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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Pastor Cho Yong-gi of One of the World's Largest Churches Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

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Joined: 2009/2/11
Posts: 179
Los Angeles, CA


Brother Jacob Prasch gives a good breakdown of Cho's beliefs on his website about Cho's book called "The Fourth Dimension."

Here is an excerpt:

The second main error in Yonggi Cho’s Fourth Dimension teachings are are his ideas of imagination and visualization.

As we look at the word “imagination” in the NASB we find it appears twice.

A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own imagination. (Prov. 18:11)

Thus says the LORD of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the LORD. (Jer. 23:16)

In both cases it speaks of a delusion: the delusion of trusting in riches and the delusion of the false prophets who prophesy what is in their minds rather than God’s word.

Let’s try “imaginations”; it appears once.

Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high. (Ps. 73:6-8)

Along with this is the classic passage in Jeremiah 17:9…

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

A simple search of how the Bible deals with imaginations reveals that it is hardly something to be trusted. Yet Yonggi Cho claims:

“Until you see your husband clearly in your imagination you can’t order because God will never answer. You must see him clearly before you begin to pray. God never answers vague prayers.” (pg. 11)

Visions and dreams are the language of the fourth dimension, and the Holy Spirit communicates through them. Only through a vision and a dream can you visualize and dream bigger churches. You can visualize a new mission field. You can visualize the increase of your church. Through visualizing and dreaming your can incubate your future and hatch the results. (pg. 31-32)
It sounds great to itching ears. All you have to do is make a clear image in your mind, and then by using the “laws of faith” you can “order” what you want and God will give it to you. He then goes on to say how he imagined a church of thousands and it came to reality.

Actually, the Holy Spirit communicates to us through the Word. (Heb. 1:1; Jn. 14:26)

Through envisioning and dreaming we can kick away the wall of limitations and can stretch out to the universe. That is the reason God’s Word says “Where there is no vision the people perish”. If you have no vision you are not being creative; and if you stop being creative then you are going to perish. (pg. 31)
Yonggi Cho seems to forget that Jesus put a big limitation on prayer and what we can do — it is something called “God’s will”.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 Jn. 5:14)

Where there is no vision the people perish? The word used for “vision” here is “chazon”. It is not the kind of vision you imagine in your mind — that would be “maskit”. Chazon means “revelation”. Where there is no revelation the people perish. Revelation comes to us through the Word. (Heb. 1:1) It no longer comes as it did in former times in various ways, etc. Where there is no understanding of the Word, the people perish. What does the Word really say?

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.
But blessed is he who keeps the law. (Prov. 29:18)

The verse clearly says that having a vision is associated with keeping Scripture. Any real vision will be founded on Scripture. It is not something that we “create in our minds”. It contrasts “not having vision” with keeping the Law. Those with no revelation cast off restraint, but the blessed person keeps the Word of God. That is the sense of the verse which has its equivalent in 2 Corinthians 12:1, “I will go on to visions and revelations”. The Greek word for “revelation” here is “apokalupsis” — something that is hidden and must be unveiled; the true understanding of revelation.

Yonggi Cho says that visions help us “kick away all the walls of limitations”. The Bible says without revelation we cast off restraint. Yonggi Cho’s vision is not the biblical chazon, a revelation through the Word, but something they “create”in their mind.

If you have no vision you are not being creative. (pg. 31)
And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. (Jer 14:4)

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.( Jer. 23:16)

Cho and Rick Warren recently had breakfast together. In response to Rick’s question concerning his ministry, Cho replied, “As a minister, you should know that prayer is the foundation of church growth and revival. [Y]ou should have visions and dreams because [these] are the vessels through which God works.” [Editor's Note: This quote originally found at but no longer viewable on the web.]

“We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray [or] it cannot become a reality. Through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results. (pg. 48)
If only the apostles had understood this they could have imagined that Nero would disappear. Paul could have visualized many people getting saved in Athens rather than wasting his time preaching the Gospel so that just “a few were saved”. The modern charismatic teaching on visualization is foreign to the Bible.

