According to its website, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, is:
[..] an international, not-for-profit, trade organization serving its industry by promoting excellence and professionalism, sharing relevant data, stimulating Christian fellowship, raising the effectiveness of member houses, and equipping them to meet the needs of the changing marketplace.
However, unfortunately, there is a 'buyer beware.'
n a dangerous development, in July, 2002, the ECPA admitted Living Stream
- the publishing arm of the Local Church
which, theologically, is a cult of Christianity
- as a voting member:
In June, Living Stream executives
met religious officials in China, laying a foundation to get their publications off the cult list. Validation closer to home came in July, when the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, an industry association, admitted Living Stream as a member after a debate over Witness Lee
"We define a cult as a group with an all-powerful leader with the final word," said Doug Ross, president of the publishing trade group. "Living Stream doesn't have a single person. At one time, that may have been true, but we don't think it is today."
Note that ECPA president Doug Ross apparently does not know how to evaluate whether or not a specific group or movement is, theologically, a cult of Christianity. In the article quoted above, Ross merely refers to just one
of many sociological characteristics of a cult
. The fact that ECPA has admitted Living Stream
as a member shows that the ECPA's principals either a) do not know how to discern between orthodoxy and heresy, and are therefore unaware of the group's heretical
teachings, or b) have no qualms about promoting heresy.
That said, according to the ECPA's website
, among the qualifications for a "voting member" is that the publisher provides literature "which promotes, encourages, confirms, defends, or establishes the individual in his or her Christian belief of evangelical Christianity in general, and is not in conflict with the Association's Statement of Faith
Clearly, the folks at ECPA dropped the ball on this one. Evangelical Christians, whether members of ECPA or not, must address this serious error in judgment.
LSM's signing of the ECPA
statement of faith "means very little," said investigative journalist, author and cult-watcher Richard Abanes
. "Many doctrinally aberrant
organizations could do the same thing. The [ECPA faith] statement only deals in general terms using language that such organizations could agree to given how they radically re-define doctrinal terms."
President James K. Walker said: "Evangelicals should be very cautious about accepting Living Stream Ministry or the Local Church of Witness Lee as one of us."