October 23, 2017

Ken Smith on the David Jang Controversy

David_Jang_Korean_Pastor_1

Note from CM: Ken Smith is an independent journalist from Washington state who was gracious enough to send us a post on a subject we thought might be of interest to iMonk readers. In September 2012, he teamed up with Ted Olsen at Christianity Today to publish two articles on what they called “The Second Coming Christ Controversy.” Here are the links to those articles:

Ken has also written about the subject of these articles, David Jang, on his blog: Confessions of a Would-Be Theologian. I’m grateful for this update for our readers. Thanks also to Dan Jepsen, who contacted Ken and facilitated getting today’s post for IM.

* * *

Ken SmithI still remember the first phone call, sometime during the spring of 2012. The voice on the other end was quiet and nervous. “I’m a member of David Jang’s community,” he said, and I could almost hear him swallowing hard. “I’ve been reading the posts on your blog about David Jang. And there’s something you need to know.”

It’s very strange how these things get started.

When my alma mater, Bethany University, finally acquiesced to its financial troubles of long standing, the alumni took it hard. So when it was announced that an offer had been made to acquire not just the campus, but also the name and even the legal corporation, all of us who loved our very imperfect school were relieved. Olivet University, another small Bible college located in San Francisco, was going to move in by the fall, and had pledged to continue Bethany’s name and mission.

Those alumni who still felt close to the school were naturally curious about Bethany’s new owners, and a few of us started digging around. One person described them as “a bunch of rich Korean Pentecostals,” and that naturally piqued our interest. How many of those are there in the world?

The school’s website was helpful. Olivet University, we read, was associated with the Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches, and was founded in 2000 by a man named David Jang, a Korean pastor and theologian. OK, fine. But who is David Jang? Back to Google.

This is where it all turned unexpected. Because the first thing we turned up was some Japanese blog dedicated to proving that David Jang was the leader of a dangerous cult whose members believed he was some sort of “Second Coming Christ”. And then another Japanese blog dedicated to proving that the author of the first blog was himself a dangerous nut-job. And then some wild he-said/she-said debate over on an anti-cult website, with accusations and spelling errors flying like kicks in a low-budget kung fu movie.

OK, we all thought. That was strange. You sure do find some weird stuff out in the dark corners of the Internet. But it was clear there wasn’t really any chance that the “Second Coming Christ” accusations could be true. After all, Olivet’s denomination, the EAPC, was a member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a reputable organization that in one form or another went back to the mid 1800’s. Olivet’s president, William Wagner, was a lifelong Southern Baptist missionary, and was once even a candidate for president of the SBC. I even tracked down and talked to the pastor at one of their churches, Paul de Vries, a former professor of ethics at Wheaton. You simply don’t get those kinds of endorsements unless you’re reasonably orthodox.

And that was a good thing. Because we quickly learned that the Christian Post, owned and operated by members of Jang’s community, was perhaps the world’s largest Christian news website, with the formidably Baptist Richard Land as its executive editor. The International Business Times, also owned and operated by members of Jang’s community, was an equally large and popular secular news property. And lots of other popular Christian websites and organizations – Apostolos Campus Ministries, Young Disciples of Jesus, Breathecast, Diakonos, Ecumenical News, Gospel Herald, the Holy Bible Society, Christian Today (not Christianity Today) – as well as secular websites and companies – Veremedia, Veritas Legal Society, Stevens Books, Yibada – were also owned and controlled by members of Jang’s community.

Still, there were things about Olivet that bothered me – you can be as big and orthodox as you like and still have problems – and I wrote about those things on my blog. And then I got the chance to write about Olivet threatening to sue me because of that post, and the resulting kerfuffle led to several more posts over the ensuing months. By the spring of 2012, though, I was ready to let the thing drop. How many posts can you really write about a big distributed organization with some weird websites?

That’s when I got the phone call.

It was a former member of David Jang’s community. And the first thing he had to tell me was that I was wrong. The group really did teach that David Jang was a “second Christ”, he said. This wasn’t just something he had heard second-hand. He himself had made that confession, and to a senior member of David Jang’s community, to a name I recognized.

I was gobsmacked.

This member and I talked many times, and for many hours, but it wasn’t until a second former member emailed me, and then a third, and then a fourth, and then lots and lots more, that my confusion was able to resolve itself into anything coherent.

