Churches alerted to dangerous cult


Churches in New Zealand are being warned of a South Korean-linked group accused of being a religious cult that infiltrates churches and uses “real deceit” to recruit members.

The group is know as Shincheonji, or the “New Heaven and New Earth”

Shincheonji members are alleged to have visited church congregations and student groups in universities in Auckland, inviting people to special study groups.

The group  is also known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, or SCJ.

The founder, Lee Man-Hee claims that Jesus appeared before him as a “bright heavenly figure.”

Some see Lee Man-Hee as God’s “promised pastor” who holds the key to avoid impending judgement.

Followers believe that Lee Man-Hee is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

It has been reported that the church teaches that Lee Man-Hee is the angel referred to in Revelation 22:16:

A University of Auckland law student and former Shincheonji church attendee claimed members of the group helped his mate “escape his family” in Auckland and paid for his airfare to live with believers in Korea.

Another student also allegedly donated his entire year’s university fees to the group after he was convinced that earthly education was of no use to him.

Massey University religion and cult expert Professor Peter Lineham said the presence of the group in New Zealand was “concerning”.

The group’s 2016 annual report, written in Korean script, confirmed it had set up bases in two Oceania countries.

Lineham said Shincheonji’s recruitment method of new members involved “real deceit”.

“They pretend that they themselves are searching for the answer but they are actually full members of the cult,” Lineham said.

The New Zealand Korean Churches Association, representing Korean Protestant churches, has been rolling out warnings to its member churches.




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