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New Heaven and New Earth’ Church

Exclusive: Churches warned of “deceptive cult” linked to South Korea infiltrating congregations
“Hundreds of British churches, including some of the UK’s largest congregations, have been warned against possible infiltration by … a controversial South Korean group known as Shinchonji (SCJ)—or the ‘New Heaven and New Earth’ church (NHNE)—whose founder Man-Hee Lee is referred to as God’s ‘advocate.” SCJ is “accused of being a cult promoting ‘control and deception.’ The Church of England has issued a formal alert to almost 500 parishes in London about the activities of the group known as Parachristo. … One British man is said to have gone to work with the group full time, sleeping in bunks while telling family and friends he was busy pursuing a high-flying career in the City. Among churches openly warning parishioners is Holy Trinity Brompton, one of the UK’s biggest congregations, known as the home of the Alpha Course, the short introduction to Christianity which has been used by at least 15 million people. HTB, as it is commonly known, counts about 4,000 in the pews on a Sunday as well as having ‘planted’ 35 other congregations. … Those who attend its three-month course are not told initially about links with SCJ, but the group strongly denies that this is deceptive. In a message to all clergy in London last month, the Diocese of London’s safeguarding team said there had been complaints about the group, adding, ‘it has been alleged that they have links to a cult.’ … Regarding the use of the word ‘cult’ to refer to Parachristo, it said: ‘The mission of Parachristo is to spread the word of God. Our client feels incredibly disappointed that HTB, which we must assume has the same ultimate aim, has embarked on what appears to be a coordinated campaign against it by using such an emotive and baseless slur.’ The group was also asked at what point the link with SCJ was made clear. It replied that it did not wish to ‘direct students to … false allegations’ about SCJ but that students were informed of the link if they asked. Pressed on two specific cases involving people telling family elaborate lies to cover up their involvement, Parachristo replied: ‘Our client’s members’ personal choices are personal to them and our client will not comment upon personal matters regarding members’ private lives.’” (The Telegraph, 12/10/16) [IT 8.2]

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