The Local Churches: “Genuine Believers and Fellow Members…”

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The book The Local Churches: “Genuine Believers and Fellow Members of the Body of Christ” is the fruit of dialogues held by representatives of the local churches and Living Stream Ministry with two apologetics ministries—the Christian Research Institute and Answers in Action—and a faculty panel at Fuller Theological Seminary consisting of President Richard Mouw, Dean of Theology Howard Loewen, and Professor of Systematic Theology Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. Below are excerpts from their conclusions: The Local Churches

Hank Hanegraaff, President, Christian Research Institute:

“First, the local churches are not a cult from a theological perspective…. Furthermore, the local churches are not a cult from a sociological perspective…. Finally, the local churches are an authentic expression of New Testament Christianity. Moreover, as a group forged in the cauldron of persecution, it has much to offer Western Christianity.”

Gretchen Passantino, Founder and Director, Answers in Action:

“The local churches are a legitimate, theologically orthodox, spiritually faithful involvement by means of which your offspring can develop genuine Christian commitment and maturity.”

“The most significant re-assessment from my career concerns the teachings and practices of a movement of Christians with its origins in China popularly described as the local churches, founded under the teachings of the two Christians from China, Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.”

“Church life in the local churches is primarily distinguished from typical American evangelicalism because of the local churches’ attempts to experience church as they think it was in the New Testament.”

“A Christian believer who joins the local churches will find sound theology, enriching worship, challenging discipleship, and enthusiastic evangelism opportunities. After 40 years of Christian faith, I have not lost my ‘first love’ of Jesus Christ. I recognize that same vibrant Spirit in the local churches.”

Fuller Theological Seminary:

“Fuller conducted a thorough review and examination of the major teachings and practices of the local churches.”

“It is the conclusion of Fuller Theological Seminary that the teachings and practices of the local churches and its members represent the genuine, historical, biblical Christian faith in every essential aspect.”

“Particularly, the teachings of Witness Lee have been grossly misrepresented and therefore most frequently misunderstood in the general Christian community, especially among those who classify themselves as evangelicals. We consistently discovered that when examined fairly in the light of scripture and church history, the actual teachings in question have significant biblical and historical credence. Therefore, we believe that they deserve the attention and consideration of the entire Body of Christ.”

“Moreover, we also can say with certainty that no evidence of cultic or cult-like attributes have been found by us among the leaders of the ministry or the members of the local churches who adhere to the teachings represented in the publications of Living Stream Ministry.”

“Consequently, we are easily and comfortably able to receive them as genuine believers and fellow members of the Body of Christ, and we unreservedly recommend that all Christian believers likewise extend to them the right hand of fellowship.”

For more information concerning these dialogues and their outcomes, please refer to: