The Living Word Fellowship
A map of Living Word centres worldwide
|Type||Religious and commercial|
Founder and leader
|John Robert Stevens|
The Living Word Fellowship is a group of nondenominational Christian churches located in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico, which stem from the Pentecostal tradition. Some disagree that the fellowship is nondenominational, instead believing it to be a form of Protestant Christianity. It has sometimes been described as a new religious movement, and has been labelled a cult by the Christian countercult movement.
The group was founded in South Gate, California, by John Robert Stevens in 1951. It has been known in the past informally as "The Walk" or "This Walk," reflecting the biblical view that every Christian should have a personal walk with Jesus Christ, from I John 1:6-7. The fellowship celebrates the Jewish Old Testament festivals, and "It believes in the inerrancy of the Scripture, in the Trinity, in Christ's saving work, and in the various gifts and ministries of the Spirit as taught by the apostle Paul."
At its peak in the 1970s, the fellowship had about 100 member congregations. Its oversight was centered at Shiloh, a farm and retreat site near Washington, Iowa. Membership declined after founder Stevens' death in 1983, and it now seems to comprise around ten primary churches.
In November, 2018, Gary Hargrave announced his resignation following a sexual misconduct scandal taking place within the churches of the Living Word Fellowship. Hargrave published a letter from himself on the church's main website, at https://www.thelivingword.org/tlwf/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/An_apology_from_Gary_Hargrave.pdf. The church published a response regarding the sexual misconduct revelations, at https://www.thelivingword.org/response-to-the-allegations-of-sexual-misconduct-by-a-member-of-our-leadership/. ####
- Churches in The Living Word Fellowship, Living Word Fellowship website
- George D. Chryssides, Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements, Second Edition (Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2011), 93.
- Another Gospel: Cults, Alternative Religions, and the New Age Movement by Ruth A. Tucker, Zondervan, 2004, ISBN 0-310-25937-1, pages 360–362
- A Brief History of the Living Word Fellowship, Living Word Fellowship website
Open Letter to The Living Word Fellowship Congregation
The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck