Orthodoxy and Heresy - Jaerock Lee
Topic: jaerock lee
Rev. Jaerock Lee (Manmin Joong-ang Holiness Church)
Name of Church: Manmin Joong-ang Church
Address: 851 Guro-dong Guro-gu Seoul South Korea
Membership: about one hundred thousand
Educational institute: The Alliance Holiness Seminary
Denomination: JESUS' UNITED HOLINESS CHURCH OF KOREA
A corporate juridical organization, the Korean Presbyterian Churches Union, has recently published a book named "Orthodoxy and Heresy". The KPCU, which is a union of Presbyterian Churches, is the largest church union in terms of the number of members [in Korea]; it has 120 different denominations and 9 organizations. Officers of KPCU and members of Heresy Investigation Committee conducted a thorough examination of the subject of heresy. This book resulted from that investigation and has been appointed as the official guide on the subject of heresy. It will be used as the official textbook in 84 theological seminaries belonging to KPCU.
There was a lot of confusion and division among Korean churches due to condemnation brought against some churches by a small group of people who did not have the proper theological background or knowledge to make such accusations. It is comparable to the witch-hunts and the way people were judged and convicted as witches by the Middle Age Catholic Church.
Therefore, the KPCU took steps to properly standardize beliefs about the Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, human beings, salvation, the church, and the end of the time according to the orthodox doctrine to distinguish and define that which is and that which is not considered to be heresy. They have been studying heresy in depth under the supervision of many theologians. They visited the churches they were studying both openly and covertly. They studied and re-studied the doctrines and ways those churches were run. As a result of the studies they documented, verified, and concluded that Manmin Joong-ang Church has no doctrine that can be classified as heretic, and no doctrine or practice that violates the orthodox doctrines as determined and set forth by the KPCU. One such conclusion they made says, "Our union has found that Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee himself was healed by God just before death. He has been emphasizing divine healing for the sick and this has caused some misunderstandings. However, we have clarified that Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee is pastoring with faithful doctrines based on the gospel."
This book also contains the theological responses of Manmin Joong-Ang Church to the questions of the KPCU and our standpoint about the previous misunderstandings.
Mr. Kyu-Chang Choi, the President of Korean Christian Newspapers' Association and the Chief Editor of Christian Newspaper said in his recommendation, "The Heresy and Cult Prevention Committee of KPCU has made very objective standards and re-studied the cases with more than a year of research and visiting. For this reason the publication of this book has very important meaning."
Christian newspapers say that this book will be like a compass for the Korean churches in the matter of heresy and cults.
Responses to Some Questions
All ministers and members of the Manmin Joong-ang Church believe in the Triune God and confess the Apostle's Creed as the only biblical foundation of our faith.
1. The Bible - We believe the Bible is the Word of the Living God and confess the Apostle's Creed, main stream of the Bible, as the only biblical foundation of our faith
(1) We believe that the Bible is the infallible and perfect Word of God that contains no error, and all the books in the Old and New Testaments are God-breathed.
(2) We believe that the Bible is the absolute scripture that leads all men to eternal salvation, the standard of our faith and proper Christian life, and the canon for church administration and organizations.
(3) We believe that the Bible is the truth that gives the spiritual revival and blessings and the only perfect guidance to proper human life, and consider the Apostles' Creed, which is the core of all the words in the Bible, the foundation of our faith.
(4) We believe that the Bible is the only revelation of God, denounce any other unbiblical theological teachings, mysticism, or empiricism not based on the Bible. Also, we never deny the Bible is the revelation of God, add or remove any element to or from the Bible, judge it critically, or interpret it on our own.
2. God - We believe the Triune God is eternally self-existent and is the One and the only One Spirit that is perfectly Holy, Love, Just, Truthful, and Everlasting. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent; He is endless and measureless in power, wisdom, and knowledge. He created everything seen and unseen, and controls, sustains, and manages all. Finally, He is our merciful Father who sent His One and Only Son for all men who had been destined for eternal death.
