Dr David Yonggi Cho, founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Assemblies of God), the world’s largest congregation with a membership of over 1,000,000, has been jailed. He was jailed on 20 February 2014 for tax evasion, sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for five years, and fined the equivalent of almost $5 million. His oldest son Cho Hee-jun was sentenced to three years imprisonment. The charges arose from Cho’s church purchasing shares from his son’s business, at above market value and fraudulently claiming tax relief. His travails started in November 2013 when 30 elders from Yoido Full Gospel Church, the world?s largest megachurch, held a press conference ?to allege that senior pastor David Yonggi Cho and his family funneled off hundreds of billions of won from church donations.

78 year old pastor is widely popular in Nigeria because of his book, ?The Fourth Dimension? and the acclaimed home fellowship system he used to grow his congregation above the unprecedented 1m mark. Even though he was personally indicted on a number of issues (including an allegation of an affair with a female vocalist in France named Jeong), the straw that broke the camel?s back has to do with his son. It is unfortunate that the preacher?s kid syndrome has claimed yet another victim. Eli?s undoing was his sons. Samuel, his successor, had the same problem. His sons, who were to succeed him as judges, Joel and Abijah, were corrupt, so the Israelites demanded a king, much to God?s displeasure. Who would remember that the Abami Eda himself, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, was an Anglican priest?s son? Quite recently, Pastor Kumuyi?s son caused some distress for the man of God by adopting a more relaxed dress code during his wedding.

A close associate of Dr Yonggi Cho for about 40 years and pastor of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Bob Rodgers Sr. released a statement giving insight into the travails of Dr Yonggi Cho. According Dr Rodgers, ?Cho has three sons. The second and third sons are very productive and work in church-related ministries. His eldest son has been the prodigal. He has been married four times and has been involved in sexual scandals with national personalities. In addition, he has served prison time for investment scams and embezzlement. His scandalized life has been an embarrassment to his family and the church.

Twelve years ago, this son purposely defrauded the church in excess of $12 million in a stock-related scheme. Cho testified that he trusted his elders and son and didn?t check and read the thousands of pages of paperwork, which was prepared for him to sign. Because Cho relied upon the direction of his choice elders and son, he signed the papers. He never received any monies from the transaction.

Third, the presiding judge said, ?The court considered that even though Pastor Cho had the final say in the church, he never took the lead in any of the crimes, including tax evasion, committed on the suggestion of the accounting firm.? ?

In reaction to his situation, Pastor Yonggi Cho told his congregation that ?”this suffering” has taught him that ??”an individual shouldn’t possess anything?Besides health, status, fame, authority, money… these are all matters that are outside the body and unworthy of any pursuit,” He expressed confidence and assurance of God?s forgiveness, saying: “God forbid, if God calls me back today, I will still be able to go to the Kingdom of God.”