Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho (name changed to David Yonggi Cho) passed away on September 14, 2021. In addition to building the largest church in the history of Christendom (nearly one million people), he had a life-changing impact on me. I was honored to meet him personally while I worked at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Orchard Park, New York. Pastor Tommy Reid introduced us and let us sit in his office to talk for a bit.
I first encountered Cho through his book, The Fourth Dimension. I was a young pastor, hungering to be used greatly by the Lord and inspired by what Cho had done. In this book, he described the steps he took to build the world's largest church. They were: 1) hearing God's voice; and 2) receiving a clear vision from God; which 3) you then incubate until it is finally fully birthed as a physical reality.
One of my responses to reading The Fourth Dimension was to look up every verse in the New Testament with the word rhema in it to see if rhema was indeed different from logos, as both Greek words tend to be translated "word" in English. I did discover that rhema was unique as it never refers to written words but, instead, it almost always means spoken words, other than two or three times where it refers to supernatural events. I have every use of rhema listed here.
I had written up my research and sent it to Dr. Cho and he responded with a letter, including this warm statement. "Your manual on 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice is very, very rich and wonderful. I am going to study personally with it. I praise God for your ministry and wonderful contribution to the body of Christ. If you have written other study manuals, would you kindly send a copy of each one of them to me?"
A few years later, while I was in Seoul, Korea, teaching on hearing God's voice, I was free on Sunday morning so I attended one of the services at Dr. Cho's fellowship, Yoido Full Gospel Church. I listened to the message translated through headphones into English. It was truly inspiring, as was the entire service. It was only one of the numerous services held on Sunday in that building. They provided newcomers a tour of the facility. At that point in time, we were informed that they had 100,000 deacons and, as I recall, around 750,000 members.
At the same time that I was reading The Fourth Dimension, I was also reading Kenneth Hagin's books on releasing miracles. His steps were a bit different from Cho's. Hagin said that if you need a miracle, you find a promise from the Word of God, ponder it, speak it and act on it, and the miracle with be released. This became the heart of the Faith Movement.
In prayer at the altar of the church I was pastoring, God granted me a life-changing insight as He showed me how these two men's messages fit perfectly together.
Cho — You begin by Jesus speaking a promise to you and giving you a vision of the promise fulfilled.
Hagin — You then incubate this spoken word and vision by pondering it, speaking it and acting on it.
The result is the release of God's miracle-working power. Here is a blog where I teach about filling the five senses of your spirit with a rhema and vision from God. This revelation has become a cornerstone in my life and ministry; I live in this process continuously. It is the process Abraham, the Father of Faith, used and I show the corollaries of his steps to the steps above in that blog. I have a book on this called Spirit Born Creativity and preached a message called Mountain Moving Faith. Both can be obtained here. Here are some related confessions concerning mountain-moving faith, which you can speak over yourself.
All of us are incubating something in our hearts/spirits all the time. It is either a rhema or vision from God or from a demon. We might just as well learn to do this right all the time so we birth the kingdom of God and not the kingdom of Satan.
Cho's impact lives on through my life and my teachings as it does through the millions of others whom he has touched during his 85 years here on earth. He is now celebrating his heavenly reward.
We thank you, Dr. Cho, for your life of holiness and inspiration, which has left its indelible mark on the world. Now you get to celebrate your victory in heaven!
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University, where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
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