[Series III] The Fourth Dimension Spirituality and Church Growth

The Fourth Dimension Spirituality and Church Growth
– The Case Study of Rev. David Yonggi Cho –

A Lecture Presented at the International Church Growth Conference
(World Mission Briefing)

Organized by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Institute for Church Growth

(ICG) of Korea in Oxford, 11th-12th November, 2004.

Written By HONG, Young Gi (Ph.D.)

 

3. Training of the Fourth Dimension Spirituality

  How to train the fourth dimension spirituality? The channels of the fourth dimension can work even in human world. If a man has an ambitious dream to make money and dedicates himself to this dream, he is likely to make money. However, in Christian life and ministry, there are three important aspects to develop and bring about creative changes within the fourth dimension spirituality to apply in the third dimensional life. They are prayer training, God’s word training, and Holy Spirit training.

 

(1) Prayer Training

  Rev. Cho believes that prayer is the key to the development of the fourth dimension spirituality. Prayer is a key element in Rev. Cho’s ministry. He stressed that the main element of the spirituality movement is the prayer movement in his interview with me (Hong, 2003a):

There is no Holy Spirit movement without prayer, and there is no spirituality
without the Holy Spirit movement. Thus, spirituality movement is prayer
movement. When inner development of the spirit is achieved through prayer,
then it can be regarded as a spirituality movement.

  Rev. Cho attaches a great importance to the spirituality of prayer, and he has devoted himself to prayer. To him, prayer is not an unrealistic, mystic spirituality but life itself. This characteristic is distinguished clearly when compared with the practice of the Catholic Church or other traditional reformed churches. In the center of the spiritual life of the Catholic churches is the Sacrament, and the words of God takes the center of the spiritual life of the traditional Reformed churches (Park, 2003). On the contrary, the essence of the Pentecostal faith is prayer. The models of Rev. Cho’s spirituality of prayer have been manifested variously, and among them, the followings are noticeable (Hong, 2003b: 21-28, Korean).

  The first is prayer journaling. He reflects on the past with a prayer like writing a diary and then plans future tasks with a prayer like setting up a schedule for the day. This is related to thinking in the fourth dimension. The second is the prayer of faith. Rev. Cho has always stressed to pray in strong faith without any doubt. As a method of faith prayer, he suggests that it is important to believe in a Good God, to set a clear goal for prayer, to confess positive faith, to expect a miracle, and to learn to have a vision in faith (Cho, 1984). The third is imperative prayer. Rev. Cho values praying upon the authority given to Christians through spoken confessions. Thus, he suggests that it is effective to pray in an imperative mood to rule over creations, to have a miracle happen, and to defeat Satan.

  For more effective prayer training, Rev. Cho has developed various training models. He has devised and propagated his own version of prayer through his positive praying life with the models of the Lord’s prayer, tabernacle prayer, praise prayer, status identification prayer, wave prayer, etc (Cho, 1996b). He has taught people how immensely wide and deep the world of prayer is through these training models. He also makes much of praying in tongues. Rev. Cho believes that when we pray in tongues with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can transcend our weakness and delve into the deep grace of God (Cho, 1993, Korean). His spirituality of praying in tongues has influenced all congregations of Yoido Full Gospel Church, and it is common to see church members speaking and praying in tongues during the worship service. In Yoido Full Gospel Church, as speaking in tongues is acknowledged as a special gift of the Holy Spirit, and makes church members experience the presence of God, it often leads to the devotion of faith in the church. Rev. Cho believes that through prayer we can be empowered by the power of the Spirit and change the way we think, dream, have faith, and speak in the fourth dimension.

 

(2) God’s Words Training

  God’s words reflect God’s way of thinking and His will. For Rev. Cho, changing our thinking attitude and way of speaking is possible through the words of the Bible, as the words of God are the spirit and the life. Memorizing and speaking the words of the Bible is programming the fourth dimension of our spiritual world. A pastor’s sermon from the pulpit is a strong agent to move the fourth dimension of the people. Therefore, Christians’ fate becomes different when they listen to God’s words carefully and heedfully.

  Rev. Cho emphasizes that the Word of God should be experienced in the believer’s life. He maintains: “Although the Bible is the Word of God, if the believers do not experience the work and power of God within the Word, the Word is nothing but a pie in the sky” (Hong, 2003b: 28-29. Because of his Word-centered spirituality, one can also see that David Cho’s sermons every Sunday quote on the average of more than 20 scripture verses. He asks church members to read the scriptures everyday, memorize it, reflect on it, study it, and practice it. Rev. Cho believes that our thinking, dreaming, faith, and speaking are, and should be, affected by the Word of God and the will of God.

 

(3) Holy Spirit Training

  Pentecostal movement is distinguished by its emphasis on an immediate and personal experience of the Holy Spirit. Rev. Cho has consistently proclaimed the gospel of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The most important characteristic of the gospel of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as proclaimed by Rev. Cho is his praxis theory of the Holy Spirit (Cho, 1989). He has strived to live the life of being filled with the Holy Spirit and tried to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit through his ministry. Rev. Cho’s Holy Spirit-centered spirituality has its roots in the following three points (cf. Hong, 2003b: 33-36, Korean).

  The first is personal fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Rev. Cho did not realize the personality of the Holy Spirit clearly in his early ministry. Then, one day after an early morning prayer meeting in 1964, he heard the voice of the Holy Spirit while he was praying for church revival: “You have known me only experientially. But the Holy Spirit is a person. A person should not be treated as an experiential object only. You have to start a fellowship with me as a person to recognize, welcome, serve, rely on, revere, and appreciate,” Since then Rev. Cho has started a deep personal fellowship with the Holy Spirit and then began to experience a more flourishing grace of God. Then, with the work of the Holy Spirit, his church that had stagnated at 2,400 members started to revive again. While many ministers were criticized for their emphasis on the miracle-oriented ministry and non-personal ministry with the Holy Spirit, Rev. Cho has emphasized the personality of the Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit movement of the Korean church did not flow in the wrong direction or with a shallow spirituality.

  The second is partnership with the Holy Spirit. According to Rev. Cho, the fellowship with the Holy Spirit provides the power and closeness to work with Him, and the success and failure of the ministry depends on whether there is a partnership with the Holy Spirit or not.

  The third is union with the Holy Spirit. Union with the Holy Spirit means being one with the Holy Spirit completely through the fellowship and partnership with the Holy Spirit. Being in union with the Holy Spirit signifies the status of maintaining life being filled with the Holy Spirit.  He once spoke at the inauguration worship service for the Korea Society for Church Growth that it is like committing a sin to minister without being filled with the Holy Spirit. (20 June, 2003).

  When church leaders are filled with the Holy Spirit, they become dreamers: they dream to witness Jesus, not to live for themselves. Leaders change their thinking attitude, become bold and confident in faith, and speak God’s words. Likewise, the Holy Spirit moves us from the third dimension and into the fourth dimension, which brings about creative transformation in our life and ministry.

  How to develop the fourth dimension spirituality depends on spiritual training of prayer, God’s words, and the Holy Spirit ministry. <Figure 1> shows the diagram of the fourth dimensional spirituality.

 

To be Continued…

1 Comment

  1. Very good. Well done. I only read some. At least it’s free. I don’t agree that sermons and christian teachings have to be bought so much as people don’t even have time to read them even when are free. Thanks. Much blessing. One in Christ.

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