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01-24-2009 05:37 AM
YP0534
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I did a little further digging.
....
I think I may need to consider the New Testament "greetings" further in this light...

Still digging a little.

Apparently, "greeting one another with a holy kiss" was maintained in Roman Catholic practice in some fashion until the 13th century, when the practice was somehow replaced by kissing an icon.

http://www.silvercollection.it/dictionarypax.html

Sure didn't see that one coming!

Kind of missed the boat on this verse, I'd say...

Quote:
2Cr 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
01-16-2009 05:30 AM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church, its oneness and headship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Christ was the Head of the church, not the elders, the brothers, some headquarters or some agenda. Christ directed the meeting. The Oneness was manifested due to the honoring of a less gifted member. The members functioned, not due to some rote formulas but due to their love for Christ and for the dear believer for whom Christ had died.
After reading through Don's book recently I just wanted to go back and bring this most important point back to everyone's attention.
01-12-2009 06:25 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indiana View Post
www.makingstraightthewayofthelord.com/CherishingBook.pdf for those who would care to peruse their speakings.
Quote:
Minoru said,

You know, I was born an icy person. I still am. Oh, I need help. I really do. Because I found out my icy nature is not suitable for shepherding or for God’s recovery work. Too many times when I see a saint I turn away or pretend not to see them. For people like me, I need to practice hugging. Brother, come up here. I need to practice hugging. (He hugs the brother.) I don’t mean holy hug movement. Please don’t do that. But, surely, the recovery has a lot of icemen that need to practice some hugging.
Good word, Minoru.
01-12-2009 02:08 AM
Indiana
Re: The Ground Of The Church

IGZY COMMENTS

The two great commandments--love God, love people--tell us plainly where the focus of our hearts should be. When we start getting focused on some ideal, "the church," "oneness," "sanctification," "bringing the Lord back," "the consummation of the ages," "the heavenly vision," whatever, people always tend to become means to the end of that vision, and become expendable. This, too, happened in the LC.

People are never a means to an end. They are the end. They are our mission. If we love God and love people, oneness will not be a problem. You think "practical oneness" deals with your flesh? Try practically loving every single person you meet.

Come to mention, what exactly does "practical oneness" mean? It's a very loaded term, with a lot of LC baggage attached to it. On the other hand, surely Christian oneness should be visible. The Lord prayed that oneness would help the world believe. But what does real oneness look like? Does it mean one set of elders and lockstep Christians? I don't think the Bible tells us that.

…………………………………….

These are some of the brother’s comments that he made in one post.

Everything he said was people-oriented. How rare in the “Local Churches” is such a distillation.


He also shared.

"Oddly, things like 'being saturated with the divine nature' don't enter my mind much anymore, when just a few months ago I still thought that kind of thing was really profound. But, you know, that stuff sounds real deep, but it's really not. You know what is really deep? Having a genuine relationship with God and/or another person. That's where the real and satisfying depth is. I thank God He showed me that."

Let us realize that WN and WL also addressed human relationships strongly, at the end of their ministries, as high as their speakings had been.

http://www.makingstraightthewayofthe...ishingBook.pdf for those who would care to peruse their speakings.
01-08-2009 07:58 AM
UntoHim
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
This was fairly typical of the LC approach: Redefine the meaning of words and then use them to make the case, or take a word with two meanings and then use the word as if it always means the same thing while taking advantage of the two meanings to make the case.
I had to re-read, then pray-read this a few times

Although we could never admit it to ourselves (for obvious reasons), all we Local Churchers had to do was look around us, and we could see the many other church movements and ministries that were blessed and "approved" by God far more then the Local Church.

Of course Witness Lee tried to turn the tables by calling his little sect "the remnant who have returned" in a lame attempt to justify the small numbers and lack of significant growth, all the while claiming that God was disapproving of every other Christian group.

While we can't be totally sure of what the apostle Paul meant by "divisions" or "approved" here in 1 Corinthians, if we take his ministry in it's totality, the most likely meaning concerns purity in teaching and practice. By this time the "teachings of the apostles" had apparently been spread far and wide, along with the practices which were based on these teachings. It seems likely that all Christians (newly saved all the way to apostles) were to be held to the standards contained within these teachings.

Whenever a number of Christians get together it is inevitable that some will "fall away" from the established healthy teachings and sound practices. I think what Paul was telling the Corinthians is that the ones that are "approved" are the ones who stick with the healthy teachings and practices. This goes double for the leaders/teachers.

Oh, and by the way, I highly doubt that the "One Church - One city - Oneness-at-any-cost" teaching could be included in "the apostles teachings" category.
01-06-2009 07:10 AM
Cal
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

It's hard to see what Paul is actually getting at in 1 Cor 11:18-20. For review:
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.

19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper (NASB)

In v. 18, it appears Paul is scandalized by the report of divisions, even shocked. But then he turns it around in v. 19 and seems to say that it is expected, even natural, and that some good may come of it. Verse 20 verifies that the divisions are really not a good thing.

A rough analogy might be when a mother comes home to find her child has wrecked his bedroom. At first the mother is aghast, but then says, "Well, I guess when you clean it up you might find the ball you lost last week."

Here are some other translations of v. 19:
No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. (NIV)

For doubtless there have to be factions or parties among you in order that they who are genuine and of approved fitness may become evident and plainly recognized among you. (Amplified)

No doubt you need to take sides in order to show which of you God agrees with! (NIV Readers)

The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it. (Message)
I like the NIV Readers somewhat, and The Message a lot here. (They have "taken sides" on what this verse means.) I especially like the tone of The Message. I think it may capture the meaning the best.

Unfortunately, Paul doesn't tell us how we will know who is approved. Will it be those who are the nicest? Those who always go along with the official elders? Those who stay loyal to the Ministry. He doesn't say, he just says we will know. It's probably some combination of a lot of things. Observed godliness, adherence to truth, peace-seeking, etc.

But here's an important thing. If Paul were endorsing the LSM brand of approvedness, he simply would have said, Always submit to the ministry. He wouldn't have said that there is a dynamic vetting process of which we can't at the beginning know the outcome. Paul doesn't know who is going to be approved! He just knows that it's possible that someone will come out of a divisive disagreement approved, which implies that someone will come out disapproved.

When you think about it, there is really no other way, other than arbitration, which is--you guessed it--the LSM way. Arbitration by them, or by "the Apostle." That is, the poobah or several poobahs come in and tell everyone who's who and what's what. Anyone who doesn't fall in line is kicked out and blacklisted. But that's not Paul's way in 1 Corinthians.
01-06-2009 03:36 AM
YP0534
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
In 1 Cor 11:17-34, Paul is not talking about positive reasons for divisions, or factions.
Actually, the key may be even simpler than either you or I considered.

The term commonly translated "sects" in 11:19 is "αἵρεσις, hairesis," opinions, schools of thought.

In other words, Paul disapprovingly says he believes there are divsions (σχίσμα schisma) in verse 17, which doesn't surprise him because there need to be different opinions (αἵρεσις, hairesis) so that "the approved" may be manifest. Hope in the past has kind of hinted that something like this may be in these verses but I don't recall him actually articulating it.

