From personal interactions with Edmond, this writer is convinced that Edmond affirms the victory of the cross. The writer believes that Edmond's later writings do not reflect his true belief and are likely a result of pressure to change his original testimony.
Who Taught the Lesson? Not Borah Lin, but His Wife Susan
According to CT's report, it was on September 6, 2005 that Edmond completed a series of "crucial final" so-called history lessons taught to him by his wife Susan that led him to confess that David Jang is the Second Coming Christ. CT's article also features excerpts of these so-called history lessons that were allegedly delivered by a Bible lecturer named Borah Lin in 2002.
Edmond's account described Lin as Jang's "chief teaching associate," and alleged she is responsible for the eschatological teachings used by Susan to "encourage" Edmond to believe Jang is the Second Coming Christ.
An Aug. 15 article by Christianity Today noted there were 40 so-called "History Lessons." The Sept. 12 article, however, was only able to name a handful of sources supporting this claim. And even the authenticity of a few lessons have been disputed, especially by Borah Lin, wife of Olivet University's chairman and a mother of three, who denied that she ever taught the lessons mentioned by Edmond and his wife in CT's article.
Lin pointed out that the transcripts referenced by Edmond were allegedly delivered years prior to the date that he claimed to have joined the denomination. "There are no lessons designed to lead new members to a confession that Dr. Jang is the 'Second Coming Christ,'" said Lin. "I could never teach a Bible study with this intent because I have never believed nor confessed that David Jang is the 'Second Coming Christ.'"
Lin responded to Edmond, saying, "Like many other evangelicals, I affirm the Second Advent is the literal and personal return of Jesus Christ," she said. Lin also cited a verse in the Book of Acts stating, "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
"I am awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," she said.
Lin said she's not sure why Edmond thinks of her as "Jang's chief teaching associate." In her lifetime, Lin said she only met Edmond once during a fellowship's mission training program in the summer of 2006. Lin added that she has been busy raising her children and has not been very active in mission since 2004.
Lin concluded, "If Christianity Today had contacted me, I would have simply asked them, shouldn't [CT] be scrutinizing Susan, not me, since Edmond says his wife is the one who taught him this? Even though I have never met Susan, I will pray for her and her family and I will also pray for CT to stop exploiting people's misunderstandings."
Susan's Teacher Speaks Out, Calls Susan's Story 'Inaccurate' and 'Exaggerated'
Susan Chua's account in CT described her faith journey beginning from her conversion to Christianity, and includes a description of her confusion about matters of soteriology and eschatology.
"I was baptized but did not know the meaning of baptism, sin, or have a clear understanding of salvation," she told CT. "I was only a bit scared of the end—Judgment Day."
This writer attempted to verify Susan's account in an interview with Li Zhihong, whom CT referred to as "Susan's teacher" in the article. Li said the story Susan told to CT had some truthful elements but many were greatly "exaggerated" and "distorted."
Before Susan came to know Li, she was said to be a member of a radical Christian group in China. "As Susan indicated to CT, she had extreme fundamental view of eschatology," remarked Li. "I remember Susan also told me her ex-Bible teacher would practice 40 days of fasting."
Li confirmed that the two had studied the Bible together but denies she taught Susan the message "New Israel" or that she ever asked Susan who she thought Jang was. Li also said she has never heard a confession from Susan that David Jang was "the Second Christ."
"I don't hold that belief myself and I never taught a message that encouraged Susan to make any confession of the sort. I'm actually very disappointed she would say that about me," said Li.
Nevertheless, Susan told CT she confessed David Jang as the "Second Christ" after she was taught a lesson called "New Israel" by Li. Susan also claimed the message originated from a July 20, 2002 sermon delivered by Borah Lin at a church retreat in Berkeley, California.
But Li said she is not aware of that message, which Susan attributed to Lin.
"We were in China so it would have been impossible for us to have listened to Borah's lectures in Berkeley, if there were any. Even if I had Borah's sermons, I couldn't have understood them anyway since neither of us could understand English or Korean."
Borah Lin told this reporter that she didn't give any of the lectures referenced by CT. She said that she wasn't even in Berkeley on July 20, 2002 but "was living in New York at that time."
"Susan said I taught these messages but they're not mine," she said. Lin said she never met Susan but suspects that the messages Susan referenced in CT's article were falsified by enemies of the Gospel message.
"There are people who've been attacking me and other evangelicals for years, including a blogger and a cult-fabricator who are basically spreading lies and fake documents with my name on them on the Internet to confuse young believers," she said.
Susan's Bible study teacher Li Zhihong commented on other parts of Susan's story to CT, saying Susan exaggerated many details of her life. Li said Susan was not sent to Singapore as a "missionary" but that she went there as a student studying abroad.
"And saying she was escorted there by Dr. Jang is just not accurate," she said.
"Susan went to Singapore to study at FTMS Global Academy," recalled Li. "She told me she was thinking about immigrating to Australia, but she then changed her mind to go study in Singapore."
Li said she doesn't understand why Susan told CT that she had lied to her parents for "money to support her mission." Li said Susan had asked her parents for money to support her studies.
"I'm really worried that Susan might have gone back to her former extreme fundamentalist eschatology group," reflected Li. "I sincerely pray that her faith would go well."
Additional Distortions Discovered
This writer was also able to get in contact with Nga Wai Cheung, a pastor in Hong Kong who attended a 2004 meeting in Hong Kong referenced by CT. Cheung said Susan's claim that Dr. Jang taught an eschatology lecture using a whiteboard to illustrate in Hong Kong is not true.
"There wasn't even a whiteboard in the facility," she said.
Several claims made by Edmond about his role and positions have also drawn scrutiny from Cheung, who says these were greatly exaggerated in CT's article.
For instance, CT called Edmond one of the "movement's top leaders" who led church services in Singapore while serving as a representative of "Southeast Asia on the World General Assembly (WGA)."
"I'm not sure how they came to the conclusion he was tapped as a 'top' representative of Singapore and Southeast Asia," said Cheung. "There were just the two of them
(Edmond and Susan) there in all of Singapore for six years," said Cheung.
"It's also outrageous to me that Edmond and Susan would give the impression to anyone that the misunderstandings they're sharing with CT represent the beliefs of church and fellowship members all across Southeast Asia."
Cheung said it is inaccurate for Edmond to say he is part of EAPCA, which is a denomination in America. Cheung remarked that Edmond should have used the term "fellowship" instead of "EAPCA."
"EAPCA is the name of a U.S.-based denomination...and Edmond must have known it was inappropriate to associate himself with the name EAPCA. The fact that he brought out that name suggests to me that he wants to make this controversy sound more international and larger than it is," said Cheung.