Rick Warren's Dirty Dominionist Secret
One of the associations Rick Warren has that is of particularly grave concern to me--and one which has been very little publicised, outside of a few apologetics circles--is the links between him and longtime spiritual-warfare hawker David Yonggi Cho (nee Paul Yonggi Cho).
Cho, for those who aren't familiar (and most of you won't be unless you are a walkaway from some of the most spiritually abusive segments of the dominionist movement), is the head of Yoido Full Gospel Church--an extremely large Assemblies of God church in Seoul, South Korea (and with multiple "satellite" congregations throughout South Korea) that qualifies as the world's largest megachurch and (if its satellite congregations are counted) quite possibly the largest single congregation of any church; the church has claimed quite literally three-fourths of a million people in South Korea as members, and effectively is the Assemblies of God in that country for all intents and purposes. His megachurch empire started a scant ten years after the Assemblies entered Korea, so he is a prime study on how the Assemblies actively exports dominionism worldwide.
The reason that Cho has two names is a story in and of itself (and is where we begin jumping deep into the rabbit hole and seeing how far down it goes). Cho has claimed that that he died and later came back from the dead:
Paul Yonggi Cho
(Sources: Cho, Leap Of Faith) (Bridge Publishing, 1984);  "Interview with Dr. Paul Cho," Mary S. Relfe, League of Prayer (P.O. Box 4038, Montgomery, AL, 36104).)
During this bit of a trip to the Other Side that Cho claims to have experienced (a surprisingly common claim by Assemblies-linked "name it and claim it" promoters; Jesse Duplantis, another "name it and claim it" promoter popular on the Assemblies traveling-pastor circuit, also claims to have died and come back, as have many others) Cho claims to have been told to change his name and also claims to have seen Jesus as a member of the local fire brigade:
Cho claims to have received his call to preach from Jesus Christ Himself, who supposedly appeared to him dressed like a fireman. (Dwight J. Wilson, "Cho, Paul Yonggi," Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, 161)
Cho is the inventor of possibly one of the most spiritually abusive tactics ever devised--the "cell church" or "shepherding group", which has been the primary method in which his church has grown exponentially. (Of note, it was originally invented as a way to keep control over the huge congregation; it is now being used to "seed" dominionist movements in churches to take over from within, "cuckoo style".) Cho is also, very much, a promoter of dominion theology and particularly "name it and claim it"; Cho has had links with the Assemblies frontgroup Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International which has historically been a major force in promotion of dominionism both here and abroad, and a profile at Rick Ross Institute notes that he has bastardised concepts from traditional Korean shamanism in almost identical fashion to that of the Moonies. He has also, by his own admission, used tactics based on those used by Soka Gakkai--a "Buddhist-based" highly abusive coercive religious group that is almost universally considered cultic and possibly violated law in obtaining confidential NCIC records for purposes of "dead-agenting" critics and which uses prayers as a form of cursing mainstream Buddhist leaders in Japan, has in general engaged in extremely unethical behaviour and whose members have even literally attempted to torch the temples of mainstream Buddhist churches.
It is, in fact, probably not a major exaggeration to state that Cho has been responsible for the increasing rate that the Assemblies of God has gone hard-dominionist worldwide; in fact, in 1992, he was elected head of the World Assemblies of God Council (the group overseeing all Assemblies of God churches worldwide)--the exact period when "Third Wave" pentecostalism (such as promoted in Brownsville Assemblies of God during the "Pensacola Revival") and its associated spiritual-warfare movements were embraced officially as a "move of the spirit" by the American Assemblies of God headquarters.
It should be noted that this is not the first time Cho has tried to breed the "Pensacola Madness", though. Part of the reason I am all too aware is that the Assemblies of God church I am a walkaway from was the first documented church in the US where Cho predicted, and was trying to encourage, "Brownsville"-style revivals:
It is interesting how a claim regarding a prophecy attributed to Korean Pastor Cho changed three times, each time becoming more specific until it identified Pensacola as the city where a "great end-time revival" would break out and spread throughout the world. Actually, I had heard of that prophecy years before when we lived in Kentucky, and there was speculation that Evangel Tabernacle would be the church where it was to start. The prophecy didn't change . . . the telling of it did.
