How Flawed Interpretation Can Produce False Teaching (The Importance of Rightly Dividing the Word)

Until reading “The Second Coming Christ Controversy: More Leaders Speak Out” from Christianity Today, I had not heard of David Jang or his organization. According to some who have left it, his followers are taught that he is the second coming of Christ. What struck me as I read this article is how the two primary fallacies alleged of the group’s teaching are based on fallacies of interpretation.

According to the CT article, this belief is based on

the two stone tablets of Moses’ commandments. Just as God created the first tablets and wrote the Ten Commandments on them, so was the first Christ, Jesus, sent by God. And just as Moses broke the tablets, Jesus’ people rejected him and killed him, the sermon says. And just as Moses had to write the second tablets with his own hand, so the second Christ will be man-made.” The couple at the center of the report say they were encouraged to profess that Jang was that “second coming of Christ.

There is no evidence in Scripture that the stone tablets represented Christ, but Jang’s church allegedly sees this in the story. This highlights the danger of allegorical interpretation. Allegorizing narrative passages opens the Scripture to the subjective whims of the interpreter. This approach makes any interpretation of Scriptural narrative equally valid – even if contradictory to clear Bible principles.

The second primary fallacy is what the group calls “righteous lying.” According to Edmond Chua,

They have a teaching in their Bible studies that Jacob is the one who deserved the blessing, rather than Esau, and that Rebekah and Jacob lying to Isaac was justified. And that’s why they are also justified in lying to folks who would challenge their birthright. … If you need to flee to escape from Satan, you can lie to do so. You shouldn’t tell the truth to Satan, because he will steal your blessing and kill your faith.

Again, this teaching is based on an interpretive fallacy. It reads narrative as prescriptive rather than descriptive. The Bible recounts actions as true (as they actually happened), but not necessarily as truth (you should go out and do likewise). Just because a Biblical character does or says something, does not mean it receives an endorsement as a model.

David Jang and his churches deny they teach he is the second Christ. (If they DO teach “righteous lying,” however, that would make difficult to take them at their word.) Though the full story remains to be told, it demonstrates the importance of careful interpretation of Scripture: a flawed hermeneutic can lead to false teaching.

Articles from Christianity Today:

The Second Coming Christ Controversy

The Second Coming Christ Controversy: More Leaders Speak Out

Response from Christian Post (Jang’s periodical):

Sources in ‘Second Coming Christ Controversy’ Face Scrutiny

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