Wu Shuoyan, 37，was beaten to death on May 28 last year at a McDonald’s outlet in Zhaoyuan City, Yantai, after she refused to give her telephone number to several members of the cult named the Church of Almighty God. The tragedy has raised concerns from people all over the country. C. Hope Flinchbaugh , a missionary and an author, was interviewed by Facts.org.cn about the Church of Almighty God due to her expertise and unique experience. She told us in the interview that the Church of Almighty God is an extremely dangerous clut that is still active in China and even Western countries such as the United States.
C Hope Flinchbaugh
1. What is your knowledge of the Church of Almighty God (Eastern Lightning) and the Shandong Zhaoyuan case?
Hope: I do not know anything about the Shandong Zhaoyuan case. I can tell you that the Eastern Lightning Cult is a dangerous cult that forces people, especially Christians, to convert to their “religion” or face consquences. Also, the Eastern Lightning (EL) changes its name throughout the years to deceive people. Eastern Lightning Cult is a group that is still active in China and even western countries such as the United States.
The EL cult likes to send its members into Christian churches to pretend to be Christians. After a few months, they gain the confidence of the church members and they begin to start a “Bible study” or simply interrupt Biblical teaching to insert the EL philosophies. If the Christians refuse to accept the EL teachings (which contradict the Bible), the cult members have been known to cut off the ear, cut out the tendon, drown, maim, poison, or kill that person who refuses to accept the EL teachings.
2. The Church of Almighty God (Eastern Lightning) has many characteristics of a heresy, which one is the most obvious?
At the heart of the EL belief is that they teach that Jesus has already “come again,” and she—a woman– lives in China. The cult’s theme verse is Matthew 24:27, “For as lightning cometh out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The Eastern Lightning Cult teaches that the first Jesus was a western male Jesus, but now the eastern Jesus has now returned to earth and is a Chinese woman who must be followed. This is heresy and not taught in the Bible. They make up these doctrines and proclaim them as truth.
3. The Zhaoyuan case has sparked national outrage online, and why did the Church of Almighty God (Eastern Lightning) provoke the public?
The EL Cult encourages violence or any means necessary to convert people to become a member of their cult.
The EL Cult has a book titled “The Insider Handbook of the Eastern Lightning”. Their basic tactic is to infiltrate churches and they methodically do the following:
(1) Spy to win the confidence of the Christians
(2) Make a good impression and stay above suspicion. (Do not, at anytime, preach during this spy stage. Only share some personal experiences … so that people have a good impression of you).
(3) Have some basic Bible knowledge (so you can deceive Christians by twisting the truths in the Bible)
In the end, the book explains the goal of their spying. “The Insider Handbook of the Eastern Lightning” says, “Bridge building occurs after you have laid a good network of contacts. You will then be able to change people’s perspectives, picking on ideas or thoughts which will easily disrupt God’s work, changing them one by one …”
So if the EL cult member is caught spying inside the church, the church will usually reach out to that person to try to help them. If the EL spy becomes violent or aggressive in any way, the church will excommunicate that person and publicly expose them so that the church members are not deceived into following the cult.
In the Bible, Jesus never forced anyone to believe in Him. He encouraged people, “Come, follow Me.” But if someone didn’t follow Him, he did not yell at them or physically harm them in any way. It is God’s way to give every person the freedom to choose Him or reject Him.
EL members are taught to FORCE people to believe, even if they have to be violent. So if they spy out a church or a Christian leader and PRETEND to be their good Christian friend, they work to deceive that person and gain their confidence. If the church or Christian refuses to believe the EL doctrine, the EL cult member thinks it is his or her duty to force that person to believe. They will break bones, cut off body parts, and be extremely violent and all the while think that they are right in doing so.
The ultimate deception is to be self deceived. And these EL believers are self deceived into thinking they are 100% right and the rest of the world must follow them.
4. Before the Zhaoyuan case, on the 14th of April, 2014, the media of the Vatican published article The Almighty God Attacking Chinese Congregation to warn the entire Catholic world of the heresy, which shown its effect and threat to the Christianity and other traditional church. What is your opinion?
The Catholic churches were warning their people so they would not be deceived or phyiscally harmed by this violent cult.
5. The Church of Almighty God (Eastern Lightning) has many branches in the US, Canada, Singapore, Korea, Japan and many other countries, do you have any idea of the status in these countries?
I cannot say for sure the status of each nation. I can say that the cult has already infiltrated these nations and they target the Christian Chinese churches first. They’ve been known to “spy out” Christian churches of the nationals at times, but they usually go to Christian Chinese congregations first.
6. With the rapid development of the Internet, how can a website be better operated to help people keep away from heresy?
Jesus said (see John 10:10), “The thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I come to give you life, and life more abundantly.”
In that same chapter, John 10, Jesus is quoted as saying, “My sheep hear my voice and the voice of another they do not follow.” Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd and his followers are like his sheep. He explains that if we truly love and believe in Him, we will remain close to Him just as sheep stay close to their shepherd.
For the Christian to avoid heresy, study the words of Jesus which are written in the 4 Gospels in the Bible. The Gospels are four books within the Bible that tell the story of the life and words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God as they saw it and as God gave them revelation. The books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Jesus did not kill anyone or hurt anyone who did not believe in Him. In fact, Jesus laid down His life for the whole world. He teaches us to love God and love people—those are His two MOST important rules! Love God, love people.
People who are truly Christians will always go to the Bible and believe what the Bible says. The Bible has been proven to be true. My friend, Vince Latorre wrote a book titled, The Bible Can Be Proven. I encourage you to look at his website to explore and verify the truths of the Bible. http://thebiblecanbeproven.com/
Now, I would like to leave you with something that I put together to help people understand the central belief of the Christian faith. It would be wonderful if you would insert this into your interview. Please do NOT change any of the words! I have the English and Mandarin for you to follow:
Ms. Flinchbaugh said at the end of the email that audiences can get more information by sending her E-mail at Hope4nk@gmail.com if necessary.
On the evening of May 28, in the city of Zhaoyuan, Zhang Lidong and Zhang Fan entered the McDonald’s with other members of the Church of Almighty God, hoping to recruit followers. At the restaurant, they encountered the victim, Wu Shuoyan, 37, who was waiting for her husband and young son. After Ms. Wu twice declined to give her phone number, the group identified her as an “evil spirit” and attacked her with a chair, mops and a storm of kicks that left her dead in a pool of blood on the floor.（To get more information ,please click http://news.kaiwind.com/features/qns2015/）
Hope Flinchbaugh is an author, freelance writer, and homeschooling mom from Pennsylvania. She authored Across the China Sky, a novel based upon personal interviews of the author with those who have survived kidnappings by the cult the Church of Almighty God. The book was released on 1st September 2006. See more information at http://www.amazon.com/C.-Hope-Flinchbaugh/e/B001ITYP0S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1432804879&sr=8-1.