JangLate that summer, I co-authored a pair of articles in Christianity Today about David Jang and his community, investigating whether and to what extent the group really did believe that Jang was a “second Christ”. When Ted Olsen and I began work on the articles, we prepared ourselves for the possibility of repercussions, and these were not long in coming. In Asia, Jang had often resorted to legal intimidation to quash stories or perspectives that he disliked, and even before the initial CT story ran, threatening emails from expensive attorneys began arriving in our inboxes. The Christian Post ran a response to our story which was notable primarily for its partisanship, and then another the following day which stopped just short of claiming I was a child pornographer. As one blogger put it, “They issued, in other words, a performative affirmation that they are, in fact, David Jang’s mouthpiece.”

Since then, nearly a dozen more former members have reached out to me, confirming what my earlier sources had to say. In addition to their testimony, they’ve provided me with thousands of documents, the vast majority of which were not available when Christianity Today published its articles. I’ve placed the most interesting of these in several Google Drive folders, and have also written several detailed posts analyzing the evidence and then (eventually) summarizing it. If you’re interested, I encourage you to check those posts.

But here’s the brief summary.

I haven’t been able to locate much reliable information about the group’s early history. What I know is that until sometime in the early 1990’s, David Jang was a member of the Unification Church, though in what precise capacity remains uncertain. He eventually left and struck out on his own; his community proclaims David Jang’s 43rd birthday, October 30, 1992, as the date of its foundation. At some point, whether it was on this date or much later, some subset of his followers, led by a woman named Borah Lin, became convinced that David Jang was a “second Christ”, and they began teaching as much to other members. David Jang’s community, Borah said, was the 144,000 of Revelation. They were the “third Israel”, the possessors of an “eternal Gospel”, were destined to renew Christianity, and would lead the body of Christ into the second coming. Like the second set of stone tablets on Sinai, carved by Moses instead of God, they would make this second Christ themselves.

This teaching was explicated in a series of “history lessons” which were taught to new members, and when those members had progressed far enough, they would in turn teach them to others. These history lessons did not quite state that David Jang was the expected “second Messiah”, but they so strongly implied it that when the senior member finally asked, “Who do you think David Jang is?”, there was only one obvious answer. There was generally a celebration at this point, and often the initiate would be encouraged to write his confession down and send it to David Jang.

This belief, it should be noted, was never quite official, and thus never cohered into a public creed. As a result, the language and even the concepts the group used to explain David Jang’s identity varied substantially. Some merely thought that he was – or might be – a significant eschatological figure. Some spoke of him as a second Jesus, as John the Baptist was a second Elijah. Others went so far as to consider him God incarnate, worshipping him, and praying to him. Most were content to call him “Christ” or “King David” or “the One”, and left it at that.

I have no way of knowing precisely what percentage of the group believed this, but I believe that it was fairly high. It was taught by the group’s most senior leaders (at least) in Asia, North America, Latin America, Africa and Europe. Members in very different parts of the world told me that every member of their local communities had made the confession. Others have told me that if a particular member had not (yet) confessed, this would be made clear to others: “Oh, he doesn’t know about Pastor David yet.”

All this came to some sort of a halt in 2006, when credible reports began emerging in Asia that the Young Disciples and Apostolos Campus Ministries – two of Jang’s early campus mission organizations – were in fact teaching this. When this became public, Jang put a stop to the teaching of the “history lessons”.

Now, I need to say that all of what I’ve just outlined is really beyond any doubt. I have hundreds of pages of lessons that teach this – examine them yourself – and something like 20 independent testimonies, with more coming in regularly.

But there’s one thing I don’t know. What did David Jang know about this? And when did he know it?

In Jang’s defense, it must be said that he did in fact put a stop to this teaching in 2006. Several people have told me that sometime around 2008 he said in a sermon, “Those who say I am Christ are insane.” In addition, I have hundreds of his sermons, and in those he never claims to be anything like a Christ figure. Moreover, I have found several where he explicitly denies these allegations. In public he has repeatedly and adamantly denied that his group is in any substantial way unorthodox.

That said, nearly every former member to whom I’ve posed this question is convinced that David Jang knew about this teaching well before 2006. A good number have told me that they actually sent him their written confessions of faith in him. Decision-making in the group is highly centralized, and they say it stretches credulity to imagine that Jang had no clue that Borah – and all the other leaders who taught this – had gone so badly off the rails. Former members have also told me that when Jang was asked whether he was the Christ, he would simply smile or give a noncommittal answer. One member said his response was, “Don’t say that. People will misunderstand.”

