Crystal Cathedral members angered by religious leader's event
Published: July 19, 2012 Updated: 8:57 p.m.Man Hee Lee, who says he has seen Jesus and that the Book of Revelation has been fulfilled, to speak at the church Saturday.
/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
GARDEN GROVE – On Saturday, followers of a Christian religious leader from South Korea are expected to flock to the Crystal Cathedral to hear him speak about the fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible.
Man Hee Lee, who says Jesus appeared before him as a "bright heavenly figure," will testify at his first California appearance that the Book of Revelation already has been fulfilled. He says his church has more than 100,000 members.
Lee will be speaking from the same pulpit that the Rev. Robert H. Schuller and other Protestant Christian leaders have preached. And that's not sitting well with some Crystal Cathedral congregants.
"False prophet" and "cult" are two of the descriptions given to Lee and his ministry, the Tabernacle of the Testimony, by Crystal Cathedral members on a Cathedral watchdog website, pens-opinion.org. A spokesman for Lee denies the characterization.
John Charles, president of the ministry known worldwide for its "Hour of Power" television program, has heard the criticism.
Charles said the Crystal Cathedral has received enough complaints that, in the future, "We will make sure any speakers are not controversial or in conflict with our religious beliefs."
The Zion Korean Church in Bellflower is sponsoring the event – not the Crystal Cathedral, Charles said.
"I knew nothing about their speaker when they rented our building," he said. "And I know nothing about this Man Lee."
One person posted on the website: "I just cannot believe that the Sanctuary of one of the world's most prominent churches was rented to a cult and nobody in management knew about it?"
The Bellflower church filled out a standard contract and did not indicate Lee would be speaking, Charles said.
"We try to be diligent as we possibly can, but sometimes things happen," he said.
Joseph Suhng, a Los Angeles resident who volunteers as a spokesman for Lee, said the church is not a cult and Lee is not claiming to be the second coming of the Messiah.
"Everyone has their own right to judge for themselves what's right or wrong," Suhng said. "We want people to come and hear for themselves. But to say it's a cult, we wish they wouldn't do that.
"There's been a response of some 3,000 people each month to come to hear him speak, and they include pastors and theologians who heard him and who also believe in his testimony," he said.
Orange County resident Michelle Chang, a Lee supporter, said: "There are many who are eager for this instructor's appearance and we're expecting thousands to attend the seminar event."
Lee will speak at 10:30 a.m.
Lee says in his literature that he "is the only person who saw and heard the events of Revelation and can testify to the mysteries of Revelation, exactly according to the Bible."
Lee's Tabernacle of the Testimony, headquartered in South Korea, has 140,000 members worldwide and established more than 300 seminary schools throughout the world, his website and press release state.