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05-24-2015 07:43 PM
Terry
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Witness Lee's goal was to have the Recovery filled with one-talented members, who could only speak in the meetings if spoon-fed his materials, and himself, the mota-member "extraordinaire."

Lee was threatened by the two- five- and ten-talented members who could minister quite well without him. These ones were rivals that needed to be "dealt with." He would always claim that these ones were "doing their own thing." The system he created was designed to neutralize these gifted ones and nullify their function. Why is it that no one ever stood up and complained about Witness Lee "doing his own thing" and forcing the rest of us to join in?
So true. One difference between LSM churches and non-LSM churches is in non-LSM churches church leaders try to help members in the congregation discover and develop their spiritual gifts. In LSM churches at least by my observation tend to belittle spiritual gifts as being independent. Yet we weren't all given the same spiritual gifts.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
06-20-2013 02:22 PM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Here is a testimony from someone who met with the LCs for quite a few years. You can see what happened when fervor turned to fear.

Anyone who knew the saints in the church in Berkeley during those days can testify we were crazy lovers of Christ and each other.Then,an unusual event happened a few years after we arrived.Bro.Lee had sent some "new elders"to the church in Berkeley without telling the original elders.

Psalm
11:2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.
11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Latter I found out it was because "they"were more absolute for Bro.Lee's Ministry.Within 1 week of this situation ,there was a huge fallout.The original elders along with half the saints left the local church.
Psalm
12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
12:2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak...
12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
As a young believer, I was confused and devastated.Some of *the dear brothers and sisters I knew and loved were gone.
Psalm
14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
On the Lord's meeting the remaining saints shouted ,"the Devil has been routed ,Jesus is Lord!"and,"We are for the LOrds'Recovery".I ,out of fear and my wife stayed in this situation, although I am ashamed that I ever participated in that meeting.
14:6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
*By that time I was starting to surrender my spiritual understanding and my conscience to obey at all costs Bro.Lee and those who followed him.Being a young believer,I visited some of the saints who had left.They were very angry and bitter that they were treated in such a manner being young believers themselves.There was nothing a little brother like me could do.Who would listen to me anyway?After this horrific weekend,it wasn't about how you were with the Lord,but it was how are you with the "ministry of Witness Lee"
Psalm
15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
15:2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
15:3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

I would add to this testimony that God will not leave your soul in hell (Ps 16:10). These experiences try you as gold is tried in the furnace. If you are faithful to the Lord He will keep you

17:9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
17:10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.
17:3 Thou hast proved mine heart;

Also, these experiences give us an opportunity for our faith to grow.

Psalm
18:29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
18:30 As for God, his way is perfect:

(Post Script: these quotes were mostly from Psalms that were sub standard by Witness Lee's opinion, all except Psalm 18. I wonder why.)
06-18-2013 02:12 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Here is a testimony from someone who met with the LCs for quite a few years. You can see what happened when fervor turned to fear.
Anyone who knew the saints in the church in Berkeley during those days can testify we were crazy lovers of Christ and each other. Then, an unusual event happened a few years after we arrived. Bro. Lee had sent some "new elders" to the church in Berkeley without telling the original elders. Later I found out this was because "they" were more absolute for Bro. Lee's Ministry.

Within 1 week of this situation, there was a huge fallout. The original elders along with half the saints left the local church. As a young believer, I was confused and devastated. Some of the dear brothers and sisters I knew and loved were gone. On the Lord's Day meeting, the remaining saints shouted, "the Devil has been routed, Jesus is Lord!" and, "We are for the Lord's Recovery." I, out of fear and my wife stayed in this situation, although I am ashamed that I ever participated in that meeting.

By that time I was starting to surrender my spiritual understanding and my conscience to obey at all costs Bro. Lee and those who followed him. Being a young believer, I visited some of the saints who had left. They were very angry and bitter that they were treated in such a manner being young believers themselves. There was nothing a little brother like me could do. Who would listen to me anyway? After this horrific weekend, it wasn't about how you were with the Lord, but it was how are you with the "ministry of Witness Lee."

In this instance you have Christian believers who have the Lord's speaking, both in their conscience and in the Holy Bible, being overturned by the demands of others. You have people who literally turned their lives over to their church group, as if it were equivalent to God Himself, being told, "Go along or get out." If they left the church group it would be equivalent to leaving God; but if they remained within the group in this situation, as many did, their ability to function as Christians was deeply circumscribed, if not nullified.

Now it was no longer the Lord, the Word, the Spirit, or their conscience, as the controlling factor in their Christian journey, but rather what leadership wanted. This became their "new speaking" within the group, and as Ohio said it led to a complete redefinition what it meant to be a functioning Christian.
And we heard the story from Berkeley that Max Rapoport tried to destroy the church there, and Witness Lee stepped in to restore it. It's no wonder that the Bible requires a couple eye-witnesses before passing judgment.
06-17-2013 05:26 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Fascinating connection between the Sanhedrin's use of fear to silence the gospel and Lee's use of fear to silence his critics. Both were very effective ... for a season. The proper "functioning of the members" in the Recovery has basically been redefined as their ability to publicly repeat the teachings...
Here is a testimony from someone who met with the LCs for quite a few years. You can see what happened when fervor turned to fear.

Anyone who knew the saints in the church in Berkeley during those days can testify we were crazy lovers of Christ and each other.Then,an unusual event happened a few years after we arrived.Bro.Lee had sent some "new elders"to the church in Berkeley without telling the original elders.Latter I found out it was because "they"were more absolute for Bro.Lee's Ministry.Within 1 week of this situation ,there was a huge fallout.The original elders along with half the saints left the local church .As a young believer, I was confused and devastated.Some of *the dear brothers and sisters I knew and loved were gone.On the Lord's meeting the remaining saints shouted ,"the Devil has been routed ,Jesus is Lord!"and,"We are for the LOrds'Recovery".I ,out of fear and my wife stayed in this situation, although I am ashamed that I ever participated in that meeting.

*By that time I was starting to surrender my spiritual understanding and my conscience to obey at all costs Bro.Lee and those who followed him.Being a young believer,I visited some of the saints who had left.They were very angry and bitter that they were treated in such a manner being young believers themselves.There was nothing a little brother like me could do.Who would listen to me anyway?After this horrific weekend,it wasn't about how you were with the Lord,but it was how are you with the "ministry of Witness Lee"


In this instance you have Christian believers who have the Lord's speaking, both in their conscience and in the Holy Bible, being overturned by the demands of others. You have people who literally turned their lives over to their church group, as if it were equivalent to God Himself, being told, "Go along or get out." If they left the church group it would be equivalent to leaving God; but if they remained within the group in this situation, as many did, their ability to function as Christians was deeply circumscribed, if not nullified.