But what gives me greatest concern has actually been Jang’s ongoing public response. Yes, he did eventually put a stop to the teaching. But externally, his response has ranged between misleading and malicious. Until very recently, his group adamantly denied that there was ever any problem at all, and variously called those who reported otherwise “thieves”, “liars”, “heretics” or “terrorists”. Every single former member who has gone public with their concerns has been threatened with a lawsuit. External critics in Asia, along with former members, have been subjected to withering smear campaigns. Several Asian news organizations have been successfully sued, along with a Major in the Japanese Salvation Army, and I know at least one English-language journalist that was bullied into staying quiet.

This is not just my interpretation of what has happened. In 2008, David Jang himself specifically declared that this was his strategy:

So now, we should sue them and after the trials, we have to punish them. We have many organizations so if they compensate, they should compensate a lot. After one is over, another organization will sue them again so all their lives they will be sued… So from here, there, in Japan, you have to sue them with laws. Then they will be silent.

And in another sermon from the same year:

They are in the limit of 666. When they challenge and attack us, we have to settle it well and attack back and think of them are Amalekites and then you have to follow them until the end and kill all of them.

OK, so yeah. Messiah or not, Jang’s not a nice guy. But what does all of this matter?

You know, you could make an argument that it doesn’t, really. After all, Jang’s community is relatively small – it’s hard to know exactly how big, but probably less than 10,000 members worldwide. There are lots of religious movements both larger and more extreme – as well as much less nice. In a world with Boko Haram and Aum Shinrikyo, who cares about yet another merely petulant Korean Messiah?

I think part of the answer is that Jang’s community punches above its weight. Jang’s followers, regardless of their numbers, are an immensely deep resource pool, and he has put them very effectively to work on his extensive media properties.

But more than that, Jang’s community desperately wants to integrate themselves into American Evangelicalism. To this end, Jang has worked very hard to recruit respectable Evangelical sponsors. William Wagner as the President of Olivet University. Richard Land as the executive editor of the Christian Post, and Will Graham and Joel Hunter and lots of others as vague “Senior Editorial Advisers”. The blessing of Ralph Winter for Olivet’s library. A former editor of Christianity Today teaching theology at Olivet University. And lots more.

Alongside these external recruits, Jang has also worked to place his own people in positions of influence. Jang himself is on the board of the World Evangelical Alliance, and many – maybe even a majority – of the staff of the WEA are members of Jang’s community. Walker Tzeng, one of Jang’s senior leaders, is on the board of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (the standard accrediting organization for US Bible colleges), as well as the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. Nor is this influence limited to the US. When I once called the Christian Council of Korea, the Korean equivalent of the NAE, I was immediately handed off to a member of Jang’s community, who insisted, with growing implausibility, that every Asian investigation of Jang had cleared him, completely, no, really, they did. (Draw your own conclusions about how independent the CCK remains.)

Here’s another way to put it. A community which for years taught that their pastor was a second Messiah now owns some of the world’s largest and most important Christian websites, has built or acquired some of the most well known secular news properties, has virtually taken over one of the world’s oldest Evangelical institutions, and has convinced dozens of senior Evangelical leaders to support them.

What could possibly go wrong?

Comments

  1. People still remain suckers for these religious nut cases.

    Some things never change.

  2. Unification church? Isn’t that the cult that was by Reverend Moon and his family? The New Republic and Mother Jones both had some illuminating profiles on that “church”. It’s not a church, it’s a cesspool filled with lies from the pit of hell.

    I don’t mince words because thru Moon and his family – countless people have been led astray and countless lives destroyed. Including his own.

    Read the profiles, well worth the time. If only as a cautionary tale to test every spirit and hold on to what is good:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115512/unification-church-profile-fall-house-moon

    http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/reverend-moon-unification-church-washington-times-secret-son

    • That’s the one. Like I said, I’m not sure exactly what his role was, but in an internal history of the Unification Church (in Korean), it talks about how Jang helped to launch Moon’s seminary over in Korea, and he taught at the seminary for several years after that. So one would guess that he was pretty high up before he left.

      That said, Jang doesn’t ever *talk* like Moon does. You can’t typically listen to more than a few paragraphs – sentences maybe – of one of Moon’s sermons before you realize that something’s amiss; whereas Jang would fit very well into a Baptist church.

      Here’s another way to put it. I don’t think it would ever be possible to reform the Unification Church so that its theology would be compatible with orthodox Christianity. If it were not for the fact that Jang has dug in his heels so strongly, I would have thought it would be possible to reform Jang’s group. It may be too late at this point, however. Jang has taken too strong a stand against transparency and honesty.

