13 Oct 2010
Testimony from a former Darakbang member (1)
Exposing Heresies of Darakbang Cult
I realized that Darakbang is a cult group while attending the 1st level camp training. It is difficult to explain how I came to this conclusion in a word. I searched for information online for a month to disclose heresies of Darakbang but failed to find solid evidence. I became frustrated and was afraid that I might be fighting against a church of God.
I wrote down the key points emphasized in Darakbang as described below:
– Gospel Message
– Problem from incident of Genesis Chapter 3
– Solution to spiritual problem
And I prayed to God to help me see clearly that Darakbang is a heresy. As I compared Darakbang evangelism (for evangelism’s sake) with evangelism of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, it became clear to me that Darakbang is a cult.
I plan to describe Darakbang’s aspects as a cult based on what I have learned in the past 3 years at Darakbang.
1. Cover up the Name Darakbang Inside/Outside the Group
Despite its gradual expansion, Darakbang conceals its name as much as possible. Darakbang missionaries avoid mentioning the name not only to new recruits but also among existing members. They try as much as possible not to mention the name. They would go by ‘regional church gathering’ or under unavoidable circumstance,’ bang (or ppang when pronounced strongly.)’ in short. Only those who have been trained for long will understand these names.
They say they avoid using ‘Darakbang’ since the ministry was declared as a cult but if Darakbang is a church of God “preaching only the Gospel” as per their argument, I do not see the reason why they should conceal the name Darakbang to new and existing members.
The missionaries do not tell you the name and ask you to listen to them first. This is so typical of a cult group. Darakbang values highly of the Acts of the Apostles that has no description of believers hiding themselves from one another to avoid persecution. Jesus openly evangelized and never hid doing so. Darakbang members cannot explain Darakbang well. It is not that they aren’t but they can’t because they don’t know much.
Majority of existing Darakbang members were not aware of Darakbang at first but they learned implicitly with time. And once they do find out, their response will be one of the following three; they will display toleration and participate, leave, or leave only to return. It is not often that members would join Darakbang knowing the truth from the start. This is quite strange.
Most of those who leave do so with confidence in the decision by the religious circle but without clear understanding as to why Darakbang is defined as a cult group. Therefore, some of them would go to existing churches but return to Darakbang. These people have already been brainwashed with messages of Darakbang. If you continue to read, you will understand how they are brainwashed and why they cannot leave Darakbang for good.
Simply put, Darakbang neglects reading the Bible and praying that normal believers have hard time doing, theoretically distorts and simplifies ways to lead religious lives, and makes it easy for followers to fall to the cult. Even Darakbang members don’t know the exact reason why Darakbang is declared a cult, so their refutation remains weak.
They say the cult decision is a “misunderstanding”, “the declaration will soon be removed,” or “it’s because Darakbang teaches the true Gospel..” They say avoid raising their voice to avoid disputes. I can understand if they say they are not answering so as to avoid dispute but if they can’t explain exactly why it was declared a cult even to those who are studying at Darakbang, then I think that the issue of whether the gathering truly is a cult or not should be brought to light.
Leaving the group, I asked a senior pastor of a regional church why he hid the fact that the group was Darakbang. He said it was because he was afraid I might reject before listening to Darakbang messages. I asked how is it that existing members could not answer properly when asked about Darakbang, and he said “because those students do not know about Darakbang enough to explain.” I was surprised at his response because those students were younger than me but were studying at Darakbang for far longer than me. I also asked a club advisor the same question and he replied, “If I had told you that this was Darakbang, would you have taken care of the club?”
It is difficult to mend a relationship with broken trust. What more are they hiding from me? What other news would emerge and when? Even then, they will make excuses like “we hid the fact for fear that you might reject before hearing Darakbang message.”
In Darakbang, they emphasize that “one do not practice evangelism but spread of the Gospel happens enabled by God. Evangelism is not difficult. We are only tools to teach the Gospel. When the Holy Spirit and power comes to an evangelist who goes to fields, the Gospel is naturally spread in the fields. God attracts soul hungry for the Gospel to a prepared evangelist.”
If they truly believe in the Holy Spirit, they need not worry about those who refuse to listen because of the name Darakbang. If it is God who made them meet, that soul will listen. Even if he/she do not listen and leave, God will take care of that soul.