3. Jesus Christ - We believe that Jesus Christ is the One and Only Son of God the Father, the Word, and the Origin of Life and Light. Jesus Christ is everlasting, truthful, the Almighty God, the origin of the creation of all things, and is one with God the Father. He was born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, and a true man and a true God having both the humanity and the divinity in one body in order to become the Mediator between God and man, and redeem man.
4. The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit is the same spirit as God the Father in terms of his entity. His original Being, Power, Dignity, and Glory are the same as those of God the Father and God the Son, and He is the everlasting God. The Holy Spirit is sent to carry out the Will of God the Trinity; let the world understand about the sin, righteousness, judgment and rebuking of the world; strengthens man's spirit by teaching, guiding, helping and giving power to believers and makes the church holy.
5. Man - We believe that man was created by God, but he sinned and became corrupt by abusing his free will
(1) Creation of Man: We believe that God created man in His own image, which indicates the invisible and formless image of God, namely His traits. That image is called the "man's spirit." God made him from the dust of the ground and made him move and feel by breathing the breath of life into the man's nostrils. The man was a living spirit that consisted of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. God allowed the man, a living spirit, to have a fellowship with Him, made him noble - a little lower than God - and let him rule over all creation as the lord of all things. All this so that God might receive His own glory.
(2) Free Will: When God created man, He made the man noble and gave a free will in His image, namely His traits. However, the man sinned and became corrupt because he did not use the free will according to the Will of God but instead abused it. Nevertheless, the merciful God gave His precious Son Jesus Christ for free to save corrupted men, and has enabled them to be born again and become the children of God when they believe in Jesus Christ. Believers who have become children of God may commit sins and become corrupt again when they abuse their free will and disobey the Holy Spirit. That is why believers must always obey the Holy Spirit. Depending on whether or not the free will is recognized, the doctrine of Predestination and the doctrine of foreknowledge and predestination are divided. We choose the doctrine of foreknowledge and predestination in which the free will, persistently mentioned in the Bible, is accepted.
(3) Corruption of Man: God gave man the good, righteous, and truthful nature according to His own image, but the first man Adam disobeyed the Word of God and became corrupt in the evil nature by abusing his free will according to his sinful desires. The evil nature was personalized in Adam, and his old self - namely sinful flesh - began to be inherited by all descendants. The inherited sinful nature is called the "original sin" by which all men commit sins and are led to death. Man has two kinds of sin: the original sin and self-committed sin. On the one hand, the self-committed sin is a sin for which each individual is responsible because he himself committed that sin. The self-committed sin has many kinds according to each individual. On the other hand, the original sin applies the same way to everyone, but each individual is not responsible for the original sin, by which everyone is compelled to sin. God gave the way of cleansing the original sin, but no one can escape from the responsibility of not being forgiven of the original sin because he did not believe in Jesus Christ. In order to demolish the sins of all men, the Son our Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and His blood forgives us of the self-committed sin and the cleanses us from the original sin.
6. Rebirth - We believe that we have been reborn by Jesus Christ's redemptive death and resurrection
(1) The righteous: "The righteous" refers to all those who are declared righteous. In God's absolute mercy, men who had been sinners are forgiven of all sins and accepted as "righteous" in the sight of God when they repent and believe in the redemption of Jesus Christ. Those declared righteous are redeemed from all sins; that is to say, they are free from the punishment of all sins and receive the privilege of the righteous. Each individual's righteousness lasts as long as he or she has faith in God and obeys Him.
(2) Rebirth: Rebirth means "to be born again" or "to be born of heaven." Each person is not only claimed righteous but also experiences a radical change in morals by the Holy Spirit when he believes in Jesus Christ. Each individual's heart, which has been dead because of sins and transgressions, is revived in Jesus Christ and he leads an obedient and victorious life and becomes free from the judgment of the sins of the past. In this way, a regenerated man is given the life of Jesus Christ and liberated from the bondage of sins, so that he lives again for spiritual things, lays the foundation to overcome sins, and gains the right as the heir to God.
