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October 07, 2012, 10:13:49 PM
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Offline Peter

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Experiences with SCJ: Bible Study
« on: October 07, 2012, 10:13:49 PM »
Here's a fascinating and detailed account of SCJ Bible course which shines the light on their deceptive and cultic practices. It is currently the most visibly active and the most notorious of Korean cults, and that's saying something. When the subject of cults comes up in class, this is the name on most students' lips.

Note: More about this cult here: (a collection of articles, videos, and  other testimonies - the recent video of the leader arriving at LAX is worth a watch)

I became unwittingly involved in Shinchonji after I was invited to do a Christian Bible study by a friend of mine that I grew up in church with. Before the study began, she and I met up with the leader of the study, whom I will refer to as Jessica, just to hang out. Jessica was extremely nice, although the details of why she leads multiple Bible studies with small groups of people and what church she was affiliated with were very unclear. She was very private about her personal life and would not answer some questions we asked her. However, she was very accommodating, caring, and worked around our busy schedules to meet with the two of us.

At first, nothing seemed to be too weird about the study except the fact that how it was conducted wasn’t my style. Jessica taught us a prepared lesson by writing out her points on a piece of paper and asking many questions with simple, almost rhetorical, answers. We were expected to take notes. The content of the study at the beginning was generally about things I was already familiar with, since I grew up in church (parables, etc). Although Jessica was as nice as can be, I was made to feel a bit silly and as if I knew nothing about the Bible other than what she had to teach me. The lessons were very simple and slow-moving, and I did not feel like I was really learning anything new. However, I decided to continue the study because I enjoyed the girls’ company and friendship.

 As the study progressed, it became more and more time consuming. I was expected to want to meet multiple times a week although I had an already overwhelming work and school schedule. I began to notice certain things about it that I did not agree with. For example, the lessons took a verse from one part of the Bible and explained its meaning using a verse from another part of the Bible, resulting in an explanation that was at times completed out of context. I was taught that without knowing God’s word well enough to understand these “hidden meanings” in verses, I was going to Hell. Still, I continued the study, partly because my friend was so excited about it that I couldn’t let her down by expressing my feelings and partly because I was excited to get to spend time with such kind people. Gifts were given regularly and Jessica went out of her way to be a good friend to me. I was reassured at the end of each lesson that God was pleased with my heart to learn His word. Nothing seemed blatantly wrong to me and I couldn’t really figure out specifically what it was about it that bothered me so much. I thought maybe the only problem was my attitude.

At the end of the lesson one evening, Jessica informed me that this was her last meeting with us and that now I would be attending a class that met twice a week at a specific time. This came as a surprise to me and it was as though this was not an option, it was just a fact. I was a bit angered that I was just expected to make time out of my busy schedule to go to this class, but then again, how could I be angry with someone so kind? By this point, I was over the whole thing. I was not learning anything, didn’t necessarily agree with it, but these girls were so emotionally invested in my participation that I did not want to hurt anyone by dropping out.

The day that the first class was supposed to begin soon came. I was not planning on going, especially since I would have to rush from school to make it there, but I received a sweet text from Jessica about how excited she was to see me and that she had brought me snacks. So I went. The class was, of course, filled with many very nice people most of whom were Korean. It went over a lesson that had already been taught to me. I was told that the course would eventually lead up to a study on Revelation. This study on Revelation was never spoken of in detail but constantly built up to be life-changing. Everyone at the study, excluding me, had the same version of the Bible and would repeat the reference of the verse a few times before and after reading in unison. The teachers of the class were referred to by their name followed by the word “teacher”. The method of the class was the same as the small group study, using one verse in the Bible to explain another with a big emphasis on parables and the importance of Biblical knowledge. It also emphasized that without using Scripture to explain Scripture, one was interpreting the Bible through his or her own thinking rather than as God intended for it to be interpreted. This meant that their teaching was the only correct way to interpret the Bible. This was contrary to what I was taught in church about the role of the Holy Spirit in wise discernment. Once again, when I tried to get any info on the churches affiliated with the study I was unable to. I was also alarmed when Jessica informed me that soon I would be a leader of the study too, which was another big surprise to me. I said that I didn’t think so, but Jessica kindly told me that it wasn’t optional.

 On the day of the next class, I had made up my mind to not go. I receive multiple texts asking where I was and why I was not there. I was kindly told that missing a class was not acceptable and to let the class leader know when I was available to make up the lesson. These leaders were very persistent and believed that learning God’s word through this study should take priority over earthly things like work and school. At this point, I began to feel strongly that the study was a cult and also knew I could no longer participate in it without every other area of my life suffering.

When I told Jessica that I would no longer be participating in the study because the time commitment was too overwhelming for me, I was shocked by her response. I was told that God wants me to be in the study, and by not pleasing God I was serving the devil. She repeatedly asked me to reconsider. I repeatedly and respectfully insisted that my mind was made up, and she continued to argue her reasons why I should stay in involved. Things became very awkward. Her reaction was as if I had just sealed my eternal fate to burn in Hell. After this uncomfortable meeting, Jessica’s warmth towards me ceased. I made efforts to maintain our friendship to no avail.

It was not until months after I dropped out of the study that I realized that this “Christian” Bible study I had been involved in was actually Shinchonji. A friend told me about a man named Man Hee Lee, who supposedly had Revelation revealed to him by God and was traveling the world preaching the true meaning of Revelation. This man has been involved with various corrupt religious groups in the past all claiming to be the chosen ones. He claims that he is the prophesied final prophet and will never die. He teaches that the events of Revelation have already taken place and that the only way to obtain salvation is through following his teachings, a message that is clearly incongruent with what is actually stated in the Bible. After extensive research, I realized that the study I was a part of was indeed Shinchonji, Man Hee Lee’s followers. The lessons on Revelation I had missed out on were actually the teachings of Man Hee Lee.