The cult penetrates as clubs at universities, and establishes regional church with a pastor and a minister. It looks for professors or staffs who can assist its work inside universities. The group advises students to become professionals by earning master’s degrees or coach to form Darakbang (movement) at work (company, school etc). Darakbang has formed 90 regional churches in universities and aims to increase the figure to 150. This means that there are 90 universities in Korea (both universities and colleges) with Darakbang groups and their goal is to expand the network to 150.
‘Agent evangelist and spiritual elite evangelist’ refer to those who are trained to practice evangelism by deeply penetrating into professional fields. Darakbang is not only in universities but also in a number of existing churches (aside from Ryu Kwang Su’s Immanuel Church in Seoul). Most of them are new churches introducing Darakbang for revival.
In appearance, they seem like Methodist or Presbyterian churches but in essence, they are Darakbang groups.
If you take part in Darakbang programs, you will meet various participants from pastors to normal believers and different religious bodies. They say numerous lay leaders of church move to Darakbang after attending Darakbang programs. ‘Envy and jealousy towards Darakbang’s fast growth’ is often cited as an unfair reason for Darakbang being labeled as a cult. Darakbankg asserts that “existing churches that lost members are envious of Darakbang, which is the cause behind the declaration that Darakbang is a heresy.”
If you go to Darakbang camp training, Darakbang missionaries will warn you by saying “Do not move churches, which is an over-reaction (words from the missionaries). Teach what you have learned here to those in existing churches. Your church will be your field.”
With this, you might think Darakbang care for Korean churches but this is its strategy to ‘make all churches part of Darakbang’ without emphasizing Darakbang. This differentiates Darakbang from other cults that only emphasize their own churches.
Their strategy is to establish a platform of Korean churches to spread heresy.
Existing church pastors learn from Darakbang, use its literature to train other followers but deny relation with Darakbang. They are trained at the most advanced Darakbang program but yet they would say
“I have no ties with Darakbang.” These trainees change covers of Darakbang training materials, reprint contents and pretend that their churches developed them. When caught, they say they only borrowed Darakbang’s methodology. This is deeply troubling.
Darakbang training focuses on messages and one cannot simply adopt its methodology. Such connection with existing churches hampers the effort to disclose the fact that Darakbang is a heresy. It is wrong for a pastor to rationalize denial of relations with Darakbang despite that his/her teaching contents definitely come from Darakbang. They deny the connection because Darakbang is yet to be removed from the decision that it is a cult group.
Combination of Darakbang and existing churches is the main cause that leads to mixing up of Darakbang message and the word of God, and messes up the word of God to blur out the true color of Darakbang.
Darakbang is grafted onto Methodist Church and onto Presbyterian Church. Existing churches come forward to justify false evidence of Darakbang. When Darakbang’s erroneous theory is refuted head-on, existing churches penetrated with Darakbang will respond citing the word of God.
It is high time for churches to take charge and expose heathenism of Darakbang but to our disappointment, they are the ones appropriating Darakbang for the sake of their revival and providing shelter to the cult (Darakbang).
2. Emphasis on their “Evangelism & Gospel Messages (Jesus is the Christ) “
■ Wrong emphasis
This is the point where critics of Darakbang get confused. Critics lose confidence when Darakbang missionaries say out loud that “Jesus is the Christ.” 2 Corinthians 12:3 reads “no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
Unlike other cult groups, Darakbang does not call its sect leader the Messiah. However, as a person who was trained at Darakbang, I can assure you that although they do not call Ryu Kwang Su the Messiah, they praise Ryu as the one who made the ‘Darakbang message’. They praise the Father by praising Ryu. Ryu is The Father, their evangelism program is the Son, and the name of the program is Jesus Christ. They appropriate the name Jesus as grounds to support their odd messages.
Darakbang says “God sends a soul that needs to be saved to a prepared evangelist.” “Who prepares an evangelist and how?” Pay attention to their messages with this question in mind, and it becomes clear how highly they praise Ryu Kwang Su.
■ Truth/Salvation/Secret Lies Here Only
Listening to Darakbang messages, one would deem it natural that prepared evangelists are trained by Ryu’s evangelism program, and would think high of Darakbang evangelism program. One would think the messages can never be heard in any other places. One would consider Darakbang the only place with the secret of Christ. One would believe that there is the secret of salvation. They tell you that secret and continue to inform you that it is Ryu who made the program. You will know once you experience them yourself. I heard this story so many times in the camp training.
They even say that “you cannot solve spiritual problems unless you go through Darakbang (Gospel Messages).”