(3) Justification and Rebirth: Through justification, men become justified by God's absolute work when they believe in Jesus Christ's redemptive death. Rebirth is a spiritual change in morality actually performed in the heart of each man. In other words, sinners are declared righteous through God's justification as their positions are facing God, and their inner beings are transformed by their rebirth. In short, an individual's position is changed by God's justification and his/her inner nature is changed by rebirth. These two works - God's justification and man's rebirth - may appear different in theory in that God's justification is precedent to rebirth, but both take place in each individual's experience. The two are accomplished by the same deed of faith.
(4) Sin after Rebirth: It is natural for any child of God, after having been reborn, not to commit sins again, yet the person may sin because he/she is weak. However, as it is said in 1 John 2:1, "But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One," anyone is forgiven of sins when he finds his sins and repents of them with a humble heart, believing in Jesus Christ.
7. Church - We believe that a church is where we worship God, enjoy the fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, continue to train ourselves spiritually, and we will be preserved to the Last Day in order to change the world. Church is a collection of redeemed believers who are called by God, separated from the world, and saved by having accepted Jesus Christ. It is the body of Jesus Christ, the holy sanctuary where the believers gather, worship God, and partake in the Holy Communion. Church is also the foundation of truth where the Word of God is taught, where the Gospel is preached, and it is responsible for leading all souls to salvation. It is a holy assembly where all believers are prepared as the brides of Jesus Christ and await His Second Advent.
8. The Second Advent of Jesus Christ - We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will come down again before the beginning of the Millennium Kingdom in the body He had at the time of His Ascent. Nobody knows the day and the hour. When the time God destined comes, Jesus Christ our Savior will come down in the air and His people will be lifted up therein. Jesus Christ will enjoy the Seven Years of the Wedding Banquet there with them. Then, Jesus Christ will descend again to Earth and establish the Millennium Kingdom of Peace here. The Millennium Kingdom is a kingdom full of blessings of the Messiah that Jesus Christ will build on Earth after He has returned to it, judged all nations, and seized and bound Satan in chains for a thousand years in the Abyss. The Kingdom will be an age of rest of jubilee, the restoration of Eden, and the fulfillment of the prophecies and the Lord's Prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ will reign over the whole world as the King of kings and all believers themselves will reign with the Lord like kings. People in fleshly bodies and people in spiritual bodies will live together, and the Millennium Kingdom will be the ideal age filled only with bliss.
The Great Judgment will follow the Millennium Kingdom and through the Great Judgment, all men will for ever and ever be separated into heaven or hell: the saved children of God will go to the former and the unsaved to the latter.
The Condemnations of Rev. Jaerock Lee
The following is not the opinion of the Association of Jesus' Presbyterian Denominational Churches of Korea, nor the findings of the KPCU, but it is the collection and summarization of the information that the Christian Council of Korea and many Heretics Investigation Centers attributed as claims of or by Reverend Jaerock Lee and the Manmin Joong-Ang Church.
It was said that when Rev. Jaerock Lee called, all prophets including Abraham and the disciples of the Lord appear. It is a kind of religious invocation of the spirit of the deceased. This kind of invocation is not found in the Bible at all and a kind of the heathen religious activities strictly prohibited by God. (Deuteronomy 18:11)
Rev. Jaerock Lee asserts that he never deifies himself. In Korea, many founders of new religions act as if they are a divine being but they proclaim they are not a God. This is a kind of trick for cheating or misleading people.
It was also stated by these groups that he made the following claims:
...He shed all blood that was inherited from his parents and was supplied with sinless blood, so that he came to be purged of original sin and cast off every self-committed sin... Death and injury avoid him... His spirit sits on the left side of the throne of God... He has the authority over life and death... He is specifically entitled to be inscribed in the sun and the moon and it is proclaimed to the world because he has neither original sin nor his own sin and he and Jesus the Lord is one... This deification of Rev. Jaerock Lee leads to the condition of salvation he mentions. So, his standard of salvation is an appalling heretical theory...