Yonggie Cho writes, “I claim that I could build a church which has more than 10,000 members in the states, as well as Germany or in Tokyo”. (pg. 20)
Well Mr. Cho, that was 1979, more than 30 years ago. Couldn’t even one of your hundreds of thousands of disciples make the short trip to Japan and put your teaching into practice?

“Those members are inside of me, growing, and as the vision grows inside of me, the same is growing outside.” (pg. 18)
The example of Joseph gives us a biblical view of prayer. Yes, Joseph was given a dream, but it was hardly his goal to reign over his brothers and parents. As he continued faithful to God, things went from bad to worse as he was rejected by his brothers, sold as a slave, taken to Egypt, sent to prison. There is no conceivable way that Joseph imagined these things or brought them to pass through the fourth dimensional laws; he just remained faithful to God. At the end of his life he could look back and see God’s hand in it all. He could see that the suffering was necessary. He could see that even the betrayal by his brothers was God’s way of bringing about the salvation of his family.

Paul’s desire was to preach to the Jews yet God sent him to the Gentiles. God knows what we need. Yes we may pray specific prayers, we should learn God’s ways through studying His Word so that in time we will begin to understand His will to the extent that we may pray His will confidently, but even then our imagination remains a part of the soul and until the resurrection we are fallen creatures. The Word-Faith Movement, including Yonggi Cho, raises man to the level of God.


 2014/2/25 12:23Profile

Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1298
Germany NRW

 Re: Pastor Cho Yong-gi of One of the World's Largest Churches Sentenced to Three

Many Christian in Korean and Taiwan see him as a hero.
This will do them great damage. Let us pray that these people wake up and embrace the truth.

 2014/2/25 12:40Profile


Imagination/imaginations appears 20 times in the KJV. It is a much fuller study, but the end result is that God wants us to base truth on His Word and the voice of His Spirit which do not contradict each other and not base our walk on our "imaginations"

However, we all do need to know the voice of the Lord in our spirit and have confidence in it. We need to know how He speaks with each one of us. It was no different for Daniel or Joseph or Paul or many others.

Joseph could have reasoned within himself that his dream about the Chief Baker and Chief Butler was just his imagination.

Peter could have thought his vision of the sheet of unclean animals and the voice he "heard" (was it the still small voice or audible?) were his imagination or Paul receiving the vision of man in Macedonia saying "come over and help us"). Everyone could have said, "I don't see this in the Word."

Do we teach techniques about dreams and visions? Absolutely not! They come out of relationship with God. Does He give dreams and visions? Yes. Does He use an imagination submitted to Him? Yes. Imagination is God given, but not God given to be used to stray from His word or make up our own "divine leadings."

It is not our responsibility to have visions or be creative in terms of divine leading. This is not our domain. Our marching orders come from God. We don't manufacture our own orders, or the will of God. If you do, you will end up like a lot of men today who have made it a career to "make things happen". They teach other men that this is the Christian walk and they all go off into various ditches.

When dreams/visions do come, we must not dismiss them without first discerning if the Lord is speaking to us.

Waiting on the Lord seems to be a lost experience, these days.

Psa 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Psa 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

 2014/2/25 14:11

Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3510
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: tbsounde2

tbsounde2 wrote:
As a Korean-American, my heart grieves when I see how far South Korea has fallen from the days of it's infancy in regards to the gospel; once small in it's own eyes, it strove to faithfully seek and serve the Lord...but prosperity came and they waxed fat and kicked and became filled with every unclean bird and animal and has become a factory for all kinds of heresies and cults and abominations...

Lord, continue to bring down and expose those who have caused your great and glorious name to be blasphemed amongst the peoples of the world and raise up those who will faithfully teach and live out Your Word. Bring the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ back to Korea and stir their hearts in true Holy Spirit led repentance and bring revival once again Lord, cause them to see their desperate need of you, cause them to come humbly once again, just as in the days of old, 100 years ago...sigh...

I was reading your post and thought how prosperity has done the same thing to America and every other country that focuses on blessings and money instead of Christ.

