Phone Interview of Cho, Kye-Woong (the spokesperson of the EBC) Aired on May 16, 2014 (MBN)

Author : KLEF -관리자- / Date : 2014. 5. 16. 16:20 / Category : [ENG]/English


Phone Interview of Cho, Kye-Woong (the spokesperson of the EBC)

Aired on May 16, 2014 (MBN)



[Anchor]

 Now, we will hear from Mr. Cho, Kye-Woong, a representative from the Evangelical Baptist Church, as known as the Salvation Sect. He gave a speech at the press release yesterday. We will connect with the representative to hear their stance. We will avoid any judgment on any values or prejudice and deliver the interview as is. Judgment is on the viewers and we will proceed with the interview as objectively as possible. Mr. Cho? We would like to ask you first. What do you do for living? What did you do in your ordinary life before becoming the representative?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 As a matter of fact, representative is not a precise term. Although I am speaking on behalf of the church as an employee of the Evangelical Baptist Church administration office, many employees there don’t think it is right to work receiving church members’ tithes. So even though I work in book publishing for living, I am temporarily having a break from my job and helping the church because of the urgency of the situation.


[Anchor]

 So you work in book publishing, but you are an employee of the Evangelical Baptist Church administration office.


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Yes, I’m an employee without pay.


[Anchor]

 I see that you work for the church without getting paid. First of all, many people call the Evangelical Baptist Church the Salvation Sect. Is the term also used in your church?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Salvation Sect is not a term we created. Some people made up that term in order to refer us disrespectfully. We talk about salvation, and some people insult us by calling us the Salvation Sect. The official name of the church is the Evangelical Baptist Church. We can say that when the media repeatedly says the Salvation Sect, we do not enjoy hearing that term.


[Anchor]

 I see that the church does not like hearing that term. Some people who used to go to the Salvation Sect and quit claim that one of the church’s doctrines says once you receive salvation, you can sin afterwards. Is this true?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 That is one of the reasons why the church members feel despised. Regarding the church doctrine, people like Jung Dong-Sup, Lee Chung, or Jeon Hae-Dong talk as if they knew everything and they call themselves as if they were a part of the church. However, Jeon Hae-Dong, for example, never went to our church, and Jung Dong-Sup left the church already 30 years ago. Anyway, unlike what they claim, there is no sect in Christianity, believing in the Bible and God, that says you can sin once you receive salvation. There is no such doctrine within our church.


[Anchor]

 No such a thing. Then why were you considered a heresy in the first place?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 There are slight differences in terms, etc. We do not have a minister or an elder system. Pastor Kwon Shin-Chan, who established this church, once got expelled from the Presbyterian Church community because he thought baptism by immersion was biblically true compared to baptism by water dripping. Since then, the relationship between our church and the Presbyterian Church community was not very smooth.


[Anchor]

 So your church was called heretic not because of the actual doctrine but of the relationship issue?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Yes, regarding the doctrine, we can confidently talk about the Bible regarding anything with anyone from any church—about God, about the Trinity, or anything


[Anchor]

 You said that your church has no ministers or elders, but other churches do. Due to that fact, people say that Yoo Byung-Eun is actually the religious leader. What do you say about this?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 When people talk about religious leader, they mean like a head of a cult. In certain cults, the religious leader acts like a god. Such leaders are described as god or someone who came down from heaven. But we don’t see Mr. Yoo Byung-Eun that way at all. What man or god could the Christian community possibly serve apart from Jesus and God? That term is an extreme insult.


[Anchor]

 So Yoo Byung-Eun is not a cult leader?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Never.


[Anchor]

 Then how could we interpret the current barrier protecting Geumsuwon?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 The media tends to show us as zealots who are trying to protect one person. But in simple words, we sincerely mourn about the Sewol incident, and we know that the government is trying in many ways in order to find the cause. However, someone is trying to make it look as if the captain Lee Joon-Suk and the crew did what they did because they are members of the church. Many speculations have come up during the investigation process. The church has been set up to be connected to everything: they make a false claim that our church treats life lightly. So the prosecutors came to the church office searching for the cause even before they examined any other companies. They never even asked us to cooperate. Even though they announced through the media that they would not enforce search in religious properties, more than ten district attorneys came one morning and took away more than eight boxes of our documents. Those documents include a lot of private information including individual church members’ tithe records. If they had asked us to provide them with any information regarding business, we would have definitely cooperated. But they never asked, and they just bashed in to take away our stuff. Even right now. I would like to ask the prosecutors if they had checked whether Mr. Yoo, the former chairman, is indeed in the Geumsuwon complex. If they do not have any confidence in his whereabouts, I don’t know if it is right for them to just come into a religious place called church and search.


