Sungrak Church is the church of Jesus Christ. Sungrak Church has the operation rule as a Congregational Church for an Independent Baptist Church. In other words, it is the Independent Church that follows the principle of Individual Churchism.
The Independent Church means a Congregational Church. The meaning of the Congregational Church is that the church does not have authority over the other church. The head of the church is only Jesus Christ. The unit of a congregation is the church, not the saints. If we misunderstand the unit of a congregation as saints, we can understand the Congregational Church as a Baptist Church as a democracy so it can cause people to neglect the authority of the overseer or pastor and think that the church should run through saint’s opinion. The head of the Congregational Church is only Jesus Christ, there is no other authority. It takes care of its congregation as God gave Jesus to the world for the sake of mankind.
The Ideal of Sungrak Church: Berea Movement
An independent church reflects the founder’s beliefs and will. Therefore, an independent church has its own ideals and values. The ideal of Sungrak Church is the ‘Berea Movement’. Sungrak Church asserts the ‘Berea Movement’. ‘Berea Movement’ is a movement that we understand the will of God written in the Bible based on the God-oriented and returning to the truth. The reason why Sungrak Church does the Berea Movement worldwide is because the church wants all churches to participate in the ideal that the Berea Movement asserts.
Sungrak Church does not want the churches to join denominations or groups and expand religious influence. As we do ‘Berea Mission’, sometimes pastors from all over the world who are connected with Sungrak Church misunderstand that connection with Sungrak Church is integrated systemically with the church and want to receive guidance and support. In some ways, they misunderstand that they will become the branch churches of Sungrak Church. This is not the principle of the Independent Church of Sungrak Church. Furthermore, we will examine the true meaning of Sungrak Church as a Baptist Church and Congregational Church.
Sungrak Church is a Baptist Church
If we want to know the meaning of an Independent Baptist Church, we have to understand the true meaning of a Baptist Church. There are two arguments concerning the definition of the Baptist Church.
The baptism of Sungrak Church is traced back to Jesus. Sungrak Church only follows the baptism that the Son of God commanded. Simply speaking, the baptism of Sungrak Church is not rooted in Protestantism, which emerged from the Catholics. Sungrak Church is an Independent Church separated from the Baptist denominations.
Sungrak Church does not follow the model of the existing Baptist denominations but follows the words of the Bible in accordance with the commandment of Jesus.
In other words, Sungrak Church follows Baptism because it is the command of Jesus. Also, there are only two positions in the church – the pastor and the deacon. Therefore, Sungrak Church chooses to follow the positions found in the Bible. Because Sungrak Church follows Jesus’ commandment independently with the ideal of Berea Movement as written in the Bible not belonging to denominations.
The Reason Why Sungrak Church is Found as Independent Church
Sungrak Church is found as an Independent Church, in the pursuit of the Bible as the supreme law of the church.
In the word of God, Ephesians 1:22-23, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Jesus is the head of the church and the church is His body. Sungrak Church has been a congregational church, following the motto, ‘Let Us Return to the Word. It means that there is no higher institution as a mediator between Jesus and the church. Thus, God’s revelations should be directly given to the congregation without any higher institution or assembly. In other words, Sungrak Church is the congregation that pursues saving souls and the congregation does not have authority over the church.
Next, there are some contents among the sermons and writings by the founder of Sungrak Church, pastor Ki-Dong Kim, related to the Baptist Church and Congregational Church.
Why were we baptized? We were baptized, confessing, “Jesus died for me! I am also dead with Christ and live with Him!” The Baptist Church is the gathering of those who confessed their faith through baptism. Without this confession, there is no way to be a Baptist.
March 18, 1979 Lord’s day sermon
The Roman Catholics put a high value on a physical building. It led them to design and focus more on the building than on the congregation, as they continued to design their buildings. As a result, the buildings they built have become very popular tourist attractions today. Unlike them, Christianity focuses on the congregation, not on a building. Our church has struggled to build a church that represents the meaning and spirit of the New Testament Church. At last, we have built an excellent church that has a harmony between the congregation and the Word. As a result, we even won a gold prize at the Seoul Metropolitan Construction Awards. Our church is the church which embodies the meaning and spirit of the New Testament Church. In this way, the New Testament Church is the place where has the Word and congregation are brought together.
Mary 4, 2003 Lord’s day sermon
The Church has two different forms of a most important principle in the church. One is Churchism, which is also called Congregationalism. The other is Clericalism. There have been constant conflicts between Churchism and Clericalism. Both are hugely different. Clericalism came from Roman Catholicism. Sungrak Church adheres to Churchism, which is also called Congregationalism.
January 1, 1990 Lord’s day sermon
The congregation doesn’t run the church itself in a Congregational church. All the rights of the congregation belong to Christ alone, and the congregation lives and acts within his spirit. Therefore, the whole church should be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and in that way, no words should come out from people that are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. In order to do this, the congregation should pray hard, and there should be no person in power, but only a host. The host is not a person in power. Power belongs to Christ alone, and there are only minor proceedings of conferences. These proceedings of conferences, and their following resolutions for the church, cannot influence the Bible. Rather, these conferences should show their desire to respect all words that endorse the deeds commanded in the Bible.
『Ecclesiology for Lay Persons』 p. 16-17
Likewise, the legitimacy of Sungrak Church is Jesus. Sungrak Church will preach the will and the word of God to the world by doing a role of the church as a body of Jesus Christ as written in the Bible. Therefore, the world Bereans who have been connected, continuously work for Berea Movement, “Return to the word”.
Also, world Bereans are establishing Berea Churches and they consider Sungrak Church as a Mother church, not an authority denomination. This is the mission of Sungrak Church as an Independent Baptist Church.
Excerpt from Pastor Ki-Dong Kim’s
Sungrak Church as an Independent Baptist Church, April 1, 2018