Aberrant Teachings and Sects Archive

Summary Critique of Mind Over Mania, MSNBC

Teen Mania Ministries (TMM), the youth organization founded by Ron Luce, was portrayed as a mind control cult in a November 6, 2011 MSNBC exposé titled Mind over Mania. In reality, the MSNBC piece is a case study in sophistry, sloppy journalism, and sensationalism. In Mind over Mania, Doug and Wendy Duncan, billed as experts […]

Is Jesus a Dummy with a Painfully Short Attention Span?

This article first appeared in the Ask Hank column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 33, number 02 (2010). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org What New Testament critic Bart Ehrman categorizes as one of his “favorite apparent discrepancies” in the Bible would be relatively easy for […]

Addressing the Open Letter’s Concerns

This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 32, number 6 (2009). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org Concerns raised in the Open Letter besides the LC’s history of initiating lawsuits with evangelical Christians include the LC’s teachings on the nature of God, the nature […]

The “Local Church” as Movement and Source of Controversy

The LC as a movement can be traced to the conversion of a bright and promising seventeen-year-old, Nee To-sheng (1903-1972), in Fuzhou (or Foochow), Fujian Province, China. “Watchman” Nee (as he became known) wholeheartedly committed his life to the service of the Lord. What Nee lacked in formal training he made up for by voracious […]

Cultic, Aberrant, or (Unconventionally) Orthodox?

During the height of the Jesus movement in the early 1970s, a young Northern California woman who had recently converted to Christ accepted an invitation to a meeting of Christians who identified themselves as “the church” in her city. When the members began to worship, this new Christian was unnerved by the group’s practice of […]

Are the Local Churches a Cult?

This article first appeared in the Ask Hank column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 32, number 6 (2009). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org On the basis of a six-year primary research project represented in part in this Special Edition of the JOURNAL, the Christian Research […]

We Were Wrong!

The JOURNAL you hold in your hand features the culmination of a six·year research project respecting a movement originally founded by a Chinese Christian named Watchman Nee. While Nee died for his Messiah in a Communist prison camp, his ministry did not die with him. Under the leadership of protege Witness Lee, Nee’s ministry and […]

Academic Intervention

This volume belongs to the “Interventions” series, which aims to confront the prevailing nihilism of the academy with a rigorous, interdisciplinary defense of central theological insights. At the root of much of this nihilism is naturalism—the thesis that the natural world is all there is. Naturalism excludes not only God, but also the soul, undermining […]

Guru Knows Best?

The influx of Eastern religious influence on Western culture is nothing new. Self-proclaimed gurus of one sort or another have long sought to export and sometimes repackage their ideologies for broader audiences. In 1893, for instance, the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, introduced Westerners to Swami Vivekananda, while Swami Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of […]

Samuel, the Witch, and the Watchtower

Biblical narrative often confronts us with the challenge of determining the accuracy of reported events. For example, is Michal to be believed when she accuses David of shamelessly disrobing in front of slave girls (2 Sam. 6:20)? Did Saul really ask the Amalekite to kill him as the Amalekite claimed (2 Sam. 1:2–10)? Whether a […]

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