Apologetics Index

World Mission Society Church of God – WMSCOG

World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) claims Gil-Jah Zahng is ‘God the Mother’

Theologically the World Mission Society Church of God is a cult of Christianity. It’s teachings and practices are outside the boundaries of the Christian faith. Therefore it’s leaders and followers cannot be considered to be Christians. The wolves? A reference to the words of the Apostle Paul, speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus. Among other things he told them, “ I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29)

The World Mission Society Church of God, founded by Ahn Sang-hong (also spelled as Ahnsahnghong) in Korea, believes it is “the only true church which God has established on this earth” [Rev. Joo Cheol Kim, official website].

Theologically, the movement is a cult of Christianity. Those involved in it this church are considered heretics instead of Christians.

Sociologically the “movement “Mother God” movement has many cult-like elements as well.

Names associated with World Mission Society Church of God

WMSCOG operates many subgroups and associated ministries and organizations, some of which can be considered to be front groups.

  • Theological Seminary of the Church of God
  • Elohim Training Institute
  • Okcheon Go&Come Training Institute
  • Zang Gil-Jah (aka “the Heavenly Mother,” “Mother Jerusalem”)
  • Kim Joo-cheol (Joo Cheol Kim), Chief Pastor
  • WeLoveU Foundation. Founded by Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah in 2001, this is a is a non-profit organization associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. It is a front group for the WMSCOG cult.
  • Church of God
  • ASEZ (University student volunteers)
  • Witnesses of Ahn Sahng-hong Church of God

Cult’s nondisclosure agreement nullified in Superior Court

The Mother God cult tries to stifle criticism with a nondisclosure agreement, but that no longer works:

A nondisclosure agreement used by a Ridgewood church, described by some former members as cult-like, to allegedly block its followers from leaking secret beliefs and practices has been nullified by two Superior Court judges.

Those practices allegedly include forced abortions, tax fraud and doomsday prophecies, according to Raymond Gonzalez, an former member of the World Mission Society Church of God, who claimed the agreement he had signed bound him to silence.

Under the decision, issued last week, Gonzalez and others can speak freely because language in the contract was “unconscionable,” the court ruled. […]

Attorneys for World Mission denied Gonzalez’s allegations of wrongdoing in a statement and vowed to “vigorously oppose any misrepresentation of the church’s religious beliefs.”
Tom Nobile, Controversial Ridgewood church’s nondisclosure agreement nullified in Superior Court. North Jersey Record, May 22, 2019. [Archived copy]

Zahng Gil Jah (or Gil-Jah Zahng), ‘Heavenly Mother’

The World Mission Society Church of God […] was founded by Ahnsahnghong in 1964, when he left the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church believes that he (referred to by his followers as Christ Ahn Sang-Hong) is the second coming of Jesus. Ahn Sang-Hong died in 1985, four years after he stated that the second coming Christ must preach the new covenant for 37 years in fulfillment of the throne of King David. Ahn Sang-Hong was baptized in 1948 and began preaching the new covenant Passover. Today, the leader of the church is Zang Gil-Jah, known to followers as the Heavenly Mother, and the General Pastor is Kim Joo-Cheol. Zang Gil-Jah usually appears in public wearing a traditional Korean hanbok. Over 70 percent of followers are women and Korean Americans are increasingly found among the new adherents. Its headquarters are located in Bundang, Sungnam City, Kyunggi Province, roughly an hour away from Seoul.[1]

Within South Korea, and elsewhere proselytizers introduce themselves (to foreigners) by asking whether the individual has heard of the Mother’s love, or of the Heavenly Mother.[2] The church believes that Korean resident Zang Gil-Jah is “God the Mother” (who they believe is referred to in the Bible as the New Jerusalem Mother) as well as that Ahnsahnghong is God the Father. The church regards that the earthly family system is a copy and shadow of the heavenly family system, consisting of a Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, and the spiritual brothers and sisters (humans). These unorthodox beliefs have led some to consider the church a cult.

Ahn Sang-Hong predicted the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in both 1967 and 1988. The Bible teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot be predicted.

World Mission Society Church of God: Theologically a Cult of Christianity

Theologically, the World Mission Society Church of God is a cult of Christianity due to the fact that it changes, rejects and/or adds to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

Sociologically this movement has cultic elements as well. (See: theological vs. sociological definitions of the term ‘cult.’)

It should be noted that historically the Seventh-Day Adventist Church — itself a controversial religious movement that claims to be Christian in nature, but which promotes many doctrines that are contrary to the gospel and unorthodox in nature — has been a breeding ground of many other cults of Christianity.

WMSCG theology examined

What the Bible REALLY says about God the Mother! WMSCOG refuted
Pastor Mike Winger: They banned my first video but this one is even better! Examining the theology of the WMSCOG. I really hope this helps a lot of people to come out of this group and come to simple trust in the truth of Christ. God the Mother is unbiblical and irrational and this video will explain what the Bible teaches about God the Mother as well as respond to the teachings and theology of the World Mission Society

Pastor Mike Winger examines the theology of the World Mission Society Church of God.

Make sure you also watch this other video on the WMSCOG by Mike Winger:

The Secret History of the Fast Growing “Mother God” Cult (with NEW info I've never shared before)
The Secret History of the Fast Growing “Mother God” Cult (with NEW info I’ve never shared before)

Among other things, in the above video the World Mission Society Church of God is examined with the use of the BITE Model of Authoritarian Control developed by cult expert Steven Hassan.

Note: The World Mission Society Church of God cult attempts to discredit leading cult expert Steven Hassan by pointing out a negative review of one of his books.

That review was written by a cult watcher associated with a ‘competitor’ who has a lengthy history of baseless, mean-spirited criticisms of Hassan and other cult experts.

