Infallible prophets?

Back in the year 2000, Apostle David Cartledge wrote in his book ‘The Apostolic Revolution’ about globally recognized Apostles such as Frank Houston, Brian Houston and the infamous David Yonggi Cho. In these days, Theo Wolmarans was an apostle, Dave Sumrall was an Apostle, Kong Hee was an Apostle and Phil Pringle was an Apostle. It was commonly known that Cho’s ‘Church Growth International’ (CGI) was an apostolic network. But this network and all of these apostles are now… well… simply boring non-fivefold ministry mediocre pastors? It looks like their ‘god’ has regretted giving them apostolic offices and has removed his spirit and possibly his apostolic ‘authority’ from them. Some valuable insights into the CGI and its ‘pastors’ can be read below from this June 1, 2010 CityNews article:


This week, Church Growth International holds its 2010 meeting in Singapore. City News takes a look at the organization founded by David Yonggi Cho.

Making History Through Church Growth

As much as men make history,  it is also the development of history that makes great things out of men. Today’s largest church in the world was founded at a time when the country was recovering from a war, with many of its citizens enduring difficult times in search of hope.

Following the Korean War that ended in 1953, foreign aid—amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars—poured into Korea from “Christian countries” such as the United States. In addition, millions of dollars worth of relief supplies such as food, clothing and medication were brought in by the Catholic and Protestant mission-related agencies and distributed to the needy families in Korea. Such were the relief efforts by the churches, which were the only national relief agencies effectively operating then. Their position as “suppliers,” coupled with the churches’ consistency in charity work, touched the Koreans, who saw and recognized the love of Christ in all the aid offered to them. Programs related to the mission bodies soon became symbols of care and compassion and many people became Christians during that period.

In the midst of this revival, Cho founded Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958, together with Choi Ja-shil, who later became his mother-in-law when he wedded Kim Sung-Hae. As the church grew, Cho implemented the cell system in Yoido, where the city of Seoul was divided into twenty zones, each taken by a leader who would hold services in their homes during the week. When membership in each cell reached a certain number, the cell would multiply into two, with the second one taken by a new cell leader that the original leader had previously trained.

This concept of cell multiplication resulted in phenomenal growth for the church, and Cho decided to relocate the church from Seodaemun-gu to its present location on Yeouido Island in 1973. Today, Yoido Full Gospel Church is the largest in the world, with more than 800,000 members.

During this period, church organizations in Korea had also become more active in helping out the underprivileged practically and spiritually, as they took on more social services. Korean missionaries were sent out to Japan, Taiwan, Bolivia and Pakistan, as well as to serve Korean communities in the United States, Canada, several countries in South America and Southeast Asia. In 1954, Christian Broadcasting System was also founded, establishing stations in the major cities throughout South Korea and becoming a major means of evangelism. In addition, with military service becoming compulsory for men at the end of the civil war, studies showed many soldiers converting to Christianity during their military service—an increase of 10 percent in four years.

During this evangelistic boom, Church Growth International was birthed in 1976 to promote and assist church growth numerically and spiritually, as well as raise up leaders for the growing generation of believers. Founded by Cho, the senior pastor-emeritus of Yoido Full Gospel Church, Church Growth International brings together like-minded pastors, bound by their common vision to help other pastors and leaders in the area of church planting. Kept interdenominational in order to promote love and unity in the Body of Christ, the ministry provides biblical teachings on all aspects of church growth, prayer, spiritual warfare and the home cell system of the New Testament. The ministry also produces Church Growth Magazine which goes out to 179 countries.

Cho sits on the CGI Board of Directors as its chairman, with Paul Kim acting as its Executive Director. Other members include Cesar Castellanos, Marilyn Hickey, Robert Schuller, Larry Stockstill, Theo Wolmarans, Phil Pringle and Kong Hee.

In order to become a member of the CGI Board, new Board members or replacements must be recommended by present Board members in writing. The screening committee will view the presentation of the recommendations and screen the candidates, before an approval by the Board with a majority vote of members present.

