SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — A tribunal has ruled that the father-to-son succession of the Myunsung Church’s head pastor was invalid, a violation of the ban on hereditary succession under the church’s constitution.
The tribunal court of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in Korea, which includes the Myungsung Church, ruled Monday in a retrial of a lawsuit against Rev. Kim Ha-na, the eldest son of church founder Rev. Kim Sam-hwan, for invalidating the commission’s resolution on hereditary succession.
The ruling, among other things, is interpreted as putting the brakes on the practice of family succession that has spread widely among local churches.
In addition, it is also possible to interpret that the whole movement of large churches with money and power was checked and sent a strong warning.
Until just before the ruling, the court was unable to reach a conclusion due to the fact that eight members of the ruling party were in favor of the hereditary succession, and six others opposed the practice.
Furthermore, the ruling was widely expected to be postponed until after the 104th general assembly scheduled for next month.
However, the court ruled the hereditary succession null and void after more than six hours of relay hearings from 5:40 p.m. to midnight.
The court did not disclose the outcome of the vote, but it is expected that there must have been fierce debate until the last minute.
The controversy over the Myungsung Church has been cited as a prime example of a large church abusing its money and power, drawing a backlash from religious groups opposing the church’s hereditary succession.
Despite the enactment of a law on the prevention of hereditary succession in major churches, various irregular practices that circumvented the law were spreading, and there were growing calls from the Protestant community as a whole for self-reflection of the church concerned.
The decision to nullify the father-to-son succession is a wake-up call to the practice of hereditary succession that has spread among Protestant groups.
However, it is still unclear whether the ruling will completely end the two-year conflict over the hereditary succession at the Myungsung Church.
In addition to the possibility that the church may appeal again against the court’s ruling, and that it may have room to file a suit with the court according to social law, not church law.
In fact, the elders of the Myungsung Church held a meeting Tuesday and expressed their intention to oppose the decision from the tribunal’s court.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)