Friday, July 27, 2012

Abuse of Religion

Koreans are spiritually sensitive people, which is the reason there are so many new religions appearing within the culture. Trying to keep the different denominations from splitting up and forming break-away churches is the constant concern of the Protestant Church. One break-away church given much publicity in the Catholic Press recently is the Shinchonji, Church of Jesus, Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (SCJ).

Shinchonji (shin:new, chon:heaven, ji: earth), meaning a new heaven and earth, was started in the 1980s by a pastor, now chairman, of the church, Lee Man-hee. He was born in 1931 and has been associated with the apocalyptic religions of Korea up until he started his own. The teaching of the church, put simply, centers around the belief that once there are 144,000 believers in the world the end will come, and only they will be saved. (Apparently, the above fact is not correct. One of the members of the Church has made this clear in his comment. I am sorry for the mistake.)

A Peace Weekly article tells the story of a woman who listened to her godmother and joined one of these Scripture groups conducted by Shinchonji. She had no idea that it was the Shinchonji Church and was greatly moved by what she heard. The courses were extremely interesting; parables and the importance of symbols were stressed in the teaching. She enjoyed the classes but just before she was to become a member of the Church, realizing it was not Catholic, she left. She said she was pleasantly addicted to what she had heard, and after she left no longer enjoyed listening to the sermons in the Catholic Church. Her life was now different, she said; everything was all mixed up. Since it was her godmother who introduced her to Shinchonji, she now has difficulty believing anyone. To get help she went to a group the Protestant Church has set up to give counseling to those leaving these cult-like groups.

The bishops and the dioceses have told the Christians to beware of those who say the bishops and priests approve of these cult teachings, and not to attend their classes. The Catholic Church has not been as infected as some of the other Churches, but these break-away churches do a good job of teaching, having charismatic leaders who are causing a great deal of havoc, not only in religious circles but within society.

Religion is not seen sympathetically by many in society because of the credulity, fraud, hypocrisy, lunacy and ignorance that they see related to things religious. This attitude is easily understood and puts a burden on Christians in our society. It's helpful to remember the words of St. Peter: "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence..." (1 Peter 3:15).

22 comments:

  1. S.joe1201@gmail.comJuly 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    I'm from Shinchonji Church of Jesus and I want to make it clear that we do not believe that only the 144,000 are saved. In the scriptures in Rev chapter 7 it clearly says that there is a great multitude. They too are saved. I ask to please correct the blog and take out condemning words like calling us a "cult". Everyone has a right to come and see for themselves what is right according to scriptures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i was looking for more information since i had gone to two of their seminars and what joe said in his comment is true. Ive noticed so many articles post up nothing at all that they mentioned in seminars and other videos i have heard man hee lee speak about. Not sure whether people dislike them because they have the true "revelation" or theyre just hating because they lack Gods Word. Regardless... May God bless us and i hope everyone in this world be united as one. One God, One Word, One true teaching.

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