Reblog: “Prayer Requests for a Trip to Seoul, South Korea”

“Prayer Requests for a Trip to Seoul, South Korea”
by Sovereign Grace Ministries

In case you don’t know, I’m going to Seoul, South Korea tomorrow. (And in case you don’t know, it’s because I have relatives there. I’m Korean.) I will leave my house in less than 12 hours. I was on Google a couple nights ago, looking to see if Grace Community Church has any church plants in Seoul that I might be able to visit. While I didn’t find any from GCC, I did find that Sovereign Grace Ministries has a church plant there. So I clicked the link and I watched the video. Go ahead: click through the link and watch the video they have. It will take 11 minutes and 29 seconds of your life. But it will be worth it.

The pastor and his wife have astutely noticed the worldliness of the ambitions of many in the Korean church. This is something I have seen growing up in a Korean-American church, and I imagine it must be all the more prevalent in Korea. But the video is not all about the diagnostic; it is also about the cure. The pastor also used to be trapped by worldly ambition, until he was introduced to Sovereign Grace Ministries, which showed him the power and joy of a gospel-centric church. This led him to come to America to train at the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. Now, having been sent by SGM, he pastors a church in Seoul.

C.J. Mahaney makes an appearance at the end to talk about how the support of SGM church members has made possible the pastor’s stay at the Pastors College, the recent departure of an SGM church pastor to stay at the church for a while, down to the church plant itself. Oh, what a joy it is to give for the sake of the gospel! What a joy it is to give to give that God might be glorified! What a joy it is to see the giving come to fruition! I pray, brothers and sisters, that we might be inspired to take financial risks to advance God’s cause here on earth.

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2 responses to “Reblog: “Prayer Requests for a Trip to Seoul, South Korea”

  1. You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com
    http://www.sgmrefuge.com

    They tell another side. Hope this helps.

  2. Steve,

    Thank you for your comment, which shows your concern for what you believe (and rightly so) to be an endorsement of SGM. To be fair, I have not ever been a member of SGM. I have not even so much as set foot in an SGM church. What I know about SGM comes from reading C.J.’s books, listening to his sermons from Resolved and Together for the Gospel, and from listening to SGM worship songs. You can see that this in no way makes me an expert regarding SGM, but from what I have seen, and from the endorsements of others, I remain confident at this time in my tacit approval of their efforts.

    To be thorough, I did a summary scan of the two websites you provided, as well as the blog of Brent Detwiler (who, as I am sure you know, is the main/lead critic of SGM). I do admit, as do the creators of SGM Survivors, that the culture at SGM is very strong. I know homeschooling is the norm there, and with Josh Harris’s books on dating and courtship, I imagine that there is also a particular style of those activities. Still, we know that where Scripture is silent, we have liberty to act according to our own consciences.

    The allegations that abuse, mockery, and ostracizing are common to some degree within SGM is far more serious. If this has happened–and I will assume for your sake that it has–I trust that SGM handled it properly. I doubt that these actions and attitudes are pervasive within SGM, and to indict the entirety of the ministry for a few isolated cases is, I think, wrong. We all sin, and we ought to show each other the same forgiveness that Christ has shown us. If these things have taken place, these “survivors” and “refugees” are certainly free, even encouraged, to leave their church to find another. They are free to warn others of what they perceive as danger. But we must never lose sight of this: Is the ministry as a whole devoted to God’s glory and truth? Are the churches devoted to His glory and truth? Are they devoted to rooting out sin so that they may become more like the God they love dearly? It is my belief that they are.

    As for Brent Detwiler, I must say that I find his diction troubling. His demeanor reminds me of how I was before God brought me to salvation. I was prideful and arrogant. I thought that because I knew the Bible and its teachings better than the pastor and my fellow congregants, this gave me the authority to make suggestions. When these were not followed to my liking, suggestions gave way to indictments. Indictments gave way to anger. I see the same attitudes and language that I used in my unsaved state: harsh and bitter words directed at C.J. and SGM; a belief that we know more and know better than they do; and, most alarmingly, a use of Scripture to support a personal crusade of division rather than unification. It alarms me greatly that Detwiler’s end goal seems to be to force C.J. into admission of sin, rather than the glorification of God.

    The “survivors” and “refugees” may be telling the truth. Detwiler may be telling the truth. What I say comes from what I know, just as what they say comes from what they know: C.J. is a man who knows his place–at the foot of the cross. He is properly ashamed of the sinfulness of his unsaved state, so that Christ might be more glorified for whom He saved. God has used C.J. to teach and convict many, including me, through his sermons and books. What I have seen shows a man who tries and loves to pursue God. What I have seen from SGM shows an organization devoted to glorifying God. I believe that if there is unrecognized sin in C.J. or a pattern of error in Sovereign Grace Ministries, God will convict them of it so that they can joyfully bring Him more glory. Because that’s what everything is ultimately about: God’s glory. And that’s why I can endorse C.J. and Sovereign Grace Ministries, because I believe that God is glorified through the majority of their efforts. They are not perfect. None of us are. But I believe they strive to be, and are, on the right path.

    Thank you again for your comment!

    Elliot

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