My name is Joseph and I have been a part of Shincheonji for more than 3 years now.
I joined Shincheonji because I believe this is the place that God is present with and is using to spread the news that Jesus’ Second Coming is fulfilling today. Let me share my story today.
Requirements in Church?
I was born into a Christian family and attended church regularly on Sunday. Growing up within the church, my church seemed it was more about the people, not doing things that were necessarily evil, and trying to make the most of life. Of course, we should be reading the Bible; we should be evangelizing; we should be doing things for God and the church; however, it never felt required, after all, we all thought we were saved in believing in Jesus anyway.
There was always a disconnect between the lives and faith of those in the Bible versus myself and others I encountered in churches. Much of what was preached to me was Jesus’ love and grace, that we would never be perfect and that sinning, though not okay, will just be a part of your life.
I very much walked the line between a believer who was active in church and a person who was just focused on the pleasures of life. Despite this lifestyle, I felt I was an above-average believer, participating in the praise band, going to all the Bible studies I could, making sure I had a seeking heart to understand the Bible.
Being the Head Pastor
Prior to joining Shincheonji Bible studies, I was asked by the head pastor of the small church I was going to at the time to help with lay preaching. I thought and prayed on it and took up the offer thinking that maybe with a familiar face speaking, my non-Christian friends would try coming to church. After training with the head pastor and putting hard work and effort into crafting a sermon, it was not long until I put in front of the pulpit.
Around this same time, I was asked by a friend, who was already in Shincheonji, to help her friend out by doing a series of Bible lessons with him since he was training to be a missionary. This was where my journey into Shincheonji really started.
What Caught Me about Shincheonji
From the first lesson on, I felt this teacher was someone I could really learn the Bible through, and so I continued to learn many new and fascinating things. Something that really caught my eye was how much of the Bible we were using. In my past, I always looked at the Old Testament as stories of peoples’ faith with little connection to Jesus and the disciples but that thought was proved false the more I understood how the prophecies of the Old Testament were actually about Jesus.
After a little push to join the in-person classes, I was amazed by the teaching. The Bible began to have new life in my faith. The words I read applied more and more to my life of faith today. I was convinced by the patterns and connections between the Old Testament and New Testament that this was the true understanding one should get from reading the Bible.
How Does Shincheonji’s Teachings Compare to Commentaries?
I do remember comparing the teaching I had been receiving to Bible commentary software I had purchased. There was little overlap in the interpretations. I was even more surprised at that time when none of the commentaries even had any mention of any of the teachings I had been receiving through Shincheonji’s classes!
If none of the top scholars who wrote the commentaries had the teaching I had been learning up to this point, then what I had been receiving was on a whole new level. Furthermore, as someone who had preached in front of congregations, youth conferences, and led Bible studies (and praised for it), I realized what I had previously taught was far from what I now considered “truth”.
Would I Sacrifice My Life?
I remember being asked early on in the class if I would be able to drop my net just like the disciples did. Of course, our answer should be yes. But I remember saying that I just could not at the moment and that my faith just was not there yet. By the end of the class, I could confidently say that I could see myself dropping my net to follow Jesus.
Upon finishing the in-person classes and understanding the Shincheonji’s Biblical view, I believed in whole-heartedly. The questions I had and asked were answered (or eventually answered in many cases). With the understanding I received when I read the Bible, I am amazed by the amount of connections that Paul makes in his epistles.
“Indoctrination” at Shincheonji?
I sincerely believe that the life of faith we carry at Shincheonji is according to the Bible, and we live a true life of faith for believers today. I used to think of the disciples of the Bible as people who would never exist again in the world; however, I’ve met many people in Shincheonji who try to emulate the action and views of the apostles described in the Bible.
It is very unfortunate that to most Christians, if they were to hear the name of Shincheonji, they would think we are a “cult”. I sincerely hope that you could attend the classes we have to understand the Bible. Some might label these classes as a place to “brainwash” or “indoctrinate you”; however, this was a place where I was able to learn the Bible in a logical and reasonable manner. This was the place I was able to perceive God’s will through reading the Bible.
My name is Joseph and I am a member of Shincheonji. Thank you for reading my testimony.