The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) has issued a warning to the leaders of the Church in northeast India that a Chinese cult is spreading its roots in the state. The Church of Almighty God is an infamous cult for China that believes Jesus has returned and living as a Chinese woman. It is alleged that the Church of Almighty God actively participates in spreading false teachings and false Gospel.
NBCC General Secretary Zelhou Keyho issued a letter to all executive secretaries and directors of Baptist associations. He wrote that he is concerned about the Church of Almighty God from China as they are making inroads in northeast India. He added, “The Church of Almighty God or Eastern Lightning cult is a well-organised group, aggressively moving forward with publications and creating many Facebook pages and colourful artwork that appears biblical and enticing.” The letter was sent on 19th August to issue a warning against the said church.
According to news agency IANS, the letter said, “Let us beware of this dangerous cult as they are actively spreading a false Gospel and false teachings. Let us research them and expose them and take every measure to shield our respective congregations from such false religion.” Keyho said that the Church is teaching that God is speaking through a woman and they refer her sayings as revelations from God. They are publishing and promoting her teachings through books, videos, computer-generated movies and other forms of media.
#Gravitas | A Chinese Christian cult is allegedly making inroads in India.— WION (@WIONews) August 25, 2020
The Church of Almighty God is a violent movement – that believes Jesus has returned as a Chinese woman.
Nagaland’s highest church body is raising an alarm. @palkisu tells you more. pic.twitter.com/J5kVNrgGV7
While talking to reporters, Keyho said “We are trying to create consciousness in our churches through different associations and even through the media.” He added that over 5.5 million Christians are living in Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur. A large number of Christians lives in other northeastern states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. According to him, such violent cult poses a threat to the Christians who disagree with them.
The strange story of the Church of Almighty God
The history of the Church of Almighty God alias the Eastern Lighting goes back to 1991. The cult believes that Jesus has come back to earth in the form of a Chinese woman named Yang Xiangbin. There is not a lot of information available about the woman, but it is believed that she was born in northwestern China.
The cult has a violent history and has been associated with more than 100 cases of violence. The Chinese government had to impose a ban on the cult as they started to pose a threat to the general public. The group was created in 1990 by a former physics teacher Zhao Weishan. They claimed Jesus was reincarnated in the form of a woman named Yang Xiangbin and called her Lightning Deng.
It operates from the US but has branches in over 35 countries including India. The founders Zhao Weishan and Yang Xiangbin took political asylum in the US and started their operations. They started with spreading the church’s teachings in China and added followers from other nations. Soon they realized the power of social media, and now they regularly post movies, religious content and audio lectures on the website and social media platforms.
During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a Church named Shouters gaining popularity. Li Changshou, alias Witness Lee led it. The Church of Almighty God was formed after Zhao left Shouters. A lot of teachings that the Church follows came from Shouters. The former members of the Church claim that it started as a normal next-door Church group. However, as time passed by, the leaders of the Church began to push people to bring more followers even if they have to indulge in violence to achieve the targets.
Notable cases of the violent history of the Church of Almighty God
While the content on the Church’s website does not give away their violent behaviour in the first glance, the controversies attached to the Church are more than enough to raise questions on their intentions.
- In 2002, the members of the Church of Almighty God allegedly kidnapped 35 church leaders of China Gospel Fellowship. They held them hostage for two months and tried to convert them.
- In 2012, the church took the “Mayan Prophesy” of doomsday quite literally and used the scenes of the movie “2012” to scare people that the doomsday is coming. They used propaganda videos, pamphlets and other material to lure people so that they join their cult. The result of their fear-mongering was widespread riots in China and several notable incidents including the stabbing of a woman and 23 students in Henan province. More than 100 members of the cult were arrested.
- In 2014, the cult members killed a 37-year-old woman in McDonald’s in China when she refused to give her number. The cult members claimed that a demon-possessed her.
- In 2019, the church members tried to influence elections in Isreal that led to the suspension of hundreds of account posting political messages in the Hebrew language.
The Chinese government has imposed a ban on the Church. However, the members of the Church are extensively working on spreading their cult to different parts of the world.