Thus, 1 Cor. 11:17-19 is actually a strong antidote to the one-speaking doctrines that have grown up in the Local Church in recent years. Paul is endorsing diversity of opinion in the context of condemning divisiveness as a balancing word that might prevent what LSM has become.

We know that the Body of Christ incorporates those who do not consent to a one-publication rule in part because we know that the Body of Christ incorporates the assemblies in Asia in Rev. 2-3 although "all in Asia left" Paul. Rejecting the "unique minister of the age" did not terminate any "status" as an assembly. Why? Because, just as Paul says here, there must be different opinions that we may recognize who is "approved." (Eventually, I think we all know that Paul became manifestly "approved.") That said, such opinions must not become the basis for division, although it is altogether too common and predictable a result.

At least, that's my opinion...
01-05-2009 11:46 AM
Cal
Re: To Gubei and others...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
UntoHim,

I have to say this.

I'm just responding to Igzy's posts. It is Igzy who first began to use a lot of posts, rather than using one or two. Everything is recorded in this site, am I right?

You wrote.
"Many of us heard these same arguments made before you were born."

So, why do you run this web-forum? I hope this is not intended to mock me.

As virtually you requested, I'm leaving.

Igzy,

I'm happy to have had such good fellowships with you. I hope our Lord be with you always.

Gubei

Gubei,

Sorry, I just now noticed this post since you (and I) post so many.

I don't think UntoHim asked you to leave. But I do think your doing so rather than simply adjusting your writing (and more important, listening) style is indicative of some inflexibility on your part.

I split up my posts in a feeble attempt to try to narrow down what you and I were talking about. Though I can't speak for him, I think UntoHim was reacting to your tendency to repeat yourself as if you hadn't really assimilated what I'd written, and to try to talk about every point at once, and to continually claim I hadn't answered questions which I had answered or whose answers could be gathered from what I'd written.

Even so, I enjoyed our discussion as well. I hope to see you soon.

Igzy
01-05-2009 11:13 AM
Cal
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Actually, the biggest problem with divisions in the definition. What is a division (as we talk about them here in this form)? Is it really about names, or groups that represent less than a city? Or is it about acceptance v exclusion.
One of the ways local ground advocates stack the argument is by their rarefied use of the word division. Paul uses "division" to mean lack of fellowship caused by animosity. LCers take it to mean "not under the same leadership" and "not closely associated."

Hence, they say, only "divisions" caused by time and space (city limits) are permissible. But there is no evidence that the Bible considers two churches of any kind, even the local kind, as a case of any kind of division. That's an LC malapropism of the word division to lend weight to the concept of localism.

Two churches are not divisions of any sort that the Bible speaks to. Associating the Biblical meaning of the word division with the fact of some type of separation between two churches is a misuse of terms. In the LC case, it's a means to validate one eldership per city.

This was fairly typical of the LC approach: Redefine the meaning of words and then use them to make the case, or take a word with two meanings and then use the word as if it always means the same thing while taking advantage of the two meanings to make the case.
01-05-2009 10:52 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy, 100% of people are being saved via the local churches, which include all the saints in the world.
So nobody ever gets saved outside the city limits?


I'm joking, but it does ask the question Which church are people who live in the country in.
01-05-2009 10:43 AM
YP0534
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
In 1 Cor 11:17-34, Paul is not talking about positive reasons for divisions, or factions. He is pointing at the problems about the divisive way they are meeting, and more specifically when they have their Lord’s Table. Paul does make reference to their divisions as something that “must be” in order to “show which of you have God’s approval” and then says no more about it. He never himself commends any of them as approved. In the midst of this particular paragraph, the common reading verges on nonsense if it is to be understood as a clear statement by Paul in support of some actually being approved by God.
OK. I follow you.

I agree that the customary reading does seem at least a bit out of place in context.

And I completely agree about hammers and nails, which is altogether too common an approach to scriptural interpretation.

You said it might not be the “right” way to look at this verse.

I only agreed with you.
01-05-2009 09:46 AM
OBW
Re: Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I would say that Paul's concept concerning "approval" is well documented in the scriptures (if poorly studied and understood) and I would not presume the reading you've suggested (if you have indeed suggested it.) 2 Tim. 2:15 in particular is a strong parallel with regard to the concept of "approval" reflected in 1 Cor. 11:19.

I think it would be an excellent exercise (which I have not done and cannot fully do at present) to consider what exactly might Paul mean by "approved" (I think 2 Cor. 10:18 is particularly interesting!) but I'm not really seeing this reading I think you have suggested.

I look around this forum, in fact, and I think I can see 1 Cor. 11:19 in action from time to time.
YP,

I understand your point. But, as with any word, someone’s typical usage is not a guarantee of consistent usage.

In any case, my response should be read for what it was. I made a reading based on the idea that the passage has a meaning, and you must then decide that Paul suddenly spent two sentences talking about something other than the rest of his paragraph when he made that statement. I did not say that he could not have done that.

But I often wonder how often we rely on what we have heard from others, or from some study of the consistency of how a word is used, or other such things to paint everything the same. Sort of like the old “when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail” way of thinking. Because the word is used a certain way in other places, it has no option here. I cannot claim that it does not. But the context puts a cloud on that in my mind.

When we look at 2 Cor 15:45, we find a statement about the last Adam. But Paul was not making a statement about transitions in the Trinity. He was answering a question about what kind of body we would have at the resurrection. Part of his answer was to make reference to the change in the physical essence of Christ. Paul did not make a doctrinal statement about Christ becoming the Holy Spirit, but a statement about the change in essence of Christ.

In 1 Cor 11:17-34, Paul is not talking about positive reasons for divisions, or factions. He is pointing at the problems about the divisive way they are meeting, and more specifically when they have their Lord’s Table. Paul does make reference to their divisions as something that “must be” in order to “show which of you have God’s approval” and then says no more about it. He never himself commends any of them as approved. In the midst of this particular paragraph, the common reading verges on nonsense if it is to be understood as a clear statement by Paul in support of some actually being approved by God. He never made any similar statement to any others that I can recall at the moment.

I would agree that to find truth we must often come together with our diversity of understanding and seek guidance. But there is no evidence that the Corinthians did such. Based on Paul’s earlier words, it would appear that they were too busy taking sides rather than joining in a search for truth. No one is shown anything when the ears are shut. In this case, there is something disturbing about this sentence saying what we have commonly believed in the middle of a paragraph, or more accurately the first of three or so paragraphs, on the Lord’s Table and the every man for himself kind of attitude that seemed to be displayed. It is difficult to see anything short of the slow(? maybe rapid?) decline of the church in Corinth with no one paying attention to anyone else but their own faction and their own stomachs.

Still, I do not say that this understanding is superior. I just note that the common understanding is quite uncertain when taken along with the rest of its context. Just like the LC understanding of the verses in 1 Cor 3:1-15, and more specifically 10-15 has been locked in a certain mindset for years, when Don asked about 11:19 in the context of what I had previously written, I could only see a question concerning the validity of any kind of division and the possibility that this verse did give some ground, but only for the purpose of clearing up those divisions. I must say that divisions are problematic. But I’m not sure this verse really says as much about them as we tend to think.

