The Mother Church of the Berea Movement, Sungrak Church
The history of Sungrak Church starts with the first worship service with seven people in attendance. It took place on November 30, 1969 in Shingil-dong of the Youngdungpo District of Seoul. Pastor Kim’s dedication toward God, the powerful words coming from his mouth, and the works of the Holy Spirit (which testified to the authority of the Word) were the driving forces behind the fast growth of Sungrak Church.
Pastor Ki-Dong Kim, the founder of Sungrak Church, had nurtured the church and had led the Berea Movement with God-centered faith based only on the Bible, thoroughly excluding humanistic theories and thoughts in order to become a church that resembles the Bible. The Berea Movement advocated by Pastor Ki-Dong Kim teaches “God-centered faith” and “the universal right to receive God’s power”.
On January 1, 2013, Pastor Sung-Hyun Kim was ordained as the new overseer of Sungrak Church. With this crucial event, a new era has opened for Sungrak Church’s Berea Mission for the 21st century. To fulfill the role of Sungrak Church as the Mother Church of the Berea Movement, he has been leading Sungrak Church with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his strength, and with all his mind.
The Berea Movement of Sungrak Church is a movement that asserts believing and following the Bible just as it is written. Sungrak Church is an independent church that does not belong to any denomination. Instead, it is a gathering of Baptists who follow the commandment of Jesus, and it is a congregation of those who follow the Bible. An independent church has its own ideals and values. There might be some permissible independent church alliance, but each church is permitted to have different ideals and values. Therefore, an independent church reflects the founder’s beliefs and will.
Sungrak Church once joined ‘The Baptist Church Alliance’ but left it when the Alliance was converted into ‘The Baptist Church General Assembly’. The reason for this is because the Alliance recognized the independence of a single individual church. On the other hand, the General Assembly assumed higher authority over all the individual churches, meaning that the independence of the churches would not be guaranteed. Since its foundation, Sungrak Church has maintained the ideals of an independent church. According to the principles of the Baptist Church, all churches are separate and independent in their individual administration. But each church can cooperate together if they wish.
Churches had been clericalized through the use of power by Roman emperors ever since the year AD 300. As a result, Roman Catholicism has had huge power over these churches. Then there was the Reformation which tried to get out of it. But it turned into ‘Dogmatism’ and ‘Constitutionalism’ through the work of Calvin. It meant that churches went back to Clericalism. Sungrak Church, or the Berea Movement, denies any higher committees or higher authority above the individual churches. That is why it was called Clericalism. Sungrak Church seeks to get out of Clericalism and to establish the Bible as the only model of life and faith.
The universalization of spiritual power is a core teaching of the Berea Movement. But the universalization of the word must proceed before the universalization of spiritual power, because spiritual power comes only from the word. Hence we have to distribute the word of Berea to many people in the world, and we should not block the word of Berea from anyone.
Sungrak Church is the Mother Church of the Berea Movement. But Sungrak Church has no authority to rule over the other churches and to control their ministries because the independence of every church should be guaranteed. The reason why is that a mother church is not a head church. A head church has higher authority over branch churches. But Sungrak Church only nurtures many churches and people with the words of God and the ideals of Berea Movement as the Mother Church of the Berea Movement.
Sungrak Church has nurtured church members and disciples as beloved children. 1 Corinthians 4:15 says, “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” We were all raised and fed by the love of our mother. The ‘Return to the Word Movement’ is like a mother’s duty to nurture children. It is troublesome, it is hard, and it can be frustrating. Children sometimes defy their parents and run away from home. However, the children grow up healthy and strong because of the mother’s sacrifice. This is the essence of the Berea Movement, and this is the heart of Christ.
Sungrak Mission Center