Now it was no longer the Lord, the Word, the Spirit, or their conscience, as the controlling factor in their Christian journey, but rather what leadership wanted. This became their "new speaking" within the group, and as Ohio said it led to a complete redefinition what it meant to be a functioning Christian.
06-15-2013 08:39 AM
Ohio
Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Currently, my answer tends toward John 7:13: "But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews", and John 12:42: "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him... but... they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue..."
Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Here is a good example of the "nullification of the function of the body members", from a post in the 'Psalms' thread where I asked how a teaching which ignored Jesus Christ in the Psalms could get unquestioningly received by so many intelligent Christian believers.
Fascinating connection between the Sanhedrin's use of fear to silence the gospel and Lee's use of fear to silence his critics. Both were very effective ... for a season.

The proper "functioning of the members" in the Recovery has basically been redefined as their ability to publicly repeat the teachings of Lee. Going back to the Bible directly, without the use of Lee as an intermediary, has been called a "tactic of the enemy." Fear has been installed into the members ... and periodically "refreshed" via quarantines ... that no teaching apart from Lee is at all safe for LC consumption. Any thoughts to the contrary are quickly dismissed as images of Moses' curse on Ham and Meriam's leprosy spring to mind, thus preventing even the notion that Lee might be off in some area.

One of life's greatest aberrations is the belief in the Recovery that the only true functioning members of the body of Christ are the ones proficiently repeating the teachings of Lee.
06-15-2013 06:31 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Here is a good example of the "nullification of the function of the body members", from a post in the 'Psalms' thread where I asked how a teaching which ignored Jesus Christ in the Psalms could get unquestioningly received by so many intelligent Christian believers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
how could so many people who were otherwise possessed of critical faculties be so oblivious to a teaching which is very shallow and inadequate? And, especially, when it is void of the very Christ whom they profess to seek?

Currently, my answer tends toward John 7:13: "But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews", and John 12:42: "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him... but... they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue..."

Ironically, the ministry which is supposed to free people from the bondage of the clergy/laity system put them into the silence of fear: don't mention that the emperor's teachings have no clothes. Don't be "negative", or "critical".

I suspect that within the Lee crowd there were/are some who believe that there is "more Christ" in the text than what has been officially pronounced. They believe this, but because of trepidation they won't speak it.
06-14-2013 04:10 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Based on all the evidence I have read, I hesitate to agree that [merchandising] was the primary motive. The root cause seems to be two-fold. Firstly to prove that all those western missionary boards in China had gone astray, and then secondly to prove that young Chinese intellectuals could outsmart those overseas British.
WN did outsmart the British, at least initially: his movement grew and theirs waned. So the "blessing" seemed to verify the initial leading.

And I have no doubt that when sister Peace Wang (and others) ministered, it put a thrill in the heart of young Chinese Christians, WL included. So mercantilism wasn't the initial, or primary, motive. But it was there. Because when a young American brother inherited money, Daystar motorhomes appeared. And Daystar wasn't an anomaly but part of a long series of such efforts, spanning decades and continents. So the profit motive existed, clearly.
06-14-2013 02:01 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
My assertion is that if there were no profit motive in the LSM / LRC then their would be no "ground of the church" doctrine.
Based on all the evidence I have read, I hesitate to agree that this was the primary motive. The root cause seems to be two-fold. Firstly to prove that all those western missionary boards in China had gone astray, and then secondly to prove that young Chinese intellectuals could outsmart those overseas British. Ego and pride seem to have taken precedence over the love of money. But, of course, as time went on, the perks of a healthy payroll were hard to pass up.

Witness Lee's early business failures seem to verify this. I think he truly believed that whatever businesses he initially embarked on were not for filthy lucre, but for the furtherance of the Lord's move thru him. Lee had grandiose ideas that God would bless his every endeavor. How could he not be blessed from on high since he had succeeded Nee as the Minister of the Age? When things went sour, he naturally felt that he was above the law, since he ministered for the Lord.
06-14-2013 05:56 AM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Thank you for this excellent example, precisely the point I was making. Here is a group that has a wonderful function. Obviously you would not "give credit" to WL for the Lord's move but by noting this as you have you have certainly shown the value of "reviving the function" of the Body, and that "the very open practices" accompanied this revival. Hence, "the very open practices" did not nullify the functions.

What it is that we hate about the LRC is the arrogant attitude associated with the "ground of the church" doctrine and the pathetic way in which it is implemented. Your example illustrates this beautifully. My point is that this doctrine supports a profit motive. It is the doctrine that gives LSM a monopoly and the basis on which the LSM faithful claim their ministry is essential. As a result there is a "standing order" of LSM books which is critical to their financial health. The average saint that I knew in the LRC would have been thrilled to meet and fellowship with other like minded Christians. That is the normal sense of any new believer. However, coming into contact with groups who have a "rich heritage" would undermine WL's status, as a result "the ground of the church" was a critical doctrine for new converts.

My assertion is that if there were no profit motive in the LSM / LRC then their would be no "ground of the church" doctrine. I base this on the extremely poor foundation of this teaching, which we have discussed in other threads. My feeling is that WN and WL had to have seen the error in their teaching within a year or so, and the fact that they didn't implies a willful disregard of the truth. That in turn reminds me of Sinclair Lewis famous line "it is hard for a man to see the truth if his job requires that he doesn't".
06-13-2013 06:51 PM
james73
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
Perhaps the ministry of WL and WN should be given some credit for this development, at the very least it should be noted that Christianity has moved closer to the expression propounded by WL and WN.
Why should the ministry be given credit for something which had nothing to do with them? Should they be given credit for the 1950s "revival" in the Church of England, which saw the challenges of traditional "preacher/parish" tackled by the bishops? Seems unlikely, given the time period. According to accounts from bishops at the time, this move was entirely sparked by prayer and the Holy Spirit following the bombing of Coventry Cathedral in the Second World War. I doubt any of the people involved with this in Coventry at the time had ever heard of either WN or WL.

Funny, too, that when the WN/WL "saints" came to Coventry, instead of examining the status of the local church and finding out about this rich history and the very open practices adopted by the cathedral, they simply planted their own pathetically small group meeting, claiming the city as their ground. Claiming themselves as "the church in Coventry".

Perhaps as an aside, is there any audit-able research work required before a local church can do this? How long do they need to spend examining the local ground before establishing their "own" thing? Because in Coventry, there was no evidence they even looked around first.

It was this discovery which began turning me away from LC, witnessing the sad proud little state of the home meeting, while a few miles away lay one of the greatest hearts of Christianity I've ever experienced, a church WN no doubt would have fully enjoyed and supported. Yes, it had a name, it would be hard to "de-name" a Church of England property. But that aside, it was a beautiful example of Christian fellowship and the leading of the spirit. And all that work was effectively "nullified" by the saints who ignored it and claimed the city as their own. Luckily for the real church in Coventry, those LSM saints are making very little impact in the city, although their base is (of course!) very close to the University and they do reach a lot of Chinese exchange students there......... no doubt pollute them about the evils of the church of England before they get a chance to see for themselves.