Actually, the biggest problem with divisions in the definition. What is a division (as we talk about them here in this form)? Is it really about names, or groups that represent less than a city? Or is it about acceptance v exclusion. If the latter, then it is probably not the denominations, the non-denominational groups, or the free groups. Instead, inside or outside of any of those groups, it is those who refuse others for less than true heresy or certain gross unrepentant sins. I daresay that while the Baptists may require that you “sign on” to their doctrinal positions to be a “voting member” of the congregation, they generally do not deny anyone admittance or participation in communion for such failure. So how truly divisive are they? At some level no more than the LC who may not require you to follow certain doctrines (at least on paper) but will help you find the door if you do not align yourself with them in most doctrines and practices. Maybe much less than the LC.
01-05-2009 09:29 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Igzy,
The way you put it makes sense. But the BBs would never think "control." WL could never bring himself to accept the thought that there could be any kind of hierarchy or control over any church or saint. I spoke with him directly a few times about this and it also came up in a few elder-co/worker meetings. He always had a reaction like "how could this ever be." I heard him declare more than once, "We never practice control or hierarchy." I believe he sincerely believed that he never exercised control. From our vantage point on the hillside we can only shake our heads at his delusion. I believe it is the same with the BBs.
I think it must have occurred to some of them, if not Lee, that they are exercising control. I think what they have is what they would cleverly consider plausible deniability.

There was a poster on the other board, who shall remain unnamed, who continually and with a straight face made the argument that the Blendeds didn't control anyone because, looky, people have left the LC, therefore they were not controlled.

This kind of "thinking" is what you are dealing with with these people.
01-05-2009 09:14 AM
YP0534
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
WL could never bring himself to accept the thought that there could be any kind of hierarchy or control over any church or saint. I spoke with him directly a few times about this and it also came up in a few elder-co/worker meetings. He always had a reaction like "how could this ever be." I heard him declare more than once, "We never practice control or hierarchy." I believe he sincerely believed that he never exercised control. From our vantage point on the hillside we can only shake our heads at his delusion. I believe it is the same with the BBs.
As I've said before, Lee never understood his role in creating the current Local Church denomination. Every step of its construction was based as surely as he knew how on a verse or an interpretation of a verse. But just because a decree comes from Jerusalem and out of the Bible doesn't mean it's not religion...
01-05-2009 09:02 AM
Hope
Re: Approved in 1 Cor. chapter 11

Dear Brother and Friend OBW, Mike,



Thanks for your response to my question on those approved in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. What was the understanding of the passage you grew up with? I cannot ever remember any teaching on this passage while we were in Dallas. I cannot remember what WL may have taught and I doubt if I have any of his material available. I have no interest in plowing through it.

At this point, I am only clear that there is the possibility of being approved or disapproved. Whether we are approved or disapproved is obviously related to division in the Body of Christ. Of course the idea of “we are it” is plainly disposed of in chapter one. I think this is Igzy’s key thought about the ground of the church. Declaring we are it is a sure sign you are not it.

I look forward to more discussion with you on this matter. I am not happy that you may be cutting back your time on the forum.



Hope, Don Rutledge
01-05-2009 08:12 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Igzy,

Better stay away from the golf illustrations. Jack Nicklaus' perfect round of golf if you contend it has eagles on the par fives is not a 54 but is 50. A birdie on every hole is a 54. By the way I also once shot a 54. Of course it was for nine holes. Though, I am getting closer and closer to matching my age.


Hope, Don Rutledge

PS I intend to reply to your observations about the one church one city teaching being a method of control etc. but I wanted to take care of the important stuff first.
Hope, you are right, I got the math wrong. 54 is birdies on all holes. Needless to say I've never gotten close, though I have scored 54 on nine holes.
01-05-2009 08:11 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Hope, I really, really appreciate your being here. I just wanted to say that.


Let me say that when you say LSM has no interest in the one city one church model I am taken aback because I think that the teaching is still one means they use to control people.

First the claim to be the unique ministry to the local churches, then they claim that believers can only be in the local churches, add to this the implicit claim that they get to decide which local churches are genuine local churches, then they have the means of complete control.

So the one-church-one-city teaching is just another tool in their toolbox to control people. It's not the only one, but it's still an important one. Though it seems their global church ("The Baaady") model is becoming and even more important means of control for them.

What say you?
Igzy,

The way you put it makes sense. But the BBs would never think "control." WL could never bring himself to accept the thought that there could be any kind of hierarchy or control over any church or saint. I spoke with him directly a few times about this and it also came up in a few elder-co/worker meetings. He always had a reaction like "how could this ever be." I heard him declare more than once, "We never practice control or hierarchy." I believe he sincerely believed that he never exercised control. From our vantage point on the hillside we can only shake our heads at his delusion. I believe it is the same with the BBs.

Now when you come to the matter of oneness and deputy authority it is another matter. Take your line of reasoning of eldership and one church, one city and you can easily see control.

On the other hand, the concept of one church, one city was a big item before the LSM. After the creation of the LSM and the centralization under Max Rapoport, the talk of the local ground was only selectively used. Mostly it was spoken against when some elders were taking it on the chin for not lining up with the latest flow.

In Raleigh, NC the LSMers left the city for a while because they could not take over the original church in Raleigh. But they came back a few years later and "retook the ground of the church." What a joke!! Since the original church in Raleigh would not submit to the control of Anaheim they lost their franchise. Now we have the real local church in Raleigh. Are you laughing yet? I am not laughing I am crying. What a farce.

I heard a few years back that the BBs have reduced the local churches to a mere procedure.

Thus, I must concede your point. The teaching of one church, one city, one set of elders etc is a tool for control.

Hope, Don Rutledge

PS For a while the LSM believers were the local church in Cary, NC, a suburb of Raleigh. Then one day with LSM sponsorship and a weekend conference for retaking the ground they became the local church in Raleigh. I cannot make this stuff up. Foolish, Foolishness, Ridiculous!!! How could something so stupid take place. It was not children playing in the sandbox. Would that it were.

Take one local man who was obsessed with self importance and ambition, mix in racial loyalty by 10-12 from Taiwan, add in the fleshly desire to be a part of a movement and to feel special about yourself and you get this Frankenstein monster child which brings shame to us all.
01-05-2009 08:10 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Gubei,

If you don't see recognizing the local ground as mandatory, then why are you arguing with me about it? And if you do see it as mandatory, then your statement that you are not insisting on it is by definition false.

I see head covering as commanded, but I don't know whether hair is good enough or whether something more is needed. Jesus himself said that if you marry a divorced person you commit adultery. Yet I know of such marriages that seem to be blessed. Who am I to judge?

The point is I can know for my own life what God's commandments mean. But I can't know what they mean in all cases for others. I do not have complete wisdom. You act as if you have complete wisdom about practical oneness. The problem with your interpretation of local ground is that you seem to think your interpretation is precisely the right one. Yet I see reason to think, or at the very least to understand why someone else would think, you very well could be mistaken. When uncertainty is present liberality is required. For my trouble you announce that I oppose the truth.

