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The good news was they had a buyer.

Glorieta Conference Center, owned by the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Resources, is one of the largest and best-known Christian conference facilities in the country, sitting on 2,100 acres near Santa Fe, New Mexico. But for 24 of the last 25 years it has drained money from the organization.

"There's just not a demand for the kinds of things that we do and used to do at Glorieta," said LifeWay spokesman Marty King. So, last September, LifeWay's trustees decided to investigate selling the campus. The plan was to sell to the Baptist Convention of New Mexico for the nominal price of $1. However, the convention said the cost of upgrading Glorieta and potential environmental liability made acquisition unattractive.

Then came an offer from San Francisco–based Olivet University. (The school has no connection to Illinois-based Olivet Nazarene University.) The school, founded by Korean pastor David Jang in 1992, has several affiliate ministries and Internet businesses that reportedly helped it to raise enough funds to buy and run the Glorieta campus.

The bad news for LifeWay was that Jang is a controversial figure who, according to credible reports, has been hailed by some of his followers as the "Second Coming Christ."

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 ...

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hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2012

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