Anyway, good stuff Aron, keep it up, enjoying your sharing. Sorry if this is a little off topic, I also had a million comments on your first couple of posts but others have said it better.
06-13-2013 05:10 PM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Of course it wasn't your experience. I used a gross oversimplification (my forte, I know). But I think it plays into my point about WL's characterization of 'Christianity' having 'nullified the function of the members of the body'. I think quite a few (millions?) of the members of the body meeting with 'Christianity' could reply to WL, "That wasn't my experience."



WL did. That was the thrust of the 'pitiful Christianity' theme. WL was presenting us with a superior mousetrap. Supposedly, in his system, the members of the body functioned, unlike elsewhere. My thesis is that his characterization of 'pitiful Christianity' was grossly in error, and at the very least what shortcomings were and are in 'Christianity' could be applied as well to his vaunted 'local church life'.

WL in this instance reminds me of the guy who begged for forgiveness when found short, then turned around and started choking his neighbor who owed him. See e.g. Matt 18:21-35.
My concern is that we see there is error and so assume it was all in error. Wycliffe felt that everyone should be able to read the Bible. At the time he translated the Bible it was illegal to do so, and for his crime he was ultimately deemed a heretic and his bones burned (occurred years after he died). I think we would all agree that Wycliffe was right, that keeping the Bible from the Body will nullify their function, and that putting the Bible into their hands will support their function.

However, this was not a "magic bullet". 700 years later we are complaining about "nullifying" the function of the Body even though every member had the word of God in their hands. It was right to put the Bible into everyone's hands, it was wrong to think that this would be the end of the spiritual warfare over the function of the Body.

Many of the reformers had light that was based on freeing the Body to function to a greater extent, yet years later the denominations carrying their names are, to some extent, nullifying their function. This doesn't mean that we aren't justified by faith, or that their isn't a presbytery, it just means that the spiritual battle continues. These doctrines are not some kind of magic formula.

Yes, WL's arrogance is worthy of rebuke. Yes, he pointed one finger at Christianity and didn't realize the other 3 were pointed at himself. But that doesn't mean there isn't truth to the idea of "whenever we come together each one has...".

To me the error is the thought that "godliness is a means of financial gain". The error is "making merchandise of the saints". It is the error of Balaam, becoming a prophet for hire. The denominations and established Christian churches are huge business. There is a single Episcopal church in Manhattan (I am referring to a single congregation, not the entire denomination) which has their funds handled by a Wall Street firm, this account is worth billions of dollars, growing tax free (Trinity Church disclosed assets in excess of $2 billion in 2011 during a lawsuit). The money in these "churches" is without any question in my mind the single most damaging aspect to their testimony. You can see the same error in WL's ministry.

Everyone comes up with ways to justify it. We need a training center. Really? Did that do any good? We'll have all these books in print and then when the tribulation comes all the believers who are left behind will realize they were in error and then they will come and get the LSM books.

The money is the root of all sorts of evil in LSM, LRC and to a much larger extent in Christianity.
06-13-2013 04:16 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
One real weakness in my argument is that I can't quote you chapter and verse from some WL speech or book where he said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified". But I heard it often... it was part of his "Christianity is pitiful" mantra.
I did a Google search and found a WL quote, from page 264 of "Bearing Remaining Fruit" (1984):

"The way of Christianity is first to completely nullify the function of the members of Christ. Second, it is to thoroughly abolish the strength of the activity in the Body of Christ, causing every member of the Body to be bound."

In this section, WL was speaking about gospel-preaching in Taiwan in 1949. From this basis, he made a statement about 'Christianity' 35 years later, and which his acolytes would probably still claim as valid.

I'm sure I could pull up a dozen such quotes. I heard this theme all the time.
06-13-2013 03:58 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Actually aron I think you had it quite right the first time. I think your first post gets us to the lowest common denominators as far as the practical Christian experience of the Trinity goes.
Yes; perhaps it was simple enough originally. In any event the scriptures are essential. And my main problem with the ministry of WL (hypocrisy aside) is that the function of his ministry caused us to look away from the words of scripture, and the Christ revealed therein.

I have gone into detail elsewhere on this forum about how Jesus Christ is arguably revealed in the Bible, both in type and in plain language, only to have WL wave the text away as 'natural' and even 'fallen'.

Our ability as sheep to hear our Master's voice, and to "see Jesus" (Heb 2:9), was therefore nullified by WL's ministry. "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?" (Rom 10:14a)

Of course, seeing the truth in scripture doesn't guarantee obedience. But how can you obey the Master if you don't see Him in the text, revealed before you? How can you follow the Shepherd if you don't hear His voice? How can you function as a member of the body?
06-13-2013 03:45 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Anaheim, however, operated under the delusion that all members were dedicated and "functioning" mainly because they had a steady stream of the Recovery's "finest" into their FTTA, and an irregular influx of emigres moving there to "support the ministry." Too bad Lee and Co. never visited the LC's to see the devastating effects of their failed programs.
I mentioned the time I visited of the LC's that I was quite familiar with, about 15 years later. All the 'young ones' were gone; either they had gone to 'the world' or were 'serving full-time' far away. None of them were left in the actual local church where they were grew up.
Quote:
I still am thankful to the Lord for all the opportunities which I had to speak for the Lord in the meetings.
Same here. I deliberately began this thread mentioning what a positive experience I had there. But I strongly disagree with WL's poor characterization of 'Christianity', which seemed to serve his interests rather than the truth.

Quote:
The short speakings after the message was another story. Much of that was good, but often it was mere repetition to occupy the time.
As long as your repetion was loud, with clenched fists and/or waving arms, you were "functioning as a member of the body".
06-13-2013 01:39 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
I will cede the fact that "pew sitting" was generally bashed in the LRC. However, that cannot be equated to listening to a speaker, as we did that all the time.
We were so proud of the fact that we sat in seats and not in pews.
06-13-2013 01:35 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
My point on a straw man is that it involves gross oversimplification and misrepresentation. If WL said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified", we imagine a church full of people sitting quietly while a paid clergy member gives them a speech. This is in fact what happens with WL's ministry. We all sat quietly and said nothing while he gave speeches.

One real weakness in my argument is that I can't quote you chapter and verse from some WL speech or book where he said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified". But I heard it often enough so that I can repeat his words with some confidence. I heard this point made repeatedly; it was part of his "Christianity is pitiful" mantra.
This is just another case of Witness Lee presenting a picture of Christianity that was simply not true. Every congregation of believers has a core of dedicated members working behind the scenes, and every congregation has those ones who are inactive. You are kidding yourselves if you think otherwise about the Recovery. WL and the Blendeds in Anaheim, however, operated under the delusion that all members were dedicated and "functioning" mainly because they had a steady stream of the Recovery's "finest" into their FTTA, and an irregular influx of emigres moving there to "support the ministry." Too bad Lee and Co. never visited the LC's to see the devastating effects of their failed programs.

