Shortcomings of an Open Letter (1) – “We Were Wrong”

It’s difficult to admit you’re wrong. Especially if you’re a major Christian organization that claims to be a research institute, like the Christian Research Institute (CRI).

In the following video, Hank and Elliot discuss an Open Letter concerning the Local Churches and how seventy Christian scholars and ministry leaders could be wrong. Elliot describes the early research done by CRI and commented, “That they [the open letter signers] would be wrong only follows since they’re building their conclusions on our original work, and we were wrong.”

The quote in context is:

You see, it was on the basis of our research primarily, that the whole body of literature on the Local Church was built. And the quotations that appear in this open letter, we’re very familiar with, because we unearthed a lot of those. So, to me, that they would be wrong only follows since they’re building their conclusions on our original work. And we were wrong.

Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, says:

And Elliot, one of the things that has taken place publicly and is now being roundly disseminated through the internet is an open letter by seventy Christians who are openly asking Witness Lee and his followers; Witness Lee, of course, not alive anymore, but the movement to renounce their heretical teachings. And the first question that always comes to my mind when you see a letter like this is how can seventy Christians be wrong? Particularly on something that these Christians know a lot about, and that is, the nature of God. How could they have missed the import of Witness Lee’s words; such that they’re saying his words are downright heretical?

We Were WrongElliot Miller, Editor in Chief of Christian Research Institute, says:

Well, you know, Hank, when you ask that question, my response is that something that I personally find even more amazing than the idea that seventy Christians (and not just Christians, but many of these people are leading scholars, apologists, thinkers, counter-cult workers) that they could be wrong. To me, it’s even more amazing that I could be wrong. And I was wrong, you see. And so was Gretchen Passantino, our colleague, who worked with me under Walter Martin here in the 1970’s. And who, with her husband, Bob, did the original research on the Local Church movement. They actually wrote the very first critique of it in 1975. You see, it was on the basis of our research primarily, that the whole body of literature on the Local Church was built. And the quotations that appear in this open letter, we’re very familiar with, because we unearthed a lot of those. So, to me, that they would be wrong only follows since they’re building their conclusions on our original work. And we were wrong.

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