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On December 31, 2001, The Local Church, The Local Churches, and Living Stream Ministry filed a $136 million defamation lawsuit in the state of Texas against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon. In their suit, The Local Church claimed that the book the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions was libelous in regard to them. On January 5, 2006, the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas issued an opinion in favor of Harvest House Publishers and its authors. Though the Local Churches and Living Stream Ministry appealed to the Texas and US Supreme Courts, their case was not heard, and the appellate opinion stands.
The lawsuit was long and arduous, but the resulting ruling is important to publishing and freedom of speech. Therefore, we have decided to keep these "Corporate Statements" posted on our website as a resource to those who have questions concerning the outcome of the lawsuit and why Harvest House did not retreat or settle.
At the time of the ruling in favor of Harvest House, Bob Hawkins, Jr., president of Harvest House Publishers, stated, "We hope this ruling will encourage other authors, publishers, and broadcasters to stand strong in their convictions and to continue engaging in responsible dialogue concerning controversial topics without fear of intimidating lawsuits."