I still am thankful to the Lord for all the opportunities which I had to speak for the Lord in the meetings. I will always prefer a church leadership which promotes the abilities in all the saints to speak for the Lord. Yes there are downfalls and shortcomings, but when practiced with much outside of the meeting preparation, the benefits far outweigh any downside. That said, many who spoke in meetings did not adequately prepare. They just spouted off first thing that came to mind to fill the time.

Trainings in Anaheim were different. The primary reason for tests were to force the attendees to study. It was a logistical means to corral the many young people who went. Perhaps they should not have gone, but the Lord did use those times to touch the hearts of young people. The short speakings after the message was another story. Much of that was good, but often it was mere repetition to occupy the time.
06-13-2013 01:34 PM
UntoHim
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Now, let me propose an alternative. In the scriptures, I see three mediatorial agencies between God and man. First, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. "There is one mediator between God and man, and that is the man Christ Jesus." "There is no other name given by which man may be saved." Etc. Etc. That seems pretty basic, and pretty clear.

Second, there is the Word of God. God's word reveals His Son, who in turn reveals the Father to us. In fact, the New Testament even calls Jesus Christ the incarnated Word. The Word of God shows us Jesus Christ, and Jesus shows us the things of the Father. Again, pretty basic.

Third, there is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he was going back to the Father's house, and would send us the Spirit, who would guide us into all the true experiences of the Father's kingdom. Thus, in the absence of the physical Jesus, whom the disciples had for 3+ years, the disciples today have the indwelling Spirit leading us through the scriptures. Again, the Spirit shows us Jesus, who shows us our Father in heaven.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
In the interests of simplification, I think we can even eliminate the scripture (the written word) as a 'mediatorial agent'. The Son of God and the Holy Spirit suffice. The written word testifies; it is a witness. The Son, the incarnated Word, along with His sent Spirit, is our guide.
Just trying to clean house. I usually write as I think, and often I look back and realize that I can neaten it up.
Actually aron I think you had it quite right the first time. I think your first post gets us to the lowest common denominators as far as the practical Christian experience of the Trinity goes. I noted that at the beginning you stated "In the scriptures, I see three mediatorial agencies between God and man" So after all my brother, I hope you can see that you could have hardly gotten to the 1st and 3rd mediators without the 2nd! Anyway, I think we all know where you were going with this and I appreciate this thread very much.

You have described quite well and very succinctly the irony (actually hypocrisy) of Lee and his followers claiming that most of Christian churches practices cause the "nullification of the function of the body members", when in fact it is the practices in the Local Church that do the very same thing.
06-13-2013 01:21 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
That wasn't my experience. .
Of course it wasn't your experience. I used a gross oversimplification (my forte, I know). But I think it plays into my point about WL's characterization of 'Christianity' having 'nullified the function of the members of the body'. I think quite a few (millions?) of the members of the body meeting with 'Christianity' could reply to WL, "That wasn't my experience."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
Who said it was superior?
WL did. That was the thrust of the 'pitiful Christianity' theme. WL was presenting us with a superior mousetrap. Supposedly, in his system, the members of the body functioned, unlike elsewhere. My thesis is that his characterization of 'pitiful Christianity' was grossly in error, and at the very least what shortcomings were and are in 'Christianity' could be applied as well to his vaunted 'local church life'.

WL in this instance reminds me of the guy who begged for forgiveness when found short, then turned around and started choking his neighbor who owed him. See e.g. Matt 18:21-35.
06-13-2013 12:59 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
Home meetings, non denominational churches, and inter denominational fellowship are all practices that have grown dramatically in the last 30-40 years. Perhaps the ministry of WL and WN should be given some credit for this development, at the very least it should be noted that Christianity has moved closer to the expression propounded by WL and WN.
Perhaps WL & co should have been paying attention for "the last 30 or 40 years". Perhaps then they would have sung a different tune.
06-13-2013 12:52 PM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
My point on a straw man is that it involves gross oversimplification and misrepresentation. If WL said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified", we imagine a church full of people sitting quietly while a paid clergy member gives them a speech. This is in fact what happens with WL's ministry. We all sat quietly and said nothing while he gave speeches. Afterward, we lined up next to the microphone and read portions of the outline. Is that functioning? Was that why God put me in the body?
That wasn't my experience. His ministry was for 50 years. That may have describe the last couple of years, but I was in the FTTT in 1987-1995, which would certainly have to be considered part of his ministry, and this doesn't in any way describe the experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Or, home/college/small group meetings. How is that different than when I went to someone's house and we watched a Joyce Meyer video, and we talked about it afterward? Aren't these Christians functioning just like the ones at the 'local church' home meeting who collectively read a chapter from WL's "Life Lessons"? Or who watch a streaming video from Anaheim?

Or riding together in a car to a conference. How inherently superior is it, really, to the IHOP fellowship at some Baptist or Presbyterian church?
Who said it was superior? While in Odessa we used to get together Saturday morning at one of these Christian breakfast fellowship meetings at a town about 45 miles from Odessa. Getting up early with a car load of brothers, driving to a small town and fellowshipping with other brothers meeting in Christian churches was an excellent experience. No one said it was superior to any other fellowship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
In order to make an argument, WL had to create a grossly oversimplified mental construct which in no way matched the complexity of what is actually taking place on the street. If he did, he's see it didn't look all that different from his own system.
That in a nutshell is why I object to these statements. They are a gross oversimplification that in no way matched the complexity of my experience in the LRC. Although you could argue that no one ever encouraged saints to go traveling to visit and fellowship with other Christians, I always reasoned that this was a matter of growth. When you speak to the entire congregation it includes those who are newly saved. I was in fellowship with many others in the church (Houston, Odessa, NY) so they knew what I was doing. No one in authority ever discouraged me from these activities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
One real weakness in my argument is that I can't quote you chapter and verse from some WL speech or book where he said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified". But I heard it often enough so that I can repeat his words with some confidence. I heard this point made repeatedly; it was part of his "Christianity is pitiful" mantra.
I will cede the fact that "pew sitting" was generally bashed in the LRC. However, that cannot be equated to listening to a speaker, as we did that all the time. What we saw as a fundamental difference was that in most meetings of the LRC there was a good opportunity for anyone/everyone to speak. Usually they had at least 15-30 minutes at the end of a meeting. However, speaking in a church meeting was not something that I had ever experienced previously in my experience in Christianity. Home meetings, non denominational churches, and inter denominational fellowship are all practices that have grown dramatically in the last 30-40 years. Perhaps the ministry of WL and WN should be given some credit for this development, at the very least it should be noted that Christianity has moved closer to the expression propounded by WL and WN.
06-13-2013 11:33 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
the teaching concerning Christianity is not a "straw man". The history of Christianity is full of errors. It is critical that we learn from them, hence our involvement on this forum.
My point on a straw man is that it involves gross oversimplification and misrepresentation. If WL said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified", we imagine a church full of people sitting quietly while a paid clergy member gives them a speech. This is in fact what happens with WL's ministry. We all sat quietly and said nothing while he gave speeches. Afterward, we lined up next to the microphone and read portions of the outline. Is that functioning? Was that why God put me in the body?

