[Series IV] The Growth of the Yoido Full Gospel Church

The Growth of the Yoido Full Gospel Church:
Its History, Factors, and Future Tasks

Written By HONG, Young-Gi (Ph.D.)
The Senior Pastor of the Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

 

D. Some Emerging Problems and Tasks of the Church

I think I have mentioned the positive things of my church alone so far. But to give you a balanced view of my church, I must say some emerging problems in my church as well.

The Church has two dimensions: its spiritual aspect and social aspect. The social aspect of the church has order and administration as institutions. The social aspect must incorporate its spiritual dynamics as the church, the body of Christ. I believe that the growth of YFGC has been fascinating and wonderful, however, it has not grown without difficulties and dilemmas. The church, as the largest local congregation in the world, faces tension between the spiritual dimension and institutional dimension today.

As a spiritual community, the church has to continue to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. But as a social community, the church has tended to rely on the charisma of its founder, Rev. Cho Yong-gi. Because the charisma of one leader does not last, the YFGC has to know what difficulties are to come in its ministry in the future and must prepare for them. I just want to identify some problems that my church has to tackle and share with you about them.

 

1. A gap between older and younger generation

One survey data in 1998 showed that there was an inverse relationship between age and religious commitment in YFGC. In other words, younger generation is less likely to commit to their religious life and institutional commitment (church ministries) in the church. The weaker commitment of younger generation is a general phenomenon for any organization with a charismatic leader. However, in order to sustain the continuous (religious or spiritual) successful ministry in YFGC, the church may have to confront this issue and concentrate on the spiritual socialization of the younger members. YFGC must proclaim God’s message culturally relevant to the young generation and spiritually faithful to the Bible.

 

2. Keeping the Vitality of Spiritual Dynamics

Although YFGC has retained its spiritual vitality, it has always a danger of losing its vitality. As the leisure culture and individualism in Korean society is increasing, YFGC should find how to offer spiritual meanings to its members. YFGC will continue to focus on prayer ministry and try to develop relevant messages among the younger generation. Only God can help our church, and this faith should be our ultimate resource. Otherwise, we cannot guarantee that the Holy Spirit will continue to use YFGC as mightily as before. I hope that Dr. Cho’s new vision of world mission and church planting will keep the spiritual vitality within the church, reminding the assistant pastors of the nature of the Christian gospel.

 

3. Leadership Development

We have to pray for the future of the church and next generation leaders. The tradition of the Christian Church has emphasized the importance of prayer in leadership succession (e.g. prayer of Jesus in the selection of disciples and the prayer of the early church in the selection of Paul and Barnabas). Our church will have to continue to develop young leaders as well as to pray.

 

Conclusion

YFGC has grown rapidly with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe that healing, message, prayer which have contributed to the growth of my church are all dimensions of spiritual power and vitality. My church has set an example in church growth for the world churches. However, I am sure that the church must not be proud and continue to depend on the grace of God, seeking His power, not our power.  Please pray for my church. I wish you God’s blessing from my heart.

 

<Appendix: The Theology of YFGC>

1. Understanding the "Full Gospel" Theology

"Full Gospel" is not a new theology which has developed in recent church history, but is a gospel directly from the Bible in a literal sense. Full Gospel theology tries to understand the original meaning and purpose of the Bible as God had intended and to discover how to apply that knowledge to the lives of Christians. It is the hope of Full Gospel theology to take the Bible as it is written, and preserve the Gospel without any distortion, so as to revitalize the power of the Gospel.

"Full Gospel" is literally taking the Bible and accepting fully and totally all that is in the Bible, to revitalize the faith and fullness of the Holy Spirit as was done in Pentecost. Full Gospel faith not only accepts the Gospel of salvation which Christ made complete as He was resurrected from the dead, but also believes in the release from physical illness and salvation far the cursed life.

The Seven Theological Foundations of the Full Gospel are (1) Faith in the Cross on Calvary; (2) Faith in the Fullness of the Holy Spirit; (3) Faith in the Spreading of the Gospel to All the World; (4) Faith in the Good God; (5) Faith in Christ Who Carries Our Diseases; (6) Faith in Christ Who Will Return; and (7) Faith in Sharing.

 

2. Fivefold Gospel

The first foundation of Full Gospel Theology is the Fivefold Gospel. The Fivefold Gospel refers to the Gospel of Regeneration (Rebirth), the Gospel of the Fullness of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel of Divine Healing, the Gospel of Blessing and the Gospel of Advent. five Gospels represent the five important elements the Bible. The five Gospels pertain to the start, the progression and the outcome of Christian Theology, and lie at the center of that which represents and is the source of the faith life of all Christians. The Fivefold Gospel can be presented as follows.