[Anchor]

 Mr. Cho, then would you be able to confirm, that if Mr. Yoo is in Geumsuwon now?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 As of now, even we have lost contact with Mr. Yoo. When I was reading the statement yesterday, I was not lying. We do not know if he is here or not because we lost contact.


[Anchor]

 So you don’t know if he is in Geumsuwon, or do you?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 No, we don’t. I can surely tell you that.


[Anchor]

 But Mr. Cho, you are in Geumsuwon now. Although the land may be a bit large, wouldn’t you be able to confirm if Mr. Yoo is in there or not?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 You say that because you do not know what is going on within the church. Mr. Yoo is not in any position to tell anyone what to do about anything. He stopped giving sermons over ten years ago, and he has not shown himself officially in the church for such a long time. In a way he is under latent retirement, so there is no way we can tell him to reveal himself to the prosecutors or not.


[Anchor]

 According to the monitor we are watching now, it looks like there are about 1,000 church members. Among those people, has anyone seen Mr. Yoo in Geumsuwon?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 If you ask me to confirm that, I can definitely tell you that I have not seen him in person. And also I have never heard if some people in the church even talked about this with Mr. Yoo.


[Anchor]

 So Mr. Cho, you have not seen him in person although you are there?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 No, I haven’t seen him lately.


[Anchor]

 Okay, Mr. Cho. Then Mr. Yoo is not reachable, nor is he showing himself. Don’t you think that he is not being responsible as a religious leader?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 I think it looks like that because you have an idea that Mr. Yoo is a cult leader. You may think that there should be a religious leader in terms of common religion such as a minister. But in our case, if the subject is right, anybody who is familiar with the Bible can go up there and give sermons: anybody—such as a doctor or a businessman. We admit that if you look at us in that frame of looking at a common religious group, you may find it difficult to understand. But because of that matter, we can only say that there is a huge difference in how we look at Mr. Yoo inside the church as opposed to how they look at him outside.


[Anchor]

 You mean that Mr. Yoo currently does not represent the Evangelical Baptist Church?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 No, he does not.


[Anchor]

 So the reason why the church members gathered around there is not to protect Mr. Yoo, but to protect the church and to avoid the police coming inside?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Yes, that is why we are saying that this is religious persecution. You must have seen the banners. I can’t reveal the name behind this. But regarding the Odaeyang mass suicide incident, when Mr. Yoo was imprisoned in 1991, our church was portrayed as if we had been the people who were related to that issue. And from our standpoint of view, the direction of the prosecutors’ investigation regarding the Sewol ferry exactly matches what went on in the Odaeyang incident in the year of 1991. That is why we feel very suspicious. The investigation regarding Mr. Yoo took place really quickly. This is an investigation that has nothing to do with the

cause of the accident. We are extremely doubtful as to how fast this investigation is being carried out.


[Anchor]

 Mr. Cho. We heard your statement announcement yesterday. You said that this incident is very similar to what happened in 1991. The Odaeyang incident took place in 1987, and Mr. Yoo was sentenced in 1991 on fraud charges, wasn’t he?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Yes. The Odaeyang mass suicide took place in 1987, but some people who were alive then turned themselves in—that was in 1991. Politicians and congressmen, like Park Chan-Jong, started to talk about the incident publicly. The politicians and the media came up, and they produced massive misleading news for 40 days, saying that the Evangelical Baptist Church was behind the suicide. Throughout three prosecutors’ investigations, it was revealed that our church had nothing to do with the incident. Despite the fact, Mr. Yoo got charged again for something else. He had already been found to be not guilty of it in the Gwang-Joo District Court several years earlier. They violated the prohibition against double jeopardy, and they somehow falsely accused him to be guilty for fraud. And because of that, our church has been seen to be related to the Odaeyang incident. I would like to make this very clear.