Or, home/college/small group meetings. How is that different than when I went to someone's house and we watched a Joyce Meyer video, and we talked about it afterward? Aren't these Christians functioning just like the ones at the 'local church' home meeting who collectively read a chapter from WL's "Life Lessons"? Or who watch a streaming video from Anaheim?

Or riding together in a car to a conference. How inherently superior is it, really, to the IHOP fellowship at some Baptist or Presbyterian church?

In order to make an argument, WL had to create a grossly oversimplified mental construct which in no way matched the complexity of what is actually taking place on the street. If he did, he's see it didn't look all that different from his own system.

One real weakness in my argument is that I can't quote you chapter and verse from some WL speech or book where he said, "In Christianity, the function of the members of the body has been nullified". But I heard it often enough so that I can repeat his words with some confidence. I heard this point made repeatedly; it was part of his "Christianity is pitiful" mantra.
06-13-2013 10:43 AM
UntoHim
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
Third, the teaching concerning Christianity is not a "straw man". The history of Christianity is full of errors. It is critical that we learn from them, hence our involvement on this forum.
Yes, the history of Christianity is full of errors because the history of man is full of errors. (and by the way the history of Christianity is part of the history of man) This is also why the Local Church of Witness Lee is full of errors....because they ARE part of the history of Christianity. All true, born again Christians, Catholics and protestants alike, are the Body of Christ and are in fact part of Christianity, and no amount of jumping up and down, pumping our fists and yelling at the top of our lungs is going to change this fact.

I don't think we should be concerning ourselves so much with the errors of Christianity in general, the errors of Lee and the LSM/Local Church should keep us busy enough for the rest of our natural born lives! There is only so much time and bandwidth after all. Besides, our dear brothers and sisters in the Local Churches are already familiar with all the "errors of poor, poor Christianity" - what they are in desperate need of is to see the errors of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.

If you love somebody, if you really care for them you will tell them the truth. And yes, sometimes the truth does hurt. Such is the "predicament" we find ourselves in regarding our brothers and sisters in the Local Church. Shall we remain silent and let them continue in their error? Many of us know all too well where the errors lead.
06-12-2013 06:41 PM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
This is what I was trying to get at. The function (i.e. "ministry") of one of the gifted members (WL) was allowed to subsume the functions of all the rest. And we were told to function, but only in the manner prescribed by the uber-minister WL. Actually your word -- 'restrict' -- was used quite often, as I recall. It was presented as synonymous with 'the cross', something we needed to receive, per Jesus himself. And to top it off, all of this was compared with WL's straw man of 'Christianity' where "the functions of the all the members of the body have been annulled." As they say, LOL.
First of all, who is "telling you to function" in a certain way? Your function should be an outgrowth of your relationship with Christ. If your function is at the direction of some man then that, by definition, is religion.

Second, any genuine function of the Spirit is going to involve a spiritual battle. Yes, you need fellowship, but in the end you must heed your spirit and the Lord's anointing. If you make a mistake the Lord can use that to train you, but if you disconnect from the Lord and take your orders from some man then your spiritual service is over. For example, when I was in the FTTT there was a huge spiritual battle going on, lots of insinuations, incriminations, "he said she said", etc. I was sent over for one semester and decided to stay for two. The church that sent me decided to cut their support. I then decided to support myself, etc. The brother that was on my team was a lightening rod due to his success and "fame". We were told what the biggest concern was and we focused on it in the midst of this firestorm. We were very successful, as a result LSM tried to jump in and influence what we were doing, I decided to ignore their "help". I was in the Full Time Training of the LSM, I was a "trainee" and I decided to ignore their help. There is always a very fine line between rebellion and heeding the Spirit (for example Martin Luther, or even Martin Luther King Jr.).

Third, the teaching concerning Christianity is not a "straw man". The history of Christianity is full of errors. It is critical that we learn from them, hence our involvement on this forum. One of the main errors is substituting the voice of a man for the voice of the Lord.

To me, WL error is simple, it is plain, it is clearly warned about in the NT, and it was contrary to the example of the Lord and the Apostles. Using a ministry to make merchandise of the saints to me is the error. Why? Why risk having the Lord tell you at the judgement seat that "you have already received your reward"? Why risk exchanging an eternal weight of glory for a few shekels? If LSM was free then it would not have attracted those seeking to make merchandise of the saints. No one would be interested in competing with it. No jealousy if Titus or someone wants to also provide free ministry. I see no record of Jesus or Paul or Peter selling their ministry. I do see them rebuking the thought that "godliness is a means of financial gain". Suppose WL, or Titus, etc. had to get a regular job as a result, say stitching tents together to meet the big demand for tents. Would that really limit their ability to minister to the point they could never imitate Paul?

The Lord said that the Pharisees sit in Moses seat and put heavy burdens on us but don't lift them with one finger. Therefore we should do all they say, but not what they do. Yes, to follow the Lord requires that we bear the cross. It may look like an advantage for someone to sell their ministry, make a profit and devote themselves "full time" but in the end, the real ministry comes out of that communication with the Lord. If He commands to not make merchandise of the saints why would you run off in the same error as Balaam? That is not going to help your fellowship with the Lord, hence it will not help your ministry.
06-12-2013 06:40 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
In and of itself that would still be an admirable goal. The problem was the LRC was very strong to restrict the function of the talented members. No one could publish or start a ministry apart from LSM without being labeled as rebellious, and booted out. So what was taught as a way to get pew sitters to function really became a fig leaf to hide the fact that there was only room for one minister.
Witness Lee's goal was to have the Recovery filled with one-talented members, who could only speak in the meetings if spoon-fed his materials, and himself, the mota-member "extraordinaire."

Lee was threatened by the two- five- and ten-talented members who could minister quite well without him. These ones were rivals that needed to be "dealt with." He would always claim that these ones were "doing their own thing." The system he created was designed to neutralize these gifted ones and nullify their function. Why is it that no one ever stood up and complained about Witness Lee "doing his own thing" and forcing the rest of us to join in?
06-12-2013 06:29 PM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
The problem too often is that "functioning" of the members is gauged almost entirely in terms of speaking in the meetings. Yet, despite one line in 1 Corinthians 14 that has uncertain meaning, functioning of the body of Christ was not found in chapter 14, but in chapter 12. There we find that there are a multitude of ways to function. And not everyone does every one of these. And not every one does any particular one of these. Rather, the functions are dispersed among the members as it pleases God.
Great points Mike.

