This article in Christianity Today, The Second Coming Christ Controversy, is going to generate discussion in North American evangelical circles.
While the piece centres around the Southern Baptist Convention and it’s business dealings with the copious holdings of David Jang and his Olivet University out of San Francisco, there are interesting ties to The World Evangelical Alliance headed by Canadian Geoff Tunnicliffe.
Five months after Tunnicliffe’s appointment in 2005, the WEA opened an Information Technology Center on the San Francisco campus of Jang’s Olivet University. Several sources say that organizations started by Jang and his followers began to support the WEA financially, and in April 2007, Jang was accepted onto the WEA’s North American Council. Two months later, Olivet University invited Tunnicliffe to be their commencement speaker and presented him with an honorary doctorate. Over the next four years, The Christian Postreporters also began to work for the WEA as press secretaries, and an Olivet graduate became director of communications. The former CEO of Deographics was appointed executive director of the WEA’s IT Commission. An Olivet graduate from The Christian Post and Jubilee Mission was hired as their chief of staff. The WEA’s website moved onto the servers that host the websites of The Christian Post, Olivet, Young Disciples of Jesus, and other Jang-associated organizations. Soon thereafter, the WEA began sharing office space with Jang’s companies. Some 20 organizations associated with Jang have been accepted for membership into the WEA (composing a third of its global partners and a sixth of its associate members). However, none of the former members CT talked to, nor any of Jang’s critics, alleged any wrongdoing by the WEA itself; where there was concern it was simply that the WEA had given legitimacy to Jang and his organizations by associating so closely with them.
Tunnicliffe, who previously worked for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, responded to Christianity Today questions.
The strong ties with Jang’s people and The Southern Baptist Convention are evident in the ownership and running of The Christian Post, an online conservative religious news site. Canadian media organization Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. affiliates with The Christian Post, providing The World Report, and runs a citizen journalist site called MyVu, partnered with The World Evangelical Alliance.
The core of the concerns which surfaced in Asia about 10 years ago.
Over the last five years, ministries and organizations founded by or connected to Jang have gained influence in American and global evangelical ministries, including the World Evangelical Alliance. Yet in the same period, a number of mainstream Christian organizations in Korea and China have severed relationships with his affiliated organizations after investigating such claims and finding them credible. Other groups have reconfirmed their ties after their investigations cleared him. Now, as Jang’s businesses and ministries have sought greater recognition and expansion in the United States, Christian leaders and ministries here are asking similar questions about Jang, his affiliated organizations, and their theology.
News N Joy, a Korean Christian website, reported in 2004 that it had four conversations with Jang about his career in the Unification Church after Jang objected to one of the site’s articles. In the interview, Jang said the description in the Sun Moon University history book was inaccurate, but acknowledged that he had worked for the school until 1995 (he did not officially resign until 1998). “He explained that the reason he was involved in Sun Moon University was to teach orthodox theology to Unification Church members,” the site reported. “In addition, he added that he led a lot of deluded people to the way of truth.”
Both sides agree that Jang has long had more orthodox ties. According to a résumé Jang submitted to the Christian Council of Korea, he received his M.Div. from Hanshin University in 1990 and a Ph.D. from Dankook University in 1992. That same year, he was ordained as a Korean Presbyterian minister, and by 1999 he was moderator of the Hang Dong Presbytery.
…But according to several sources with experience in Jang-associated organizations and communities, many members of the movement believed that the key event in Jang’s early missionary endeavors is not in his résumé—nor, indeed, in any written source. It was believed, these sources said, that in or around 1992, early follower Borah Lin told Jang that she believed he was the “Second Coming Christ”—not Jesus Christ himself, but rather a new messianic figure that would complete Jesus’ earthly mission. According to several former members, Lin became an important spiritual figure in Jang’s closest circles.
Christianity Today’s Senior Managing Editor Mark Galli – Monitoring Controversy, Why some stories take a long time
Associated Baptist Press – NAE investigating possible Glorieta buyer
The Huffington Post
The Davidian Watcher blog
Ken Smith blog – Confessions of a Would-be theologian
Anne Brocklehurst: International Business Times and lock-ups
Strengholt: World Evangelical Alliance: In the grip of big money?
Owen Strachan - Guard the Flock
Update: Part two of Christianity Todays investigation: The Second Coming Christ Controversy: More Leaders Speak Out
via: Bible Belt Blogger