Again, the above remarks are abstracted from data collected by Studies on Heretics and Pseudo Cults conducted by The Korea Christian Council and are not the opinion of the Association of Jesus' Presbyterian Denominational Churches of Korea, nor the findings of the KPCU.
Defense of the Manmin Joong-ang Church
When anyone evaluates a church denomination, a church, or a person with regards to heresy, he should investigate its doctrine, creed and church life as a whole. In that rightful way, Rev. Jaerock Lee and Manmin Joong-ang Church would have been investigated concerning the entirety of the man and the ministry from the time that he accepted the Lord until now and the whole history of the church from its beginning up to now.
Rev. Jaerock Lee he has preached about God the Creator and our Savior Jesus Christ throughout his entire ministry. From the very beginning he has taught and implored the church body to live according to the Word of God as recorded in the Bible.
The Manmin Joong-ang Church has done its best to accomplish the kingdom of God in accordance with the belief and teachings of Rev. Jaerock Lee. It has enlarged God's Kingdom with all its might around the world, and led countless souls to the Lord holding domestic and overseas revival meetings and crusades. Every time Rev. Jaerock Lee has held those meetings, he has proclaimed God the Creator and that our only Savior is Jesus Christ. His sole focus is on glorifying God.
For this reason, wherever he has conducted overseas crusades, the Christian churches of each country has welcomed him and were willing to help him conduct the meetings successfully. In this way there are many churches worldwide that have experienced strong revival. Many TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers including both Christian and non-Christian media reported his crusades. Even after those crusades, an intimate fellowship between the churches in each country in which he conducted crusades and him has continued until now and closer fellowship and cooperation are expected from now on.
No one that has met Rev. Jaerock Lee and attended his crusades or revival meetings has been able to judge him or his teaching as heretical but have asserted that his messages follow biblical and evangelical teachings according to orthodox doctrine.
Every Christian should understand what the biblical definition of heresy is. It is said in 2 Peter 2:1, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." This verse defines heresies as denying the Lord who bought them. According this word, heretics are those denying the fact that Jesus was crucified to save men from sins and became the Savior.
And it is said in 1 John 2:22, "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son." Liar, namely antichrist denies that Jesus is the Christ and denies the Father and the Son.
On these biblical grounds, it is wrong to judge as heretical a church or a person who accepts Jesus as the Christ, do not deny God the Trinity simply because some sermons are different than other churches. In regard to the books published, sermons preached and other literary data including newspaper printed by Rev. Jaerock Lee, all these testify to the living God, Jesus Christ our Savior and the works of the Holy Spirit. None of them denies God the Trinity or denies that Jesus is the Savior.
To our great surprise, God has guaranteed Rev. Jaerock Lee with a lot of proofs. It is said in Mark 16:20, "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen." Whenever he led revival meetings or crusades, his messages were confirmed by God with accompanying signs and medical doctors as well as ministers of God confirmed the miracle healings performed through him.
When Rev. Jaerock Lee prays, diseases including incurable diseases are healed. The blind open their eyes with vision restored, the mute come to speak, the deaf come to hear, and the lame to get up and walk. The reason that he showed those miracles was because he intended to proclaim that God the Creator is alive, that Jesus is the Savior, the Word of God is true, because he wanted to lead as many souls as possible to the Lord. He wants to enlarge the kingdom of God with those accompanying signs.
Rev. Jaerock Lee has testified with those signs that the Word recorded in the Bible is true and infallible. He emphasizes that believers should live according to the word of God. He has taught the congregation to cast off sins and evil, live in goodness, light, and truth. He has led an exemplary life as the model for his congregation.