Meetings are just an hour or so out of a long week.
06-12-2013 03:22 PM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
LRC was very strong to restrict the function of the talented members. No one could publish or start a ministry apart from LSM without being labeled as rebellious, and booted out. So what was taught as a way to get pew sitters to function really became a fig leaf to hide the fact that there was only room for one minister. The function of the saints was stifled with this excuse.
This is what I was trying to get at. The function (i.e. "ministry") of one of the gifted members (WL) was allowed to subsume the functions of all the rest. And we were told to function, but only in the manner prescribed by the uber-minister WL. Actually your word -- 'restrict' -- was used quite often, as I recall. It was presented as synonymous with 'the cross', something we needed to receive, per Jesus himself. And to top it off, all of this was compared with WL's straw man of 'Christianity' where "the functions of the all the members of the body have been annulled." As they say, LOL.
06-12-2013 02:30 PM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
My point remains, that these 'functions' in the local churches of Lee were limited to what was delineated by Headquarters. Of course every 'locality' was different, as was the experience of every 'saint', but nonetheless the expectation was that somewhere Witness Lee had written a book or pamphlet about whatever you were doing. The ministry of Lee was a mediatorial agent in your local church life experience.

My example of 'popcorn testimonies' equaling 'functioning' in the meetings was not meant to be exhaustive by any means; it was just one of the more glaring examples, looking back.
There was a big emphasis in the LSM teaching that if you get the function of the 1 talented member then you will reap a big reward. Hence, the focus was on the lowest common denominator, not unlike todays schools.

In and of itself that would still be an admirable goal. The problem was the LRC was very strong to restrict the function of the talented members. No one could publish or start a ministry apart from LSM without being labeled as rebellious, and booted out. So what was taught as a way to get pew sitters to function really became a fig leaf to hide the fact that there was only room for one minister. The function of the saints was stifled with this excuse. I remember back in 1980 we were encouraged to write songs. The saints did, enjoyed them tremendously (singing Ephesians, Colossians, Galatians, etc), many saints got involved and then when it seemed to really take off we were told it was fleshly and it was shut down.

Also, testimonies used to be just that, a personal testimony of an experience of Christ. However, EM and RG pushed quoting RcV footnotes as a "testimony". This was based on 1Cor whenever you come together each one has a..."teaching". What this really did was make it critical for everyone to buy the RcV which was in the process of being published as a complete NT for the first time. This was a great gimmick that made the LSM much more profitable. Coincidentally, this was the exact same time that WL decided to put RG and BP in charge of LSM and JI, etal were removed. So the entire concept of testimonies was hijacked to make merchandise of the saints. It is very difficult for EM or any of that ilk to stand up and give a testimony, but reading a footnote in an animated way as though you just got some great light is easy for them. This made it easy for the Toady to thrive in the LRC. Although I think they are now called elders.
06-12-2013 01:29 PM
Unregistered
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Just some random thoughts ...
For some to get one minute after the message to speak is not all bad, Joyce Myers would never be so gracious.
I can't tell if this is negative towards Joyce Myers, or positive. I mean I can't tell if "gracious" is sarcastic.

But Joyce Myers is far more gracious than local church elders and leaders, no question. And at her conferences the re-speaking often goes on in homes and small group fellowships. People even disagree with her, and they aren't thrown out!
06-12-2013 12:54 PM
alwayslearning
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I The problem too often is that "functioning" of the members is gauged almost entirely in terms of speaking in the meetings...I would suggest that the problem with "nullification of the function of the body members" is more a matter of misinterpretation of the meaning of the function of the body members than being nullified. I would agree that within the teaching of the LRC, that is exactly what is happening. But it is based on faulty teaching that it is speaking in the meetings that constitutes functioning of the members of the body. That is not an established fact, but an unsubstantiated assumption.
I completely agree that the whole idea of functioning as a member of the Body being tied exclusively to what someone does in a meeting is a faulty teaching and puts undue pressure on people to publicly speak regardless of their personality, etc. Those who are naturally extroverted and/or comfortable speaking in public become the "heros" of the church as if that is some sort of sensible measuring stick. Not to mention what they are speaking in the LC system is nothing but the endless repetition of Witness Lee and his BB.

I have been to several churches where IMHO the idea of functioning members of the Body is much better understood and practiced than what is done in the LC system. I recall one example when a teacher/pastor/elder: "Said if the Lord puts something on your heart to do you should do it. If you need help with manpower or finances or prayer of whatever just come to us and fellowship and we'll see what we can do." Then he gave an example of a woman in their church that wanted to help the poor in the community by opening a food bank and kitchen. So she did. She registered it as a non-profit ministry and launched it. And the church quietly helped her get it up and running. Isn't this functioning as a member of the Body? And this is just one example. There are many more.

BTW I've noticed a lot of brothers and sisters who leave the LC system have a hard time relating to other Christians and other churches. I think one reason is the difficultly of getting past the negative conditioning that all places outside the LC are nothing but Babylon. But a close second is the complaint that these places don't let everybody jump up and speak in their meetings like the LC did. Truth be told most churches have home bible studies where people are free to openly speak and share what light the Lord has given them. But more importantly how about you go start a ministry? Reach out to the poor. Go on a missions trip. Write a book. Put a podcast of music together. Do something instead of complaining as if everything is measured by whether or not a church has open mike on Sunday mornings!
06-12-2013 12:35 PM
Terry
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Let me give another example. In my 'locality', one of the elders wanted to give a conference. He had picked out a book from WL which we were going to cover in depth. He had the speakers chosen, with the subjects, and so forth.
Sounds like an experience of mine. In the locality I was meeting with in the mid-90's, similar scenario. The lead elder wanted to take Witness Lee's Life Messages. This was at a time we were having many visitors. Went as far to suggest selected brothers would ask questions on the material covered. Don't know what happened to change our brother's mind, because by the next week it was back to the HWFMR. Quite frankly I was looking forward to taking the Life Messages, because I didn't think very much of HWFMR.
06-12-2013 11:29 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
despite one line in 1 Corinthians 14 that has uncertain meaning, functioning of the body of Christ was not found in chapter 14, but in chapter 12...
As an example of WL mediating our seeing the written word, I was introduced to "you can all prophesy one by one" in chapter 14 as an exhortation to get up and speak one by one. But if you look at the context of the chapter, in Corinth they were all trampling on one another, to demonstrate their "spirit". So Paul said, "Calm down; speak one by one."

But WL had another agenda so we got a different take-home message from that.

Quote:
As for examples of a church designing to have a local conference on something and being overridden by Anaheim, it just demonstrates that the denomination of the LRC (at least the LSM branch of it) is more highly regulated than most other denominations.
Well, at some point you regulate away the Shepherd's voice. Everyone has to make the assessment whether that was the case here. I saw what I saw; everyone else has their own testimony.

