David Yonggi Cho (also known as Paul Yonggi Cho), the pastor emeritus at Yoido Full Gospel Church, has passed away at the age of 85.
Cho founded Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea in 1958 and over a period of 40 years, this massive megachurch grew its membership to nearly 700,000 ‘congregants’, ultimately receiving Guinness World Record for the largest congregation in 1993. They have since shrunk down to about 500,000 people.
A Pentecostal church associated with the Assemblies of God, Cho was a charismatic prosperity preacher who became saved after allegedly seeing Jesus appear to him in person dressed as a fireman. Along with having the biggest congregation, he is best known for coming up with “church cells” and teaching on the Three-fold Blessing, shamelessly teaching that those who become Christians will be blessed with health and wealth.
“The Threefold Blessing is the practice and application of the Fivefold Gospel (3 John 1:2). The blessing of spiritual well-being is living spiritually rich by accepting Christ as Savior and believing in Him, while the blessing of our general well-being is living a blessed life in which all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. The blessing to be healthy is to be free from sickness. “
Cho was also a zealous proponent of ‘name-it and claim-it’ writing in his book The Fourth Dimension:
“Your word is the material which the Holy Spirit uses to create … There are times for you to pray but there are also times for you to give the command .. You have the resources within you and now you know the elements needed in incubation to make your faith usable. Get a clear-cut goal and objective … Then begin to speak the word about which you have been given assurance.”
According to POG Matthew “(Cho) taught that the ‘third dimension is the material world, while the ‘fourth dimension’ is the spiritual world, and that one can influence the third dimension. He states that ‘through visualization and dreaming you can incubate your future and hatch the results.”
In order to maintain such a large size church, Cho divided the city of Seoul into ‘zones’, and believers in that zone would form a cell and meet at “cell leaders” homes for worship, bible study and prayer. That leader, of which 90% are women, trains up an assistant and once the cell gets too large, they split it up, with the assistant taking half the people and forming a new cell. In 1995, for example, Cho stated that there were 23,316 cells operating under the authority of the church.
The main church sits 12,000 people and has multiple services, but given the church is so large, it means that many in the cells may never attend the service, with their cell group being the only ‘church’ they know.
Cho died in a hospital where he was staying for the last year, after suffering a brain hemorrhage last year.
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