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Five years ago, we began to receive reports of a new network of ministries rapidly expanding in East Asia. Given our many global partnerships with international Christian media, we were intrigued. However, our contacts warned us that the group seemed to have ties to the Unification Church and taught that its leader was the “Second Coming Christ.” When we asked representatives of one ministry whether such ties existed, they threatened to sue and ended the conversation.

Over the next few years, we continued to monitor the controversies in Asia, conducting interviews along the way. As David Jang’s Olivet University and its related ministries grew in the United States, so did our interest in the story. Once Olivet tried to purchase the Assemblies of God’s Bethany University in 2011 (the deal eventually fell through), we knew it was time to move. When Olivet was one of several organizations competing for Dwight Moody’s former campus in Northfield, Massachusetts (that didn’t work out, either), we were discussing publication plans. Now the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay is wondering whether to sell a prominent property to Olivet.

Meanwhile, a Bethany University alumnus had been blogging about the questions he had about Olivet and the answers he was finding. We had seen some of Ken Smith’s posts, and it wasn’t long before he contacted us to ask if we were aware of the claims some people had made about Olivet founder Jang. At first, Smith acted as an independent journalist on this story. His eagerness to consider fresh information and change his views accordingly impressed us. We saw him look for counterevidence, ...

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Monitoring Controversy
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September 2012

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