On October 2, 1977, Walter Martin, “The Bible Answer Man,” criticized Witness Lee and the local churches in a lecture at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California. Because of the public nature of his talk, members of the local churches wrote responses that were published as advertisements in The Santa Ana Register (now The Orange County Register). The current Bible Answer Man and President of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), Hank Hanegraaff, was not a party to that controversy. After a six-year primary research project under Hanegraaff’s oversight, CRI withdrew its earlier criticisms of Witness Lee and the local churches and recognized them as representing authentic New Testament Christianity (see “A Brief History of the Relationship between the Local Churches and the Christian Research Institute”). The articles published in response to Martin’s criticisms are included on this site because they address important points of truth; because some of Martin’s criticisms of the local churches still circulate, particularly on the Internet; and because these responses are part of the local churches’ history of attempts to correct misrepresentations of their beliefs and practices.
From: Answers to the Bible Answer Man (Vol. 1)
The Introduction and Conclusion below were published in The Orange County Register in 1977 along with the following eighteen articles by members representing the local churches.
The teaching and person of Witness Lee and the practice of the local churches were attacked and misrepresented at a meeting held Sunday night, October 2, 1977, at Melodyland, Anaheim, California. We in the local churches feel constrained to respond to the groundless and unwarranted accusations made by the speaker. We have no desire or intention to fight against any person or group. The following articles, written by several brothers representing all the local churches in the U. S. A. and Witness Lee, are presented so that the Christian public may judge for itself what is the truth.
Through the centuries genuine Christians have held many different views of doctrinal matters, especially concerning the Trinity and the church. Even though we may differ with one another and even debate concerning the truth, we must maintain a proper attitude of love and respect toward one another. To attack other believers or mock those who differ from us in our understanding of Scripture certainly does not represent the spirit of Christian love.
Matthew 7:20 says, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” A tree can surely be known by the fruit it bears. The life and ministry of Witness Lee have resulted in the salvation of thousands personally brought to the Lord by him, and the raising up of over 230 churches established directly by his ministry in the past forty years. In addition, another twenty churches are directly under the nourishment of his ministry. Scores of books on practical Christian living, essential truths of the Scripture, and the truths concerning the church and church practice have been published and are readily available. Also, over 300 Life-study Messages by Witness Lee on the books Genesis, Matthew, John, Romans, Hebrews, and Revelation, containing the richest exposition, have been released.
Where today can one find a life and ministry so fruitful as this?
Copyright © 1994 Living Stream, Anaheim, CA, USA. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.