On January 9, 2007, a number of evangelical Christian scholars and ministry leaders published “An Open Letter to the Leadership of Living Stream Ministry and the ‘Local Churches’” online.
Here we respectfully offer (1) a defense of the seventeen quotations that were mishandled in the open letter, (2) a detailed response to the open letter, and (3) our initial brief response. At the end we also provide a link to the open letter.
“We feel that we have done what the signers of the open letter should have done, that is, examine the full context of the isolated quotations as well as the larger ministry of Witness Lee on these issues before making conclusions about his teaching. We have repeatedly shown that the isolating of these quotations presents a false witness concerning the teachings of Witness Lee. Admittedly, our response has been lengthy, and we hope that we have not exhausted our readers with it. But for each misquotation in the open letter, we have provided ample proper quotation from Witness Lee’s ministry to show his actual position on the issues at hand. The very length of this response testifies to the abundance of material in Witness Lee’s ministry that counters the impression given by the isolating of quotations in the open letter.”
[Read the full defense here]
“We believe that most of the signers are reacting to statements which, taken out of context and presented in isolation, seem to be sufficiently outrageous so as to warrant public denunciation. Yet we are quite surprised, given the academic statuses of many of the signers, that quotations in isolation would be allowed to serve as the basis for public denunciation. Academic researchers of every kind know the perils of isolating quotations and are usually quick to dissociate themselves from such a practice. Further, academics generally afford those of contrary positions the courtesy of presenting balance where balance can be found.... We have demonstrated that there is a balance to be found in the statements of Witness Lee..., a balance which was not presented and, we believe, was not even sought. Our genuine hope is that many of the signers of the open letter would reconsider their support of the letter and request that their signatures be removed from it.”
[Read the full response here]
“We commend the signers of the open letter for their concern for the truth of the gospel, and we invite them or any others to join us in genuine and substantive dialogue concerning the great truths of the faith and particularly our understanding thereof.”
[Read the full response here]
“Living Stream Ministry and the ‘local churches’ (also known as The Lord’s Recovery), both founded by the late Witness Lee, have been involved for decades in legal and theological controversies with noted Christian institutions and leaders. In light of this history of litigation and conflict, we the undersigned make this public appeal.”
from “An Open Letter...”