Reverend David Yonggi Cho or Paul Yonggi, who founded the world’s largest independent church has died at the age of 85.
Pastor Cho died at 7:13 am on Tuesday at a Seoul hospital where had been admitted in July 2020, after he collapsed due to cerebral haemorrhage.
He is survived by his wife, Kim Sung Hae, his children, Cho Hee-jun, a South Korean journalist, Cho Min-je, and Cho Seung-je.
Pastor Cho’s death was announced via his official Facebook page on Tuesday.
“Dr David Yonggi Cho has gone to be with Jesus. At the age of 85 (1936-2021) With his mother-in-law Choi Ja-shil, he is cofounder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Assemblies of God), the world’s largest congregation. You are forever in our hearts, we thank God for your life which was lived in total submission to God. Let’s support his family with prayers. Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord, God’s general.”
Pastor Cho’s books such as “The Fourth Dimension” and “Prayer the Key to Revival” are life-changing best sellers.
The church will start receiving mourners from Wednesday ahead of the funeral scheduled for Saturday, it said in the statement.
The church said, “He conveyed the gospel of hope to the Korean people who fell into despair after the Korean War. He was instrumental in growing the Korean church, particularly developing Yoido Full Gospel Church as the world’s largest church”.
Pastor Cho was on born 14 February 1936 in Ulsan, South Korea. He was an alumni of Hansei University, Kookmin University.
Cho was vomiting blood and facing death due to tuberculosis at the age of 17, when a young girl visited him telling him about Jesus Christ. Cho was healed by Jesus and sensed God’s call for ministry.
Cho started his church with five worshipers in 1958 in the South Korean capital, which was grappling from the fallout of the 1950-53 Korean war.
Cho championed the growth of the church community and went on to build the world’s largest church congregation, which is now recognised as the largest independent Protestant church globally.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the church recorded more than 700,000 members in 1993, a historic achievement attributed to the pastor. It has a membership of 830,000.
The church has 400 pastors in South Korea and 500 missionaries abroad.
Joshua Iginla who confirmed the death via a post on his verified Facebook page on Tuesday, referred to Younggi Cho, who was regarded as God’s General, as his spiritual father.
Iginla, who expressed sadness over the demise, described the deceased as a “generational icon, trailblazer, pathfinder and a man wrapped in the immortality of God”.
The post reads, “Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity for your warm embrace as a true father who gave me wings to fly limitlessly. A South Korean yet spiritually available to father me regardless of tribe, distance and country. Your wisdom, teaching and instructions will abide with me forever. You have fought a good fight and will forever be in my heart. REST IN PEACE DAVID YOUNGGI CHO”.