PASTOR David Yonggi Cho, founder of the world’s largest Pentecostal congregation, gave his reflection during the first Sunday Service after a South Korean court found him guilty of breach of trust, corruption and tax evasion, and sentenced him to three years in prison with a five-year probation and 5 billion won (US$4.67 million) in fines.
The 78-year-old disgraced megachurch pastor said that it was the hardest day of his 50 years of ministry when he heard the verdict on Thursday.
“Through this suffering, I’ve learned a homework. An individual shouldn’t possess anything,” Cho told his congregation at Yoido Full Gospel Church on Feb. 23, 2014. “Besides health, status, fame, authority, money… these are all matters that are outside the body and unworthy of any pursuit.”
According to reports, Cho was identified as an accomplice through committing breach of trust in 2002 by ordering the church to purchase his elder son Hee-jun’s stocks at four times the market price. The transaction resulted in the church’s loss of 13 billion won (US$12 million). Moreover, Cho was also found guilty of tax evasion of 3.5 billion won (US$3.3 million).
In the same ruling, Cho’s elder son Hee-jun, the former CEO of the church-affiliated local daily Kookmin Ilbo, was sentenced to three years in prison for colluding with his father in the embezzlement scheme.
Cho did not argue against the judgment, but, instead, examined himself from the perspective of faith.
“God forbid, if God calls me back today, I will still be able to go to the Kingdom of God,” he said. Cho then asked that the congregation to pray for his successor pastor Young Hong Lee. Read more at Gospel Herald