David Yonggi Cho, pastor emeritus of the Yoido Full Gospel Church of Seoul, died on September 14 at age 85. Cho, who was affiliated with the Assemblies of God, had a vast influence as the pastor of the church formerly billed as the world’s largest. He claimed that he received the call to preach directly from Jesus, who supposedly appeared to him dressed like a fireman (“Paul Yonggi Cho,” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements). He preached prosperity as part of a “five-fold gospel”–the gospel of regeneration, the gospel of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the gospel of divine healing, the gospel of blessing, and the gospel of the advent. Cho invented the heretical “Law of Incubation.” In his book The Fourth Dimension he described the steps of this “law”–first, make a clear-cut goal; second, create a precise mental picture of that goal; third, incubate it into reality by meditating on it; finally, speak it into existence. Cho admitted that he borrowed some of his teaching from Buddhist sects. In 2011, Cho was accused by 29 of the church’s elders of embezzling US $20 million. In February 2014, Cho was sentenced to three years in prison (suspended due to his age) for breach of trust and corruption and was ordered to pay a penalty of US $4.7 million (The Gospel Herald, Feb. 21, 2014). Dr. Peter Masters, senior pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, warns: “What has built the largest church in the world? The answer is, an idolatrous mixture of biblical teaching and pagan mind-techniques. God is deprived of His sovereignty in the believer’s affairs, and the authority of Scripture is replaced by the authority of supposedly direct messages from God and the product of the imagination. This is the kind of church which has moved hordes of impressionable Christian teachers the world over to jump on to the healing-prophesying bandwagon. We need to take very great care in these days” (The Healing Epidemic, “Occult Healing Builds World’s Largest Church,” first edition, 1988).
(Friday Church News Notes, September 24, 2021, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)