Core Tips：Just as the whole country was united in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Almighty God" cult exploited the COVID19 pandemic to make trouble, exaggerating the number of infections and deaths, promoting the doomsday ideas, and sparing no effort to create a social panic. Besides, it took the opportunity to organize online gatherings, disguising itself as a mainstream church to deceive people into joining them. Because of this, the Christian community in Hong Kong called on Christian to keep vigilant and take precautions. Hong Kong's Christian Times and Gospel Herald had both produced reports on it.
A Hong-Kong-based NGO called The Concern Group on Newly Emerged Religions reportedly posted a message on its Facebook on Feb.6 about the preaching activities of a heretical cult amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It pointed out that a Christian was recently contactedby someone in the name of the "International Evangelical Association" and was invited to take part in a Skype meeting entitled "What does the Wuhan COVID-19 outbreak which has shocked the world presage?" However, what had been discussed at the Skype meeting was all about the common topics of the “Almighty God”(also called "Eastern Lightning"), to deceive people by mixing the fictitious with the genuine.
The posters produced by the “Church of Almighty God” used a headline titled, " What does the Wuhan COVID-19 outbreak which has shocked the world presage?" to catch the eyes of netizens, claiming that the new coronavirus had spread beyond control in all parts of the world, including South Korea, Japan, the United States, and China’s Taiwan. It took advantage of the opportunity to preach the "end of the world" belief, and then came up with an answer for people eager to predict the future: “What exactly does the COVID-19 portend?". Held in the name of International Evangelical Meetings, these Skype meetings were broadcast through live-streaming at different times in Southeast Asian countries.
Image taken from the Facebook page of Concern Group on Newly Emerged Religions
The above-mentioned Christian became a Facebook friend of a man claiming to be a European believer, who then invited the former to participate in an online meeting titled "The Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan" and contacted him in the name of "International Evangelical Meeting". The meeting was divided into groups of 10 each, with participants coming from different parts of the world.
The said Christian also indicated that the hymns sung during the online meeting were the ones used in a mainstream church and that the symbol of the “Church of Almighty God” didn’t appear. The speaker leading the meeting called himself a pastor, who ended the prayers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a practice was similar to that in a mainstream church, which was intended to deceive people by passing off the sham as the genuine.
Yang Zicong, general secretary of the Concern Group on Newly Emerged Religions, said in an interview that he also participated in the “International Evangelical Meeting”. He pointed out that the contents of the meeting were vague and general, focusing mainly on the common topics related to "Eastern lightning" or the "Church of Almighty God", such as "Will God come back at the end of the world?" and "What are the signs of the Lord's coming back at the end of the world?" Those topics were selected from the book "The Word Appears in The Flesh" published by the "Church of Almighty God".
Yang indicated that there seemed to be someone acting as a “matchmaker” during the online meeting, as two or three people had been targeted by the “Almighty God” cult. Besides, Yang found pictures of Bible stories from the official website of the “Church of Almighty God” and characteristic of the “Almighty God” cult being used at the meeting. Based on the above facts, Yang judged the meeting to be a missionary activity of the “Almighty God” cult. He stressed that Christians shouldn’t participate in groups with unknown origins, and shouldn’t attend online church meetings indiscriminately.
Disguising itself as a mainstream church with Rock and Roll Gospel songs to intrude into Taiwan
The Gospel Herald reported that the “Almighty God” cult created a fake Facebook page of the Keelung Baptist Church of Taiwan in December 2019, disguised itself as a mainstream church by uploading inspiring worship hymns wrapped in rock and roll music. In reality, it was preaching heretical beliefs.
"Follow the lamb to sing a new song", a publication by the “Church of Almighty God”,had been uploaded on the fake Facebook page, which continuously promoted such messages as "God leads people through the road of suffering" and "All are ordained by God." Some netizens who found it was a fake website posted messages on it to expose its tricks, calling on other netizens not to believe in it.
The Concern Group on Newly Emerged Religions then announced this matter on its Facebook page, saying that it had found the suspected “Church of Almighty God” members set up a Facebook page in the name of a mainstream church and uploaded so-called inspiring worship songs wrapped in rock and roll music to spread heretical beliefs. It urged Christian believers to be careful not to fall into its traps.
Mr. Yeung Tze-Chung, General Secretary of The Concern Group on Newly Emerged Religions, told Hong Kong’s Christian media that the “Church of Almighty God”wrapped itself with rock and roll music in a new way to attract followers, and it distributed related information on its Facebook page and YouTube channel. In the past, the“Almighty God” cult also posed as a mainstream church in the name of the "New Songs Church", but this time it passed off itself as the Keelung Baptist Church of Taiwan.
Mr. Yeung called on Christian believers to improve their vigilance and when searching for data on the Internet, confirm the source of information before forwarding it. He also reminded people to guard against heretic cults, which tended to deceive the followers by sharing the “Golden Quotes.”