Renowned South Korean Christian Minister, David Yonggi Cho, has passed on at the age of 85.
This was disclosed via his official Facebook page on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
“Dr David Yonggi Cho has gone to be with Jesus. At the age of 85 (1936-2021),” a portion of the post said.
David Yonggi Cho was a co-founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Assemblies of God), the world’s largest congregation, with a claimed membership of 830,000 (as of 2007).
Raised initially as a Buddhist, Cho converted to Christianity at the age of 17, after a young girl visited and told him about Jesus Christ before he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Sensing God calling him to the ministry, Cho began working as an interpreter for the American evangelist Ken Tize.
In 1956, he received a scholarship to study theology at Full Gospel Bible College in Seoul. While there, he met Choi Ja-shil, who became his mother-in-law and a close ministerial associate.
Cho has spent the greater part of his life dwelling on the significance of cell group ministry, which he believed is the key to church growth, as well as team ministry.
He wrote several books, founded a Christian daily newspaper, and established a humanitarian organization, said the church release.
In March 2011, he was at the centre of a controversy after reportedly suggesting that the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami “could be a warning from God to Japan, which has become an increasingly materialistic, secular, and idol-worshipping country.”
An apology was later announced by the News Mission as the context of the interview was distorted.
In September 2011, 29 church elders out of 1,500 filed a lawsuit by South Korean prosecutors over Cho’s alleged embezzlement of 23 billion won ($20 million USD) from the Yoido Full Gospel Church’s funds.
He was later convicted of embezzling $12 million USD in church funds that he bought from his son Cho Jong-Un.
Cho’s wife died in February this year. They are survived by their three sons.