Shincheonji/Shinchonji teaches that Jesus' words, Jesus' spirit (and, by extension, Jesus' intelligence) is uniquely tied to their human pastor, Manhee Lee. He is the Lord Jesus´ representative in the last days - the flesh/body Jesus Christ uses on earth to fulfill his promises in Revelation. This is why Mr. Lee's voice is considered the voice of Christ.
If you were a spiritual detective, what would make you or other thinking Christians doubt this claim? What mistakes, contradictions, problems, practices, or lack of information would lead you to a different conclusion? If a movement is from God, it should be sound in all areas, not just in Revelation.
Christian intellectuals who study characteristics of Christian cults (end-time movements) in history notice a common feature from the kingdom of darkness. Visions from spirit beings (angels, Jesus, or God) will inaccurately represent Christianity or exaggerate claims to make it seem like they are the only ones who are spiritual and in the light. Everyone else is in darkness.
For example, in Manhee Lee's book, Creation of Heaven and Earth, he considers pastors and evangelists in Christian circles to be unspiritual and care only about money. Yet, I have met many missionaries and ministers in poor areas of Latin America who have a genuine love for the Lord Jesus and no interest in materialism or weath. These claims by Mr. Lee are exaggerated and make it seem that he alone is reliable.
What other cases of exaggeration or misrepresentation do we see in Shincheonji?
Shincheonji, like other Christian cults/end-time groups introduce new concepts about God´s nature, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. In doing so, they mock Christians who believe in the Trinity, the special relationship between God the Father, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. They all represent God´s nature but are distinct. Christian cults deceptively define this relationship incorrectly or they argue that no one really knows how to define it. The point is that they are the new revealers of God´s nature. Yet, a misdefinition constitutes a red flag.
As one Christian pointed out, ¨Since Jesus Christ is the head of Christianity and supremely intelligent, he knows the definition Christians have been using for the last 1,500 years.¨ He is not going to use an erroneous definition to convince Christians that it is erroneous. This would only hurt his cause. On the contrary, such deception and misrepresentation is a spiritual tactic from the kingdom of darkness.
Imagine you met someone who claimed that American football was an illogical sport, but they re-defined the game to make it look illogical (e.g. that teams have five down or touchdowns count as 10 points). Most people would not give them much credibility.
Once a leader of a Christian cult in Latin America met up with me to explain their group's teachings. When he mentioned the Trinity was an unbiblical doctrine, I asked him to define it first. When he did, he used an inaccurate concept of what Christians believe. To me, this was a clear sign of a spiritual error.
What about Shincheonji's position of the Trinity?
When I first started reading articles on Shincheonji´s website, I noticed two publications showing that the Trinity was not a biblical belief. Naturally, they misdefined what Christians believe and have believed to make the Trinity seem false. (See the article on this blog about the Trinity.)
I brought this point up to two different SCJ instructors independently, who were not sensitive to this point at all. Rather, their answers were defensive. They replied that there are so many confusing definitions of the Trinity in Christianity. (This is actually false.) Furthermore, in SCJ´s articles, they did not claim that there were so many definitions. As a matter of fact, they just used one oversimplified concept to disprove it.
Although some Christians do not perfectly explain (like other teachings), Christian denominations across the board hold the same belief - a belief that comes from serious study of all the passages about Jesus' human and divine nature, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. It is really one of the most fundamental teachings in Christian history. Yet, Shincheonji's two articles use a definition that no Christian community adheres to.
One Christian confessed, ¨If Shincheonji cannot define the Trinity correctly, why would I trust them on other matters, like prophecy.¨ This is the same red flag found in other groups that have spirit-revelations from the invisible world, revelations which re-define Jesus´ identity and make salvation a matter of belief in their teachigns instead of being united to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Another example of misrepresentation in SCJ deals with the Apostles' Creed. Shinchonji makes several harsh comments about anyone who uses the Apostles' Creed.
¨Furthermore, because the Apostles' Creed is not found in the Bible and because it is full of lies, no one should recite it. It should be clear from the following passages why no one should recite the Apostles’ Creed.¨(1)
¨Many cite the Apostles' Creed, which is not according to the Bible.¨(2)
¨Is this not the same as the situation regarding the Apostles' Creed? The apostles never wrote the Apostles' Creed. Others created it on their own and forced all Christians to confess it¨ (3).
¨They should stop reciting the Apostle’s Creed because it contains several false doctrines¨(4)
These statements are ironic because it means that the Jesus presence inside Manhee Lee despises the Apostles' Creed. Yet, the first Christians who wrote this creed (or statements of belief) did so to refute bizarre ideas from Gnosticism about Christ and the universe. Every line debunks misconceptions about Jesus, God, and the world. The real Jesus would know the historical context behind this creed.
One SCJ instructor wrote back and said that the creed is false for two reasons. First, it mentions Jesus being crucified under Pontius Pilate (when it was really the Jewish authorities). Second, he also stated that the reference to the ¨catholic church¨ is misleading. However, both points are easily understood within the historical context (5).
To Christian thinkers, Shincheonji's remarks of the creed being ¨full of lies¨ are exaggerated and have the same tone found in other apocalyptic movements. Contrary to what SCJ affirms, the creed is based on elementary ideas in the Christian faith (i.e. God made this universe; Jesus is God's Son, born of a real woman, died a real death in history, resurrected, and will come again to judge the living and the dead).
These points show that the spirit entities behind Manhee Lee are not accurate. To thinking Christians, SCJ is misrepresenting or exaggerating these issues, signs that the real Jesus would not give.
(1) ¨Mrs. Kim: Martyr of Shinchonji¨ Shinchonji Website Articles. Accessed June 3rd, 2010.http://han.shinchonji.kr/zh-hans/content/mrs-kim-martyr-shinchonji
(2) ¨Is Shinchonji Church of Jesus really a cult,¨ Website Articles. Accessed June 3rd, 2010.http://han.shinchonji.kr/nl/node/381
(3) ¨Eternal life in the spirit¨ Shinchonji Website Articles. Accessed July 15th, 2010.http://scjpeter.blogspot.com/2009/07/scj-eternal-life-in-spirit-and-in-flesh.html
(4) ¨Stop your evil deeds and repent¨ Audio File. Accessed July 15th, 2010.http://kr.blog.yahoo.com/jasminsh_scj/folder/11.html
(5) Christian leaders affirmed in the creed that Jesus truly died under the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate. This was because the Gnostics denied that Jesus died. Christian leaders were giving historical reasons to believe that he died. Furthermore, Jn. 19:16 makes this same point about Pontius Pilate. Lastly, about the catholic church, early Christians were referring to one body of Christ, the catholic/universal church of Christ, as opposed to the Gnostic churches.