The Trouble with Parables: How Unique Is Shincheonji?

Part 2: Is Shincheonji Unique?

A Shincheonji (SCJ) member would argue that they are the only group who can “truly explain the Bible and Revelation” through their leader Lee Man Hee. However, the “parable dictionary” article below clearly shows that Shincheonji is not the first group to use such an approach to redefine the Bible. 

Issues with the Hidden Promised Pastor and the New John Parable

When examining the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) and SCJ “parable dictionaries”, one can see how easy it is to manipulate the meaning of biblical text.

The issue with the New John concept is that God made it clear that he was going to send a Messiah to his people in the Old Testament. The “hidden secret” of a “Promised Pastor” is another claim that is ripe for abuse, especially when its hidden away with parables that can be redefined to either point to a new “Promised Pastor” or a “Hidden Passover” which won’t be revealed until the end times.

Citation for the following argument against the New John parable.

“What is the problem with this claim about a promised pastor?

First, a legitimate promise in the written word is one that everyone sees. Otherwise, it is not a true promise according to the written word (the Bible). If it were a clear promise, we should expect devoted Christians from the first century on to be talking about this coming, which we do not find in Christian writings. This means it is a promise only based on Mr. Lee’s authority, not the written word.

Second, Manhee Lee’s statement that his coming is prophesied just like Jesus’ coming is not accurate. Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament was foretold clearly. Although many of the details were disputed in the first century, no one disputed the Messianic promise itself. One Talmudic tradition says that the prophets spoke of nothing more important than the days of the Messiah. Multiple groups independently extracted promises of a Messiah, like the Essenes. The Aramaic targums (translations of the Old Testament) inserted the Messiah in many texts. Even the Samaritans believed a Messiah was to come (John 4:25, John 4:42)

Thus, when God’s voice wanted his people to believe in an important coming like the Messiah’s coming, he used clear and unambiguous language. Applied to Manhee Lee’s statement above, if there is a similar promise from God in the New Testament for a pastor, it should be equally obvious, but it’s not.”

Even going beyond the argument of a promise needing to be clear, Shincheonji also isn’t the first group to make a similar claim of a ‘New John’.”

In the above referenced article, the author ran into a South American sect who’s leader claimed to have been the “New Aaron” to tend to the lost sheep of Israel.

There’s also another group whose leader claims to have the “Modern Jeremiah” called the “Old Path” that also makes similar claims to Shincheonji like:

  • Being the pillar in God’s temple
  • Being the “Overall Servant”
    • Similarities to the Faithful and Wise Servant who gives food at the proper time and the One who Overcomes
  • The Walking Bible and the most sensible preacher of all time.

Most of the claims that the leader of the Old Path makes should sound oddly familiar to the claims that Lee Man Hee and the Shincheonji members make for their Christian sect.

Other sects with the 12 Tribes

And finally, Shincheonji claims with great pride that they are the only group which correctly divides up the world into 12 tribes. However, there’s also another group that does the same exact thing, and they are also called the Twelve Tribes.

Quoting Wikipedia:
“They believe that in order for the messiah to return, the Church needs to be restored to its original form as it is described in Acts 2:38–42 and Acts 4:32–37. This restoration is not merely the restoration of the 1st-century church, but the creation of a new Israel which should consist of Twelve Tribes which are located in twelve geographic regions.”

Shincheonji is not unique in their claims, as there are other groups that also have a “Person Parable” leading their group, a leader which is a “walking bible”, or an organization that is dividing the world into 12 regions according to Revelation 7:1-8.

Groups that can also explain Revelation

Shincheonji also makes the claim that they are the only group that can explain Revelation and also have the fulfillment. However, there are other groups that can also explain Revelation and its fulfillment:

Pastor Mike Winger discusses some of the theological explanations for the book of Revelation in this video.

A typical Shincheonji member’s response to the above Pastor Mike Winger video would be that a Christian does not have the fulfillment of Revelation. 

I would recommend that Shincheonji members read the revised interpretations of the book of Revelation here.

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