I must allow free movement because I don't think the Bible gives me enough information to restrict it. That's the difference between what I believe and what you believe--mine is more general and liberal, not because I'm for generality and liberality, but because more specificity or restriction is not within my allotment of wisdom to insist upon. Your model restricts people more. Mine says, go to the Lord and let him tell you what oneness is. You say, I know what oneness is and everyone who doesn't agree with me is working against oneness.


Also, let me say that I don't appreciate your saying, in typically boorish LC fashion, that I am opposing the truth. Get off it. You don't have some monopoly on the truth, and you clearly don't have enough of a gift of discernment to be putting me in my place, as evidenced by your repeated in inability to properly interpret what I've written.

You said I didn't quote WN or WL because I was opposing "the truth." This statement is completely uncalled for. In the first place you can't possible know that, in the second I could provide plenty of quotes by WL which practically make the local ground as an article of faith. I've done my homework.


If you want to believe that the Lord's goal is to one day bring every city in the world under one eldership then you are certainly free to believe it. I for one would like more information before I commit to such a vision. For example, as I've asked ad nauseum, I would like to know what options the Christians who eventually come under such eldership have when they become convinced by the Lord that they should no longer follow that eldership if it becomes corrupt.
01-05-2009 07:38 AM
Hope
Re: Clarification

Igzy,

Better stay away from the golf illustrations. Jack Nicklaus' perfect round of golf if you contend it has eagles on the par fives is not a 54 but is 50. A birdie on every hole is a 54. By the way I also once shot a 54. Of course it was for nine holes. Though, I am getting closer and closer to matching my age.


Hope, Don Rutledge

PS I intend to reply to your observations about the one church one city teaching being a method of control etc. but I wanted to take care of the important stuff first.
01-05-2009 07:08 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

So, are such practices as the Lord's Table, baptism, head covering just superfluous to you? If these things are really superfluous, why did Paul ordered to repeat these?
They are important because Paul commanded them. Paul never commanded the local ground.

Which brings up an interesting point. LCers see the head covering as optional, yet it is commanded. But they see the local ground as mandatory, yet it is not commanded. Makes sense? No.

Quote:
"if we all genuinely receive and respect, then real oneness has been achieved"
why not having one set of elders AS THE RESULT?

Please rethink my position. Having one set of elders cannot be attained by forcing it. That state is just a natural outcome from genuine oneness among Christians - so fragile given human nature. That's why I regard that state as an "ideal state."
Jack Nicklaus once said the perfect golf score would be birdies on all par 3 holes and par 4 holes, and eagles on all par 5 holes. On an standard 18-hole, par-72 course (4 par 3s, 10 par 4s, 4 par 5s), that would be a score of 54. That's an ideal.

In all of golf, the lowest golf score ever recorded is 55--once by then amatuer Homero Blancas, in 1962. 56 has been recorded once. 57 once. However, a couple of 58s are the lowest scores recognized by the Guiness Book of Records. Millions and millions or rounds of golf are being recorded by amateurs, and thousands and thousands by professional. Rarely do they begin to approach the ideal. Does this invalidate them? Is golf lessened as a sport because the ideal is out of reach. Not a bit.

My point, of course, is that ideals are all well and good, but what practical person spends a whole lot of time fretting about them? And what sane person says, A 64 is not a very good round of golf because a 54 is the ideal?

It is possible that the Lord may bring all Christian in one city somewhere together under one eldership someday. In the meantime, I'd rather focus on what he actually is doing, and stop making the good the enemy of the ideal.
01-05-2009 06:37 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
By the way, what am I saying that is raising eyebrows?
Hope, I really, really appreciate your being here. I just wanted to say that.


Let me say that when you say LSM has no interest in the one city one church model I am taken aback because I think that the teaching is still one means they use to control people.

First the claim to be the unique ministry to the local churches, then they claim that believers can only be in the local churches, add to this the implicit claim that they get to decide which local churches are genuine local churches, then they have the means of complete control.

So the one-church-one-city teaching is just another tool in their toolbox to control people. It's not the only one, but it's still an important one. Though it seems their global church ("The Baaady") model is becoming and even more important means of control for them.

What say you?
01-05-2009 06:29 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Sorry to bring this up, but this was/is one of the major problems with the Local Church – one was/is virtually forced to swallow all sorts of things and stay put, no matter what. That is NOT practical oneness – that is forced behavior and forced oneness, and it is this very kind of dynamic that gets groups placed in the “cult” category.
Couldn't let this nugget get buried in the pile of posts.
01-05-2009 05:33 AM
Ohio
Re: The practical oneness of the Church

Brother Don,

What a moving story of the "Loving Father" receiving back his wayward daughter in love. Glory to God!

One time a former Cleveland FT'er CD made a comment that our heavenly Father will always bring His children to a congregation where they will be cared for. That little statement rattled my little "belief system." How could any place be better than the LC? Don't we have the richest ministry? How dare God bless some "division" in the body of Christ? Wasn't this the best place on earth?

Where were we? Where was I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
When your heart is occupied with lost souls, troubled souls and just plain ole ordinary folks and you love our Wonderful Savior, well, oneness just seems to take care of itself.
I love this little "word of wisdom." If the "main thing" is to keep the "main thing" the "main thing," then we surely missed it. By focusing on minor things like the ministry, the truth, and oneness, we missed the "main thing" -- our Wonderful Savior saving people.


Another point that really caught my attention in your post was this verse from NASB:
Quote:
Rom 15:7, Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. NASB
I love this word "accept." I don't think it was in our vocabulary. We had the word "receive." To me that kind of indicates we let people in our front door, but not really accepting what they are, or what gifts they may have in Christ. Verses like this fill the Bible, but we were indoctrinated that "diversity breeds division." This had the effect of closing our heart, putting standards on people, and "boxing in" God, which obviously He does not care for.
01-04-2009 11:11 PM
Terry
Re: ..that there be no division in the Body

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indiana View Post
I remember thinking when the new way began, “Either brother Lee has been given license by God to “blow past” New Testament scripture for the sake of the “Lord’s new move” on the earth, or he was ignoring 1 Cor. 12 on bestowing more abundant honor on the member that lacks that there be no division in the Body. The strong focus on the young people’s training and the gaining of good material off college campuses for “the Lord’s new move”distracted elders and would-be shepherds from the practical oneness at home, to a man and a ministry - universally.
One could say the New Way wasn't a divisive teaching, but the movement did result in division. Attitudes towards the elders, door knocking etc. Nothing against door knocking, but it either issued in deadness or localities were either dead. The atmosphere was agressive for the door knocking, but not all the saints shared the aggressive push.
Some were content not to door knock. Others embraced the door knocking, but not the new behavior of trainees. One college brother I knew stopped meeting as a result of the New Way division. Years later he told me Christians outside the recovery are just as seeking as he had experienced being raised in the lc's.

Terry
01-04-2009 10:48 PM
Indiana
Re: ..that there be no division in the Body

I remember thinking when the new way began, “Either brother Lee has been given license by God to “blow past” New Testament scripture for the sake of the “Lord’s new move” on the earth, or he was ignoring 1 Cor. 12 on bestowing more abundant honor on the member that lacks that there be no division in the Body. The strong focus on the young people’s training and the gaining of good material off college campuses for “the Lord’s new move”distracted elders and would-be shepherds from the practical oneness at home, to a man and a ministry - universally.

