South Korean Megachurch Pastor Loses Supreme Court Case Against Church Members Over Internal Leadership Battle

The Rev. Oh Jung-hyun of Sarang Church in South Korea in this 2016 video. | (YouTube/Emaus 7. emilixiano)

The Rev. Oh Jung-hyun, pastor of the 60,000-strong Sarang Church in South Korea, has lost a Supreme Court case against several church members over an internal leadership battle.

The more than decade-long battle stems from 2003, when Oh was appointed as head pastor by the Eastern Seoul arm of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea, The Korea Herald reported.

Plaintiffs against the pastor’s appointment lost their petition in the lower courts, but the Korean Supreme Court remanded the case in April.

The court found on Wednesday that Oh is indeed recognized as a pastor of the Presbyterian Church in America and probationer in the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea, but failed to pass exams to qualify as a pastor under the general assembly.

Chosun.com noted that the 37th Division of the High Court of Civil Rights found that Oh “did not have the ministerial requirement set by the denomination.”

The nine church members who filed a lawsuit in 2013 against the pastor argued that Oh did not successfully graduate from Chongshin University Graduate School of Theology and pass the examination of the presbytery, which is a necessary qualification.

Opposing the ruling, Sarang Church argued that the decision breaches the separation of church and state.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov