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Gretchen Passantino also supports a Cult of Christianity

Pages In This Entry:

  1. A Formal Response to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association
  2. Living Stream Ministry / Local Churches respond to loss of their legal case
  3. U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Local Church Lawsuit against Harvest House
  4. Christian apologists -- Hank Hanegraaff, John Morehead, Gretchen Passantino -- defend a cult of Christianity
  5. Update: Another Local Church appeal rejected
  6. Update: Local Church Petition for Review of Defamation Lawsuit Rejected
  7. Update: Norman Geisler files Amicus Brief in Local Church case
  8. CRI's Hank Hanegraaff Supports a Cult of Christianity
  9. Gretchen Passantino also supports a Cult of Christianity
  10. CRI Statement regarding its support for the Local Church
  11. Is the Local Church a cult of Christianity?
  12. Why the Local Church was included in the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions
  13. Friend of the Court or Friend of the Cult?

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Recently it was reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the controversial president of the Christian Research Institute, supports the Local Church - which theologically is a cult of Christianity - in its legal attacks on Christians. [Details]

Hanegraaff filed an Amicus CuriaePDF file (Friend of the Court brief) on the group's behalf.

It now turns out that Hanegraaff friend Gretchen Passantino, wife of the late Bob Passantino, filed a shorter but similarly disturbing statementPDF file

Passantino writes:

I fully endorse the conclusions and concerns that my colleague, Mr. Hank Hanegraaff, expressed in his “Brief of Amicus Curiae Hank Hanegraaff in Support of the Petition for Review of The Local Church, Living Stream Ministry, et. Al.” that was previously submitted to the Court on August 7, 2006 in the matter referenced above.

Walter Martin's Daughter Comments

Jill Martin-Rische, daughter of the late Walter Martin - the founder of the Christian Research Institute which is now headed by Hank Hanegraaff - comments:

In August, 2006, Hank Hanegraaff and Gretchen Passantino filed statements with the Texas Court of Appeals in defense of the Local Church--and consequently--in support of the Local Church's position in this lawsuit.

In the 1970s my father met with Witness Lee in an effort to discuss the theology of the Local Church before he commented on it publicly. My father felt that the Local Church was dividing the Church of Jesus Christ. They were using methods of evangelizism and biblical interpretation similar to those used by the cults, and my father believed they were in serious error. Bob and Gretchen Passantino did extensive research on Witness Lee and the Local Church at my father's request. They provided him with the primary documentation he needed to challenge them. As a result of this research, my father gave his lecture on the Local Church:

Today, it seems not much has changed in the methodology and beliefs of the Local Church ( ). CRI must agree that not much has changed ( ) and yet, Hank Hanegraaff and Gretchen Passantino (Christian Apologists) decided to publicly support the Local Church against John Ankerberg and John Weldon (Christian Apologists) and men with a record for a bold defense of the Christian faith.

Why did they do this? Only God, Hank, Gretchen, and the Local Church know the answer to that.
- Source: Jill Martin Rische, Walter Martin Ministries Blog, Oct. 15, 2006 entry

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5 Responses to “Gretchen Passantino also supports a Cult of Christianity”

  1. Joshua Scott says:


    What's all this news with Hanegraff and Passantino of late? I am not shocked, but mildly surprised at this. When I worked at CRI prior to Jan. 2003, there was a statement on the Local Church by Biesner and the Passantinos outlining the abberant theology and practice of the Local Church (Jill referenced it in her response above as DL075). When you broke the first story on Hank, I checked the CRI website for that statement paper, and CRI is no longer offering it. I still have a copy of it myself, since I live only blocks from the "main headquarters" of the Local Church in Anaheim, CA. If you have any additional information or insight, I would greatly appreciate it. Do you know if Hank or CRI have commented publically about this? How can he and Gretchen say that they are not a cult of Christianity in a theological or sociological sense in light of the documentation to the contrary? Thanks for putting this news out there. Apologetics Index is in my prayers always.

    - Joshua Scott

  2. [...] I just found out that Gretchen Passantino of Answers in Action has come out in support of Hank Hanegraaff and his decision to side with The Local Church.  For further information on this and comments by Walter Martin’s daugher go here. [...]

  3. glenn wood says:

    oh for god's sake, who cares???

  4. says:

    Glenn (#3), Christians interested in sound doctrine and spiritual discernment care. Non-Christians don't care about that. Too, there are lots of Christians who remain spiritually immature. Some of them don't care, and others simply are unaware of the need for discernment.

    For Christians not caring that a group that identifies itself as 'Christian' does not adhere to sound doctrine (let alone practice), is like not caring that a restaurant servers tuna instead of the advertised steak -- or worst, mixes inedible ingredients through its meals.

  5. Robert Wayne Wood says:

    True, if we do not learn to discern we will be the next ones falling for something like the Local Church. We live in an age and stage of Christianity that wants its ears tickled, as scripture predicted so long ago. We need more exegetical and expositional preaching and teaching. We need more teaching to get grounded deep in Bible Doctrine and Theology or else these deceptions are only going to worsen. Thank you and God bless you for you website and ministry. Elkin, NC

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This post was last updated: Mar. 13, 2011