But my thought was faint and whether WL was right or wrong, I was for the new way – door-knocking, home meetings, and lining up with a man and a ministry. This was when I was in the thick atmosphere, and thought it was right to march in lock-step in One Accord. But it wasn’t until I got knocked down and then out of the church that I could really consider honestly the devastation of the new way and its implementation. Thus, the booklet I wrote, In the Wake of the New Way. It was the most heart-felt writing, as I began to write from a devastated position, in a low state.

I was quite disturbed about church matters and could sense the Lord gently leading me and opening me to consider Paul’s speaking in his epistles on the oneness. I saw one accord all right, but not in the way of campaigns for a man and a ministry. I saw the Bible’s one accord in localities. So, I wrote with this in mind in the booklet.

I made reference in the booklet to these portions of the NT and to what Witness Lee’s writings were about them before the new way movement - teachings that now did not seem to be in sync with his One Accord teaching in his new role as the universal leader of what was fast becoming "ministry churches" under LSM domination and influence that we see well-established today.



http://www.makingstraightthewayofthe...dOneAccord.pdf

http://www.makingstraightthewayofthe...ftheNewWay.pdf
01-04-2009 07:22 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
That was wonderful Don. Your report on that recent memorial meeting makes me want to be there. Like Ohio shared......I remember these kinds of meetings well and desire to share in them again.

Dear Brother,

I am sure you will be in the joy of meeting with the saints sharing the unsearchable riches of Christ. I believe this forum is part of the Lord's work for His testimony and for a greater glory and joy. Remember Hag 2:9, 'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former, NASB

Hope, Don Rutledge
01-04-2009 07:09 PM
Hope
Re: The practical oneness of the Church

Dear Ohio,

I just read your post in response to my post. Thank you my brother. Is it not amazing that we both know exactly what the other is talking about? I loved you summary of my summary. There was nothing spectacular, no high theology, no works of power, no reverberating message,…

Dear Ones, I had much, much, much rather have the Son of Man walking in the midst of the lampstand and the Spirit of God blowing where He wills than to have all that spectacular high theology. Been there, done that. Give me that fresh message “to the Church in _____” says the Son of Man.

Three weeks ago we had three Hindus attend our meeting. (One is now saved, another is very close, the third we are praying is on the way.) We did not know they would be there until minutes before the start. A brother had prepared to share something that would be for believers. So at the last moment the Lord changed the program.

A brother shared on John 3:16-17. Never have I received so much light and enlivenment from John 3:16-17. I, personally, understand much more clearly what it means for God to love the world and send His only Son and how God wants to save rather than condemn the world.

Recently we had a wonderful prodigal son experience. (By the way, we have renamed the story from Luke 15 from “the prodigal son” to “the Loving Father.”) Anyway, one of the daughters in one of our families had run away and was living a very profligate life. We all were in great anguish of soul for many months. Then one day she was back, loving the Lord and her family and the church.

Her younger brother shared through a river of tears how he had prayed for his sister every day. He shared how he was so mad at God for letting this happen to his sister. He declared that he wanted not to believe in God but he could not stop praying. Then he was just about to give up and suddenly she was back.

Recently the sister shared that she has the joy of the Lord. Before she had heard of the joy of the Lord but now she starts everyday with His joy. She is a glowing woman of Christ and a daily inspiration to the saints, her friends and now she is back in college.

Last month she gave a report in her humanities class how she had been a homeless vagabond but because of Christ, her loving family and the church she has been recovered. This semester she earned 4 As and 2 Bs. Glory, Glory!!! God is so good.

When your heart is occupied with lost souls, troubled souls and just plain ole ordinary folks and you love our Wonderful Savior, well, oneness just seems to take care of itself.

Romans chapter 15 has become a favorite. This is the chapter in Romans on the “Oneness.” Most think that chapter 14 is on oneness but it is on the Lordship of Christ and not usurping the conscience of other believers. Please read these wonderful verses: Rom 15:1-6, Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me." For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 15:7, Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. NASB

Posters, note how suddenly there is a reference to reproaches. When you seek to bear the weaknesses of those without strength they will not thank and appreciate your efforts but will reproach and rebuke you. For centuries, sinners everywhere have reproached the Lord Jesus. Only His name is a curse word. No one yells "oh Buddha" or "oh Mohammed." How many saved sinners reproached the name of Christ before they experienced Rom 2:4c, “the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”

To maintain a practical testimony of the Oneness requires perseverance for the care of those without strength and encouragement not to give up on them and to always have hope for them. My moniker is Hope. That is not just hope for me but I desire to maintain hope for all the Lord’s people regardless of any current state of defeat or struggle. It is easy to be one with some great gifted Christian leader who only brings you joy etc. But is requires the power of the Holy Spirit to be abounding in hope for a brother or sister who is without strength. Rom 15:13, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NASB

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
01-04-2009 05:02 PM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

That was wonderful Don. Your report on that recent memorial meeting makes me want to be there. Like Ohio shared......I remember these kinds of meetings well and desire to share in them again.
01-04-2009 04:49 PM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church, its oneness and headship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
I was so impressed at the honor given to this seemingly weaker less honorable member. 1 Cor 12:22-25, On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. NASB
It truly is a remarkable thing that honoring the less comely members could display the oneness of the body of Christ! Did someone say "practical oneness?" How contrary to all the wisdom of this world. Coming out of the a different environment in the LC's, where at one time the question of the day was "can we ever honor Brother Lee too much?," it is so easy to see why we found ourselves so far off the mark.

I remember my last time of fellowship in the LC. I bore a heavy burden for the condition of the church and the many saints. The elders were explaining to me how they had "the right" to work with TC, and it was their "prerogative" to lead the church to the fellowship of TC, etc. and btw who did I think I was to say anything differently? I was the one who needed to repent.

I read Hope's post with much joy. How good it is for the Spirit of God to blow as the wind into that memorial gathering in order to bestow more abundant honor upon the brother in Christ. It was not weeks of preparation with long-winded eulogies from around the world, nay!, rather, it was the outpouring of love from both the Head and the saints. Yes, the church is truly "of God" and is also "of the saints."

After reading Hope's post, I felt this was just a "normal" meeting. The Son walking in their midst. The Father leading His children. The Spirit anointing a "new" message. There was nothing spectacular, no high theology, no works of power, no reverberating message, etc. I once was in a "normal" churchlife like this. I never saw so many answered prayers. We never knew what was going to happen in the meeting. Yes, we prepared ... but you never knew ...