There are many more that reveals Darakbang as a cult. “Know or don’t know the true meaning of the Gospel.”
There are judgmental comments as to whether someone is saved or not and to “receive again.” Darakbang targets not only new believers but also existing church goers (who claim to be saved but do not know Darakbang Gospel Messages) to spread their teaching.
Among the existing believers, there are those who go to church halfheartedly and don’t have the assurance of salvation. Nevertheless, it is wrong to argue that “There are many pastors who do not know the Gospel. According to Darakbang missionaries, there are too many pastors, elders, and deacons not knowing the secret of the Gospel,” and they need to receive again.
■ Egocentric Judgment/Purgatory
The basis of determining whether one knows the Gospel or not depends on his/her knowledge of Darakbang Gospel Messages.
If a believer is not well aware of Darakbang Gospel Messages or can’t answer as stated in the message, they say that the person “does not know the Gospel” or “does not know the secret of the Christ” and that the person needs to receive again.
This is definitely different from the daily confession of faith that Jesus is the Savior.
To say “one does not know the Gospel” means that “one is not saved.” Their Gospel Messages are different from the Gospel that God told us to go and preach.
To be more specific, it includes the ‘Gospel’ of existing churches and ‘the problem (incident) of ‘Genesis 3′. Message of the Gospel is “Jesus is the Christ. Jesus Christ is the anointed one. Jesus came as the Prophet to show us the way to God, as the King to bind Satan, and as the High Priest to wash us from our sins. Receive Jesus to be saved.”
■ Heavy Emphasis on Certain Versus for Use/Misuse/Stretch of Meaning
To brief on ‘the problem or incident of Genesis 3’. “Adam and Eve sinned against God deceived by the serpent and left God. However, in Genesis 3:15, Jesus Christ who had the serpent’s head crushed washed away this sin hence we need not fear.”
This seems to be about the Gospel.
But the problem comes from the fact that at Darakbang, they teach as if this message only applies to Darakbang. They make wrong connection with the problem of Genesis 3, and also provide mistranslation. They reduce Jesus Christ’s work of salvation as if it was for nothing.
Here is an example. If someone faces a problem, they say that he/she should view the issue from a perspective of Genesis 3. Failing to do so, that person will not be able to know the cause of the problem. The person will suffer without knowing the reason.
After receiving Darakbang training, people would interpret problems as follows; “We disobeyed God, have sinned, and left God, which is why we are suffering from problem at hand. However, Jesus cleansed our sin through death on the cross so we do not need to worry. God solved our problem. We only need to bind Satan in the name of Jesus.”
If you can interpret as above, they say your eyes (spiritual discernment) to see the problem of Genesis 3 are open.
At first sight, this seems to be the right way to interpret but it is absolutely wrong. This is like an elderly criticizing himself/herself by saying “it’s all my fault for I have sinned” whenever there is a problem in the family
All problems faced by the already saved are being blamed on past sins of playing slave to Satan.
This is wrong. Satan and sin before salvation have no bearing on someone who believes in and received Jesus to be the savior. God made Christians his new creation In 2 Corinthians 5:17, it states that “he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” Being saved, you do not have to make effort to erase the old you but you simply become a new you.
However, Darakbang looks for cause of today’s problem in pre-salvation.
A new you with new knowledge through salvation should pray to God, read the Bible and seek solution from God when faced with problems. You can not address the matter only by finding cause from when you still served as a slave to Satan.
They constantly refer to Genesis 3 to remind you of the time under Satan’s power so as to make you be fearful of Satan and to prevent you from enjoying blessing as a child of God, which is the deed of Satan.
■ Threatens an Imaginary Enemy
Darakbang secretly reminds you and is fearful of Satan.
I am not saying that we should forget Satan. God said, “Be sober-minded and alert. Resist the devil and when Jesus returns, he will throw Satan into the Abyss.” God never told us to destroy and exterminate Satan.
Darakbang missionaries, on the other hand, say we should destroy Satan and talk as if it is easy to deal with. However, in reality, Darakbang is not disregarding Satan but is afraid of it. We can only resist Satan but cannot exterminate it.
This has already been pointed out by the religious community as the basis for determining Darakbang as a cult group. Darakbang argues that “66 Books of the Bible all shed light on destruction of the devil.”
Of course, this is related to Christology but Darakbang’s argument comes from failing to understand that the key of the Bible is to save sinners and not to exterminate the devil.