 

(1) The Gospel of Regeneration

The first pillar of the Fivefold Gospel is that of the Gospel of Regeneration. The rebirth is a prerequisite to salvation (John 3:3). As such, the Gospel of Regeneration can be called the Gospel of Salvation. In order for man to be free from the curse of sin, the final judgment, and the authority of Satan, he must first receive salvation. Through an act of rebellion by one man, Adam, all men were destined to be born sinners (Romans 5:16), and were unable to reach the glory of God through his own means (Romans 3:23). There are two conditions for regeneration, repentance and faith. Repentance and faith are one and the same as they manifest simultaneously, and they can be said to be the flip side of the same coin. When we realize our sins and repent, thereby accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, the counselor Holy Spirit comes into us and resides in us and we are freed from the law of sin and death. We also receive the right to become the children of God (John 1:12).

 

(2) The Gospel of the Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Those who have been reborn, must be baptized and filled with the Holy spirit. When Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, they become filled with power and can witness effectively. Furthermore, as the Spirit of God is Holy, a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit can shed off the authority of sin and the curse, to live in holiness. The Gospel of the filling of the Holy Spirit is to live in holiness and actively preach the Gospel as the Holy Spirit fills a person making him overflow with gratitude and the desire to act, a far cry from dry and passive faith. Regeneration and the baptism of The Holy Spirit are two distinct and separate experiences. Although the two experiences can occur simultaneously or occur at two separate time periods, they are nonetheless two separate experiences. The Bible mentions that there are many Christians who have been born again, but have failed to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5; Acts 8:14-17). When the gift of the Holy Spirit (the outward signs) and the fruit of the Spirit (inner signs) continue to be manifest, it is called the filling of the Holy Spirit.

 

(3) The Gospel of Divine Healing

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was the great Preacher who wept for cursed man and spread the Good News, the great Teacher Who taught His disciples, and the great Healer Who healed many of their physical ills (Matthew 4:23). As such, healing of the sick was part of Christ's ministry and it was a tremendous gift and blessing God provided to mankind. Call to repentance and healing were two things Christ did wherever He went. The precondition to divine healing is our prayers, our lives of faith and our living in accordance to the Word of God.

 

(4) The Gospel of Blessing

All men desire to be blessed and live happily ever after. The Creator of this universe, our God, also desires His children to live within His blessings and live abundantly fulfilling lives. God's blessings began from the very creation of this world. Before God created man, He created the world and saw that it was good (Genesis 1). All things in this world were made to be good. Man enjoyed his first days in a world filled abundantly with things which were good. This was the original intent of God's desire for mankind. The reason Christ lived in such poverty while on this earth was so that we could live well and to remove us from the law of the curse. If we do not claim our rightful blessings as children of God, we are wasting the life a poverty which Christ led while on earth. The Bible also states in Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The foundation of Christian doctrine concerning how a Christian should live, is the idea of "giving". When we share our live, hope, prayer and material possessions, we can truly become blessed Christians.

 

(5) The Gospel of the Advent

The return of Christ is not some vague religious dream, but is an unalterable plan of God, the sincere promise of Christ, and is a very accurate history of a future event to come. The exact time of Christ's second coming is unknown. Christ Himself said, Matthew 24:36, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." However, we do know that Christ will return after the Gospel has been preached to all men and all corners of this world (Matthew 24:14), after the anti-Christ has made his appearance in this world (II Thessalonians 2:2,3), will come with the sound of trumpets (I Corinthians 15:51,52), and will come like as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39). In preparation for the coming of Christ, Christians must always be awake like the five virgins who waited with ample supply of oil (Matthew 24:42, 25:2-13). Furthermore, we must diligently witness to others. Witnessing was the last request Christ made to all men (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:8), for it is Christ's greatest concern. As such, Christians should not regard whether the time has come or not, but should continue to witness to others (II Timothy 4:2). Salvation for others, that is our greatest responsibility and goal.

 

3. The Threefold Blessing

(1) The meaning of the Threefold Blessing

Since the Fivefold Gospel represents the theory and doctrine for our lives of faith, there is a need for the practice and application of the Fivefold Gospel. A theory and doctrine without real application is nothing more than that which arises from table top discussions. The application of the Fivefold Gospel results in the Threefold Blessing. It does not emphasize any limited aspect of our lives but rather applies to the complete man: spirit, soul and body. The Threefold Blessing is a term which encompasses the complete salvation of mankind.

 

(2) The Threefold Blessing

The reason which drove Jesus Christ to be persecuted on the cross was to redeem all our sins and iniquities. When Christ called out, "All is done," upon the cross, all our sins from the past, present and the future were cleared and we were made completely sinless and without shame as we stand in front of our God. In addition, the Son of God Who is the source of all blessings carried our curse and shed His blood on the cross and destroyed the forces of condemnation, to remove from us the thorns of hatred, anxiety, nervousness, fear and despair, disappointment and death, guilt and sin. Once done, the fountain of peace and the fountain of blessing begins to overflow in that person's life. The physical curse of illness and death which were handed down through generations after the first sin of Adam were cleansed whole with no trace. Now, we must base our lives on the redemption of Christ, and claim our right to health and divine healing. Also, Christians receive the seed of eternal life (I Corinthinas 15:42-45).

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