On January 9, 2007, a group of evangelicals published an open letter on the Internet calling on Living Stream Ministry and the local churches to disavow certain teachings of Witness Lee. On February 13, 2007, a new site entitled “The Testimony of the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry” was launched to respond to the issues raised in the open letter. Among the materials published on that site are an initial, short response and a later, more detailed response. These two responses were subsequently published in book form and are available in electronic form on this site as A Defense of the Gospel: Responses to an Open Letter from “Christian Scholars and Ministry Leaders” (1). In a special issue of the Christian Research Journal entitled “We Were Wrong,” the Christian Research Institute, the largest and most respected apologetics ministry in the world, retracted their earlier criticisms of the local churches and published their own critique of the shortcomings of the 2007 open letter (see the “Dialogues” section of this site for more information). Almost immediately two signers of the open letter, Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes, wrote a rather acrimonious critique of the CRI reevaluation. Their rebuttal contained many errors of fact and of biblical truth. Beginning in July 2010, DCP began publishing a series of articles under the general title “A Response to Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes’ Defense of an Open Letter and Critique of the Christian Research Journal‘s Reassessment of the Local Churches” to correct some of the more egregious errors.
Many of the issues raised in the open letter have been the subject of responses in the past, responses that have gone unanswered. For example, in the 1970′s, members of the local churches wrote and published a number of booklets and articles in response to inaccurate or uninformed criticisms. These booklets and articles address and clarify a wide range of critical truths of the Christian faith. Many of these writings are out of print and so are made available here to the Christian public. Some of them responded to criticisms from the Christian Research Institute, which has since withdrawn its criticisms and reversed its earlier conclusions (see “A Brief History of the Relationship between the Local Churches and the Christian Research Institute“). The responses to CRI’s criticisms are included here for the historical record, for the important points of truth they address, and because CRI’s criticisms, although withdrawn, are still repeated by others, including the open letter signers. A topical index will assist you in finding discussion of particular areas of Biblical truth. The following is a list of the booklets published at that time:
|The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches
|The Co-workers in the Lord’s Recovery
|The Clear Scriptural Revelation Concerning the Triune God
|Concerning the Person of Christ
|False Accusations Exposed and Refuted in the Light of the Scriptures
|Witness Lee and his Co-workers
|Mind Bending or Mind Renewing?
|Modalism, Tritheism, or the Pure Revelation of the Triune God According to the Bible
|November 16, 1976
|The Revelation of the Triune God According to the Pure Word of the Bible
|The Triune God: A Testimony of Our Belief and Experience
|The Truth Concerning Exclusivism
|The Truth Concerning Salvation
|What a Heresy—Two Divine Fathers, Two Life-Giving Spirits, and Three Gods!
A Response to Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes’ Defense of an Open Letter and Critique of the Christian Research Journal’s Reassessment of the Local Churches
- The Error of Making Creeds, Not the Bible, the Rule of Faith
- The Error of Insisting on “Persons” as a Litmus Test of Orthodoxy
- A False Accusation of Patripassianism Based on Specious Scholarship
- The Error of Denying the Involvement of the Father in the Son’s Work
- The Error of Denying That the “Son” Is the “Eternal Father” in Isaiah 9:6
- The Error of Denying That “the Lord Is the Spirit” in 2 Corinthians 3:17 Refers to Christ
- The Error of Denying That the Infinite God Became a Finite Man through Incarnation
- A Misplaced Criticism of “The Twofoldness of Divine Truth”
- Misrepresenting Witness Lee’s Critique of Christianity
- Misrepresenting Witness Lee and Defending the Roman Catholic Church
- Applying a Double Standard with Regard to Criticism of the Roman Catholic Church
- Repeating False Witness in Accusing the Local Churches of “Litigiousness”
- Repeating False Witness Concerning SCP Bankruptcy
- Repeating False Witness Concerning Litigation over the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions
Answers to the Bible Answer Man
In 1977 Walter Martin, the founder of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and the original “Bible Answer Man,” spoke publicly against Witness Lee and the local churches. In 1977 and 1978 various members of the local churches wrote articles responding to what Walter Martin said. The current “Bible Answer Man” and President of CRI, Hank Hanegraaff, was not a party to this dispute. Since 2003 the local churches have been engaged in a very fruitful dialog with Hank Hanegraaff, the late Gretchen Passantino, and Elliot Miller. They received us as Christian brothers, and we value their fellowship in the Lord (see “A Brief History of the Relationship between the Local Churches and the Christian Research Institute“). To see the list of articles related to Walter Martin’s criticisms, click here.
We also recommend to you the Web site for Affirmation & Critique, which addresses many of the same theological issues discussed in these pages from a more scholarly perspective.