Local Church et al v. Harvest House et al—Court of Appeals Decision
See the Appellee’s Motion for Rehearing of the Court’s January 5, 2006 Judgment filed on February 16, 2006.
On January 5, 2006, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision denying summary judgment and ruled for the Defendants.
We believe the appeals court ruling is in error. This case is not about constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, but about the abuse of that precious freedom. Neither is this case about the content of our Christian teachings and theology, however maliciously both have been distorted by the book in question.
The Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions by John Ankerberg and John Weldon contains accusations of criminal and abhorrent behavior that are attributed to “cults,” the subject of their book. The book clearly states that they chose the word cult for its “contemporary force” and “particular value for secularists.” The recent court decision failed to recognize the clear language of the book. It also failed to take into account the testimony of the authors and publisher that the book’s Introduction could be understood by readers as applying to the Local Church.
This matter has already been decided in our favor three times in the trial court by two different judges. We will seek a rehearing by the Court of Appeals and are ready to appeal this decision to the Texas Supreme Court. We believe the Court of Appeals decision will be reversed based on the facts of the case and the law. We remain steadfast in our commitment to establishing the truth and protecting from defamatory accusations the legacy of a godly Christian ministry and the reputations of countless Christian churches and believers.