This site contains the following responses to an open letter posted on the Internet by a group of evangelical scholars and ministry leaders:
- A Defense of the Gospel: Responses to an Open Letter from "Christian Scholars and Ministry Leaders "(1), [Responses to an Open Letter (1)], which contains two articles written by representatives of the local churches and the editorial section of Living Stream Ministry (LSM) in response to an open letter1 calling on LSM and the local churches to disavow certain teachings of Witness Lee. These responses show the thoroughly biblical basis of Witness Lee’s statements and the critical truths they convey concerning the Triune God, His complete salvation, and the church as the Body of Christ practically expressed in local churches.
- A Defense of the Gospel: Responses to an Open Letter from "Christian Scholars and Ministry Leaders" (2), which directly addresses the seventeen quotations which were severed from their original context and juxtaposed to create a distorted view of Witness Lee’s ministry. Each quotation is examined in its original context and in light of the biblical truths it expounds concerning the Trinity, God’s full salvation, and the church.
Responses to an Open Letter (1) contains both a brief and a longer response to the 2007 open letter. The brief response was sent to the signers of the open letter on June 1, 2007. At that time many of the 2007 open letter signers were invited to engage in respectful dialogue; none of them responded positively to that invitation. In December 2009 the Christian Research Institute (CRI) published a reassessment of the teaching of Witness Lee and the local churches in an issue of its Christian Research Journal with the words “We Were Wrong” on the cover. Subsequently, at least three signers indicated a desire to remove their signatures from the open letter. The first request was honored; subsequent requests were not. Very shortly after CRI published its findings, two signers of the open letter—Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes—wrote a rejoinder to CRI’s analysis. Their response was seriously marred by a lack of documentation, twisting of others’ words, deficient interpretations of the Bible, and misattribution of sources.
CRI President Hank Hanegraaff contributed the lead article “Discernment in an Age of Information Overload” to a 2010 issue of the Christian Research Journal. In it he described several essential principles of proper apologetics and used the contents of both the open letter and the response written by Geisler and Rhodes as examples of improper apologetics.
Because of the wide range of issues which Geisler and Rhodes raised in a scattershot manner, DCP posted fourteen articles on this site directly responding to their allegations. These were later compiled into four books under the series title of Brothers, Hear Our Defense. On November 16, 2011, the following materials were sent to the 2007 open letter signers as well as over 2000 seminary faculty members, libraries, and other Christian leaders throughout North America for their consideration:
- The four volumes in the series Brothers, Hear Our Defense;
- The two volumes in the series A Defense of the Gospel;
- A Confirmation of the Gospel: Concerning the Teachings of the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry;
- The Christian Research Journal issue containing CRI’s reassessment; and
- Hank Hanegraaff’s article “Discernment in an Age of Information Overload.”
We also recommend that those interested in this subject visit the following Web sites:
- LCtestimony.org, which contains the responses in the books listed above, as well as affirmations from third party apologetics ministries and theologians;
- The Special Edition of the “We Were Wrong” issue of the Christian Research Journal, which reports on the findings of CRI’s six-year primary research project and directly answers the 2007 open letter; and
- CRI’s YouTube playlist of excerpts from the Bible Answer Man radio broadcast discussing CRI’s research findings.
1 “An Open Letter to Living Stream Ministry and the ‘Local Churches’,” http://open-letter.org.