Here’s another video from the Christian Research Institute’s YouTube channel. During a Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank Hanegraaff went to the phone lines for open questions. The first is from Scott and concerns the local churches related to the Watchman Nee and Witness Lee movement and their teachings.
Hello. I was wondering if you could tell me what you think about the local churches that are related to the Watchman Nee and Witness Lee movement, including whether or not they just blindly, foolishly follow Watchman Nee and Witness Lee’s teachings.
My favorite quote from Hank Hanegraaff is regarding discernment ministry:
…we live in an age of information overload and therefore it’s important to learn discernment skills so that we can discern between wheat and chaff, heat and light, know that which is true and that which is false because unfortunately today internet lies travel halfway around the world before truth has had the chance to put its boots on.
Well, they do follow Watchman Nee and Witness Lee’s teachings. But their teachings turn out to be thoroughly orthodox. Certainly I have distinctions or disagreements with the local churches on secondary issues, but when it comes to the essentials of the historic Christian faith we stand shoulder to shoulder. In fact, after a six-year primary research project, which was conducted all over the world, I’ve discovered that these are often the most exemplary Christians that I have encountered in my own Christian walk. So not only do I think that they are thoroughly orthodox when it comes to essential Christian doctrine, I think there’s a lot we can learn from members of the local church in terms of their practice. Practices like pray-reading for example, which becomes a method by which they internalize the Word of God; not only get into the Word of God, but get the Word of God into them. We actually did a six-year, as I just alluded to, research project that ended up in a journal with three words splashed across its cover. Those three words are: We Were Wrong. In the early 90’s and even before, we as an organization, contributed to a fountainhead of misinformation on this group that continues to percolate to this day. And that’s why we thought it very important for us to unequivocally, not only conduct a research project that’s primary research, but also to make this well known so that people would recognize that this is a group of exemplary Christians who are seeking to experience God both in truth and in life, very much like the apostle Paul taught Timothy “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, for if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” In fact, a member within this community of faith, named Elijah has done a lot to sharpen my own thinking when it comes to life and doctrine. It is true that doctrine matters, or truth matters, but life matters as well. Again, these are two tracks that the apostle Paul trained young Timothy to run well on; or to ride well on, to extend the metaphor. We need not only right doctrine, but we also need a life and love corresponding to right doctrine.
Very good. And is that research available on your website?
To which Hank says,
Yeah, you can get it on the world-wide web at equip.org and there are two articles. One is a complete journal that is devoted to this subject based on our primary research. Another is an article that I did in a subsequent journal and it’s based on an acronym D.I.S.C.E.R.N. and I think this is an important article as well. The reason being is that we live in an age of information overload and therefore it’s important to learn discernment skills so that we can discern between wheat and chaff, heat and light, know that which is true and that which is false because unfortunately today internet lies travel halfway around the world before truth has had the chance to put its boots on.