In October, 2006, we reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the controversial president of the Christian Research Institute, had filed a Friend of the Court brief in which he sided with the Local Church in their legal battles against Christian authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon.
The Local Church eventually lost its petition for a rehearing of its appeal against a rejection of its $136 million defamation lawsuit against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon.
Just so it is clear: Hank Hanegraaff — president of an organization that used to defend the Christian faith against challenges from within and without — supported the Local Church (which is considered by most Evangelical scholars to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity) in its meritless lawsuit against two Christian authors who dedicated to Christian apologetics and countercult ministry.
Hanegraaff was joined by his friend Gretchen Passantino (with whom he rewrote and edition of Walter Martin‘s book, “Kingdom of the Cults” until the book was rescued and republished by the late Martin’s daughter), by John Morehead of the Neighbouring Faith Project (an apparent attempt to use cult apologist Gordon Melton ‘s so-called “missiological approach” in dealing with ‘new religious movements’), and author Ruth A. Tucker, long known for her sympathetic approach to cults as well as her criticism of Christian Research Institute founder Walter Martin.
For those who are following this ongoing issue, we have posted the amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by Hanegraaff, Passantino, Morehead, and Tucker on behalf of Living Stream and the local churches.
Much of it deals with the use of the term ‘cult.’ Hence we refer you to the Cult FAQ, published by Apologetics Index.
In particular, not the difference between theological and sociological definitions of the term.
Finally, here is why the Local Church was included in the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions — the book that lies at the heart of the legal case now supported by those who used to defend the Christian faith.