In the past few months a few of our members have been approached by members of the “shincheonji” church. This is a Korean cult who teach a false gospel and believe in a false messiah. Their tactics and recruiting methods are well known and for this purpose we are writing this warning for all members of our church.
More information about this false church can be read here: Apologetics Index
I am going to share two things. Firstly, the combined experiences of our members and secondly, the common approaches that they have to recruitment.
(1) Our members were approached by strangers in public places. They appeared to be faithful Christians reaching out to others. They talked about ‘accountability’ and the need to ‘study’ the Bible. They were offered 1 to 1 Bible classes with these individuals. They were very ‘nice’ people but also very ‘persistent’ in encouraging the ongoing meetings of Bible study and ‘checked up’ on them regularly. They can be and are multi-nationals (not just Koreans). They claim to be part of a local church and have very little social media presence (their cell numbers might not be local). They seemed very knowledgeable about the Bible.
(2) A lot of studies have been done on this cult. These members are often part of a local church, they hide in these churches and operate within them. They try to cause division between members and the pastors of the church. They emphasize the need to study scripture, this is a part of their recruitment process and these studies lead into seminars otherwise known as ‘boot camps’. These studies are done behind closed doors and strictly monitored. The following diagrams (provided by a loving brother) shows what they try to do.
Often the initial studies that are provided by these individuals will be traditional and familiar to you. When these studies are being done, you will not be immediately able to recognize it’s false message. They way in which these studies have been developed is to entice people in the church.
These pictures are common images that they use.
They teach that the Bible has connected or parallel verses, corresponding passages that explain/fit one another to help us better understand the Bible.
In this way, they teach a false interpretation of ‘parables’ in the Bible. They use this to lead believers to think that there is a ‘hidden’ or a ‘secret’ Biblical knowledge to which you need a key to understand. Ultimately they teach that this ‘key’ only exists in the leaders of their church.
Be Aware and Protect Yourself
As you know we believe in the Biblical standards of membership. Therefore, we encourage and believe that brothers and sisters in the church should keep their fellow members accountable to each other. If a brother or a sister of another church seeks fellowship with you outside the bounds of the church’s ministry, please inform your pastors as a precaution and a check.
We encourage you to seek training and learning of the scriptures within the context of the church within the authorized settings of the church. If you desire to learn more about the Word, please reach out to the leaders. We encourage you to participate in regular midweek gatherings, or take on discipleship classes, or be a part of the adult education classes that we offer.
Most importantly, be aware. Learn more about the dangers of a false gospel and be protected by a greater understanding of God’s Word.