June 14, 2014 Update: If you're looking for information about fugitive Yoo Byung-eun and the Korean ferry disaster, you can find it here: The Salvation Sect (Gu Won Pa) & the Sewol Ferry Tragedy.
Guwonpa is an umbrella term used to describe several (now different) groups with shared origins. The below information concerns the Guwonpa group that was, before the ferry sinking, the most visible and notable of the three Guwonpa groups.
A 2006 thread from my old board:Negative experiences with Good News Baptists
« Thread Started on May 2, 2006, 7:44am »
I've recently made a very negative experience with a pastor of one of these Good News Baptist churches.
I got in contact with these people through their student missionaries which I met on campus. They wanted to evangelizeme. I tried to explain to them that I'm a christian but they didn't get it right away. They were nice and I directly felt connected to them. What surprised me a bit is that they were not really skilled at evangelizing. They had no bible verses prepared which they could use to show the people that they are sinners and that they need salvation and how they can be saved. All they had was a booklet with their testimonies and a plain text, but no bible verses. I gave them some tips how to use bible verses and also which bible verses are suitable for evangelizing. They invited me to their church, too. They gave me a tract from the Good News Mission. It contained a sermon from their leader pastor Ock-Soo Park. I never read this sermon, maybe I should have read it before I went to their church...
On the back on the tract there was also advertisement for one of pastor Park's books. It said "The beststeller, which shook the whole world."
I do not really think this book shook the whole world, I think it only shook those which belong to the IYF because if you do a search for "pastor ock-soo park" on google or yahoo you will only find stuff about him on their own websites. This guy is nowhere near being famous in the christian community. In all my years, and I listen to a lot of famous christians from the USA etc., I have never heard this name.
The students also told me that this pastor had his own page in the New York Times where he posts sermons. I did some research I could not find anything which shows a connection between the New York Times and this pastor.
So I went there to this church not expecting anything bad. I was actually thinking that this was from God and that God had arranged this. I went there and first of all I found out that the church was basically only a huge house with a huge backyard. All doors were closed. Obviously they did not expect any "strangers". I already wanted to leave when somebody opened. They welcomed me. All the korean students were already in the building. I would say 85% of the few people which were there were only made up of korean students. There were only a few people which seemed to belong to this church which are not student missionaries from Korea.
First of all they sang a few songs, then the students did a coreography and danced and then others played some solos on the violin. Then he asked wether somebody has a testimony. One girl gave a testimony. Something which I noticed is that very often she said things like: "And then I had to think of what Pastor Park said...". She said this a few times and I asked myself who is this pastor Park? (this was before I had done my research) I had the impression that they are pretty focused on this guy.
Then the pastor started preaching about Luke 8 and the difference between the woman which was thankful and the person which had invited Jesus which did not display this thankfulness. He also preached about us being righteous in God's eyes and that we have to look at God and not on ourselves because when we look at ourselves we will not feel like we're righteous. The sermon was basically okay.
When the sermon was over somebody who sat next to me, who was not a student and who seemed to really belong to this church, asked me who I am and where I come from and then he started explaining things to me which I already know. He talked about Adam and Eve and how they were driven out of Eden and I asked myself why does this guy tell me all this stuff?
Then the pastor joined us. He seemed nice and smiled. He also asked me a few basic questions, wether I had a church and how long I have been a christian and how I got saved.
He asked me where I met those girls from his church and we talked a bit. Then he wanted to know how I got saved. I told him my testimony. A few years ago I was not a christian but I had a problem and asked God for help. God helped me and this was how it started. I didn't know christians in real life at this point of time so I asked questions on the net in christian forums and learned stuff and one day I also gave my life to Jesus by praying a sinner's prayer, before this time I did not even know that such prayers exist.I would not even say becoming born again depends on having said such a prayer because in the bible they also did not have sinner's prayers, the heart matters. And then he asks me how I want to know wether those christians which I learned from are right and I said that you can compare it to the bible and I said that there are also bible teachers which are reliable and which God put in this position on purpose, which is to teach others. But he seemed arrogant to me. He said that all christians think they are right. If they noticed when somebody is wrong then how can the bible say the blind lead the blind? This didn't make much sense to me. By saying this he judged all bible teachers and made them look like they are all wrong. Then he said that if you have read the whole bible like three or four times then God will give you thoughts, and these thoughts will always stay the same not like christian opinions which may change. He was very convinced of his own opinion. Then he asked me how I got born again he wanted to know which sin I confessed when I got born again. I did not really understand what he wanted from me.
