Nagaland church body warns against ‘dangerous’ Chinese cult
The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), the umbrella body of Baptist churches and associations in the state, sounded the warning on August 19 through a letter to all its associate units.Updated: Aug 22, 2020, 20:17 IST
The most powerful church body in Nagaland has issued a warning to its followers against a “dangerous” Chinese cult and its online activities.
The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), the umbrella body of Baptist churches and associations in the state, sounded the warning on August 19 through a letter to all its associate units.
“I am writing this with a grave concern concerning a cult, called the Church of Almighty God from China, reportedly making inroads into our land,” the letter by NBCC general secretary Rev. Zelhou Keyho said.
NBCC is the central organisation of nearly 1,500 Baptist churches in Nagaland. Christians account for 87.93% the state’s population of 1.97 million people, according to the 2011 census. It is the biggest church body in the state and has considerable clout.
According to the NBCC letter, the Church of Almighty God, also called Eastern Lightning cult, is a well-organised group, which is aggressively spreading its influence in the northeastern state by creating many Facebook pages and by publication of colourful artwork that appears “biblical and enticing”.
“Till date, this cult, which seems to have started in 1991 and has since spread to the US and other countries, doesn’t have any office in Nagaland or have conducted any activity in the state. But they are very active online and usually target young people by sending friend requests,” Rev. Keyho told HT over phone.
“They also conduct indoctrination online. The teachings of this cult are faulty and don’t conform to our faith. They are connecting with people across India, and not just Nagaland. We have warned our organizations, but have no plan of filing official complaint against the cult,” he added.
A Facebook page by the name The Church of Almighty God has over 137,000 followers. The page claims Almighty God is the second coming of Jesus, and the organisation says it has offices in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, France and South Korea.
“The cult teaches that Jesus/God has come back to Earth as a woman, named Yang Xiangbin, also called Lightning Deng, and the New Testament has been replaced by their new bible, called ‘The Word Appears in the Flesh’,” the NBCC letter read.
According to the letter, the Chinese cult proclaims that there are three ages: “Age of Law”, when salvation begins and the God’s name is Jehovah; “Age of Grace”, when salvation continues and the God’s name is Jesus; and “Age of Kingdom”, when salvation is completed and the God’s name is The Almighty.
“Jesus said in his word that he would return to Earth, not as the Almighty who speaks through a woman from China, but as he was, is and shall ever be. Let us beware of this dangerous cult as they are actively spreading a false gospel and false teachings,” the letter read.
Rev. N Paphino, vice president, Nagaland Joint Christian Forum, said: “I am not certain how much inroad the Chinese cult has made into Nagaland. But if Rev. Keyho has issued the letter, it means that there is definitely some cause of worry as he will not write without a genuine concern.”