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Largest South Korean Church's Embezzlement Scandal Just Got Worse

The largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in South Korea and the world, Yoido Full Gospel church, has repeated come under fire for its founder Cho Yong-gi and his family's involvement in a series of ugly scandals. Last weekend, more revelations were made about Cho's alleged extramarital affairs and church money misappropriations, apart from the existing embezzlement and tax evasion charges that made headlines earlier this year.  

A group of church elders who used to side with the founder finally came clean and held a press conference disclosing new details and presenting evidence about Cho's alleged misdeeds. The total amount of money mentioned in this conference alone is astronomical -it easily surpasses 100 million US dollars, and most scandalously, 1.4 million US dollars were allegedly given to a female vocalist in France named Jeong who allegedly had an extramarital affair with Cho.

Sharp criticism of the pastor was easily found on Korea's Twittersphere from Christians and non-Christians alike.  

Past Cho Yong-gi giving a sermon at Yeoido Full Gospel Church. Image by Flickr user @Theholyspirit

Pastor Cho Yong-gi giving a sermon at Yeoido Full Gospel Church. Image by Flickr user @Theholyspirit

This is a photo of the press conference calling on Pastor Cho Yong-gi to step down. (captured other's tweet) [Unable to locate the original tweet]

Pastor Cho Yong-gi allegedly had siphoned off several billions of church money and furthermore, in order to silence Ms. Jeong –a vocalist with whom Cho had an extramarital affair with– he gave her 1.5 billion Korean won [1.4 million US dollars]. Does this sound to you like something a pastor would do? Or more like a cult leader?

Full Gospel church's elders have disclosed that Cho and his sons have embezzled several billions of the church's money, but still, a majority of regular church-goers continue to treat Pastor Cho as some sort of deity and don't take this case seriously. Church leadership is not the only one who should be blamed for Korean church's corruption, but also those church members, they do bear certain responsibility.

@john6311:천국에서는 한국돈이 쓸모가 없답니다.

@john6311: Korean won is totally useless in heaven.

Those doormats who pay their way to heaven by giving church offerings– they made this place the heaven for Cho Yong-gi. RT @jhem91: Pastor Cho Yong-gi received 20 billion won [18.7 million US dollars] as his ‘retirement money’ and then he received an extra 75 million [71 thousand US dollars] on a monthly basis. He is so blessed. What happens to those idiots who funded those money?

I find it so lamentable that church leaders are corrupt beyond belief. As a Christian and a person who used to respect Pastor Cho Yong-gi when I was working in the Arab region, I feel so depressed.

Pastor Cho Yong-gi was given 20 billion won [18.7 million US dollars] of retirement money without publicly declaring the amount, and also received 60 billion won [56 million US dollars] of church money which was set aside for ‘special mission work’ (spread out) for five years. 'A Church getting bigger'– it is not a blessing from God, but merely a blessing of money, and in a church where money overflows, corruption also overflows.

  • Jae Hee

    Depravity of religion is rampant in korean society. Christianity, and specifically Protestant

    Christianity has consistently been one of the most corrupt religions in South Korea.

    A Short one about christianity abuse in South Korea. It is just part of the issue. Other major problems are churches’ money, religious discrimination in politics and religious communities..

    http://storify.com/wjsfree/depravity-of-religion-is-rampant-in-korea-society

    • Yoo Eun

      Thanks, Jae Hee. Your storify stories always have so many great links in them.

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