(In fact, the church I'm a walkaway from pretty much was one of the first "Third Wave" churches in the US, a full thirty years before Brownsville's "revival".)
Another article (which notes that the church I am a walkaway from was the first in North America targeted by Cho) also notes that between the time the church I left was targeted and Brownsville was targeted that he claimed the next "outpouring" would be in Canada--at the Toronto Airport Fellowship, a Vineyard church often credited for "Third Wave" pentecostalism and its associated spiritual warfare movements.
Sadly, the rampant spiritual abuse I have reported as a survivor of "Third Wave Madness" is all too typical in the "Third Wave" churches--in fact, the whole "Third Wave" is increasingly regarded as spiritually abusive per se, and some of its core doctrines are frighteningly similar to those in Scientology.
Not only did Cho devise "Third Wave" pentecostalism, he in fact invented many of the tactics that are used by "spiritual warfare" groups--including "prayer gangs", "territorial marking" with Wesson oil, etc. and can in fact be credited with much of the dominionist "spiritual warfare" movement's invention and popularising.
Of interesting note, Cho has attempted to promote dominionist movements in South Korea itself and has multiple links to dominionist groups here in the States; in addition to the FGBMFI and other links, he's also linked to quite possibly one of the most spiritually abusive of the Assemblies frontgroups, "Youth With A Mission" (which is almost universally considered by exit counselors as cultic, and which has multiple links to dominionism).
Quite obvious why I consider anyone and anything to do with Cho as being Bad News.
And the links between Cho and Warren are, sadly, extensive indeed. Deception In The Church and Let Us Reason document this:
Warren was a key speaker at Yonggi Cho's church growth conference in 1997. Cho is known to mix occult concepts with Christian teaching. He is especially known for his word faith & visualization techniques. Warren was also a key speaker at Schuller's Institute for Successful Church Leadership.
More damningly, a dominionist publication has interviewed Cho wherein the latter admits links with Rick Warren; this same publication has an article by Rick Warren where he quotes Cho directly in admitting both have possibly plaigarised sections of sermons from Billy Graham and a pastor of a Dallas, TX church:
There has been much talk in recent years on blogs and Web sites about how much of other people's sermons is appropriate to incorporate into your own messages. When does it get to the point of "plagiarism"? A friend of mine in Cincinnati was recently dismissed by his church's board of trustees because of this. As I predicted to that board of trustees, the size of that thriving church has been cut in half, the momentum they had been experiencing has gone away, and they are in big financial trouble. What a needless waste of God's momentum that had been resting upon them.
Warren was also a speaker at the Azusa Street Centennial (held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, generally held as the "birth" of pentecostalism including the Assemblies of God) and reportedly shared the stage with Cho.
Warren and Cho also have joined forces in promoting megachurches via the Internet including setting up "cell churches" online (and networking fellow dominionists):
Churches need to stop building bigger buildings and start relying more on the Internet, say two leading pastors in the church growth movement. David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the 750,000-member Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, and Rick Warren, pastor of the 15,000-member Saddleback Valley Community Church, say the Internet is a "next generation strategy" that will connect decentralized home groups to the larger church body.
(It is worth noting--on a rather frightening note, at that--that many estimates have South Korea as the world's most "wired" nation, especially in regards to broadband access.)
Especially damning, Cho admits on his own website the links between him and Warren and cross-promotion of each other:
Prayer is the only way to survive!
It is frightening that Rick Warren is very, very close with the person who may in fact be one of the most responsible for the fact that the Assemblies of God is, denomination-wide, dominionist and embracing of spiritual abuse in the name of "spiritual warfare"--and in the process creating thousands of instances of "collatteral damage".
And it should not be surprising in this light why Rick Warren's name, and the name of his organisation, are being found closely linked to games promoting the dominionist ideals of "spiritual warfare"--the very ideals in "dominion theology" that his friend David Yonggi Cho largely invented, has heavily promoted, and spread like a plague worldwide for the past fifty years.
Rick Warren's Dirty Dominionist Secret | 45 comments (45 topical, 0 hidden)
Rick Warren's Dirty Dominionist Secret | 45 comments (45 topical, 0 hidden)