Forty years on: when will it end?

Shincheonji (also known as Pathways, Cornerstone, Zion Mission Centre, New Heaven New Earth) has been a particularly problematic high-control group in New Zealand. However, recent news about their founder Lee Man-Hee’s ailing health has brought fear to SCJ members and hope to loved ones who have been hurt and harmed by their decades of deception. A March 13 report from CBS South Korea (크리스천노컷뉴스), translated into English below, details more:

“Shincheonji, a religious group advocating eternal life, has been under scrutiny for the erratic behaviour of its leader, Lee Man-hee. Concerns about his health have been raised after a leaked video showed him rambling during an educational session with Shincheonji officials. Lee Man-hee, aged 92, has faced health concerns before, but this incident has sparked analysis suggesting accelerated preparations for succession after his eventual passing. Reporter Song Ju-yeol provides the coverage.

Lee Man-hee, born in 1931 and aged 92, convened Shincheonji instructors nationwide last weekend for educational purposes. However, shortly after the start of the lecture, peculiarities emerged in Lee Man-hee’s speech after about 50 minutes.

Lee Man-hee, despite being a Shincheonji instructor who presumably knows the group’s doctrines best, appeared unable to properly cite scriptures in front of other Shincheonji officials and instructors. The lecture was disrupted, and Shincheonji leaders and instructors seemed puzzled. After restarting the education session, Lee Man-hee continued to repeat non-doctrinal content.

Suddenly, Lee Man-hee began talking about the Shincheonji Newspaper, mentioning specific incidents and asking about names. He then expressed doubts about the authorship of his own written piece, stating, “It seems like I didn’t write it myself.”

Lee Man-hee continued with statements such as, “God won’t stop, and only a few years’ strength remains.” He concluded with religious phrases like, “Amen, let’s give thanks to God first in Shincheonji,” emphasising the importance of eternal life.

After the incident, Shincheonji halted its live online broadcasts, instead opting for recorded broadcasts at 3 PM, a decision that has raised further concerns internally. Many within Shincheonji were already considering leaving due to internal issues, and Lee Man-hee’s recent behaviour has only exacerbated the situation.

Experts on religious sects anticipate severe internal turmoil within Shincheonji as the group approaches its 40th anniversary. Speculation about potential successors among the leaders is rife, with long-standing figures like Lee Man-hee’s aide being mentioned.

Shincheonji, known for indoctrinating its followers with the doctrine of eternal life through agreement sessions, is now strengthening internal control measures amidst signs of Lee Man-hee’s declining health. With the group’s founding anniversary on March 14th, Shincheonji is currently under a general mobilisation order for its members. This is CBS News, reporting by Song Ju-yeol.”

– CBS Original report: [in Korean]


Time and time again, the Bible clearly shows the rise and fall of all those in human authority. Only Jesus, the King of Kings, can reign and rule forever as the one who died and rose again. He gives His Holy Spirit not to one person, teacher, instructor, leader or chairman, but to all who trust Him alone by faith.

“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” – Revelation 1:4-5

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