: Some pay more attention to their old
tradition and custom than the words of God, saying, ‘Even though it is written so in the Bible, since we have believed in only God the Father, how can we believe in God the Mother?’ And others say, ‘Since the term ‘Father’ in the Bible is the title which is used at home, I
think that it is right to acknowledge Mother as well.’ It is a very important matter which determines whether they receive eternal blessing or eternal punishment, so they need to make a right judgment on the basis of the words of the Bible.”? What do you think about the viewpoint of the churches that only believe in God the Father and regard the Church of God that believes in God the Mother as “heretical”?
“In Christian society, if a teaching or doctrine is different from theirs, they call each other ‘heresy.’ Basically, there are two kinds of heresy: absolute heresy and relative heresy. Absolute heresy is not to follow the law of God; since they act against God’s law, they are the group of the antichrist. Relative heresy is that if there is a different teaching or doctrine between two groups, they call each
other heretic. In the past, for example, the Catholic Church accused the Protestant churches of being heretic; and the Protestant churches accused the Catholic Church of being heretic. The religious reformation by Martin Luther can be understood in this context. No
matter how people regard us, we will keep our faith in accordance with the words of God. It is not so bad to be accused of heresy because we follow the words of God. In the days of the early Church, the Jews, who were the privileged class at that time, slandered the new religion that believed in Jesus. Such records are described well
in the book of Acts chapter 24. And Apostle Paul had ever said, ‘I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect [heresy].’ Like this, anyone can use the word ‘heresy’ relatively, so I do not care about it. For reference, we the Church of God label an organization or a person who does not
follow the words of the Bible, specifically, God’s words, as a heretic.”? What does the Church of God ultimately pursue in this world?
“While living in this world, we find that all mankind lives in sorrow, pain, suffering, and the fear of death and disaster. What the Church of God pursues in the world is to deliver the news of salvation, hope and love to this world. If a person hears and realizes the news of the salvation of God Elohim who is love, however difficult their situation is, they will never be dismayed or discouraged but have hope and live with joy and happiness. Furthermore, they will pursue the eternal kingdom of God Elohim. This is God’s will and providence.”“No Biblical Grounds for Christmas as Jesus’ Birthday”? Why does the Church of God worship on Saturday, not on Sunday?
“That’s a good question. The Bible says that the day when we should worship God the Creator is Saturday, not Sunday. God appointed the day as the Sabbath. Among the Ten Commandments which God gave to the Israelites, the fourth commandment is ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.’ The Sabbath day is not Sunday the first day of the week, but Saturday the seventh day. One fact is that the Israelites, who have been keeping the commandment of the Sabbath day for ages, keep the Sabbath on Saturday. And the truth of the Bible and Christian history testify about the Sabbath observance on Saturday. In regard to Sunday service, the book, ‘A History of the Early Church to A.D. 500,’ testifies as follows: ‘But perhaps the most significant evidence of this policy is to be found in the decree of 321 regulating Sunday observance.’ Before Emperor Constantine proclaimed Sunday as a day of worship in A.D. 321, on what day did people worship God? This is a very important clue. The history of Christianity describes that Sunday is the day of sun-god worship,
which was legislated by a Roman emperor. Both the Bible and history testify that the Sabbath day to worship God is Saturday not Sunday. As you know, Jesus’ birth becomes a standard to separate A.D. from B.C. Then, A.D. 321 is after Jesus, the apostles and the disciples of
the next generation all passed away. It proves that Jesus and His disciples, who kept the Sabbath, did not keep Sunday service. Through such evidence of history and the Bible, the Church of God worships God on Saturday which is the Sabbath day, not on Sunday.”? How does the Church of God celebrate Christmas?
“We do not celebrate Christmas. Unlike common sense, Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus, but a Roman festival that celebrates the birth of the sun-god. A history book tells the origin of Christmas: The first celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 dates back to A.D.325. And in 379, it was celebrated in Constantinople and then spread to Egypt and Palestine. When it comes to the origin of Christmas, in Rome there were three great festivals successively in December: Saturnalia, Sigillaria and Brumalia. This is an absolute historical evidence. And in the Gospel of Luke, the news of Jesus’ birth was delivered to shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks at night out in the fields. In Israel, people cannot put sheep out in the fields in December. It had to be spring when Israeli shepherds could put sheep out in the pasture. On the basis of such historical and climatological evidence, the teaching that Jesus’ birthday is December 25 is wrong. That is why the Church of God does not celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday.”? Why does the Church of God consider the Passover particularly important?
“The Passover is the feast which God commanded us to keep. In the New Testament, Jesus ordered his disciples to keep the Passover and he himself set the example of keeping it. So Peter and John kept the Passover. All the twelve disciples of Jesus kept the Passover. Apostle Paul, who is a representative figure of the New Testament, also celebrated the Passover. It is because the Passover is God’s command and regulation Jesus taught. The Passover is expressed as the new covenant. What is most important in the ceremony of the Passover is to eat bread and drink wine of the Passover, which represents Jesus’ flesh and blood. Through this ceremony, we receive God’s flesh and blood and are allowed to call God Father and Mother. Thus, the Passover contains the promise of eternal life; it is God’s seal of redemption and a sign of salvation from all disasters. The Passover means that disasters ‘pass over’ us. No one can be saved without keeping the Passover―the sign of salvation, so the Passover is God’s precious decree that the world must keep.”“Never Regret Entering the Priesthood”? Is there any particular reason why the Church of God pays much attention to volunteer service activities?
