2. We Were Wrong 我们错了

1) Q. The Local Churches were mentioned in an Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. Why was this harmful?
A. The misstatements of fact and defamatory nature of ECNR caused severe, unmerited harm to the local churches, particularly to members in China denied freedom of religion and other basic human rights, including being imprisoned.

2) Q. Apologists who opposed the local churches have admitted they were wrong. What about those who haven’t?
A. Those who have admitted that they were wrong, pray that other apologists will rescind their condemnation, if not reengage the issue to the same depth. Those who oppose risk either being guilty of accusing a brother or of falsely embracing a heretic.

3) Q. Problems were encountered because of the local church teaching, but where did they start?
A. First, when a local church teaching that was problematic was encountered, it was assumed the problem stemmed from heresy or confusion on their part rather than misunderstanding on those investigating them.

4) Q. Although many others were quick to call the local churches a cult, why did Gretchen Passsatino and Walter Martin never do this?
A. Gretchen Passatino, Walter Martin and others always refrained from calling the local churches a cult. They preferred the term “aberrant,” and affirmed they were brothers and sisters in Christ, although they were convinced some of their teachings on essential doctrines were at best contradictory, at worst heretical.

5) Q. In addition to misunderstanding some of their teachings, what was another problem that was encountered?
A. Second, the material that was studied in the 1970s was deficient in depth and breadth. A further deficiency was more in the researchers intellectual depth and breadth at an early point in their careers than in the materials themselves.

6) Q. Nee and Lee’s theological approach seemed to be an issue. How was this the case?
A. Nee and Lee’s theological approach was different from the systematic theology of Western Christianity. Local church theology is more practically oriented; it enables a Christian to follow Christ day by day, especially under persecution or opposition, rather than describing a theoretical and rational paradigm.

7) Q. Misunderstanding of teaching was a major issue. In what other way did the researchers make error in this area?
A. They isolated the teachings of the local churches from their historical and cultural roots, mistaking some of their unique experiences as affirmations of heresy.

8) Q. Many years later, what happened when original researchers placed the local church teachings in a proper context?
A. When they properly placed the teachings of the local churches into their historical and cultural contexts, they realized the local churches did not teach the exclusivism of “we are the only true church” but instead the inclusivism of “we are only the true church, just like all true believers.”

9) Q. The researchers adjusted their views on the teachings of the local churches. Did their personal preferences also influence their initial conclusions?
A. They misjudged the local churches because they were immature, inexperienced, and sometimes insensitive. If they had engaged in personal interaction without presumed animosity, they would have discovered that the local churches’ behavior was inclusive, not exclusive.

10) Q. There were several apologists who made this re-examination. What was their conclusion?
A. Among the three living apologists who were able to make this reexamination, two have done so and come to the conclusion that they were wrong and the local churches’ teachings are not heretical; they are not cultic or a cult.
答: 三位在世还能重新检视当年研究的护教人士中,有两位已经采取了行动,并得出结论:他们错了,地方教会的教训不是异端,他们并非类似邪教,也不是邪教。

Reference: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/we-were-wrong-2/