[Anchor]

 Yes, in 1991 the nation was a little unsettled. There was the Kang Kyung-Dae incident. Yesterday you asserted that the government made an issue out of the Odaeyang incident in order to cover up something that was against them. (Yes) Do you think this Sewol ferry accident is the same thing? Do you see that President Park and the government are trying to cover up their wrongdoings and prosecuting Mr. Yoo and the Evangelical Baptist Church on purpose?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 I think that will be clearly judged in time. What I’m saying is that we are not trying to avoid any responsibility if there is anything we did wrong. I am saying that in regards to the Sewol ferry accident, we are going through an rigorous investigation as if we were the cause of the accident, when there hasn’t even been a proper investigation

regarding the actual accident. If they find out the actual cause of the accident and if there was any wrongdoing from our side, we can legally talk about it in any acceptable forms of investigation. So far, they haven’t even finished finding out the cause of the accident. If they keep pushing this investigation on us, there is no choice for us but to assume that there is some kind of scenario behind this.


[Anchor]

 I get it. We will approach that matter in a different angle. Yesterday during the press release, Mr. Cho, you said something like this: Chonghaejin Marine Co. is responsible for the sinking of the Sewol ferry, but the Korean Coast Guard is totally responsible for the deaths of the 300 victims. Could we hear some more explanation on this?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 I think there might be a room for a misinterpretation on that statement after the press release. I did not say that Chonghaejin Marine Co. was not responsible. The cause of the accident has not been clearly revealed yet. And we are still waiting on that. And as a matter of fact, many of the church members do not even know what Chonghaejin Marine Co. has to do with the church.


[Anchor]

 There is a connection between the company and Mr. Yoo, Byung-Eun, isn’t there?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 That is what the prosecutors have to clearly reveal. They have to make that part manifest and investigate other areas. But they are investigating other areas first in order to find a connection. That is what we do not understand.


[Anchor]

 That part—that Chonghaejin Marine Co. is related to Mr. Yoo; they found quite some evidence that Mr. Yoo is the actual owner of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Isn’t that why they are trying to locate him by getting into Geumsuwon?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 We all have seen the results of the investigation and the media reports. I think it would be normal to clearly reveal the relationship between Mr. Yoo and the company, and then dig into the investigation regarding any business corruption. However, they searched the church first to find any evidence of the relationship. Then to my eyes, the

prosecutors are just trying very hard to make a connection with Mr. Yoo and the company.


[Anchor]

 They found that Mr. Yoo has been working for Chonghaejin Marine Co. They also found a hierarchy chart of the company. Yesterday, the Financial Supervisory Service announced some cash flow directed to Mr. Yoo. Isn’t this enough for him to be a suspect?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Actually as I was speaking, it may have sounded as if I were defending Mr. Yoo. But what I can say is that the prosecutors are responsible for investigating those areas and resolving the suspicion legally. Right now you can see that the media is describing us like a terrorist group. We are being wrongly accused regarding the Odaeyang incident. Why does this religious aspect have to suffer? When I see the current news, I see that they are portraying us as terrorists, filming us using a heli-cam, and using such words as escape routes. I’m very curious what they are thinking about us.


[Anchor]

 We will wrap up with this final question: you said that Mr. Yoo is not a leader of the Evangelical Baptist Church, but do you admit that he is a member of the church or related to the church?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 When our church began, Pastor Kwon, Shin-Chan and Mr. Yoo, Byung-Eun worked together. In regards to the Biblical aspect, although it might be difficult to give simple explanations since it’s about religious belief, we trust each other and build relationship together with him in the aspect of religious belief. However, it is unbearable that he is looked as if he gave us an order or something—as if he were a cult leader. We can never bare that insult.


[Anchor]

 If, by any chance, if the police force themselves into the church… We see that approximately 1,000 church members are at the front gate and using the word ‘martyrdom.’ Could you explain what that means?


[Cho, Kye-Woong]

 Once again, the media has created weird images in exaggerating of us. If you listened carefully, you must have heard, “Let’s go to the heart of martyrdom.” Some media drew very stimulating headlines out of this. Martyrdom is something that no one can say easily. But we are expressing how desperate we are by saying that. When the Odaeyang incident took place in 1991, I was only a kid, and I have lived bearing that stigma, the wrongly accused disgrace, for over twenty years. If this stigma continues, my children will never be able to express their belief, and they will never be able to say to others that they are a part of this Evangelical Baptist Church. I am extremely concerned about this. And most of the church members are very concerned about this as well. We cannot just let this happen again.


[Anchor]

 I see. Thank you for your words. Thank you.




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