And then he asked me what I do when I sin and I said I ask God for forgiveness. He then said this is not biblical! He said that the bible only says that we have to CONFESS our sins and confessing is not the same as asking for forgiveness.
1.John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I never spent much time thinking about this.I simply feel like it's appropriate to ask God for forgiveness when I have committed a sin. But he insisted that this is not biblical. He tried to make it look like I don't believe that Jesus' blood covers all my sins.
We talked about this a while and I do not remember everything he said. I said that I think it's simply appropriate to ask God to forgive me when I have sinned. Sometimes when I sin I really beat myself up for it and do not feel forgiven but other christians also have this, too. And then this guy asked me who tells me that those christians are really christians?
I know christians which are sincere and in spite of this suffer from sin and struggle with sin. And then he said straight in my face that I am not born again and that I have never really repented, that I'm carnal and that I fight with sin in my own strength. I replied that there are christians which struggle with sin but he simply questioned wether these are real christians. I replied that Paul also struggled with sin and he describes this in Romans 7. He simply said Romans 7 is about people under the law and it shows Paul before he got saved. He said when Paul was got saved he was in the state described in Romans 8, this would basically mean that everything which Paul describes in Romans 7 does not apply to christians! He claimed that religious people struggle with sin, too. But he himself would not struggle with sin. He said I would struggle with sin and that I would try to fight against sin but I cannot win. He claimed that he does not struggle, he said Jesus would fight for him. It's true that I struggle with some sins which I have not yet overcome. I also didn't understand wether he suffers from sin or not. Somehow he did not give clear answers. I tried a few times to ask him a yes/no question but somehow he wasn't able to really define what he means. Maybe he didn't want to, maybe he couldn't, maybe he noticed that his logic has flaws, I don't know.
He only said that he also sins, but not how often, and that Jesus fights for him. But I didn't really understand what's the trick and what's supposed to be so great about him. If he also sins then he also isn't free from sin. If he is not free from sin then he is also a slave to sin. This is what he accused me of. He said I'm a slave to sin and asked me wether I have sin in my body. What would you reply to this dumb question? Do you have sin IN your body? What a dumb question.
I feel sick, I feel like vomiting.I only wanted to get out of this building. I told him that I do not accept his opinion because who tells me that he is right. In order to believe him I needed to know that he was truly speaking from God and not his own opinion. I was really upset. Before I left he said that I have no clue of the bible...
First of all when he told me all these things I was astonished and thought what if God is revealing things about me to this guy but I think what he does was only something like a gimmick. I bet he tries this stuff with everybody who comes to his church and the interesting thing is this. I went to their homepage and looked what pastor Park teaches. He teaches exactly the same stuff. He says all churches in Korea are wrong and if you sin and ask God for forgiveness you're insulting Jesus.
Because by doing so you say that Jesus' sacrifice was not enough. This guy seems to have forgotten that Jesus HIMSELF teaches us in the Lord's prayer to ask for forgiveness "and forgive us our sins..."
I feel really sorry for all those people which are lured into those churches. The thought that this pastor does evangelizations makes me sick. I think it's symptomatic that this pastor teaches exactly the same stuff as the leader, pastor Park.
They all seem to have the same thoughts and the same tricks. They seem to think that they got it right and all others are wrong. I mean how can somebody be so arrogant and question all other christian teachers but then expect people to believe him? I asked him how am I supposed to know that you're a christian? lol!