What changed it all? Not the enemy. Not the world. Not sin. Not the opposition. Nothing like that. It was "the new way." It was excessive adulation to one man and his ministry. The result was slow death ending in division. We became of Lee, then we became of Chu. When conflicts came, we had to "take a stand for the truth" which was just code for "pick a side." It is hard for me not to conclude that over-honoring the gifts brings us curse and division, while honoring the weaker ones brings us much blessing and a display of oneness even the world marvels at.
01-04-2009 04:30 PM
YP0534
Submitted for Your Approval

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
In this context, I wonder if we have taken 11:19 out of context by making it talk about something that is essentially not what Paul is really talking about at that point. I wonder if it is really talking about there being purpose for divisions to prove what God approves. Or is he pointing back at their divisions that he has already condemned and indicating that here at the Lord’s table the problem once again rears its ugly head with some supposed purpose of seeking God’s approval. Was this verse talking about gaining God’s approval or about pointing to misguided purposes in the way they held their table meetings.
I apologize but this was not a very clear elucidation to me, OBW, so please forgive me if I get this wrong.

Is it your suggestion that 11:19 is essentially saying "Of course there are sects among you because everyone is vying to be most approved" or something like that?

I would say that Paul's concept concerning "approval" is well documented in the scriptures (if poorly studied and understood) and I would not presume the reading you've suggested (if you have indeed suggested it.) 2 Tim. 2:15 in particular is a strong parallel with regard to the concept of "approval" reflected in 1 Cor. 11:19.

Quote:
Rom 14:18 For he that in this serves the Christ [is] acceptable to God and approved of men.

Rom 16:10 Salute Apelles, approved in Christ. Salute those who belong to Aristobulus.

2Cr 10:18 For not *he* that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

2Cr 13:7 But we pray to God that ye may do nothing evil; not that *we* may appear approved, but that *ye* may do what is right, and *we* be as reprobates.

1Th 2:4 but even as we have been approved of God to have the glad tidings entrusted to us, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who proves our hearts.

2Ti 2:15 Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth.
I think it would be an excellent exercise (which I have not done and cannot fully do at present) to consider what exactly might Paul mean by "approved" (I think 2 Cor. 10:18 is particularly interesting!) but I'm not really seeing this reading I think you have suggested.

I look around this forum, in fact, and I think I can see 1 Cor. 11:19 in action from time to time.
01-04-2009 02:34 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church, its oneness and headship

Dear brother and sisters on the forum,

I would like to share some current experience which may fit into the discussion here. In particular I have reference to practical application of spiritual reality and to the oneness of the body of Christ practically realized. Is the oneness of the Body of Christ manifested because we have an understanding of one church one city? I have also raised the matter of the headship of Christ being practically realized locally.

Last week, one of the dear ones with whom we gather passed away. He was in his middle seventies. He was saved five years ago after a miserable life as an alcoholic. He was a plain simple man but had developed a sweet relationship with young and old alike. Hardly a week passed and he did not call “Amazing Grace.” That hymn will never be the same.

Yesterday, Saturday, some of the brothers gathered, as whosoever will may gather, to seek the Lord, pray and fellowship regarding the Lord’s work among us and the meetings coming up on the morrow. During the fellowship, it was determined that we would have three sections of the gathering which was to be followed by a love feast. First we would have a memorial meeting. Then we would have the Lord’s Table and then some sharing.

The previous Friday and Saturday some fellowship had been released in a young people’s conference on Joseph and Sampson. The young people had shared some with the church of their enjoyment and realization last Lord’s Day.

The brethren who gathered yesterday felt that the burden was of the Lord for the whole church. Some were asked to be prepared to share with the whole church.

The memorial meeting began promptly at 10: A M. The church was informed as to the three parts of the meeting. The Lord’s presence was so strong during the testimonies regarding the life of the deceased brother. We were all deeply touched by the Love of God for this man and also for the Love of God for this man that was in the hearts of the saints. The memorial went on and on. Young saints and old saints, brothers and sisters, guests and family members all stood one by one and spoke of the wonderful love and compassion of Christ and what the Lord had done in our brother. The agenda went out the window. Christ, the Head, was directing things another way. The memorial ended at 12:15 P M. Then we passed the bread and the wine and dismissed for the love feast.

I was so impressed at the honor given to this seemingly weaker less honorable member. 1 Cor 12:22-25, On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. NASB

Christ was the Head of the church, not the elders, the brothers, some headquarters or some agenda. Christ directed the meeting. The Oneness was manifested due to the honoring of a less gifted member. The members functioned, not due to some rote formulas but due to their love for Christ and for the dear believer for whom Christ had died.

This brother is not the only one among us who has been saved from a profligate life. We have several. When you honor these dear believers at least as much if not more than some good material that is redeemed, the oneness seems to just happen. Add an assembly that is looking directly to Christ, not a headquarters, a tradition, an agenda or elders or to the ministerial team and you have the local administration of the glorious Head, the resurrected and ascended Christ.

Any genuine believer may join in and participate. The only lines of division drawn are belief in Christ. Yet we have unbelievers as guest in nearly every Lord’s Day gathering. Just this week a person from Nepal, a Hindu, professed faith in Christ and renounced the false gods of Hinduism.

We are like those in Zephaniah chapter three. Or maybe more like 1 Corinthians chapter one. 1 Cor 1:26-28, For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are. NASB
We are the:
1. Not wise
2. Not mighty
3. Not noble
4. The foolish
5. The Weak
6. The base
7. The despised.
Yet, we do know something of a practical local church life. We are looking forward to seeing the manifestation of the One New Man more and more.

One brother read an email from Mindanoa, Phillippeans and shared photographs from the email. We rejoiced at the report of the Lord's blessing on a simple local church and their expression of gratitude for the gifts they had recently received.

After this report, a brother who cares for the offering box told how the deceased brother gave him a cash gift every month and said be sure half goes to India and half to the Phillippeans. We actually were able to see photos of poor children who were fed by the gifts of our brother and to see their parents being baptised. Glory!!!

Pray for us.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer who is seeking to be a true disciple.
John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
01-04-2009 11:04 AM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Would you care to comment on 1 Cor 11:19, For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.

In particular, address “who are approved.”
Don,

First, while I will eventually address this verse, I probably will not address "who are approved" in quite the way you want, although I do not think you will be disappointed.

Paul’s reference to his gifts as “irrevocable” in Rom 11:29 is an important statement. God does not give to take away. But on the other hand, we often have those who come with their own proclamation of a “gift of God” with the expectation that others will simply listen.

You are correct that within all of scripture, at some level, there is a requirement to discern among teachers, evangelists, or more rightly so-called teachers and evangelists, etc. Among those that are “so-called” are both the real deal, the frauds, and probably levels in between — those who do have a calling but have undertaken to expand their influence beyond their calling. The church was never to simply take the good with the bad and not worry about it. But in 1 Cor 3, Paul is not talking about the believers’ responsibility, but that of those who teach — who build.

When you mention 1 Cor 11:19, I find this verse to be a sort of mystery. Paul has just finished talking about men and women both as in submission to each other, and with some (at least) hint of positional superiority of men. I will not begin to take those issues apart here, even if I were able to do so. Then he starts talking about the kind of chaos that occurs at their Lord’s table meetings. Since there is some merging of a time of meal and the actual observance of the Lord’s table as we know it, it seems that Paul chides them for their inequity and lack of brotherly love for the former, then clarifies what the latter is intended to portray.

