The Lawsuit Over ECNR Is Not About Theology
The Defendants consistently tried to spin the litigation over the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions as a theological dispute. In their brief to the Court of Appeals they accused the Plaintiffs of using “legal action to silence their theological critics.”1 However, a reading of the Original Petition (see particularly paragraphs 162 (view) and 183 (view)) filed in the case clearly demonstrates that the case had nothing to do with theology. Anyone who has reviewed the trial court proceedings and the depositions in this case also knows that the Defendants’ statement miscasts the nature of the case.
The local churches and Living Stream Ministry have always recognized that the legal system is not the appropriate venue to resolve theological differences. The issues raised in the Harvest House case, as well as in the two libel actions filed in the 1980s, are not theological in nature. They are concerned with false and defamatory accusations of criminal, immoral, and anti-social conduct.
The success of the Defendants’ campaign to distort the nature of our lawsuit is evident in a Christianity Today editorial about the litigation that states, “…there just might be a better way to solve theological disputes.”4 We do not criticize the editors of CT for misunderstanding the present litigation as a theological dispute. The Defendants have done their best to obscure the true issues by casting it as such.
2Original Petition, Local Church et al v. Harvest House et al, paragraph 16.
3Original Petition, Local Church et al v. Harvest House et al, paragraph 18.