To qualify for membership, the recommended candidate must not only be committed to the same philosophy as the Board, but must also be committed to the church structure of the home cell system. Besides that, he or she must be faithful in financial contributions, involved in CGI activities and pastor a church of more than 1,000, with exceptions to this rule decided by the Board.

Once inducted, the member serves until replaced by the Board of Directors. However, any Board member who does not attend the annual CGI meeting at least once in three consecutive years will be removed from membership. In the event of distinguished services, individuals may also be elected as honorary members of the Board. Some of these privileged members are Don Argue, Tommy Barnett and Peter Wagner, among others.

CGI is also known for its international conferences, which are held annually. During the conference, delegates may get the chance to attend a grand prayer meeting with 25,000 people in the Seoul Olympic Stadium, experience an authentic Korean home cell meeting, as well as visit the famous Prayer Mountain.

This year, the international CGI conference is held in conjunction with the Asia Conference 2010 in Singapore.

Principles For Church Growth

How did a church that started with five members in 1958 grow into the largest church in the world with more than 800,000 members? There are some key principles that Yoido Full Gospel Church follows, that may have contributed largely to its phenomenal growth.

Co-founder and senior pastor-emeritus Yonggi Cho teaches that a church in relationship with the Holy Spirit needs to keep itself alive and mobile through the power of prayer. Hence, not only are the church members used to praying loudly and fervently at their many prayer meetings, they also ascend regularly to the church’s prayer mountain to pray and fast. Cho teaches the members to recognize the power of prayer, as well as how much easier it makes evangelism and preaching the gospel, all of which contribute to a greater love for prayer from the people.

Fourth-dimensional Living
Cho teaches his members that the church is not limited to the third dimension, but rather, that they should learn to speak in the language of the Holy Spirit, which is the fourth dimension of dreams and visions. Instead of looking at the impossibilities, emphasis is on thinking of the possibilities and confessing them aloud, to give what is available with faith, and allow God to handle the rest.

Fourth-dimensional thinking uses the four-step process of incubation, which first starts in an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. After receiving a rhema on visions and dreams from the Holy Spirit, the person must have a desire to incubate them in faith. Secondly, it is important to define clear objectives from the desires. Thirdly, the receiver should pray for assurance until confidence and the peace of God comes. Lastly, the believer gives thanks to God and releases faith through confession.
Cho also attributes the growth of the church to the incubation of the vision that God gave him. Since receiving the vision, the church has grown from 600 to 3,000 to 6,000 and eventually to the 800,000-plus it is today.

Taking Care Of The Needs Of Its People
Believing that people respond to met needs, the members of Yoido Full Gospel Church identify themselves with people who have needs and do their best to meet those needs. This is based on 3 John 2, which says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Cho teaches that this applies to the threefold blessings of God, which are spiritual blessings, material blessings and physical blessings. As the members become properous in all these areas, they are then growing in success.

Home Cell System
Probably the crux of the church’s growth lies in the most well known aspect of Yoido Full Gospel Church—how the church is not centered around its leadership, but rather its lay people and the members in the cells. By focusing on the daily lives of his members, Cho empowers his lay people to become active ministers to their family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Seen as the foundation of the church, all departments and activities are structured to assist the cell system better. Hence, instead of restricting the growth of the church to its building, growth begins to take place beyond the walls of the church. The cell groups form the strength of the church as members begin to meet in houses, just like in the Bible.

CGI Members Speaking At CGI-AC 2010

Making History Through Church GrowthLEE YOUNG-HOON

Lee Young -Hoon serves as the senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to this, Lee served as the president of Bethesda Christian University in Anaheim, California and was the senior pastor of both Tokyo Full Gospel Church and Los Angeles Full Gospel Church. Lee is also a Professor of Theology at Hansei University in South Korea, and is the current Chairman of the Theological Committee in the National Council of Churches of Korea.

Making History Through Church GrowthPHIL PRINGLE

Phil Pringle is the founder/senior minister of Christian City Church, a ministry that incorporates a top-grade academic school, three Bible colleges, a television ministry, the world-famous School of Creative Arts, and a Christian record company.

