Christian Media Battle Over Controversial Figure

In the relatively calm seas of the Christian media, a storm has erupted between Christianity Today, arguably the mouthpiece of contemporary American evangelicalism, and the Christian Post, a smaller competitor. At the center of the storm is David Jang, a popular preacher in East Asia, but a relatively unknown figure in the United States, who has ties to the late Rev. Moon’s Unification Church and, according to sources in a recent Christianity Today article, may have led his followers to conclude that he is a “Second Coming Christ.”

The story begins, publicly at least, in mid-August when Christianity Today ran a long storyco-authored by managing editor Ted Olsen and a blogger and former businessman named Ken Smith. As Olsen tells it, his interest in David Jang dates back several years. He describes a time, over four years ago, when Christianity Today was in talks with The Christian Post about working together in some capacity. Then, Olsen says, one of CT’s partners in the Global Christian Alliance cautioned CT about partnering with The Christian Post because “there were allegations that it had ties to the Unification Church.”

When CT raised this concern with CP, Olsen recalls, “they denied it vehemently, threatened to sue us if we ever mentioned the allegation, and ended the discussion.”

But it wasn’t until this summer, as the news broke that Olivet University was interested in buying the Glorieta Conference Center from the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources, that Olsen had an actual newspeg around which to investigate and write more about Jang and his various affiliated organizations.

And what he and Ken Smith found has far reaching implications for the world of Christian media and beyond.

 Read on at Religion Dispatches.

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