The International Youth Fellowship (IYF), is an international organization founded by Ock Soo Park in 1995, in South Korea, as an international organization ‘that takes full charge of problems of the youth’. The roots of this organization go back to the July 1995’s the ‘first South Korea-U.S Combined Youth Camp’, according to their official website iyf.org.
This year, they shall be holding their ‘Changed Mind, Changed Life: 2017 National Mind Education Camp’ at Makerere University Kampala, Uganda, at Freedom Square on the 29th of July to 1st August 2017.
The Founder, Ock Soo Park also founded Good News Mission, an organization with a penumbra of churches, which, according to their official website (found here) is an ‘independent Baptist mission organization dedicated to spreading the gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth’. In this regard, IYF carries out the Mission of Good News Mission organization.
Although the organization’s statement of faith is consistent with the main Baptist confessions of faith, what they teach both in their popular camps and books differ greatly from their organization’s doctrinal statement. Perhaps, it is very easy to have a biblical statement of faith, but very hard to consistently adhere to it in all manner of teaching, whether it be speech or writing, or action.
Their View on Sin
In his book Secret Of Forgiveness And Being Born Again, Pastor Ock Soo Park teaches that Saints do not sin, and if they sin, they only prove they are not Believers. Consider the following statements
“You may have stolen, lied and committed murder, but those are not sins, they are crimes.” (p37)
‘What did Jesus say [to the woman of John 8], after writing on the ground with His finger? “…I do not condemn you. You have no sin.”’ -p121
‘There are many people who pray, saying, “God, forgive my sins.” You are doing well, but let’s think carefully about this. Folks, when Jesus was crucified, did he wash away your sins, or did He not? If your sins are washed away, do you have to ask to have them washed away again?’ – p124
‘You must have no blemishes, no sins and must be clean to be a saint. A person who has sin, is not a true saint.’ – p145
“You say that you believe Jesus washed away your sins, but when you are asked, “Do you have sin?” You answer, “Yes I have sin.” That is not believing….You must believe that the Lord washed our sin perfectly clean. Then your heart can be freed from sin.” – p235
But the Bible teaches the opposite. For example, scripture shows clearly that believers sin, and that to deny this is to call God a liar, and to in turn prove that you are a liar indeed, and thus a non-believer (1 John 1:7-10). Scripture continually calls us to daily put off the carnal ways and put on the new man (Eph 4:20-24). The Bible reveals the battle in every regenerate man against sin and its fruit. Calling murder and stealing simply a ‘crime’ rather than sin, insinuates that these acts are primarily an affront to the State rather than God. God has never used the language of crime, but rather of sin, and in any case, crime is lawlessness, and so is sin. Semantics have a way of creating an ambiguous environment for heresy to blossom.
Interestingly, IYF and GNM use the biblical idea of the intrinsic sinfulness of man to forbid its members from using their minds, to think independently and to discuss ideas freely. This ends us turning them into puppets of the organization. Whoever disagrees with any of their teaching is shamed for not having ‘an open heart’, and for expressing ‘rebellion’ and ‘sinfulness’. IYF shames its audience and members for using the mind God gave them to use, and they do this in the name of God. It shames people for thinking, because its philosophy is against individuals thinking for themselves . The key aspect of cults, is when thinking is done for you by those above you. We will explore mind control in more details in Part 2 of these series. For now, let’s look at how this mental enslavement happens.
Loss Individual Freedom to Belong and Believe
Although their doctrinal statement reads that ‘Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes, (whereby) in such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord’, many who have left the organization testify of high-level manipulation and authoritarianism exercised by IYF and GNM.
Two years back, as I strode by University Hall Makerere University, where IYF was inviting students to its camp then. As I usually do, that is, engage people of various worldviews and make new friends, I began a conversation with one of the volunteers, challenging him concerning some of IYF’s doctrinal positions. It was a warm conversation. Because I was rather in a hurry and it was rather getting late, we agreed to link up the next day, exchanged contacts and said goodbye to each other.
The next day I called him up, as a follow-up. He was less enthusiastic. I didn’t know he had contacted his superior, who warned him not to meet me. When I called him again, he asked me to first ask permission from his ‘leader’. It then dawned on me that those who join IYF have no right and freedom to hold any position different in any way from that of IYF, and neither are they free to have discussions about what they are taught, in the absence of their supervisor. My experience is not an isolated one.
IYF has striking similarities with the Moonies Cult, in which “The training programs (is) aimed at breaking down the individual’s identity by subjecting him or her to an emotionally and physically exhausting schedule of repetitive lectures…The restructuring of the trainee’s ego (is) based on Moon’s theology that projects absolute faith in (the leader) as the essential building block of a “restored” personality. It attacks the validity of the individual conscience. It explicitly denies the individual’s capacity to make morally responsible existential decisions. Somewhere along the line in the theology, love of God is translated into blind obedience to leader and his representatives in the hierarchical chain. One is finally left with submission to (the leader, in this case. Ock-Soo Park) as the only answer to fallen man’s condition of moral paralysis.” (To read this article in full, click here).
IYF targets students and the education sector. That explains their interest in Universities. I mentioned how they are having a Youth Camp this week, in the heart of Uganda’s Topmost University, Makerere. They sought a platform at St. Francis Chapel, which is the foremost evangelical chapel at the University, to further their mind control propaganda. St. Francis Chapel is strategic as the ground for the main Christian Union (CU) at the campus, and an endorsement from this chapel would be an endorsement for their heresy and cultic practices. The consequences of this move would be far reaching.
From an email sent to many of the Church Leaders in Uganda, as an invitation to this event, by the organizing team of IYF, we learn that International Youth Fellowship (IYF) Uganda has had mind education lectures and other activities at many universities of Uganda including Cavendish university, International University of East Africa, Kyambogo university, Makerere university and Uganda Catholic Management and training institute.’ Accordingly, they have had a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Education under the directive of the President and First Lady, and the President of Uganda H.E. Yoweri Museveni promised to support them with land and building and, in his words, ‘everything needed for the mind education.’
Meanwhile, I am told that their mind control course will be part of Ndejje University’s curriculum for the next subsequent intake beginning with next Academic Year. Their strategic planning made it possible for them to convince Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni, Uganda’s Education Minister, to join their cause and use her position to their advantage. It thus follows that when we pay school fees for our children in school, we will be paying for their indoctrination, without our knowledge and desire. This is the tip of the iceberg, and this is why we must sound the alarm before it’s too late. They are connected, they are determined, and they seem to be here permanently.
In Part 2, we will look at the mind-control experiences in these Camps in depth, as narrated by those who attended them. In the meantime, pray that God saves His own from the deceiver.