Should You Pass Your Church to Your Son (or Daughter)?

ChristianityToday.com | 7/17/2019 | Staff
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It claims 100,000 members. It owns and operates an evangelical television channel, two schools, the first and only private prison in Korea, and hospitals in Korea and Ethiopia. Forty years ago, Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Korea was founded by Kim Sam-whan, its now pastor emeritus. But the church is currently involved in a crisis over who will be its next pastor.

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Kim - Sam-whan - Pastor - Position - Son

Kim Sam-whan gave his senior pastor position to his son in 2017. But the Presbyterian denomination to which it belongs says that it violated part of the denomination’s constitution, which prohibits the transference of pastor or elder positions to family members. According to CT’s reporting:

“Defenders argue that Kim Ha-na was elected in accordance with Myungsung’s laws, and the denomination that Kim Sam-whan once headed should not meddle in the megachurch’s affairs. Critics argue that the denomination’s flagship church is flouting the corporate laws it must heed.”

Wave - Megachurches - South - Korea - Church

Because the first wave of megachurches started in South Korea, church leaders in that country have been thinking about the proper procedures for succession for several years now, says Warren Bird, the vice president of research and equipping for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. But this issue is something that churches have been wrestling with for years.

“Nepotism came from a church context, nephew-ism. It was where certain priests had certain sons and certain nephews that they wanted to position well in the responsibilities and hierarchies of the church,” he said. “Of course the question was: Did they really father the child?”

Bird - Media - Producer - Morgan - Lee

Bird joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss how the Bible handles succession, how it affected the church’s rules about celibacy, and when women are bequeathed the ministry.

Can you give us a general overview of hereditary succession,...
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