Dr. Seong-gu Jeong
Dr. Seong-gu Jeong

It's been more than 30 years. I went to Munich, Germany, to deliver a revival assembly to a Korean church. At that time, the guiding pastor showed me around the Munich Olympic Stadium. It was very amazing as I had been heard. In addtion to the explanation, he also mentioned that Pastor Cho Yong-gi had gathered tens of thousands of people at the Stadium centered on German people and held a large rally a few of years ago. When I heard the story,

I thought that Pastor Cho Yong-gi was a truly outstanding evangelist and even envied him. Besides, at all large gatherings around the world, Pastor Cho Yong-gi used to dominate the public with his fast-paced English and proved the gospel by using both simple and clear messages.

It was incredible that he was able to proclaim the gospel to hundreds of thousands of people in English and made the congregation cheerful, while many minsters who studied in the United States and the UK would have difficulties with this respectively.

Listening to the sermon of Reverend Billy Graham who was the evangelist of the century, his English was clear and accurate, and very short paragraphs were to be connected in succession. In other words, he proclaimed the gospel in plain English so that the public could understand the message instantly. Perhaps as Pastor Cho Yong-gi was a friend of Billy Graham's, his message was simple and clear as well.

Borrowing the words from those who were close to the Pastor Cho Yong-gi in the Full Gospel Church, he used to memorize English words and sentences in the short time of going up and down in an elevator. In this sense, he must be a person who embraced the world, prayed without interruption, and strived for his goal continuously.

In his early days, Pastor Cho was poor and had a disease. However while ministering the tent church planted in Bulgwang-dong, Seoul, he realized what the actual needs from the public were. Thus he had his heart set on the Word, 3 John 1:2 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." Then he proclaimed that to believe in Jesus, become rich and healthy through this phrase was God's will, so called 'Triple Rhythmic Salvation' or 'Triple Rhythmic Blessings'. The final conclusion of all his messages ended with this.

In the early 1960s, I served as a preacher at Dongsan Church in Chungjeong-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul planted by Pastor Park Yoon-sun. Across the street, there was Pastor Cho Yong-gi's Full Gospel Central Church. People who were suffering from poverty and diseases gathered to hear Pastor Cho Yong-gi's so-called 'Message of Hope' or 'Message of Positiveness'.

After that, the era of Yeouido Full Gospel Church began and it became the world's largest church. All church leaders from the world flocked to learn about the revival of Yeouido Full Gospel Church, and also all Korean pastors joined to follow Pastor Cho Yong-gi's way. In that sense, Pastor Cho Yong-gi's revival movement became the driving impetus for the revival in the 1970s and 1980s, and stood at the center of the revival movement of the Korean Church. His ministry and his life were envied by everyone as well.

In the old words, it is said that characters make the times, but the times make characters in the other way. In the 1960s, when Pastor Cho Yong-gi began his ministry under the banner of the full holy spirit, it was such a time when Korea was economically very poor. It was also the time when the revival of the church had stopped and there seemed to be no exit for hope anywhere.

At that time, President Park Chung-hee came to power, and the Saemaul Movement with the catchphrase "Let's Live Well" was unfolded nationwide in Korea. It was the campaign of changing the country and each individual newly with the positive thinking of "We Can Do It." and "Let's Just Do It". Maybe Pastor Cho Yong-gi's "Triple Rhythmic Salvation" and the bible verse "I can do everything through him who gives me strength(Philippians 4:13)" are both understood as 'Positive Power'.

As a matter of fact, Pastor Robert H. Schuller of Crystal Cathedral in the United States at the time borrowed Norman Vincent Peal's "The Power of Positive Thinking" and moved the world by saying that people could do anything depending on their minds. Surely Freud's psychology was laid behind this. Anyway in that era, there was a perception among people that it was the truth and biblical as well.

Especially the 20th century was the period of great revival for Pentecostal Church. The history of dialects was emphasized along with the Pentecostal movement around the world, and the Pentecostal movement in Korea was also in line with this.

However, Pastor Cho Yong-gi was called by the Lord at the age of 86 on the 14th of September. His legacy of faith permeated in the Korea church and the world was too great. He was as his pen name implied, 'Yeongsan', literally meaning 'a large spiritual mountain'. However, whether the "Triple Rhythmic Salvation," which he shouted for 60 years is right or not, should be discussed seriously from now on.

We don't know for sure whether the apostle John's tied theology and faith that consists of ordinary greetings and prayers to Gaius is biblical or not. The genuine three rhythms are 'Creation', 'Fall', and 'Redemption'. It means that 'Creation of God', 'Total Corruption of Humans', and 'Redemption in Jesus Christ' are the cores of the reformed church.

At any rate, he must be a spiritual giant of the Korean church in our time. May the Lord's comfort be with all the believers and families.

Dr. Jeong Seong-gu (Former President of Chongshin University and Daeshin University)

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