And Satan is defeated with the blood and the power of Jesus’ name not through apprehension of Ryu Kwang Su’s messages
We can defeat Satan by depending on the blood and the name of Jesus. Darakbang refers to Satan a lot and draws Satan as a fearful being to be defeated. You are brainwashed to believe that Satan is defeated by Ryu’s messages (eyes to see the problem of Genesis 3) and praise Ryu who prepared the messages.
■ Judgment based on Egocentric Salvation / Extreme Dichotomous Thinking
Another problem with Darakbang evangelism messages is that Darakbang determines whether one is saved or not (spiritual state) based on awareness of these messages. They teach Darakbang and its messages judge one’s salvation based on the messages.
They would ask, “What is the meaning of Jesus being the Christ?” and if one cannot explain per Darakbang messages they would say, “You do not know the Gospel.” If that person argues that “I am saved,” they will object and say “you are not saved.”
Even if one explains but that inaccurately or illogically, they’d say, “you are not organized with the message of the Gospel” or “you do not have a firm understanding of the Gospel.”
Based on their logic, if you do not study their messages you cannot be saved nor can you have the assurance of salvation. Hence, the ignorant can never be saved.
God said in Ephesians 2:8~9 that for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. Nevertheless, Darakbang stubbornly insists on teaching its ridiculous logic. This type of confirmation of salvation runs the risk of making new believers ‘spiritual fakes’. Jesus said to the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years and touched the edge of his cloak that “your faith has healed you.”
Darakbang clearly confuses knowing the Gospel with believing in it.
■ Redefinition of Spiritual Growth/Level/Maturity based on Self Standard
Darakbang tune its program level with Christian’s maturity stage.
Darakbang believe being trained with Ryu’s evangelism program as becoming professional. In Corinthians 4 God said, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.”
However, Darakbang missionaries judge and condemn churches other than Darakbang and their members based on Darakbang messages.
“You must become an evangelist, spiritual elite and Christ specialist.” “If a member embraces the secret of the Christ, the living Lord Jesus Christ will do his work.” “There are many great people but only a few Christ specialists, which is the problem in this world.”
These comments are the telltale signs showing how wrong their thinking is.
■ Extinction of/Interference in the Holy Spirit, Disregard of Spiritual Gift
“Darakbang camp training” literature explains that “Darakbang evangelism movement is a life movement to realize that there are God’s purpose and plan for fields we live in, so go and spread the Gospel. This movement started from Mark’s upper room in the Early Church.”
They place their spiritual authority and basis on ‘Mark’s upper room in the Early Church’ and skillfully inserts Darakbang evangelism program to disregard the Holy Spirit.
They distort upper room of Mark who, after the ascension of Jesus, devoted himself to prayer, experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, spoke in different tongues, and found enlightenment in the Gospel and applies Mark’s upper room to Darakbang theory.
Darakbang missionaries place Ryu’s program before the stage devoting to prayer. They reason that one may become an evangelist agent (prepared missionary) once he/she knows and enjoys the Christ through their evangelism program, and that if one pray in line with His plan and will, the Holy Spirit will do its work.
They delude their followers with odd logic such as
“Since we are aligned with God’s direction, we just have to be” and “God cannot help but make us be.”
Darakbang places its evangelism programs above the word of God, preventing members from reading the word of God.
■ Elitism / Sense of Superiority / Pride / Narcissism / Arrogance in a Closed & Isolated Group
Those trained by Darakbang’s key pastors are totally brainwashed that they are evangelists and consider themselves as undercover agents.
I was also under this delusion.
Ryu Kwang Su created an absurd cult group by writing a false thesis of Darakbang evangelism program. They skillfully chose wordings to make room for excuses when criticized. They fight back saying “There is Christ, there is the Gospel and we even exercise evangelism. We have evidence. How can we be a cult?”
They are very clever.
Those who are well-informed of the words and completed programs are called ‘the first-class evangelists or spiritual elites armed with the knowledge of the Gospel ‘. These agents are asked to dig deeply into professional fields in universities and go to regional fields in churches. They teach you how to form Darakbang gatherings and to spread messages to kindergarteners, to students in elementary, middle and high schools and to normal believers.
They teach you to spread the messages and tell you to distribute time to prevent believers from digressing for it is often the case that people would speak ill of pastors.
Darakbang training is provided in different levels.