As explained above, Rev. Jaerock Lee has tried his best to expand the kingdom of God and to save souls. His messages in revival and crusades have been followed by many signs and miraculous healing. So, it is not right to judge Rev. Lee and his church as heretical simply because of the rumors and falsehoods spread by wicked people who tried to destroy him and his church. Judgment and measure should be done in accordance with the Bible. He and his church should be measured and judged accordingly. In this way we can examine any kind church or any person as to whether it or he/she is selected and used by God or not.
According to the statement of the Korea Christian Council, they judged Rev. Jaerock Lee and his church not because of the doctrine or church creed, but because of the rumors and lies spread about him and the church. In fact, none of the church members in Manmin Joong-ang church deifies Rev. Jaerock Lee or thinks he is deifying himself. He has so often emphasized this fact. He always said God is the only God of the Trinity, the Savior is only Jesus Christ and there must never be anything expressed in anyway in opposition or contrary to the Word of God, the Bible. All members of the church know this clearly.
Our investigation and decision
Rev. Jaerock Lee was healed of various diseases just before death and became a new person. He graduated from The Sungkyul Theological Seminary (President: Pastor Taekgu Son) run by The Jesus Holiness Church in Korea. He started a church on July 25, 1982, as an evangelist.
The first scandal involving him and heresy happened because of improper expressions written in his testimonial memoir Tasting Eternal Life before Death: 'God explained to me the last hour.' At that time The Jesus' Sungkyul Church located around and in Ahnyang-city and The Radical Sungkyul Church mutually cooperated permitting some of them to call Rev. Jaerock Lee into the church court on assertions that he had taught his church members the day and the hour when Jesus will come again. The Assembly of the church considered only the hearsay concerning the matter and dealt with his case at the court and concluded his church was heretical. That was because in those days the Manmin Joong-ang church was the largest among the churches of the Jesus' Holiness Church in Korea and it was considered as an object that needed to be held back and in check.
The book Tasting Eternal Life before Death was edited by a woman church worker. She was Chief Editor and gathered data of Rev. Jaerock Lee's testimonies and edited the book. She had no theological knowledge and thought such a testimonial book did not have to be examined theologically. In that way the book was published without theological examination. Later some church workers were rebellious toward the church and they gave erroneous data and unsubstantiated rumors to the Korea Christian Council. The rumors and falsehoods were sent to MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Center) and MBC was scheduled to broadcast the information. The church learned about the broadcasting time-table concerning the rumors that were to be announced by MBC. Many members forcefully entered MBC and occupied the station to stop its broadcasting. The incident gave rise to even greater scandal. Again, the Korea Christian Council rushed to condemn Rev. Jaerock Lee and his church and label the pastor and church as heretical.
However, Rev. Jaerock Lee and his church let it be known that the Korea Christian Council and MBC wrongfully disregarded the replies of the church and acted without giving them the chance to defend their position.
We have investigated this scandal in detail, and now we conclude that the scandal of the Manmin Joong-ang Church came not from the doctrine or church creed but simply from financial and ethical matters, and it was severely abused in a one-sided manner.
We gave Rev. Jaerock Lee a chance to defend himself and his church and thoroughly examined the church's doctrines sent by him as the reply to our questions. His doctrine was found to have no heretical aspects and to have nothing contrary to orthodox Christian doctrine as we know and present it. So, we proclaim the Manmin Joong-ang Church is not heretical.
It appears that some churches and Christian institutes in Korea have considered the church as heretical because of un-orthodox doctrine, but actually they condemned it as heretical with the focus on practices interpreted as a kind of mysticism.
According to our investigation on the church history and his ministry, Rev. Jaerock Lee was misunderstood and considered as a mystical heretic because he had been healed of his diseases just before death and had placed an emphasis on miracle healing. But we have proven that his ministry has laid its foundation on sound and orthodox doctrine oriented toward the evangelical mission.
We recommend, however, that he and his church abstain from some expressions that might be considered as radical mysticism that they use in association with the gift of healing they do in their ministry through laying on hands, prayer for the sick, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and experiencing miracles.