      I would love to be wrong on that last point.

      • For me, at least, you’ve hit on a major bone of contention with these three paragraphs: it’s NOT just a matter of correct doctrine, and how far Jang has strayed from the Unification line(s); this is maybe moreso a breach of christian practice (particularly what we need to expect from leaders of any so-called christian group. Perhaps Jang never explicitly taught the second coming christ as himself, but his subterfuge and aggression are unmistakable, and intentional.

        You could only ride in his posse if you are OK with those kinds of methods. Add to that the kind of treatment he gives his own, the workaholism and wretched urgency in order to be found true and pure, and even IF Jang could make a case for some kind of weird orthodoxy, his life and methods betray his words. This is not a true shepherd, I won’t make a judgment as to wether they are true sheep.

      • I think Jang doesn´t care about women because he is a Closet Gay, when he saw a new member (man Of course) he is so focused on his appearance, is the guy is tall, he will talk about it, if the guy is a good looking he will praise his new good looking guy, I never saw him doing it to a Woman, even if she might be pretty, his is strongly focused on guys!

        • Interesting. I hadn’t heard that theory, though I’ve heard from several folks that, as you say, he is very interested in folks’ appearances. But other folks have said that it was mostly because he wanted everyone to project a very professional image.

          Do you know anything about his family, i.e., his wife and son?

    • Yes, the Moonies. I noticed the similarity right off. The Moonies teach that Rev. Moone is, if not exactly Christ himself, a new messiah sent to complete his mission (the “Lord of the Second Advent”). Apparently Eve slept with Satan, resulting in a hereditory spiritual blemish which can only be removed by getting married in a Moonie ceremony–which involves having sex in certain positions while focusing on a photo of Rev. Moone (which I’m sure most of us would do anyway, amirite?) That is, a switch from the female-superior to male-superior position represents the “Resurrection of Adam.” (Just google “Holy Handkerchief”) Anyway, I wonder how much of this David Jang has incorporated into his own sect? Or does he do like Moone originally did, and just have sex with female followers directly in order to cleanse the demon seed?

      • From what I can tell – and I’ve talked to a lot of folks about this – there actually isn’t even the smidgen of a hint of any sort of sexual scandal around Jang. From what I understand, he has a wife and son, and I’m told that they live in Australia. I don’t know what sort of relationship he has with them. But although he has close relationships with a number of the female members of his community, I’ve never heard even his worst critics – in the group or out – suggest that he ever engaged in any sexual impropriety.

        That does make him rather unique amongst the various Korean religious leaders who have been hailed as Messiah by their followers, no doubt.

      • Another point. Jang does frequently arrange marriages for his followers, and they often get married in group ceremonies – half a dozen couples or so. It’s hard to see that as anything other than a carryover from Jang’s days in the Unification Church. But unlike the Unification Church, where those group marriages play a definite soteriological role, they don’t seem to play any significant role in Jang’s theology, which seems to be reasonably orthodox on the topic of soteriology. (On the other hand, the arranged marriages do seem to play a certain role in keeping folks under control. It makes it pretty painful if only one partner wants to leave.)

        • It plays a role on his theology, of course does it, he use it as a convenant.
          circumcision – OT
          Baptism – NT
          Holly Matrimony – New Age
          Single persons doesn´t have any chance to survive as leader inside of his group.
          There is a History message explaining its reasons, but you don´t have it, I don´t ether.
          There is also an History Message, the most heretic one is called the Third heaven, but I don´t have a copy of it. It talks about hell, that it will disappear after God Kingdom is set up and every people soul will go to haven, also talks about no physical death, that his followers wouldn´t die because of his great words, it said that the biblical heroes, prophets and great people will not be in the highest haven (the third one) only his followers will.

          • I have a single copy of that lesson. It seems to be given by Pastor Borah (she’s mentioned in there several times as being its source – always in the third person, but that’s the sort of thing that often happens in these translations). I’ve placed a copy of it in a Google Drive folder (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-XDVS0sdeUEZXRCa1JHeFNJdU0&usp=drive_web) if anyone is interested in perusing it. I know that these were often given in various versions, and this one doesn’t seem to talk about hell being destroyed. But it does confirm the teaching of the other lessons, that Jang’s group are the possessors of the “eternal gospel”, and that it is through this eternal gospel that folks can enter the third heaven.

