Reporter Kwang-moo Kim, 15 July 2021
Interview with the President of Christian Gospel Mission Jung Myung-seok
[Special interview with Chungcheong Herald Correspondent Kim Gwang-mu / Reporter Kwon Seong-ha]
“Sometimes he appears shining like a star.. At other times he appears as soft as the moon.. At other times he appears as dazzling as the sun.. He told me to write a poem. He made me a poet”
– From the poem ‘Who made me a poet’
It started with a saying that sounded like a legend. “There are so many beautiful flowers over that mountain.”
The young poet’s heart was filled with overflowing dreams. Secretly, I ran out of hope, gasping for breath. The poet’s life flowed like a river, and flowed like a drop of water on a blade of grass. As the snow melted and flowed on a spring day, the clouds flowed by. The place where the poems flowed is Wolmyeongdong, a mountainous village in Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do.
The original name of Wolmyeongdong is ‘Dalbitgol’. Even though it was a mountainous area where less than ten households lived, the moon was exceptionally bright. 月明洞 is the name of the village in Chinese characters.
The beautiful flower that the poet dreamed of bloomed as the ‘gospel’ in Dalbakgol.
Wolmyeongdong (144-1 Seokmak-ri, Jinsan-myeon, Geumsan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do) is a mysterious place. At first glance, it looks like any other mountainous area with a thick pine forest. However, when viewed from the sky, it looks like “Miwon Ja” took off her jacket exposing her red skin and navel.
Buildings such as stones and trees, water and waterfalls, lawns and temples evoke a passage from Dr. David Hawkins’ Homo Spiritus.
“It’s best to just keep doing your job and leave the rest to Providence. Then, God takes the last step.”
Another name for Wolmyeongdong is the Natural Temple. This is what the people of the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) call it.
As Dr. Hawkins personally saw and wrote, Wolmyeongdong’s huge three-story building is beautiful and majestic. It is mysterious to see megaliths, which are likely to weigh several tons, standing vertically. Did God really move it?
President Jung Myung Seok (76 years old) said, “To say so would be a lie. Mowing grass in the valley, making volleyball courts to play with, and making potato fields have become training centers that come from all over the world. God works in secret. However, he gave only the words to make it beautiful, magnificent, and mysterious. I entrusted it to famous landscaping experts and they did the landscaping for my home. It was beautiful and grand, but it was not mysterious to anyone looking at it. So I asked him to stack several tons of stones vertically. Then he shook his head and left. It has been raining for a full week, and in prayer, I heard the words, ‘You should build it up.’”
“I didn’t know how to build it, so it kept falling apart. As amateurs, we only knew how to put stones on the soil, so there was no way it could be done. But after it collapsed five times, it was built on the sixth. Even though the rocks have collapsed, our hearts have not. It was accomplished as God’s Providence had envisioned. So, in the end, God moved it.”
I was curious about the word “Providence”. It seemed to mean something beyond the principles and laws that govern our lives and phenomena in the natural world.
“Providence is God’s will. My humble hometown, my humble and pitiful hometown was created according to the plan (as it is now) because of God’s will. Now, everyone who sees it admires it, and a lot of people come to see it. I am stunned when I see everyone (laughs).”
In fact, Wolmyeongdong is a training center that gathers all kinds of missionaries.
For over 10 years, President Jung Myung Seok and his followers took shovels and carried soil and stones to complete the project. The paths in each valley of the training center are all paths created by God’s will.
At that time, President Jung said, “To pave the road (길) is to pave the way (도). It is difficult to make a road on a mountain, but how difficult would it be to create the ‘true road’ of life?” This proverb is still being talked about.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.1 million people visited Wolmyeongdong training center annually. Devotees and visitors naturally come into contact with Geumsan’s special product, ginseng.
In fact, the memories of the three World Geumsan Ginseng Expo held in 2006, 2011 and 2017 are vivid in the minds of the people of Geumsan. At that time, a whopping 30,000 members of the Christian Gospel Mission from home and abroad traveled all over the Ginseng Expo.
At the 2019 Geumsan Ginseng Festival, many believers promoted the effect of ginseng and purchased it. The economic ripple effect estimated by the Geumsan-gun Office amounts to 100 billion won. It was also beautiful, majestic, and mystical that the people of Geumsan were the same.
Professor Max Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism’, who emphasized that religion has a great influence on the protection of individual freedom and property rights, comes to mind.
Wolmyeongdong is very similar to Christian Gospel Mission. For about 10 years, CGM’s founder President Jung Myung Seok was imprisoned, but CGM grew bigger.
He spread the gospel to 73 countries around the world, including Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, and established megachurches in 200 cities across the country. This is unusual in the context of the decline of the Christian generation in Korean society.
The answer was concise. It is explained that this is because they preach and follow God’s ‘Absolute Word’ as it is. He also cited an increase in the number of logical young believers.
“People see the same thing differently. Even when Judas Iscariot died, some say that he was hanged, and in other Gospels, his intestines burst and he died. The same is true of the old debate about heresies. The Bible is 90% parables. Even if a new religion emerges, God is the same. Whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, it is God’s will that Jesus was born and preached the gospel, and that is the Word of the new age. If those words are right for the times, then we have to follow them. However, many religious leaders and theologians failed to do so. It is said that teaching according to the Bible is wrong. The younger generation is different. Religion and science must match. If God said it took only 6000 years to create the heavens and the earth, would the youth go to church? Students believe that something is true only when it is logical. It is difficult for the younger generation to accept the saying that salvation comes only by believing in the church. Everyone can be saved, but it is God’s Will that we are saved according to our deeds. God is not the only God of religion. He is the God of science, philosophy and art.”
In the same vein, this is the design that Wolmyeongdong and the training center will show the future. It is CGM’s calling to create a platform to develop the talents of the younger generation based on their faith.
In fact, in Wolmyeongdong, various cultural and artistic activities such as Korean traditional music, orchestra, musical, theater, cheerleading, jazz dance, martial arts demonstration, and magic show, as well as sports club activities such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, table tennis, swimming, skiing, horseback riding, and mountain climbing are held throughout the four seasons. Volunteer activities such as cultural arts volunteering, visiting Kkottongnae, and volunteering at facilities for the disabled, are also plentiful.
“While serving in the Vietnam War as a soldier twice, I contemplated the essence of religion and the eternal truth at the boundary between life and death. Religion is a life, not a theory. It is listening to the Word and putting it into practice by loving God. I think the mission of Wolmyeongdong and the training center is to convey to the world the victory of faith in Korea that has been achieved through pastoral activities for the past 43 years. We will make Wolmyeongdong, which God envisioned, into a world-class park that embodies the world of religious harmony and peace. This is why people from all over the world come to Wolmyeongdong to believe in God.”