And I'm not saying WL didn't have a point vis-a-vis his own denominational experience. I just think he recollected a splinter, or a twig, and missed a beam or a branch right in front of him.
06-12-2013 11:16 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
So I would agree that speaking in the meeting may be the lowest level of functioning, still it is functioning. Nowhere in the NT does it ever say that spectating, or listening to a message is functioning.

I would certainly consider evangelism, shepherding and teaching as a higher level of functioning, yet speaking in the meeting can be a very good training for these other functions.
My point remains, that these 'functions' in the local churches of Lee were limited to what was delineated by Headquarters. Of course every 'locality' was different, as was the experience of every 'saint', but nonetheless the expectation was that somewhere Witness Lee had written a book or pamphlet about whatever you were doing. The ministry of Lee was a mediatorial agent in your local church life experience.

My example of 'popcorn testimonies' equaling 'functioning' in the meetings was not meant to be exhaustive by any means; it was just one of the more glaring examples, looking back.
06-12-2013 11:11 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
In the scriptures, I see three mediatorial agencies between God and man. First, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ...

Second, there is the Word of God. God's word reveals His Son, who in turn reveals the Father to us...

Third, there is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he was going back to the Father's house, and would send us the Spirit, who would guide us into all the true experiences of the Father's kingdom.. .
In the interests of simplification, I think we can even eliminate the scripture (the written word) as a 'mediatorial agent'. The Son of God and the Holy Spirit suffice. The written word testifies; it is a witness. The Son, the incarnated Word, along with His sent Spirit, is our guide.

Just trying to clean house. I usually write as I think, and often I look back and realize that I can neaten it up.
06-12-2013 09:37 AM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

When the Lord rebuked the unprofitable servant He told him he should have given His money to the bankers and then the Lord would have received his money with interest. I considered "giving the money to the bankers" to being similar to sharing in a meeting, fellowship with saints, etc. To me "bankers" is similar to the virgins storing oil in their lamps.

So I would agree that speaking in the meeting may be the lowest level of functioning, still it is functioning. Nowhere in the NT does it ever say that spectating, or listening to a message is functioning.

I would certainly consider evangelism, shepherding and teaching as a higher level of functioning, yet speaking in the meeting can be a very good training for these other functions.
06-12-2013 07:42 AM
OBW
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

I like Ohio's post as a comment on the condition of the LRC. But as a comment on Christianity as a whole, this point has a different meaning to me than to many:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
"Functioning" of the members is not just related to how much time one speaks in the meetings.
The problem too often is that "functioning" of the members is gauged almost entirely in terms of speaking in the meetings. Yet, despite one line in 1 Corinthians 14 that has uncertain meaning, functioning of the body of Christ was not found in chapter 14, but in chapter 12. There we find that there are a multitude of ways to function. And not everyone does every one of these. And not every one does any particular one of these. Rather, the functions are dispersed among the members as it pleases God.

While chapter 14 does turn the attention to the meeting, it is not defined as the place for all to function. It is the place where all join together. It was a gentile version of the Acts 2 joining in the Temple for the teaching of the apostles. There was surely more going on than just teaching, and Paul did not feel to end that. But it was not defined as the place for all to demonstrate their spirituality. Paul limited the tongues. He limited the prophets and even gave some advice concerning how they interacted. He gave order to what had been a three-ring circus with everyone doing their "thing" (which, being interpreted, would mean their "functioning").

Not all of the functions are meeting functions. And not everyone has function for the meeting in the way that Paul is speaking in these chapters. To insist that everyone is a prophet just because Paul said "I would that you all prophesy" is to insert Paul as superior to the Spirit. Paul has already indicated that it is God who gives the "gifts." Paul can wish about them all he wants, but he is not the one who gives them. To presume that the fact that Paul said it and it was written into the scripture means that God said it is a misapplication of "all scripture is God-breathed." In this case the scripture is clear. God gives Paul wishes.

I would suggest that the problem with "nullification of the function of the body members" is more a matter of misinterpretation of the meaning of the function of the body members than being nullified.

I would agree that within the teaching of the LRC, that is exactly what is happening. But it is based on faulty teaching that it is speaking in the meetings that constitutes functioning of the members of the body. That is not an established fact, but an unsubstantiated assumption.

As for examples of a church designing to have a local conference on something and being overridden by Anaheim, it just demonstrates that the denomination of the LRC (at least the LSM branch of it) is more highly regulated than most other denominations.
06-12-2013 07:38 AM
ZNPaaneah
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Let me give an example, and propose an alternative, which I see clearly presented in God's word. My example is a typical weekend 'conference'. What would happen is 2 or 3 'co-workers' would come by from Headquarters and give a series of messages. All the 'saints' from the various 'localities' would gather at one church building and listen. Usually it was Friday and Saturday night, and then Sunday morning. So there would be 3 or 4 meetings with a common theme. After each message, all the saints would get an opportunity to speak. Often they would only get a minute and somebody would bang a note on the piano if they went over their time. And the 'sharing' was supposed to be just repeating, verbatim if possible, what the co-worker had just said. Often the sharing was simply 2 or 3 saints who would chant a line together from the outline, then say, "amen!" with raised fists and sit down. Is this functioning? A robot could do that, or a tape recorder, which is exactly what we were told to be, more than once. Just enthusiastically repeat the word from Big Brother and sit down.
First, this forgets the 2-3 hours in the car each way to this conference, some of the best fellowship of the weekend. It also forgets that we took (or gave) hospitality with the saints, another excellent opportunity for fellowship and spiritual service. Although it is true many testimonies were repetitious, especially when quoting footnotes came into vogue, that however was never the "goal". The sharing was supposed to be related to the topic, particularly the verses covered. However, personal testimonies that were "on point" were often very well received and also very often given extra time as needed. This was true at the trainings as well. I remember one testimony from some new brother who had preached the gospel in the afternoon after hearing the message that brought the house down. However, this form of testimony required a genuine experience of Christ, as the experiences dwindled the amount of rote testimonies increased. I don't see how this can be compared to Christianity, as the common saw goes, "even a fool appears wise if he keeps his mouth shut".

To me the secret to a successful meeting is to experience Christ. If you do that and you are in a training with 2-4,000 it can be fantastic, just as if you were in a home meeting with 10 or 12.
06-12-2013 07:07 AM
Ohio
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
After each message, all the saints would get an opportunity to speak. Often they would only get a minute and somebody would bang a note on the piano if they went over their time. And the 'sharing' was supposed to be just repeating, verbatim if possible, what the co-worker had just said. Often the sharing was simply 2 or 3 saints who would chant a line together from the outline, then say, "amen!" with raised fists and sit down. Is this functioning? A robot could do that, or a tape recorder, which is exactly what we were told to be, more than once. Just enthusiastically repeat the word from Big Brother and sit down.
Just some random thoughts ...

