About Pathways Ministries / Shincheonji NZ

Before you sign up to any Bible course:
1. Be mindful of sharing your personal details with people you have just met.
2. If asked to join a Bible Study / Cell Group / Bible Class, always ask which church it is connected to and follow up with that church.
3. If offered to meet with a mentor / life coach always ask which church they are connected to and follow up with that church.
4. Avoid groups or people who try to coerce you into keeping the meetings/names/teachings a secret.
5. Avoid groups that encourage lying (i.e. using ‘wisdom’) to cover up their activities.

Unsure whether the person contacting you is from Shincheonji or another group? We can help.

What is Pathways NZ / Shincheonji?

Cornerstone Christian Ministries, Pathway Ministries, New Heaven New Earth, and Zion Mission Centre are some of the false names of Shincheonji (SCJ), a religious movement that began in South Korea in 1984.

Shincheonji means New Heaven and New Earth in Korean. It refers to Chapter 21 of Revelation in the Bible:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

​One of the main pieces of doctrine of SCJ is that they believe the spirit of Jesus Christ is working through a 92 year-old man named Lee Man-Hee. He is known by various names and titles such as: The Promised Pastor, The New John, The One Who Overcomes, The Chairman, Seon-saeng-nim (SSN – “teacher” in Korean). According to SCJ, he and those who follow his teachings are the only ones who understand the Bible. They believe that he has fulfilled all the prophecies in the New Testament just as Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.

​SCJ operate in-person in Auckland and Wellington, but since the COVID pandemic, much of their studies are now conducted online. They are also active in Samoa, Cook Islands and other Pacific Island countries. They comprise of members from all ethnicities. Most of their members are young adults. Their beliefs are extreme by any standard and their psychological and spiritual manipulation are equally extreme.

For more information, see this December 2023 Christianity Today article: “A Korean Sect Targeted New Zealand Christians. Did Churches Respond Effectively?”

Statement of Faith

The following is an excerpt from Shincheonji New Zealand’s statement of faith, as quoted from their materials online:

We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their original writings as fully inspired by God and accept them as the supreme and final authority for faith and life. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
– We believe in God, eternally existing as our Father, his Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
– We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…

What is not immediately apparent is that Shincheonji’s statements regarding Jesus are significantly different to commonly accepted Christian belief: “there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (see Matt 28:19, Romans 8:9, 2 Cor 13:14), the same in substance, equal in power and glory.”

In contrast, SCJ members are taught that there is:

  • God, eternally existing as our Father;
  • his Son, Jesus; (i.e. not God)
  • and the Holy Spirit. (i.e.not God)

They deliberately avoid affirming the divinity of Christ, directly contradicting the earliest eyewitnesses of Christ (e.g. John 20:28). As a result, Shincheonji cannot reliably claim to be a church of Jesus Christ.

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