            Hashiko, what do you think of this paragraph here? It occurs in the context of the speaker distinguishing between three kinds of spirits: “good”, “contract” and “evil”. Then the speaker goes on to say:

            “We are receiving the help from the good spirit. But we must always remember, in the beginning we receive help from them. But later we are the one who should help them out. we have to remember that they could gain perfect salvation through us. we are the one that should help them, not receiving help all the time. then all the spirit that dies, all the spirit would want to come down on earth. but just because the spirit wants to come down, is not that they can just come down.”

            Are “spirits” in this context just “people”? Or…? That paragraph confuses me.

  3. Thank you for a timely well researched article written upon the chance of personal peril.

  4. Wow. I feel like I just read the plot line for Dan Brown’s next book.

  5. The story us not how weird and creepy David Lang is, the story is how high up the Christian media and educational food chain he has been able to climb without a robust challenge. Wow.

    • There have plenty of challenges over in Asia, and anyone who can read Korean or Chinese would have had a heyday on Google at any point after 2008. But until the CT articles in 2012, the only information available in English was on the Davidian Watcher blog, which was so heavily inflected and accented that it was hard to know how seriously to take the accusations he was leveling. (I don’t mean to detract from Major Yamaya – I very much respect the stand he’s taken, at an immense personal cost. We all owe him a debt of gratitude, because he was sounding the alarm when nobody else was.)

      But all that said, yes, it is a little disconcerting. It definitely shows that Jang’s strategy of “sue them into silence” worked for a while. You can see it at work on the Rick Ross forums, as former members start backtracking on their stories, obviously after having been threatened; and the same thing happened with the author of the Still Standing blog.

      • This makes sense and helps me grasp the difficulty of finding him out. Stir in a strong,confident personality,devoted following, money, and media savvy….shake well.

    • Exactly!

    • Josh in FW says:

      Yes, THAT is what is so scary to me.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      …the story is how high up the Christian media and educational food chain he has been able to climb without a robust challenge.

      Did he mouth all the right Christianese and join the Culture War Without End? Among Christian Culture Warrior types, too often “Enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and “cult” is often waived for those on the same side (remember Romney in 2012?)

  6. David Cornwell says:

    Money and power trump common sense and orthodoxy. Again.

  7. “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. … For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24.11,24)

  8. Debbie Pope says:

    Wow, Ken. EXCELLENT. Simply excellent. LOVED your ending.

    And terrifying stuff…….

  9. Vega Magnus says:

    The mainstream media needs to report on him. I doubt he could bully his way out of a NY Times expose.

    • The NYTimes did do a brief article on Olivet’s acquisition of an old psychiatric hospital in Dover, NY: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/nyregion/despite-questions-town-supports-new-evangelical-college.html?_r=0. And they at least mention the allegations. I do suspect that with IBTimes’ acquisition of Newsweek, which was pretty high profile, the group may be in for some additional scrutiny.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Assuming he doesn’t…
      1) Already own/control/influence the NY Times
      or
      2) Spin any negative expose as “PERSECUTION!!!!!”

      • (1) No evidence of that – though IBTimes of course does now own Newsweek.
        (2) Plenty of evidence of that :-).

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          (2) At which point, Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory logic is in effect and the completely-closed system disappears behind its own event horizon. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

          Because once Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is invoked, all evidence against The Conspiracy becomes disinformation planted by The Conspiracy; lack of evidence for The Conspiracy proves The Conspiracy is so vast it can silence anyone (except Us Chosen Few); and anyone who doubts The Conspiracy has proven himself part of The Conspiracy. Self-reinforcing, the dream of a cult leader splitting his flock off from reality.

  10. Would highly recommend Kens post entitled “David Jang’s Defense”. Nothing garish here, but worth reading on several levels. Excellent journalism, at least it strikes me as such.

  11. Hey ken, how long did you laugh when you saw the pen and ink sketch used by CP in the “Sources Face Scrutiny…” article ?? Whoa….. I’d cry “yellow journalism” but I dare not get called out as racist. You look dangerous…

    • Yeah, I laughed long and hard when I saw those sketches. I didn’t laugh quite so much when I saw their next article – it’s rather surreal to have charges like that leveled against you in such a public forum, even if you know that intelligent people can tell the difference between real reporting and smear campaigns. My brother enjoyed it quite a bit, though, and referred to me as the “North Korean pedo” for a while afterwards :-).

    • “Yellow journalism” was actually invented by white people who didn’t like Asians. I suppose the expression itself must have come from people who did. So–not racist!