I will pray for Korea, brother; but we all must guard our hearts from the things of this world.

God bless,


 2014/2/25 14:12Profile

 Re: The two Koreas

One need only look to the persecuted church in N. Korea for a comparison. Ny question. Dies this brother acknowledge the reality if a persecuted church in N. Korea?


 2014/2/25 14:49

Joined: 2009/2/11
Posts: 179
Los Angeles, CA


The sad reality is that Cho has had a HUGE impact in South Korea which has also made it's way into almost every Korean-America Church. I have observed a common and alarming trend throughout my time in Seoul as well as my interactions with Korean Churches in the US; trends that echo teachings of people like Cho regarding an over emphasis on prosperity, church growth, and using God more like some kind of force or genie rather than trusting in His sovereignty. Almost every service is about making big dreams for yourself and about becoming famous or prominent people in society, using the story of Joseph as their main basis for argument. For pastors, this had led them to be more concerned about growing their church in numbers rather than teaching their entrusted sheep the Word and the gospel; thinking that having a large church is the sign that God is being glorified. For Parents this has caused them to primarily focus on this form of success for their children rather than spiritual substance; their prayers for their children mainly centering around worldly success, with no form of discipleship in the home and leaving it to the youth pastor to teach their children how to "be a Christian", with home conversations predominantly composed of "how are you doing in school" rather than "how is your walk with Christ." I have seen countless Korean Americans who grew up in church that end up hating their parents and anything to do with God or worse, many walk with a presumption of religion while living like devils, thinking to be Christians just because they attend church every Sunday while getting drunk the night before at clubs and pursuing after the wealth and success of this world. And the blame partly falls on people like Cho who have peddled a false gospel with false hopes and expectations to unsuspecting sheep that were led astray; pastors, mothers, fathers...sure he had one of the largest churches in Korea, but that added to the false validation in the minds of people that large church equals true church when in fact it is quite the opposite in the book of Revelation in comparing Laodecia vs Philadelphia, "though you have but little power, you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Literally breaks my heart to pieces as I see the house (contemporary Korean church) built by human hands beginning to crumble and fall and cause spiritual devastation on those who once found shelter within its walls.


 2014/2/25 16:25Profile


But do South Korean pastors pastors like the brother in question acknowledge the existence of a persecuted Church in North Korea ? Perhaps I should ask is the South Korean church aware of a persecuted church to North Korea?


 2014/2/25 17:03


God is using all of it to test the hearts of many and to purify His Bride. Religious false prophets will always flourish. They are looked upon as Apostles of Christ and they market themselves that way.

2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Lawlessness is increasing (in religion, too). Many are leaving their first love, being drawn away by religion and the prosperity a false gospel offers.

2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Don't be shaken by any of this.

Isa_26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Read all of 2 Peter 2 and Jer 23:25-40

 2014/2/25 17:18

Joined: 2009/2/11
Posts: 179
Los Angeles, CA


Hi Blaine,

Many to my knowledge are aware of the persecuted church in NK, but to what degree they are familiar with the details I am not certain. I am fairly certain that Cho is familiar. But the interesting thing is that SK's view is more of pity due to outward hardships that the people in NK face without realizing that it is the very hardship and difficulty that has kept them pure whereas those in the south have wandered from the faith due to their prosperity. NK and a desire to do mission work there has become a sort of fad in SK in my opinion and some churches here in the states. I am always conflicted when I am praying for the church in NK. In one sense I am deeply moved by their suffering but in another sense I know what westernization will do and the flood of heresies that will come, especially from the south and the west. But on the other hand, the korean cult called the moonies already has a presence in NK as its founder donated lots of money to the former president. The corporations under the moonies cult is actually one of the primary manufacturers of automobiles used in NK. So in light of this, it would seem far better for the doors to open so that the gospel can be preached to as many as possible unto the return of our Lord.


 2014/2/25 17:33Profile


There are many Godly men and women of God in S.Korea and we should be careful not to indict them all as Cho's sheep (In fact, it is not our place to indict anyone). Many belong to the Lord.

 2014/2/25 17:42

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