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[Shincheonji Church of Jesus 100,000 Graduation] 12 Differences Between Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the Established Church

2019-12-17조회수 1,022


[Shincheonji Church of Jesus 100,000 Graduation] 12 Differences Between Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the Established Church
 



Confidence in the established church in Korea has been on a decline as shown by its recent fall in church attendance. In contrast, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Shincheonji Church of Jesus) has been growing exponentially at a rate that is beginning to rattle the established church in Korea. In particular, Shincheonji Church of Jesus hosted an 'Open Bible Seminar on the Second Coming and Harvest' where multitudes of churchgoers from Korean Protestant circles gathered. This report will provide a summary of the 12 main differences between Shincheonji Church of Jesus and  the established church in Korea within today's context of a growth of Shincheonji Church of Jesus membership against a significant fall in membership of the established church in Korea.

1. The Word

Shincheonji Church of Jesus’ unprecedented graduation ceremony demonstrates the biggest difference between Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the established Church; the ‘Level of the Word' or 'Superiority of the Word’. Shincheonji Church of Jesus testifies the 66 books of the Bible regarding God's will and purpose throughout Biblical history from the end of one era to the beginning of a new era, from Adam (the beginning of the Bible) to the Book of Revelation (the end of the Bible). Korean churches use a variety of Bibles filled with man's commentaries; termed ‘War of Commentaries’ because of individuals' endless interpretations and explanations of the Bible. It's no wonder churchgoers say ‘There is water, but it cannot be drunk’. Words and explanations all vary because pastors use different Bibles containing different commentaries. Such Bible commentaries are prevalent throughout Christian (and ordinary) bookshops today.

Chairman Man Hee Lee of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Shincheonji Church of Jesus) delivered a lecture at ‘Open Bible Seminar on the Second Coming and Harvest (Open Bible Seminar)' hosted at Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas Hotel, Gangnam District, Seoul, on the afternoon of October 4th. 



2. Church Entry

One unique difference between Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the Korean established church is the path taken to enter the church. Unlike the Korean established church, which one can join by simply walking in and submitting personal information (name, age, phone number, address etc.), one can only join Shincheonji Church of Jesus upon completion of an 8-month Bible study course and a subsequent 300-question graduation exam with a strict minimum passmark of 90%. A representative of Shincheonji Church of Jesus explained that the purpose of such entry requirements is 'to create Bible-centered believers’, and is not just a simple growth in number.


3. Church Name

Shincheonji Church of Jesus doesn’t belong to a traditional denomination such as the Presbyterians, Methodists or Baptists. Its official name is 'Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony'. ‘Church of Jesus’ refers to its head being Jesus, not man. In particular, ‘Shincheonji’ is an acronym for the Chinese characters ‘Shin-cheon-Shin-ji’ that translates as ‘New Heaven and New Earth’, which is recorded in the first verse of chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation. This means 'New Tabernacle and New Saints' (2 Peter 3:13, Matthew 13:31~32, Revelation 14:1~5 and 15:2~5). In the same way that Moses built God's tabernacle on earth according to the pattern shown him by heaven, Shincheonji Church of Jesus is being built on the earth today by the Promised Pastor who has seen heaven in the spiritual realm.

More than 20,000 members joined Shincheonji Church of Jesus’
 28th Annual Commemorative Service that was hosted at Jamsil Arena. 


4. Structure

The structure of Shincheonji Church of Jesus consists of the Chairman at the center with 7 Directors of Education, 12 Tribe Leaders and 24 Elders who take charge of administrative affairs, which is very different from that of the established church which consists of a general assembly, Presbyterian polity and church conference. The 12 tribes are named after Jesus’ 12 disciples from 2000 years ago, dividing Korea into 12 sections managed by each tribe. Regarding its structure, Shincheonji Church of Jesus maintains that “As it is fulfilled in heaven, so it is fulfilled on the earth” (Mat 6:10).


5. Growth

In contrast to the decline of the established church, Shincheonji Church of Jesus’ x1666 growth over the last 30 years is an astonishing figure. Moreover, in the last five years, Shincheonji Church of Jesus has grown explosively by producing 20,000~30,000 graduates annually. This means that 20~30 churches with 1000 members join Shincheonji Church of Jesus every year. On the other hand, all Korean church denominations have been experiencing minus growth year on year. According to a recent report by the general assembly of these denominations, the so-called ‘Two Major Denominations’ (The Presbyterian Church of Korea and The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea) have shown a simultaneous decrease in the number of churches and congregation members. In the case of The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea, the 104th General Assembly Report shows that its total congregation fell from 2.98-2.7million from 2011 to 2017, respectively, and has fallen by 107,662 (-3.9%) in the last two years. The Presbyterian Church of Korea, which has not experienced the same fall in number in congregation as other denominations, lost 73,469 members (-2.8%), recording a total membership of 2,554,227.
 
Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Shincheonji Church of Jesus) hosted a graduation ceremony for Class 110 of Zion Mission Center on November 10th. According to Shincheonji Church of Jesus, 103,764 people graduated within one year. 60,000 graduates filled the main hall for the ceremony with simultaneous live-streaming from international branch churches. 


6. Evangelism

Some identify the 'lack of Biblical understanding’ as one of the biggest reasons why churchgoers leave their churches. They point out pastors' lack of knowledge in quenching their thirst for Biblical understanding and true faith. Therefore, Shincheonji Church of Jesus evangelizes through a Doctrinal Comparison with the established church, using a ‘Blind Testing’ method in which respondents choose the most Biblical answer to a given question before the name of the denomination or church is revealed. Such methodology has gained a favorable response because it helps churchgoers resolve their misconceptions of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, and verify the words taught within their churches for themselves.

7. Compulsory Bible Exam

Joining Shincheonji Church of Jesus is not everything. After joining, students must take and pass the ‘New Covenant Sealing Exam’. This is an important examination, not found anywhere within the established church. The 'New Covenant Sealing Exam' questions mostly come from the challenging Book of Revelation. Despite this, more than 150,000 people (80% of all participants) scored above 90%, making headlines.

Last year, Shincheonji Church of Jesus conducted its ‘New Covenant Sealing Exam’ 
for all 200,000 congregation members worldwide. In the above photo,
congregation members of Matthias Tribe’s Cheongju branch take the exam. 


8. Service

No rules exist within Korean churches regarding service attire and attitude, so there are no limitations to attending service even in short pants and slippers. However, Shincheonji Church of Jesus emphasizes the importance of the right attitude and neat attire because service is a time to offer one's body and spirit as one comes before God. Therefore, men and women are obligated to wear suits and a white blouse respectively, and to assume the lowest position before God by sitting on the floor. Unlike Korean churches, congregation members express gratitude towards God at the end of service by raising their hands and shouting ‘Hallelujah! Amen!’ . Moreover, the attendance rate in Shincheonji Church of Jesus - Wednesdays included - is almost 100% whilst that of Korean churches vary.

9. Accounting Transparency

Shincheonji Church of Jesus holds its general assembly annually. In particular, it emphasizes the importance of accounting transparently, showing all figures including growth, financial changes and current numbers and condition of congregation members to help them focus fully on their faith. This differs from the Korean church in which few pastors understand their church's financial situation and have a time of offering at one's discretion during service. Shincheonji Church of Jesus does not have any time of offering during service.

10. Phenomenal proportion of Young Adults

In contrast to the established church which is experiencing a decrease in the number of young adults, the number of young adults of Shincheonji Church of Jesus has been showing tremendous growth. Results of a survey taken by Shincheonji Church of Jesus graduates is worthy of notice as more than half of its respondents are in their 20s. A representative of Shincheonji Church of Jesus said that young adult graduates chose Shincheonji Church of Jesus because of its ‘clear explanation of the Bible according to the 5Ws and 1H’.

Shincheonji Promotion Team gives lollipops to students as they introduce Shincheonji Church of Jesus’
social contribution activities at the Old Central Police Substation by Fountain Square, 
Dongsung Road, Daegu on the afternoon of the 23rd. 


11. Volunteer Activity

Shincheonji Church of Jesus has been lending a helping hand to communities in fields including culture, art, environment, social welfare and scholarships for the development of local society. Last year, 62,000 volunteers served more than 100,000 people in vulnerable or disadvantageous situations. It has been carrying out activities nationwide that focus on six main initiatives, including ▲Medical aid for foreign workers ▲Wall Painting ▲Cultural welfare program for the elderly ▲Events for patriots and veterans ▲Supplying lunchboxes for the marginalized ▲Environmental cleaning in Korea.


12. High Quality Cultural Performance

Every cultural performance by Shincheonji Church of Jesus has received high praise from attendees. It has been putting on numerous performances that vary from contemporary Christian fusion of eastern and western music, to chi-ta-dae (traditional Korean instrument orchestra), traditional Korean music and a marching band. In particular, the high-quality display of ‘Heavenly Culture’ through a massive card performance and group gymnastics that depicted the name 'Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the Promised Pastor' according to the Book of Revelation at Goyang Sports Stadium, Goyang city, Gyeonggi province, on October 5th 2008 drew attention from outside South Korea.




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