  12. MelissatheRagamuffin says:

    I hate to be like this but Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and won’t follow after another….. So, if people are following after this charlatan what’s that say about them?

  13. Christiane says:

    well, at best, a cult-figure decides to ‘go straight’ in the evangelical world,
    but can’t get past the need to use bullying tactics on those who sought to expose his ‘origins’

    at worse? a figure living in the shadows waiting for ‘his time’ to come, and in the interim, collecting powerful entities and hiring ‘notable figures’ to sit on the boards of those entities (yes, well-paid no doubt) . . . all the while enforcing the public image of ‘I’m not Christ’ by threats, bullying, and intimidation, most notably perfectly legal squashing of any expose attempts as to the actual origin and history of ‘who he is’ as taught prior to the entry into flying below the radar for purposes of increasing property and influence . . .

    so what can go wrong?
    I think the real ‘expose’ is seen in the intimidation tactics . . . what was meant to ‘squash’ the ‘rumors’ has become the source of revelation about the person’s character . . . or as they say, what goes round, comes round

    solution? in the attempts at intimidation and punitive actions, the seeds of destruction of credibility were planted . . . people reap what they sow . . . or as sacred Scripture tells us, we can see the rotten fruit quite readily in the ‘response’ to perceived ‘enemies’ and we can know that the ‘response’ is not ‘of Christ’s teaching, no

    no worries, seeds of destruction are self-sown . . . too late now to call the seeds back, as people have been hurt in attempts to shut them up

    • Memo to any cult leader looking to “go straight”: First come clean. Then retire. Live an anonymous life. For extra credit, give back some of that ill-gotten moolah.

      • Christiane says:

        unless he’s ‘biding his time’ until he has all the ‘connections’ in place, before he springs his ‘revelation’ on those who are in too deep not to look like utter fools . . .

        the mentality is confusing, as to how someone would expect to get away with this kind of thing in the strict fundamentalist/evangelical world . . .
        I really do believe that there are enough people in that world with the discernment to holler ‘the emperor has no clothes’ . . . people can get away with ‘subtle’ scams, but something in the nature of ‘a Second Coming Christ’ is a bit too large of a camel to swallow, even for the most gullible of fundamentalist/evangelical Americans.

        Now, a separate ‘cult’ might succeed. But turning evangelicals into followers of a Korean ‘Second Coming Christ’ seems an unrealistic goal. Money can take people a lot of places, and obviously some people were fooled, but in the end, I just don’t see evangelicals falling for this kind of thing. Am I too optimistic? I hope not.

  14. Final Anonymous says:

    Weird. My son received a recruitment letter from a Bethany alum (an attorney, ironically) just yesterday. I’d never heard of them before.

  15. Truth trumped by power. If it’s not Jang, it’s Driscoll. How beautiful are the brass knuckles of those who bring good news.

    Will-to-power, as Nietzsche taught us.

  16. Phoenix Preacher reports that “Bloggers and internet reporters now have the legal protections of journalists under the law.” I wonder whether that’s why we’re hearing this story now.

    Hopefully bringing things to the light makes a difference in this case. Things like this used to make me say “Give me an update in one year! And tell me about what a year ago we wanted to know in a year!”

    • There may be some truth to that. Washington State has pretty strong source shield laws, and it’s my understanding that my sources would come under their protection – so that is what I’ve been telling them. And I believe it makes a difference in their willingness to talk.

      Of course, neither reporters nor bloggers are exempt in any way from defamation lawsuits, so I’ve done my best to bone up on the laws in this area – and (of course) to be as careful as I can to say only what I know, and to know precisely which documents or interview notes support each sentence. I’ll still make mistakes, but hopefully those mistakes will be minor and infrequent enough that they won’t land me in court.

  17. ex-member says:

    I was member of Jang´s community and what I really want to say from the bottom of my heart, it is that he and his followers had completely destroyed my life.

    About the Theology issues, all that was said in Ken´s article explains very well what has happenned inside of that group. Many people took very serious and important decisions for their lives because they were taught and believed that this guy David Jang was “‘Christ” or something like that, and many abuses were allowed as well, and after all being denied in public, many of those people felt a deep sorrow and emptiness, like me, because they sacrificed their most precious things for a bunch of lies coming from an abuser and evil person who does not care but for power, money and position inside of the religious world. And furthermore, over the pain and frustration that those people may have, if you dare to say something negative. although true, about him or his community in public, David Jang and his followers will threaten you with lawsuits to keep you quiet. That is not a Christian behaviour at all..