“The biggest reason is because of God’s teaching. God told us to become the salt and light of the world. Among many of God’s teachings, there is a teaching about relief efforts for people in difficult situations. In the Gospel of Luke, there is an anecdote about a good Samaritan: When a man fell into the hands of robbers and was left half dead on the road, a priest passed by on the other side and a Levite from a good family also passed by on the other side, but a Samaritan took him to an inn and took care of him. Telling them this anecdote, Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Go and do likewise.’ And Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ so helping neighbors in difficulty is the natural duty of Christians. These teachings of the Bible provided us with the fundamental spirit for many volunteer service activities to help neighbors in need. In June, we delivered a donation of hundred thousand dollars to the earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile through the UN. The UN officials hoped that many churches or religious organizations would take the lead in helping neighbors in need. Personally, I also hoped that Christianity will participate in more relief efforts and volunteer service activities for society and all mankind.”? Is the title system of the Church of God different from that of other denominations?
“In the Church of God, there are titles such as pastor, elder, senior deaconess, missionary, deacon(ess) and so on. I think there are also similar titles in other denominations. Titles are given to members for the mission to serve God, church and members. So if a
person starts to force their authority on others because of their title, they are not worthy of that title. Title bearers must serve church and members, and take care of them. That is the very mind of Mother. I believe that all title bearers of the Church of God serve and take care of Church and members with the heart of Mother. Just
as a mother is positioned higher than her children in a family but takes care of her children like a servant, the Church of God members who bear titles are considerate of other members and serve them; this may be different from other denominations. I believe that all title bearers must be a role model in the church, family and society, and live according to God’s good teachings, and display God’s glory even before unbelievers.”? In your viewpoint, what is the remarkable difference between the members of the Church of God and those of other religious groups or the existing Protestant churches?
“In short, they are very good. We did not select them through any contest, but whoever meets our Church members say that they are like angels. This is not an exaggeration, but they are really beautiful like the angels. They are not like people of this world, but like
visitors from another world. They are very kind, polite, humble and considerate. They give glory to God in everything and have passion in carrying out the will of God. Above all, they have good faith.”? When and how did you know “God the Mother” and believe in her?
“I came to know through the teachings of Father Ahnsahnghong. How can an ignorant man realize God by himself without God’s teachings? I realized that God the Mother exists after learning ‘Jerusalem Mother,’ ‘Abraham’s Family and Mother,’ ‘Mother the Source of the Water of Life,’ ‘Heavenly Family and Earthly Family,’ ‘Solomon’s Wisdom and Mother,’ ‘Heavenly Wedding Banquet,’ ‘God Elohim’ and so on from Christ Ahnsahnghong. I was additionally taught that if I follow the teachings of God the Mother, heavenly blessing will come upon me. Thanks to these precious teachings, I came to have faith in God the Mother.”? Didn’t you hover on the brink of choosing the way of a pastor of the Church of God?
“Since I was a student, I wanted to be a pastor. So I only give thanks to God for calling me as a pastor. I have never wavered in my decision. Among Picasso’s paintings, there is an article named, ‘Bull’s Eye.’ Unexpectedly, the material used for the famous art was all from wastes. In other words, even worthless things can become a masterpiece or it can remain as waste, depending on the maker. Even though I have less ability than others, since I was called by God, now I am looking forward to being created by God’s hands as a masterpiece of the universe. So I did not hesitate at all in choosing this way. I give thanks to God a thousand and ten thousand times.”“Saving 3% of All Mankind Is My Purpose As a Pastor”? What is your work as the Chief Pastor who represents the Church of God?
“Following the will of God Elohim who are the Spirit and the Bride, I take care of the Church and members, preach the gospel, lead and awaken pastoral staff with the words of God for the domestic and the overseas mission work. In short, I run an errand for God in the gospel work.”? Do you often meet leaders of other denominations or other religions?
“If Christianity stands upright in the teachings of God and the new covenant of the early Church is restored in the global village, we will meet each other naturally. I hope that day will come quickly.”? Lastly, do you have any message to leave to people?
“When a jar is empty, we just call it an empty jar. When we fill it with water, it becomes a water jar; when we put flowers in it, it becomes a vase. Please fill yourself with God. According to what you put in you, you are changed into many different characters. If you want to be a water jar, fill yourself with water in you. If you want to be a vase, fill yourself with flowers. If you want to be a heavenly citizen, fill yourself with God. Please always remember God in all circumstances. Live according to God’s word and get close to His word. And give thanks to God always. God is our eternal Father and Mother. God loves us now and forever.”
When I asked him about his wish as a pastor, his answer was the ‘salvation of the whole world.’ He actually knows that the dream is hard to make true. With a shy look, he presented a realistic goal―the ‘salvation of 3% of world’s population’―as his personal opinion. Why 3%? He said, “Self-cleansing ability of the sea comes from the 3% of the salt in it. If we lead 3% of mankind to salvation, I believe that we can purify the whole world.”