Read these professional and personal endorsements of Hassan’s work.

Information researched by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

In 1 December 2004 correspondence to the Research Directorate, a visiting assistant professor of Korean Christianity at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) provided the following information:

“The Church of God” was founded by Ahn Sang-Hong in Seoul in 1964. He joined the Holiness Church in 1947 and believed [in] the imminent Second Coming of Christ. He left the church and made his own church, known as “Ahn Sang-Hong Witness Society.” He insisted that he was the incarnated Holy Spirit who was preparing [for] the Coming of Christ [for] the last time … After his death [in 1985], his spiritual wife and followers reorganized the Society into “The Church of God, World Mission Society.” Its main office is located in Bundang, Sungnam City, Kyunggi Province, about an hour away from Seoul.

According to the English-language version of the Church of God Website in Korea, followers believe “only the Bible as God’s word”; the teachings of Ahn Sang-Hong are believed to be “those of the last Christ” and they instruct followers to lead a “sacrificial life with true faith according to the Bible” (n.d.). The visiting assistant professor remarked that Church of God followers interpret the Bible literally, deify the founder, and consider images of the crucifixion and the Virgin Mary to be objects of idolatry (1 Dec. 2004). The assistant professor also noted that women are expected to wear a veil during service and that strict observance of the Saturday Sabbath and the rites of the Old Testament, such as Passover, is considered necessary to achieve redemption and salvation (1 Dec. 2004).

The Christian Council of Korea, which represents Protestant churches in the country, has, according to the visiting assistant professor, declared the Church of God “here[tical]” (1 Dec. 2004). On its Website, the Church of God argues that this allegation is “groundless” and denies claims allegedly made by other Christian denominations in Korea that the Church “worships a man,” mistreats minors and destroys families (n.d.). The visiting professor indicated that the Church has been accused of breaking up families when women followers have left home and settled in Church of God buildings to wait for the “coming of Christ,” which, Ahn Sang-Hong predicted, was to happen in 1988 (1 Dec. 2004). The Church has engaged in community service to improve its image (visiting assistant professor 1 Dec. 2004), and this service has earned the Church the commendation of the government of Korea (Church of God n.d.; visiting assistant professor 1 Dec. 2004).

The Church of God claims to have grown rapidly since the late 1980s and to have 300 branches in Korea and abroad (Church of God n.d.). The visiting assistant professor of Korean Christianity, however, noted that information provided by the Church of God concerning the number of followers and congregations is “unreliable” (1 Dec. 2004).

Video: Why I left WMSCOG

[EN/ES/한글] Why I left WMSCOG | Iglesia De Dios Sociedad Misionera Mundial | 9년간 하나님의 교회 집사였던 미국 탈퇴자
Former World Mission Society Church Of God Deaconess Diane Sims Speaks Out About Her Experience. With cult expert Steven Hassan.

Video: Professor Ji-il Tark on the WMSCOG cult

Ji-il Tark is Professor of religion at Busan Presbyterian University, a private Christian university in Gimhae City, South Korea.

Tark also edits Modern Religion Monthly (Korean only), published as his website: Information Network on Christian Heresies (Korean only).

He is the author of Family-Centered Belief and Practice in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Unification Church.

This video was recorded at the 2010 Annual International Conference of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) — the primary network of lay and professional cult experts.

Professor Tark’s presentation at the conference was titled, ‘Exploring the World Mission Society Church of God: A Doomsday Cult Waiting for 2010.’

Cult expert Steve Hassan, who recorded this video, says, “I had never heard of Professor Tark, but came to learn that his father was the most famous anti-cult minister in Korea. He [the father] was unfortunately assassinated by a cult member (not someone from WMSCOG)

Prof Tark on Ahn Sahng-hong's World Mission Society Church of God cult
Professor Ji-il Tark on Ahn Sahng-hong’s World Mission Society Church of God cult

Video: The World Mission Society Church Of God Sues Former Members & Critics

The World Mission Society Church Of God Sues Former Members & Critics
From a YouTube channel called Answering the WMSCOG

YouTube channel Answering The WMSCOG creates videos and resources to respond to the claims and doctrines of the World Mission Society Church Of God and to help those who have been negatively impacted by this high-demand, high-control, cult group.

The website Examining the World Mission Society Church of God lists a number of lawsuits involving the Mother God cult.

Mother God cult recruitment and PR

The WMSCOG cult recruits members in many ways. It is highly active online, and offline. Offline, the movement’s members often recruit at campuses. On college campuses the church is often represented by a front group called ASEZ. The church says that “ASEZ is a group of university student volunteers from the Church of God, who act to solve practical problems around the world.”

And taking a page from the PR playbook of the Church of Scientology, a destructive cult, the WMSCOG also volunteers for community service projects. This provides them with positive mentions in local news outlets.


Research Resources on the World Mission Society Church of God

Blogs and Websites

NOTE: The World Mission Society Church of God and/or its adherents post many blogs, web sites and YouTube videos connecting the church’s name with the term ‘cult‘ or ‘heresy‘ — only to then try and show why it should not be considered as such. That’s fair enough, but it would be more honest if the intentions (and source of information) was made more clear from the outset.

Just so there is no misunderstanding: At Apologetics Index we consider the World Mission Society Church of God to be theologically a cult of Christianity due to its heretical teachings.

Encountering the World Mission Church of God Highly recommended. Lots of articles and links to additional resources

La Verdadera Iglesia de Dios Sociedad Misionera Mundial [Spanish/Español] Iglesia de Dios Sociedad Misionera (IDDSMM = WMSCOG)

World Mission Society Church of God Caution: Official web site. Note: considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity. This movement uses various web sites and blogs.

News articles


See Also: More about cults

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Category: World Mission Society Church of God
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First published (or major update) on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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