The more research I have done on this group, the more troubled I become that I was conned into involvement in it. This group tricks Christians into participation by withholding information, lures them in through starting with non-controversial lessons, building seemingly caring relationships, and using guilt as a weapon. Early lessons are about the importance of Biblical knowledge and how the Pharisee’s lack of knowledge caused them to reject Jesus when he was right in front of them. This lays a groundwork that dupes participants into buying the more extreme ideas taught in later lessons. Those that see it for what it really is and call it a cult are compared to the Pharisees that rejected Jesus. Because the group believes that all other Christian leaders, such as pastors, are corrupt, participants are left with no one to turn to other than Shinchonji leaders. This results in isolation, a classic characteristic of a cult. Because it uses Scripture to back up Scripture, supporters argue that everything is Biblical despite the fact that these verses are twisted to have a meaning created by Man Hee Lee. No religion should have to hide its affiliations or beliefs from you for fear that you will dismiss it as a cult. No group should bribe or guilt you into participation. No religious leader should require blind obedience or condemn you for using your God-given brain to make your own judgments. This cult is a prime example of the wolves in sheep’s clothing spoken of in Matthew 7:15. I would strongly encourage anyone that is or suspects they may be involved with this group to find out its ties and research its beliefs to avoid being tricked and hurt the way I was.

October 28, 2012, 12:00:43 AM
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Offline Peter

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Re: Experiences with SCJ: Bible Study
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 12:00:43 AM »
An interesting account of how Shinchonji "Bible Studies" operate:

A New Teaching: Shinchonji
If someone were to ask you if you've ever heard of Shinchonji, you would probably be among the vast majority of people who have not. And yet, there are handfuls of people all around the world who are getting involved in Shinchonji without their knowing.

If someone were to ask one of them if they've ever learned about the revealed word or the opened word, they would say, yes. They would probably say, I'm learning the revealed word right now. How do I know this? Because two months ago, this was me. I was deeply involved in learning the revealed word for months and never knew that I was actually being converted to the Shinchonji Church of Jesus, Temple of the Tabernacle.

There are lots of groups that claim to have "the revealed word," so the two may not necessarily be linked. But, if you're anything like me, the revealed word is the first thing I thought to research because it is such a central component to Shinchonji teaching.

In my experience, every time I asked direct questions about the name of the organization, the founder, or where these teachings were headed, my teachers would hand me vague and evasive answers. The organization had no name. The founder was a "missionary" who gives all glory to God. My teacher's church was "a church that teaches the revealed word." When pressed, my teacher called her church a non-denominational church called "Serving Christ Jesus." I was not able to maintain any information about this church via the internet because this church does not exist. Another name they've given out is "California Zion Church" which is searchable via the internet... that is, with no real information attached to it. It is listed in the yellow pages siting 1) where it could be found on a map, and 2) a phone number. None of this was useful to me because the people there will not give out any palpable information. Questions about their teachings usually led to "that will be covered in another lesson" or "just continue with the lessons and wait till you see the whole picture." When I expressed concerns with the way they were interpreting scripture, they would persist to tell me, "you are using your own thinking like the Israelites did in the first coming of Christ."

If you are experiencing similar situations with a group of believers, you may be getting involved in Shinchonji Church of Jesus. I did not find this out until a month after I left their teachings due to heavy, investigative research. And I was involved in learning their teachings for five months!

This is their website:

This is a website that desires to test Shinchonji teachings in light of the Word and sound reason:

This is some of their beliefs/teachings:

1. They don't believe in the trinity.

2. They believe that believers today must completely understand Revelation and the parables in order to enter the kingdom (Matt 13:10-11).

3. They claim that "the one who overcomes" in Rev 2:17, 26-27 is a prophecy of a coming pastor who will open the Word. This is controversial since this phrase appears to be taken out of context since the writer is writing to a church body. Thus the phrase would more easily be interpreted as “those among you who overcome.”

4. They claim that they alone have the Revealed Word because their pastor is this pastor—Mr. Manhee Lee.

5. They believe they are the 144,000 recorded in Revelation 14:1.

6. They believe that the old generation of Christians will betray God as the Israelites did by not receiving the Revealed Word (2 Thess 2:3). The sun, moon, and stars in Matt 24:29 that fall to the earth represent the pastors and Christians who will betray God.

7. They believe that the "Counselor" Jesus spoke of is not the Holy Spirit, but actually this promised pastor of the end times.

8. They believe that the church today is interpreting many things literally that were always meant to be taken figuratively—thus, the Revealed Word opens those figurative meanings.

            A. Trees represent people (Ps 1:3, Is 55:12).

            B. Fire represents the Word of judgment (Jer. 5:14).

            C. Food/Bread represents spiritual learning (Is 55:2).

            D. Pregnant woman represents pastor (Gal 4:19).

            E. Light represents the Revealed Word (Ps 119:105).

            F. Foxes represent false prophets (Ezekiel 13:4).

            (And many more. These are just to name a few.)

9. They believe that Jesus Christ has passed his scepter of authority down to the "promised pastor" to rule over the nations with the Revealed Word, and that this pastor will turn around and give all glory back to Christ.

10. They use one-on-one studies to reel people into their classes. Usually there is one teacher and at least one recruiter—a member who is pretending to be learning for the first time along side of you.

11. They justify their deceptive practices with 1 Cor 9:22, and using Abraham and Jacob as examples.