In the early part of this talk on their “table” he write two verses that speak of “divisions among you.” In the second of these two, when he says, “there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval” it is not clear if he is saying that this is rightly so, or if he is stating the obvious fact that their internal divisions are part of their own seeking to claim that this or that faction is right and superior to the others. Is Paul really saying that this rightly “must be” for God to demonstrate who is correct, or is he stating that that is what the Corinthans, whom he has already chastised for their internal divisions, are trying to to accomplish on their own? With these two terse sentences and no further explanation, it is hard to say. Instead, Paul goes right on to discuss how they run roughshod over each other. Since we typically take these as all being part of one paragraph, is it possible that rather than commending the Corinthians for getting to the bottom of their differences, he is simply stating that they think that one group essentially overpowering another, even in getting plenty to eat, is somehow proof of their superior position.

So Paul begins 1 Corinthians by pointing out the lack of superiority of one teacher over another. He has here just finished putting man in woman “in place” under God’s authority rather than man’s, and he is about to level the playing field on the gifts and even how the meetings should be run, with a centerpiece of doing all things in love.

In this context, I wonder if we have taken 11:19 out of context by making it talk about something that is essentially not what Paul is really talking about at that point. I wonder if it is really talking about there being purpose for divisions to prove what God approves. Or is he pointing back at their divisions that he has already condemned and indicating that here at the Lord’s table the problem once again rears its ugly head with some supposed purpose of seeking God’s approval. Was this verse talking about gaining God’s approval or about pointing to misguided purposes in the way they held their table meetings.

I do not pretend to say that this is the “right” way to look at this verse. But when I put it back into its context, I have a difficult time returning to the understanding that has been put forth for so many years by so many people and with which I essentially “grew up.” I have some reason to believe that we may have created something that is not there because we have ignored the context.

I appreciate your efforts to harmonize the various aspects of scripture. I believe this must be done. But while doing that, we must never gloss over the differences in the various passages that tell of the multifaceted truths. I agree that what we do with wood v gold is important even for the lowliest of believers. But 1 Cor 3 is specifically saying something about the responsibility that those who would be the teachers, elders, evangelists, etc., take on when they set out in those roles. I do not diminish everyone’s responsibility, but if we simply turn these verses to talk to us all without understanding the purpose for which they were written, we have not rightly divided the word of truth. There was a purpose for these verses and it was not to tell me — one of the simple members at IBC — that I have this increased responsibility. It was specifically to those who teach me, who turn our journey in certain directions. You may rightly apply it to me anyway. But that is not what Paul was doing.
01-04-2009 07:56 AM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
People are never a means to an end. They are the end. They are our mission. If we love God and love people, oneness will not be a problem. You think "practical oneness" deals with your flesh? Try practically loving every single person you meet
This reminds me of something somebody already posted earlier:
Q: What is the most valuable thing to come out of a mine?
A: THE MINER!

Any teaching (or practice for that matter) regarding the church that does not place it's emphasis on PEOPLE is nothing but empty doctrine.
Many may remember the little hand trick game.... "here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people"
Ah...found it on youtube...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyZb4jRVk1I&NR=1

So, what's the most important thing to come out of an assembly?
THE ASSEMBLED! The PEOPLE.

Ok, ok this is kind of mushy and getting away from "the ground of the church". Point being...the ground of the church should always come back to the people.

Again, here is the bottom line I think:

Quote:
Come to mention, what exactly does "practical oneness" mean? It's a very loaded term, with a lot of LC baggage attached to it. On the other hand, surely Christian oneness should be visible. The Lord prayed that oneness would help the world believe. But what does real oneness look like? Does it mean one set of elders and lockstep Christians. I don't think the Bible tells us that.
The pastor of our church meets with and prays with about 60 pastors from our city on a regular basis. They pray for each other and for the Lord's impact in the city. What will this lead to? I don't know, but I know it shows that the Lord is leading them.
Do the Local Church Elders in this city meet with these 60 pastors?
What do you think?
01-04-2009 04:57 AM
Ohio
Re: To Gubei and others...

But ... shall we continue with the discussion on the "Ground of the Church?"
01-03-2009 12:06 PM
Oregon
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

You wrote.
"So for you to call others divisive for not meeting as a city church is itself divisive."
I don't recall saying anybody was divisive. I'm simply stating what I believe the Word of God says. I quoted the verse in I Corinthians where Paul said that there should be no division in the body.
01-03-2009 09:16 AM
Gubei
Re: To Gubei and others...

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
This is going to sound like I am picking on you Gubei (and I sort of am)

At this point Gubei, you are flooding this thread. You keep making the same points over and over again. Maybe you don't realize it, but most of us have heard these same exact arguments made in the exact same manner. Many of us heard these same arguments made before you were born. Igzy has answered most of your questions/contention in a reasonable and sound manner, yet you seem to be deaf. At this point you guys are just talking AT each other and not WITH each other...and this is mostly your fault. The dialogue between you and Igzy has ceased to be a discussion. For this most part you are just blogging now.

May I suggest you start your own blog regarding "the ground of the church" and you will be welcome to put up a link to it on this thread.

Thanks for your understanding.
UntoHim,

I have to say this.

I'm just responding to Igzy's posts. It is Igzy who first began to use a lot of posts, rather than using one or two. Everything is recorded in this site, am I right?

You wrote.
"Many of us heard these same arguments made before you were born."

So, why do you run this web-forum? I hope this is not intended to mock me.

As virtually you requested, I'm leaving.

Igzy,

I'm happy to have had such good fellowships with you. I hope our Lord be with you always.

Gubei
01-03-2009 08:58 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Dear Gubei and Oregon,

Simply put, you both have failed to prove conclusively that the house churches in the NT are city churches. And there is no way you can prove it. You can argue all you want and believe what you want, but there is no way you can conclusively show this. Thus it is unreasonable for you to expect others to accept your interpretation. So for you to call others divisive for not meeting as a city church is itself divisive.

If you cannot see this or understand at all what I'm getting at then this conversation is basically over, because you just don't get it.
Igzy,

You wrote.
"So for you to call others divisive for not meeting as a city church is itself divisive."

Please quote my words in previous posts in which I said that.

And you wrote.
"Simply put, you both have failed to prove conclusively that the house churches in the NT are city churches."

My clarification is as follows.

Philippians 1:1 『Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:』

Philippians 4:15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.


The ALL THE SAINTS in Philippi is a church – city church if you will.

(Acts 14:23) 『So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.』

(Titus 1:5) 『For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you--』


So, one city – one church – one eldership.


For “house churches,”

(Rom 16:3,4,5) 『[3] Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, [4] who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. [5] Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.』

(1Cor 16:19) 『The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.』

(Col 4:15) 『Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.』

(Philemon 1:2) 『to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:』


Please pay attention to the fact that whenever “house churches” are mentioned, it is with juxtaposition of other churches which is obviously city churches. In case of Philemon 1:2, the key of understanding is “Archippus”

and Archippus our fellow soldier; that this Archippus was a preacher of the Gospel at Colosse is manifest from Col_4:17 wherefore the apostle styles him a fellow soldier; (Gill)

Archippus is believed to be an elder in Colosse. By juxtaposing Archippus and Philemon’s house, Paul seems to be mentioning the two churches which were under the eldership of Archippus and Philemon each.