There are many who attend these programs not being aware that the programs are hosted by Darakbang. They thought they are participating in church retreats only to find out otherwise. Fee for training over five days and four nights is KRW200000. The fee includes cost for missionary works thus is expensive. But Darakbang members say this is not much when considering the inflation.
Former trainees use the same method of concealing the true nature of the training when introducing the program to others.
They do not openly tell the truth about Darakbang.
■ Concealment/Deception/Surveillance/Manipulation/Control/Purgation & Sense of Guilt to Prevent Withdrawal
It is surprising to see them continuously deceiving and hiding. They try not to be exposed of their true nature but with time, they themselves end up assuming vaguely that “it should be the truth…” They inject sense of purgation to those who wants to know more about Darakbang.
They equate having doubts about Darakbang as having doubts about Jesus. They make you believe that leaving Darakbang is the same as leaving Jesus.
This is the substance of Ryu’s Darakbang.
■ Focus on Darakbang Messages More Than the Bible
Next, I’d like to touch on issues with Darakbang’s general messages. They put Jesus Christ in the front and call their messages ‘the Gospel itself’ or ‘the Gospel messages’. They tell you to spread the Gospel messages not the Gospel. Darakbang messages include general messages and basic gospel message (= Gospel Letters) used to practice evangelism.
They argue that these messages are based on the Bible but they interfere with God’s children reading the words of God. Darakbang have you read the Bible in line with the messages and hold fast to these messages only in the end.
Darakbang pastors don’t ask you to “read the Bible” but to “hold firm to the messages.”
I will explain how Darakbang distorts the role of preaching and reading the Bible in existing churches.
Preaching of pastors in existing churches is based on the word of God, speaks of the attributes of God and tells us how to lead religious lives. It helps believers to continue their fellowship with God. Church goers listen to preaching and come to understand the Bible. Preaching of pastors eventually encourage believers read the word of God. The Bible reads “You have no need that anyone should teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything.”
Things are different in Darakbang.
In Darakbang’s weekly meetings a message is proclaimed. Students write down the message to check how it is achieved in fields and apply the message. A message is an interpretation of Bible versus by pastor in Darakbang.
You may question “what is wrong with pastors interpreting Bible versus?”
You definitely may raise such question.
The problem with Darakbang is that members are trained to translate the Bible according to these interpretations of their pastors. This removes the chance for members to be blessed in Jesus Christ by reading the Bible that becomes a simple reference book. Members merely check the Bible and assume checking verses and reading messages to be the same as reading the words of God.
■ Structure of Darakbang Pastor’s Message – Put Cart before the Horse (Message is Key / Bible is for Reference)
Once you’ve seen Darakbang materials or heard Darakbang messages, you would know that the structure is opposite to that of the Bible. Darakbang literature describes pastor’s thoughts or realizations and states relevant Bible chapters and versus on the side as source.
There are notes below or on the side in small letters.
Darakbang messages use verses and chapters of the Bible in footnotes. They don’t even read the quoted phrases. Quotations are made brief and in parts. These messages exert negative influence on spiritual growth of members.
At first, people may look up corresponding Bible verses but gradually he/she will not check the Bible but blindly believe what pastors say. In the Bible, Satan quotes the words of God but this is totally different from quoting of the words by Jesus.
Darakbang steals the words of the Bible so as to rationalize their logic.
Darakbang missionaries are not spreading the words of God but are abusing them. They do not explain the meaning of quoted verses and why God gave the words. They present huge amount of quoted chapters and verses as grounds to their messages, and make their followers believe that the messages are emphasizing the words of God and to believe in these messages.
As a result, Darakbang members do not read the words of God but only read Darakbang messages. Some people in Darakbang say “I am reading more of the Bible since I joined Darakbang” but they are mistaken.
Accurately speaking, when they say they “read the words of God” it actually means that they checked the words of God based on Darakbang messages they learned.
The Bible is the words of the living God (Hebrews 4:12) that presents you with different understandings and impresses you depending on your own problem or circumstance.
You realize meanings of the words with the help from the Holy Spirit.
■ Uniform Thinking / Radical Thinking / Uniform Control, Application, Check
Members of Darakbang are guided by messages from pastors who interpret the Bible on their behalf. This explains why Darakbang students and pastors say that
“It gets difficult when messages die out. You become spiritually thirsty.”
Darakbang defines consistent interpretation method and head pastor, evangelist or normal believers quote and apply them exactly the same. How can this be a blessing?
It seems to be a sure thing in appearance but it is only an empty head of grain.