It's too bad none of us could bang notes on the piano when the message was void of anointing.

Some of those "one line testimonies" were quite entertaining.

For some to get one minute after the message to speak is not all bad, Joyce Myers would never be so gracious.

"Functioning" of the members is not just related to how much time one speaks in the meetings.

Trainings slowly replaced conferences. The reason always given was some "chaos" at the Convention Center. One result is that the actual message from the word of God took second place to Witness Lee's speaking.

Witness Lee loved to take the best of the Recovery and compare it to the worst of Christianity and, "see how much better we are."

The "only one man speaking" as is common among Protestant congregations got replaced by the "speaking of one man" which is indicative of Catholic and Orthodox systems.

Robbing the function of the members in the meetings is far less serious than usurping the role of the Head as our unique Mediator with God, and replacing the word of God with the teachings and traditions of man.
06-12-2013 06:47 AM
aron
Re: Nullification of the function of the body members

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
In [WL's] system, there was to be only one church organization in each city, with one set of elders, who were dependent on the one speaking and leading of the one apostle, God's oracle. Nobody else could get any 'leading' or 'speaking' except on how to cooperate, or 'be one' with the latest directive from Headquarters. Did this not nullify the operation of the members of the body? Did this not cut off the speaking of the Shepherd of the sheep? I say yes, it did.
Let me give another example. In my 'locality', one of the elders wanted to give a conference. He had picked out a book from WL which we were going to cover in depth. He had the speakers chosen, with the subjects, and so forth.

He contacted Anaheim, and told them his plans. He wanted to buy some more books so that everyone at the conference could have a copy. Nix. He was told to re-speak the messages from the latest 'feast'; he was clearly told, "Re-speak the latest speaking." They even sent out a couple of the Maximum Brothers to share, and to ensure that everything duplicated Headquarters.

At another of our regional conferences, I remember EM saying, "I love leftovers". Everybody laughed. Well, this might be funny, and arguably all the christian experience for the last 2,000 years is merely a 'rehearsing' or 'respeaking' of the words of Jesus Christ, except for this: WL told us that a lot of the Bible is not the word of Christ. He said it is the word of fallen men. So in this, we are not to listen for the Spirit speaking to us in the Word. We are not to look for Christ; WL told us that there's not any Christ to be found there. Even where WL points out Christ, we are only to see the Christ that he saw. Nothing else. Because in WL's system we have to be 'one' with the oracle.

So I believe that being 'one' with WL's system cut us off from the Shepherd's speaking in scripture, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. And this nullified our ability to function as members of the body of Christ.
06-12-2013 06:19 AM
aron
Nullification of the function of the body members

My history was different than many ex-Local Churchers: I had a great experience pretty much start to finish. As a new and struggling Christian I felt that I needed something more so I really loved the 24/7 immersive experience in the 'local church life' of the 'Lord's recovery'. We had meetings pretty much every day, and on weekends sometimes 2 or 3 meetings even. We really got into the word of God, and I got to speak a lot, which encouraged me quite a bit.

I heard about 'storms' and 'rebellions' but they seemed remote. I didn't know the details and didn't want to. Hear no evil, speak no evil. Occasionally I saw the Maximum Brothers come by and say or demonstrate something less-than-Christlike, but as WL said, "You have to forgive our 'messy kitchen' because we are trying to make something here".

WL didn't forgive the 'messy kitchen' of other christian assemblies, however, but pointed out their shortcomings repeatedly. I suppose he felt that their messes were systemic, and his were superficial. Maybe so, but nonetheless I would like to point out a shortcoming of WL's "local church system" which has increasingly become evident to me as systemic.

This is the system of the functioning of the members of the body. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul famously likened the church to a body, and differentiated church members as like the parts of a human body: eye, ear, hand, foot, etc. All the parts, said WL, had functions. He said that the clergy/laity system in Christianity had ruined the functions of the members of the body. I remember that he used the word 'nullified', as in 'rendered to none effect'.

My point is this: WL may have had a legitimate point regarding "the nullification of the function of the members of the body of Christ in Christianity", but what happened inside his system? In his system, there was to be only one church organization in each city, with one set of elders, who were dependent on the one speaking and leading of the one apostle, God's oracle. Nobody else could get any 'leading' or 'speaking' except on how to cooperate, or 'be one' with the latest directive from Headquarters. Did this not nullify the operation of the members of the body? Did this not cut off the speaking of the Shepherd of the sheep? I say yes, it did.

Let me give an example, and propose an alternative, which I see clearly presented in God's word. My example is a typical weekend 'conference'. What would happen is 2 or 3 'co-workers' would come by from Headquarters and give a series of messages. All the 'saints' from the various 'localities' would gather at one church building and listen. Usually it was Friday and Saturday night, and then Sunday morning. So there would be 3 or 4 meetings with a common theme. After each message, all the saints would get an opportunity to speak. Often they would only get a minute and somebody would bang a note on the piano if they went over their time. And the 'sharing' was supposed to be just repeating, verbatim if possible, what the co-worker had just said. Often the sharing was simply 2 or 3 saints who would chant a line together from the outline, then say, "amen!" with raised fists and sit down. Is this functioning? A robot could do that, or a tape recorder, which is exactly what we were told to be, more than once. Just enthusiastically repeat the word from Big Brother and sit down.

Now, let me propose an alternative. In the scriptures, I see three mediatorial agencies between God and man. First, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. "There is one mediator between God and man, and that is the man Christ Jesus." "There is no other name given by which man may be saved." Etc. Etc. That seems pretty basic, and pretty clear.

Second, there is the Word of God. God's word reveals His Son, who in turn reveals the Father to us. In fact, the New Testament even calls Jesus Christ the incarnated Word. The Word of God shows us Jesus Christ, and Jesus shows us the things of the Father. Again, pretty basic.

Third, there is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he was going back to the Father's house, and would send us the Spirit, who would guide us into all the true experiences of the Father's kingdom. Thus, in the absence of the physical Jesus, whom the disciples had for 3+ years, the disciples today have the indwelling Spirit leading us through the scriptures. Again, the Spirit shows us Jesus, who shows us our Father in heaven.

Of course, this is within the common collective experience of the church, in which there are specialized functions like prophets, evangelists and teachers. There are different gifts, and special manifestations of the Spirit. But none of these ministries should grow to the point that it nullifies the leading of God's Spirit in His Word in the rest of the body members.

The main function of the leading ones is to be an example for the rest. They should be the most obedient to the Lord, the Word, and the Spirit, and this visible example is a great encouragement for the rest of the 'flock'. The individual Christian believer, meeting in the church, says to himself/herself, "If so-and-so can do it, why not me?" They are emboldened to function by the functioning of others. They are not suppressed by the functioning of others.

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