Culture

Are South Korean cults infiltrating churches and Christian news media?

David Jang, South Korean pastor and academic

Questions about a Korean cult that was targeting trusted evangelical churches and movements two years ago are now being asked about their influence on Christian media organisations.

In December 2016 the Daily Telegraph reported that Holy Trinity, Brompton, and the Diocese of London had warned members and churches about the Korean cult ‘Paracristo’ offering Bible Study courses in London’s docklands.

Reporters Harry Farley, who also writes for Christian Today, and John Bingham wrote that the organization is ‘ understood to be linked to a controversial South Koran group known as Shinchonji (SCJ) — or the “New Heaven and New Earth church (NHNE) — whose founder Man-Hee Lee is referred to as God’s “advocate”.

Now another cult emanating from South Korea appears to be targeting news media outlets. In March Christianity Today reported that Newsweek Magazine had been purchased in 2013 by IBT Media, a company controlled by a South Korean religious group headed by David Jang. Mr Jang claims to be Jesus Christ returned to earth.

Christianity Today went on to report an article that went on “to identify the true owner of the publication as Korean religious figure David Jang, whom CT had profiled two years earlier. “The Second Coming Controversy” explained that Jang and his followers had founded a number of media outlets including The Christian Post, Christian Today, and the International Business Times. In addition, they’d started a Christian college in California known as Olivet University (no relation to Olivet Nazarene University) and were key influencers in the World Evangelical Alliance.”

Christian Today (not to be confused with the respected American magazine, Christianity Today) on its website records that “Christian Today is an independent Christian media company, established in 2004. Our main editorial office is in London, with additional staff based in New York. Our reach is global with upwards of 3 million unique hits a month. We are part of cmcigroup.com ”

Since there has been no response to the report in the Christianity Today article, might Christian Today be able to give a clear refutation of the claims made there so that Christians can be confident that their reporting and editorial policy is not being infiltrated by such a cult?