Guard the Flock: David Jang & “Second Coming Christ” Theology

Christianity Today has just published a major piece on a mega-leader named David Jang, whose followers may claim that he is the “Second Coming Christ.”

Ted Olsen and Ken Smith have published this work of investigative journalism that I commend to you in order that you might know about a potentially dangerous theological movement that is associated with California’s Olivet University and Apostolos Campus Ministries.

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.

Read the whole (lengthy) piece.  Apparently, in the testimony of some, Jang’s followers may believe he is a kind of pre-Christ eschatological leader, “a new messianic figure that would complete Jesus’ earthly mission,” according to the story. [Update: here is an opposing view from the Christian Post, which is connected to organizations like the World Evangelical Alliance, which has some kind of connection to the aforementioned ministries.]

This is excellent reporting and writing, and it needs to be widely read.  However this all shakes out–and it’s not immediately clear how it will–Peter tells us that “false teachers” will arise, “and in their greed they will exploit you with false words” (2 Peter 2:3).  Guard yourself, and guard your flock, and stay close to Christ and faithful biblical teaching.  There is one messianic figure, and he is not here yet.

But we will all know when he is.

(Image: CT)

  • My Assessment

    From the post above: “followers claim that he is the ‘Second Coming Christ … dangerous theological movement … believe he is a kind of pre-Christ eschatological leader, ‘a new messianic figure that would complete Jesus’ earthly mission.’”

    My Take:

    The “followers” are certainly deluded if they believe as as described by this article. Our prayers should certainly be with anyone who has strayed from the truth.

    But a broader question for me – which would distinguish this story from others throughout the history of christianity and other movements – is aren’t there deluded people in all walks of life?

    In addition I feel it’s not clear how many deluded people there are in the group and how this compares to radical adherents of other movements, whether they be religious, political or even moral and ethical.

    There are a few figures thrown around but they’re rather vague and vary widely which doesn’t strike me as being useful. Would closer attention to this issue would have made the article better. Certainly. It would also have made the article more responsible, considering that allegations of heretical beliefs have a way of painting people in a group with a broad brush, which is unfair.

    If there is a disproportionate number of deluded people in this group, compared to that would be a sign of alarm and questions about why would certainly be merited. I feel this is not addressed and may not be the best way to have presented this story.

    Various public statements by some evangelical leaders support Jang and others detract, but on balance, I feel an adequate assessment of the pervasiveness of heretical beliefs is missing and ultimately make this story sensational but short of being adequate to make a good independent assessment. I would have waited before publishing, considering the seriousness of the issue.

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  • jimhedrick

    Thanks for writing your post on this controversial great commission like minded partner of several of our SBTS / SBC leaders. We need to pray for wisdom and discernment when cooperating with one another in whatever tent they live under wether evangelical,baptist or mainline Protestant.

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