I also feel sorry for all the student missionaries which are being recruited which may be totally honest christians. I cannot really say what was going on with this guy, wether he was simply misled or wether he was really hostile and trying to harm me but I think it's impossible and also very arrogant to think that you can say wether a person is born again or not. If I see somebody doing drugs I still cannot say wether this person is born again or not. Who gives me the right to judge this person? This person could be a christian who is backsliden by God is still working in his life trying to draw him back. But this pastor is totally fussy about Romans 7 and since he believes Romans 7 is about non-christians, which it is not, then according to his logic every christian who struggles with sin like Paul in Romans 7 cannot be a christian. It's so easy...
I would really stay away from this organisation. Their theology seems questionable and I also don't see any connections between them and other christian organisations. They seem to be operating alone...
And try to make it look like pastor Park is a famous bible teacher who wrote a book which shook the whole world....
If he was a famous bible teacher you would find plenty of stuff about him on the internet also on sites which are not from goodnews...
What I would like to know is wether the student missionaries have to pay their trips all alone or wether IYF pays it? If IYF is really all about saving the lost then one should expect that they financially support their missionaries. Does anybody know something about this? If IYF is indeed a cult then what are their goals?Re: Negative experiences with Good News Baptists
« Reply #2 on May 2, 2006, 11:23am »
Well handled pillaroffire.
It's difficult sometimes to tell the difference between people who are just misguided and those who are vehemently heretical.
It seems this clown falls in the latter camp.
For what it's worth:
On the back on the tract there was also advertisement for one of pastor Park's books. It said "The beststeller, which shook the whole world."
As SOON as you see that phrase in a work of "nonfiction" start going on the offensive with that.
If, as a Christian, you have no heard of someone they purport to be famous, you should not say, "I haven't heard of him" but instead say "No he isn't famous. He is a nobody.
And then he asks me how I want to know wether those christians which I learned from are right and I said that you can compare it to the bible and I said that there are also bible teachers which are reliable and which God put in this position on purpose, which is to teach others. But he seemed arrogant to me. He said that all christians think they are right. If they noticed when somebody is wrong then how can the bible say the blind lead the blind? This didn't make much sense to me. By saying this he judged all bible teachers and made them look like they are all wrong.
And this claptrap?
I'm sorry but for me, that's another flag. If someone says you should judge and then, not 3 (THREE) sentences later, judges, to me, that is a hypocrit beyond rational thought.
It always sounds to me like nothing more than someone who loves the sound of his own voice.
He tried to make it look like I don't believe that Jesus' blood covers all my sins.
Did he try to make it LOOK that way or did he try to CONVINCE you?
And then he said straight in my face that I am not born again and that I have never really repented, that I'm carnal and that I fight with sin in my own strength.
By all things holy, that is a terrible thing to say.
You seem like you have a really great story and that your faith is a beautiful thing and that it's important to you. PLEASE do NOT listen to this guy. PLEASE don't worry about what he has to say.
The BEST thing that I would suggest you do (and that i myself am doing) is study the bible. Find the verses that support your point. Go to him again (on your terms) and engage him in discussion.
I know a couple of Christians who are hurtful and judgemental in that way. It is such an ugly thing...they remind me of Pharisees to the extreme.
He said when Paul was got saved he was in the state described in Romans 8, this would basically mean that everything which Paul describes in Romans 7 does not apply to christians!
all Paul is providing (as best as I can see) in romans 7 is a sort of etymological study of "sin"
this section from Paul seems almost stream of conscious and when it comes to what Jesus is saying in the Lord's prayer..even what John is saying in 1 John, WHY do we need to be forgiven at ALL?
If one takes Romans 8 at face value (as this dude has done) it presupposed that Christians have no control of themselves and are completely controlled by Christ and therefore, lead BLAMELESS lives. And yet, there is still mention of sin, and forgiveness spatterred throughout Paul's letters, and more IMPORTANTLY through Christ's teachings.
So what does this mean?
Well, like all good verses, it means that it requires study and prayer and more than the kind of simplistic understanding that this pastor has.
oh gez... and at the end of it all I realize you weren't even asking for an opinion. Sorry!
Perchance did you find/attend their church in Busan? I'm quite curious.