Pringle is also founder/president of Christian City Church International, a movement of over 200 churches, spreading throughout the Asia Pacific region, Europe and North America. His vision is to build a new generation of contemporary churches that are relevant to the world, bringing salvation to the lost, and making true disciples of Christ. He has authored many best-selling books on faith leadership, and the Holy Spirit. He is also an accomplished songwriter and artist.

Pringle is a board member of Church Growth International.

Making History Through Church GrowthPRINCE GUNERATNAM

Tan Sri Datuk Prince Guneratnam is recognized as an outstanding Christian leader both in Malaysia and internationally. He has been in the ministry since 1966 and is presently in his 38th year as the senior pastor of Calvary Church (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), a church that sends missionaries throughout the world.
He has traveled and ministered extensively and holds several key global leadership positions. He is the vice chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the secretary of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and general superintendent-emeritus of the Assemblies of God of Malaysia. He is the founder/president of Calvary International Ministries, an interdenominational evangelistic ministry. He has also served as chairman of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (1994 – 2006) and the Christian Federation of Malaysia (2001 – 2006).

Making History Through Church GrowthRICHARD BERNAL

Richard Bernal and his wife Carla founded Jubilee Christian Center (San Jose, California) with six people in 1980. In 25 years the church has grown to over 14,000 members from all nationalities and backgrounds. Bernal is a refreshing voice on the scene of contemporary Christian ministry. He is a popular conference speaker in the United States and other parts of the world and is a board member on Church Growth International. Bernal is also a noted author and a leading expert on spiritual warfare and impacting cities for the kingdom of God.

Making History Through Church GrowthKEN ELDRED

Ken Eldred is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and ministry pioneer with a passion to bring Christ into the workplace. For over 20 years, he served as CEO of Inmac, a public company he founded, and has participated in business ventures in the US, Europe, China and India. He is the founder/CEO of Living Stones Foundation Charitable Trust, a public support organization focusing on assisting Christian work and charitable projects around the world. He has an MBA from Stanford University and was a Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He has also served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for Regent University. He is the co-editor of On Kingdom Business, winner of a 2004 Christianity Today Book Award. He is also the author of God Is At Work: Transforming People And Nations Through Business, named the top book by the Business as Mission Network. Ken is now working on a follow-up book to God Is At Work that will be focusing on the “integrated life.”

Making History Through Church GrowthDAVID SUMRALL

David Sumrall has been the senior pastor of Cathedral of Praise in Manila, Philippines, for 27 years. Dedicated to the study and teaching of sound biblical doctrines, he is highly respected among the Christian community around the world. Together with his wife Beverley and daughter Alisha, Sumrall serves God fervently in the Philippines and enjoys the privilege of seeing people grow and prosper in their walk with Him. Sumrall is a board member of Church Growth International.

Making History Through Church GrowthCASEY TREAT

Casey Treat is the senior pastor of Christian Faith Center, Seattle, Washington, a multicultural, nondenominational church. Today, CFC is the largest church in the Pacific Northwest, with two campuses (Federal Way and Mill Creek) and more than 10,000 weekly attendees. In addition, Treat’s media ministry Christian Faith International has a worldwide outreach. Treat is the founder/president of Vision College (formally known as Dominion College). He is also the founder of the Vision Conference, an annual leadership/spiritual life conference for pastors and leaders. He presides over Vision Ministries Fellowship and hosts his own television program called Living On Course. Treat is a successful author of many books and audio/video series, and is a board member of Church Growth International.

Making History Through Church GrowthTHEO WOLMARANS

Theo Wolmarans is an anointed teacher who presents the Word of God with complete clarity and simplicity, bringing understanding to hearts and minds, and captivating listeners with his bold, dynamic style of delivering God’s Word. As a leading international minister and a board member on Church Growth International, Wolmarans is a much sought-after speaker throughout the world. Through his apostolic calling, he is responsible for the formation of many churches throughout Africa and various parts of the world, including the US. Together with his wife, Beverley, he founded Christian Family Church International in Johannesburg, which is one of the largest churches in South Africa.

Source: City News, City Harvest Church Singapore, Making History Through Church Growth, Published June 1 2010. (Accessed Dec 7 2017.)

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