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Shamanistic influences on Korean Christianity 
15th-Feb-2006 01:37 pm
I’ve been reading an article about Shamanistic influences in Korean Christianity at the Rick Ross website. (http://www.rickross.com/reference/yoidoyonggi/yoido3.html) I have seen this discussed on forums before, but I was able to connect some of the things that were said to my own experiences with UBF.

For example, the author of the article, Jeremy Reynalds, writes:
“One Korean scholar believes that Shamanism poses a very real danger to Biblical Christianity. He writes, "Korean Christianity faces imminent and dramatic confrontation with the power of Shamanism. If we overcome, we remain true to Jesus Christ. If we compromise, we are reduced to yet another form of Shamanism with Christian veneer" (Lee 1994:3-4). This same scholar says that "bok," or material blessing, lies at the heart of Shamanism. He says that among other (negative concepts) shamanism emphasizes material blessing and success in society without any accompanying concern for others. "It is individualistic, self-centered and possessed with selfism; a combination which results in divisiveness. Bok is not amenable to either individual or social ethics" (Lee 1994:4). With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that the concept of Biblical blessing eventually became distorted in the Korean church.”

I remember that after spending time with UBF members, I started to hear a lot about how God will "bless" us, not only with spiritual riches, but also materially (for example, when we got a large tax return, this was “God’s blessing” in our lives). Also, these blessings were connected with the things we would do in life; if we faithfully carried out the “ministry” God had for us (a UBF-based ministry), we would gain God’s blessing. I have no problem believing that God blesses us when we obey him (for example, He blessed Daniel when Daniel abstained from food forbidden by God). But I have also learned that sometimes, people who live godly lives have hard lives in this world, and sometimes those who live apart from God have comfortable lives in this world (for example, in the parable about the rich man and Lazarus, in which the sinful man is rich in this life, and godly Lazarus is a poor man). We had started to think we would be guaranteed “blessings” if we did the things UBF prescribed for us. When things in our lives started to get difficult, we thought we were doing something wrong, even though God often uses hard times to test and strengthen our faith. Another quote in the comments section...
15th-Feb-2006 07:47 pm (UTC) - Shamanistic postive thinking
Here is another quote from the article, speaking about Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of a large South Korean Pentecostal church:

“Korean shamanism's "marriage" to positive thinking has also infiltrated the Korean Christian church. One researcher feels that steeped in this way of thinking it was a natural tendency for Korean Christians to attempt to control God instead of allowing themselves to be controlled by Him. It is important to note that the "gospel" of positivism does not emphasize the Biblical concept of denial. It encourages, rather, human self-development, says researcher Lee. (Lee 1994).
Reading Cho's material seems to validate this claim of Lee's. For example, Cho writes:
Claim and speak the word of assurance, for your word actually goes out and creates ... Your word is the material which the Holy Spirit uses to create ... There are times for you to pray but there are also times for you to give the command .. You have the resources within you and now you know the elements needed in incubation to make your faith usable. Get a clear-cut goal and objective ... Then begin to speak the word about which you have been given assurance. (Cho 1979: 31-35)”

I thought it was interesting that Cho spoke of getting a “clear-cut goal and objective” in order to make things happen in our lives. Our UBF “shepherd” told us to have a “clear purpose” in our prayers (plan specifically to be sent to a specific country and have a mission there), which I often felt was a way of telling God that we were going to this country whether he wanted us to or not. Maybe a way of forcing the hand of the Holy Spirit. The prospective missionary would pick a country and would not be open to any other ideas.

When I read some of the testimonies on the www.ubf-info.de website, I see that some members of Bonn UBF were rebuked for not being “spiritually clear” or having a “clear attitude”. I wonder if this is somehow related to this concept of positive thinking in Shamanism.
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