Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is the Cross an Idol? - Part 1 - WMSCOG's Distortions

The World Mission Society Church of God teaches that the cross is an idol.  They say churches that display the cross, or people who wear a cross on a necklace, practice idolatry.

When I first heard this, it bothered me.  I seek to live a life that pleases God.  Idolatry definitely does NOT please God.  Have I been practicing and condoning idolatry without even realizing it?  It was important for me to find out.

I've examined the claims of the WMSCOG, studied my Bible, and done some historical research.  I'm sure this will take a few posts to get through, but here we go...

"Cross is an idol" is one of the World Mission Society Church of God's official videos.  It tells the story of a woman whose husband died in a helicopter accident.  Her daughter hates everything that reminds her of her father's death, even toy helicopters.  She goes on to compare this with how Christian churches use the cross as a reminder of Jesus' death.  The video makes many statements connecting the cross to paganism, with sources given for these "shocking" claims.  By the time the 4 minute video is done, the viewer is left wondering if they've been deceived all their lives into pagan worship.  Is the feeling of guilt that arises from videos like this the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or is it an orchestrated part of a cult's mind control tactics?

The first thing we should know is that the WMSCOG makes many misleading historical statements about the cross!

Let's see what happens when we try to verify their statements using the same sources they cite.  These are direct quotes from the video...

"The cross originated from ancient Chaldea.  It was used as a symbol of the god Tammuz in Egypt. (Babylon Mystery Religion)" (minute 2:30)
Here's what Ralph Woodrow, the author of Babylon Mystery Religion, says about his own book. "So is it with the claims about pagan origins. What may seem to have a connection, upon further investigation, has no connection at all!"  Even the author of Babylon Mystery Religion says that there is no connection here.  This quote was misused by the WMSCOG.  They have neglected to share that the author pulled the book out of print after finding that the book he used for research (The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop) was full of faulty research.

"Cross...was despised...the disgraceful punishment of slaves and the worst criminals... (History of the Christian Church)" (minute 2:51)
Does this make you think the early Christian church despised the cross?  The quote comes from History of the Christian Church which was published in 1910.  You can find the quote here in Volume 2, Chapter 6.  Now read the full context:
"The oldest and dearest, but also the, most abused, of the primitive Christian symbols is the cross, the sign of redemption.... Upon this arose, as early as the second century, the custom of making the sign of the cross on rising, bathing, going out, eating, in short, on engaging in any affairs of every-day life; a custom probably attended in many cases even in that age, with superstitious confidence in the magical virtue of this sign; hence Tertullian found it necessary to defend the Christians against the heathen charge of worshipping the cross....  The cross was despised by the heathen Romans on account of the crucifixion, the disgraceful punishment of slaves and the worst criminals; but the Apologists reminded them of the unconscious recognition of the salutary sign in the form of their standards and triumphal symbols"
Do you still think that History of the Christian Church supports the idea that the early Christian church despised the cross?  How about this next quote...

"When Christianity began to be paganized, the cross was considered as a symbol of Christ. (Harper's Book of Facts)" (minute 3:15)
Here's where you can read Harper's Book of Facts online.  It is a digitized 1895 edition with a handy search feature.  I've searched it and can't find this quote anywhere.  Maybe the WMSCOG needs to recheck their source or be more specific with an edition or page number?  As it is, it doesn't look good for the WMSCOG.  If anyone wants to help me track down this quote, go right ahead.  I'll update this post if it's found.  Here's another reference to the same book:

"The cross was introduced to the church in AD 431. The cross was erected on top of the church in AD 586. (Harper's Book of Facts)" (minute 3:18)
This is meant to make us think that the cross was not used as a symbol until Christianity had been around a long time, far removed from the early church.  This is not a direct quote from the book but the information comes from the entry for "cross" on page 212Harper's Book of Facts says, "Crosses in churches and chambers were introduced about 431; and set up on steeples about 586."

The WMSCOG neglects to mention that Harper's Book of Facts also says that symbolism of the cross actually began long before that with the signing of the cross first being recorded about about AD 110.

We should also note that with the persecution of Christians in the early church, they often disguised the written symbol of the cross, for example as an anchor.  Also, crosses can be found in the catacombs much earlier than the 5th century.  Check here for more information on the Cross as an early Christian symbol.  And here's more about Christian symbols.

Do you see how the World Mission Society Church of God misuses their quotes and sources?  Do you find that acceptable?  I surely don't.  And that's one more reason the WMSCOG does not earn my unconditional trust and devotion.  More next time on why the cross is not an idol....

5 comments:

  1. "Ana" sent her comment by email for me to post. Apparently the comment feature wasn't working for her. If you are also having problems posting comments, you are welcome to write in with email.

    "Ana" said:
    "I agree that the World Mission Society Church of God misquotes their so called sources. The information they quote is put together like piece-mail, just like their Bible studies. They seemed to have perfected this form of deception."

    Thanks sharing your comment, Ana. I'm glad other people notice this too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First, I'd like to thank you for having this site up. I was recently approached by two members the other day while at a university campus, but I'm not a baby Christian and so red flags were pretty apparent.

    Anyway I just wanted to comment that while I agree that with you that the WMSCOG is misusing quotes and sources, I really believe that the cross is used by many as an idol. When you really look at it, it is similar to the golden calf and what happened with Moses and the children of Israel. Many people kneel before crucifixes to pray or instead of praying they'll just kiss their cross necklace. This is similar to what buddhists and other pagans do. At the same time though, God search our HEARTS and He knows our intentions so ultimately what I'm trying to get at is that Christ is more than whether the cross is an idol or not or whether we keep Sabbaths or Passover. We just need to abide in Him and keep Him at the center of our focus. This group definitely tries to defer that attention.

    This comment is not to condemn anyone, but as brothers and sisters in the Jesus Christ it is part of our function in the body of His Church to edify one another to build each other up. So again I appreciate you for informing me about this group so that when I meet up with the members I know where they are coming from and may the Lord give me the words to say to turn them more to Him. Glory to God.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi JT87,
    Praise God that you saw the warnings! And thank you for taking the time to write. You are right--a symbol can easily become an idol, and I do believe that some Christians fall into this trap. Only God knows the heart, and He is the judge. We should not judge on appearances. Kneeling before a cross to pray (or kissing a cross necklace) is only an act of idolatry if the heart is not in the right place. But we should be on guard to keep our perspective correct.
    I pray you will be well equipped with the right words if you should come across WMSCOG members again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why doesnt one admit that Zen Zhal Gal is nothing more than an idol herself? She wishes to be worshipped as did Ahnsahnhong. I see nothing wrong with one wearing a cross as it is a symbol of faith, no different than a star of David.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Wmscog insist that the cross ( T)is a sign for Tammuz, but in that time they didn't have the alphabet as we know it They also mention something about people worshiping Tammuz in the Temple ( Eze 8) But then in Eze 9:4 God said that His people were going to recieve a sign wich is Hebrew iS a Tav wich is T.

    ReplyDelete