by Justyn M.
The Christians in the Philippines were surprised and shock to know last September 2001 during “2001 Philippines Church Leaders’ Conference and Crusade with Rev. Jae-Rock Lee” that they have actually been deceived. This has been so serious that a well-known Christian organization in the Philippines like the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches did not endorse the Manmin Joong-ang Church. Many evangelical churches still participated during the conference and crusade held at the Quirino Grandstand. The founder and senior pastor of this church was Jae-Rock Lee, a Korean.
Well, another Korean cult is rocking again our nation spiritually through television and cyberspace in the person of Paul C. Jong. He is the founder and leader of The New Life Mission, which started last 1991 and is into literature ministry. His influence has already spread to over 150 countries in 45 major languages. Unlike in the Philippines where most cult leaders are immediately known because of their diametric opposition to most of the orthodox Christian truths, Jong presents his statement of faith in an evangelical fashion like Lee in the following manner:
- We believe that the Bible, consisting of Old and New Testaments only, is verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, is inerrant in the original manuscripts, and is the infallible and authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that the one triune God exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Adam, created in the image of God, was tempted by Satan, the god of this world, and fell. Because of Adam’s sin, all men have guilt imputed, are totally depraved, and need to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit for Salvation.
However, one Christian who is spiritually keen in discerning doctrines will notice two of Jong’s beliefs such as these,
- We believe that Jesus Christ is God, was born of a virgin, baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, crucified as the Lamb of God, rose again from the dead, and ascended to heaven, where He is presently exalted at the Father’s right hand.
- We believe that salvation consists of the remission of sins, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and the gift of eternal life, received by faith alone, apart from works.
Inclusion of statements such as Jesus being “baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River” and “salvation consist[ing] of the remission of sins” becomes suspicious and requires us to draw a closer look. This is because a careful study of his doctrine reveals that he believes in addition to faith it is also essential to believe in the act of Jesus’ water baptism performed by John in the Jordan River through laying on of hands as a prerequisite for salvation thereby making a person righteous and justified before God.
“As a result, His baptism does not nullify the Cross, but actually it is the gospel of the Lord that completes and fulfills the meaning of the Cross. It also teaches us that we cannot have redemption unless there is the baptism and precious blood of Jesus Christ. What you mean by being saved is that you obtain the remission of sins by believing the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:8, Acts 2: 38).”“Both the words of the Old and New Testaments have their equivalents to each other (Isaiah 34: 16). The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is equal to the sinner’s laying hands on the head of the sin offering in the Old Testament. When He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan, He said, ‘Permit it to be so now, thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15).
“Here, ‘all righteousness’ means ‘justice and fairness.’ It means that it is fitting for Jesus to become the sin offering for mankind, to be baptized by John the Baptist in the form of the laying on of hands to take away all the sins of the world in the fairest way according to the sacrificial system, composed of the laying on of hands and blood, which God established in the Old Testament.”
Jong does not understand that this is not the gospel that will save people from their sins. He even made the cross of Christ of none effect (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17) by adding faith to Jesus’ water baptism through laying of hands by John the Baptist to cleanse people from their sins,
“Therefore, His blood would virtually be effective in washing away sins in the hearts of believers, only if they believe that all their sins have been laid on Him when John the Baptist baptized Him by laying hands on Him.”
Nevertheless, is it also true that “all [our] sins have been laid on Him when John the Baptist baptized Him by laying hands on Him?” As much as we wanted to commend Jong for giving attention to Jesus’ water baptism that act was not the main focus of this event rather the anointing with the Spirit to prepare Jesus for His ministry. According to the New Bible Dictionary,
“The accounts of Jesus encounter with John at the River Jordan are consistent in focusing on Jesus’ anointing with the Spirit rather than the act of [water] baptism (particularly Lk. 3:21-22; Jn. 1:32-34; cf. Acts 10:37-38).”
In fact, you will notice that the first chapter of the gospel of John did not even mention the detailed account of Jesus being baptized by John but rather focuses on the Spirit’s anointing over Him. In addition to this fact, the Bible does not mention that our sins “have been laid on Him when John the Baptist baptized Him by laying hands on Him” during His water baptism rather God laid our sins on Jesus and He bore it while hanging on the cross to pay for every mankind’s sin,
“… and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:6b“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet. 2:24
Jong even concludes, “What you mean by being saved is that you obtain the remission of sins by believing the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:8, Acts 2: 38).” The Bible is very clear that to believe in Jesus Christ alone will grant you eternal life (cf. Jn. 3:16; 8:24; Acts 16:31) It is not Jesus’ water baptism that saved us but Jesus Himself when He died, was buried and rose again from the grave to be victorious over death. This is not the gospel that saves a person rather it is a different gospel adding to the finish work of Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary. May the Filipino people be cautioned with Jong’s false gospel.