Continuing this video series, here is the fourth video from the Christian Research Institute regarding the shortcomings of the open letter addressed to Living Stream Ministry and the Local Churches.
Hank speaks about the local churches’ affirmation of a famous axiom of Athanasius, an early church father sometimes called “the father of orthodoxy,” that “God became man to make man God,” saying that it is a double standard to accuse Witness Lee of heresy when Athanasius affirms the same thing. Furthermore, Hank says, “The Apostle Peter would be suspect for stating that we are partakers of the divine nature.”
Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, says:
Now, going to the present issue at hand with respect to the Lord’s Recovery, or the Local Churches, I started out reading a statement that people oftentimes quote with respect to what the Local Churches say regarding this sense of ‘we are God.’ I just quoted that to you and what I wanted to follow is to say to you that what is neglected is the qualifying statements that are made within the context of the local churches. ‘Nevertheless we must know that we do not share God’s Person and cannot be worshiped by others. Only God Himself has the Person of God and can be worshiped by man.’ Not only so, but as the author makes clear elsewhere, ‘it is a great heresy to say that we are made like God in His Godhead.’ That was the statement of Witness Lee, who is the primary proliferator of the Lord’s Recovery around the world. And he goes on to write, ‘From eternity to eternity He [God] remains the same in His essence. But in His economy the Triune God has changed in the sense of being processed. As such, believers are infused with the life of God and thus deified through a process involving regeneration, sanctification, renewing, transformation, conformation, and glorification.’ And of course, apart from a double standard, Athanasius of Alexandria, widely regarded as the greatest theologian of his time would likewise be accused of heresy for suggesting that the Word was made man so that we might be made God. Not only so, but the apostle Peter would be suspect for stating that we are ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:4).