A Korean Sect Targeted New Zealand Christians. Did Churches Respond Effectively?

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Laura was volunteering at the welcome desk of LIFE Central church in Auckland in April 2015 when a friendly man introduced himself, asked a few questions about her church, and then left.

Unbeknownst to Laura, after this brief encounter, the man organized one of his coworkers to return to the church the next week. The woman explained that she had just moved from South Africa as a student conducting research on education. After talking for a bit, Laura started to open up to her about some of her struggles and questions about the faith. In response, the woman suggested Laura meet with her mentor, who she said could address Laura’s problems about the Bible.

She began meeting with the woman’s mentor, a Korean woman also visiting from South Africa, for weekly Bible studies. After a few weeks, the mentor began pestering Laura to join a larger six-person class that met three times a week. Laura eventually agreed.

As someone who had experienced hypocrisy and lukewarm community at the mainline Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches she attended in the past, Laura found the intense, Bible-based classes compelling. Laura recalled a tight-knit group of South Africans, Koreans, and New Zealanders eager to learn God’s Word. Laura said the instructor taught her how to read Jesus’ parables and the Book of Revelation as prophecies foretelling Jesus’ Second Coming. The teacher stressed that she and her fellow students needed to know the secret meaning of certain Bible verses to obtain true salvation.

Content retrieved from: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2023/december-web-only/shincheonji-new-zealand-korea-christian-church.html.

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