I believe this is proper understanding of house churches. In short, at that time, due to small number of saints in a city, they were able to gather together in a house, which people intimately call a church, actually meaning the church in that city judging from the other city-church related verses.

Is it possible to use these verses related to “house churches” in order to justify such names as Methodist, Baptist, Community, etc? I do not think so. The only possibility to be taken by any one who believes city church is not the same house church is that there are two kinds of churches in the Bible – city church and house church, not that there are as many churches as we want.

I hope that any one will try conclusively to prove that the Bible give us the permission to conduct denominations.

Gubei
01-03-2009 08:49 AM
UntoHim
To Gubei and others...

This is going to sound like I am picking on you Gubei (and I sort of am)

At this point Gubei, you are flooding this thread. You keep making the same points over and over again. Maybe you don't realize it, but most of us have heard these same exact arguments made in the exact same manner. Many of us heard these same arguments made before you were born. Igzy has answered most of your questions/contention in a reasonable and sound manner, yet you seem to be deaf. At this point you guys are just talking AT each other and not WITH each other...and this is mostly your fault. The dialogue between you and Igzy has ceased to be a discussion. For this most part you are just blogging now.

May I suggest you start your own blog regarding "the ground of the church" and you will be welcome to put up a link to it on this thread.

Thanks for your understanding.
01-03-2009 07:47 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

Let me also say that if you genuinely receive all believers and respect all churches in a city then I have no problem with your local ground beliefs. However, if you genuinely receive and respect then the local ground belief is rather superfluous, isn't it?

Because if we all genuinely receive and respect, then real oneness has been achieved, unless you interpret oneness as marching in lockstep under one set of elders, which I most certainly don't, since the downside of such an arragement is potentially much worse, and more likely, than the upside, as history has shown again and again.

Igzy,

So, are such practices as the Lord's Table, baptism, head covering just superfluous to you? If these things are really superfluous, why did Paul ordered to repeat these?

"if we all genuinely receive and respect, then real oneness has been achieved"
why not having one set of elders AS THE RESULT?

Please rethink my position. Having one set of elders cannot be attained by forcing it. That state is just a natural outcome from genuine oneness among Christians - so fragile given human nature. That's why I regard that state as an "ideal state."

Gubei
01-03-2009 07:36 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

The ground of locality teaching is an ironic paradox because though it is supposed to issue in oneness, by definition one cannot practice it without condemning other groups, thus it works against oneness. One can believe in head covering while receiving believers and even churches that do not believe it. But one cannot practice the local ground without invalidating every group in the city that doesn't believe it. Thus it is divisive.

You say you receive and fellowship with all Christians which don't hold the local ground. That's as you should. But how do you feel about their groups? Do you feel they are not real churches? If so, your model has proven to be divisive.

For example, I don't believe in Catholicism. Yet, I cannot say the Catholic group down the road is not a real church. The church in Thyatira was a church. I've been to Catholic services where I definitely felt the Lord presence. Call me crazy but it's true. Who am I to say others shouldn't be there if He's there?

99.9999% (at least) of people being saved in the world are being saved via groups that LCers would say are not real churches! Isn't it strange that the Lord is choosing to do such a majority of his saving work in groups LCers won't even recognize. Sounds like He recognizes them. Sounds like you and He are out of sync.
Igzy,

Your comparison is very unfair.

My comparison is as follows.

When you talk about head covering, you should focus on the matter of head covering. The fact that there are disagreements on that issue means there are conflicts.
But, head covering is not essential in our Christian life. That’s why we can accept other Christians who are holding different interpretation on this issue. So, I can fellowship with them.

When you talk about the ground of locality, you should focus on the matter of the ground of locality. The fact that there are disagreements on that issue means there are conflicts.
But, one set of elders in a city is not essential in our Christian life. That’s why we can accept other Christians who are holding different interpretation on this issue. So, I can fellowship with them.

And you wrote.
“But how do you feel about their groups? Do you feel they are not real churches? If so, your model has proven to be divisive.”

They are not the church according to the picture in the NT. But they (meaning the saints) are the part of the church in that city. In this sense, they are very real.

And you wrote.
“For example, I don't believe in Catholicism. Yet, I cannot say the Catholic group down the road is not a real church. The church in Thyatira was a church. I've been to Catholic services where I definitely felt the Lord presence. Call me crazy but it's true. Who am I to say others shouldn't be there if He's there?

Yes, in Catholicism (or Catholic group) is our Lord. And The church in Thyatira typifies Catholicism (or Catholic group), not that the church in Thyatira (definitely a local church at that time) justify the name - Catholic Church.

And you wrote.
“99.9999% (at least) of people being saved in the world are being saved via groups that LCers would say are not real churches! Isn't it strange that the Lord is choosing to do such a majority of his saving work in groups LCers won't even recognize. Sounds like He recognizes them. Sounds like you and He are out of sync.[/QUOTE]”

Igzy, 100% of people are being saved via the local churches, which include all the saints in the world. Still, your definition of local churches is not the same with mine.

Gubei
01-03-2009 06:56 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Right. I'd agree.

But the upshot is that the one church per city principle must be either not required or optional, otherwise why would the Lord lead me to A and you to B? Why would he lead one of us to an invalid division of the Body? If there is only one church per city then A and B cannot both be churches, otherwise there are two churches.
Igzy,

There is only one church in a city from the start to now. When A delcares that they are the church in that city, they should include all the saints in that city. Also, when B declares the same thing, they should include all the saints in that city. If they say otherwise, they are not on the right ground.

God is leading you or me into any specific group in ONE CHURCH according to his own will.

Gubei
01-03-2009 06:47 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

I'm saying the pattern of the Trinity in the Bible is much clearer and plainer than the ostensive pattern of locality, evidenced by the fact that almost everyone believes in the Trinity and almost no one believes in the local ground.

It is just more evidence to discount claims of the existence of some overriding locality truth. It's not the only reason, but it certainly doesn't help your case.
Igzy,

Now you admit that Trinity and the ground of locality, both, are patterns drawn from some dscriptive verses in the Bible. I'm happy to hear this.

But, Trinity is much unclearer and less plainer than the ground of locality, as you said Trinity is somewhat vague.

I have never seen any posters here who do not understand what the ground of locality is. This means the truth is so straightforward, clear, and plain.

The reason some people reject this truth is not that they do not understand, but that they do not want to accept it.

Gubei
01-03-2009 04:53 AM
Oregon
Re: The Problem of Division

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post

Any practice or teaching without the reality of Christ is vainity and empty.

Hope, Don Rutledge

This statement by Don is just extreemly important. The ground of the church....one church in a city...whatever term you want to use....it in itself does not make the church. And we all know that the bible is not about one church in one city.

It's like when we played marbles when we were kids. We drew a circle in the dirt and all put our marbles in the circle and took turns shooting at the marbles. The marbles are in the circle....but the circle itself isn't the game. It's the marbles in the circle.
01-03-2009 03:49 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

The blue is what Igzy wrote.


1. There is a pattern of city churches in the NT, but it is not perfect. There is no evidence that the house churches mentioned were city churches. So extrapolating a commandment from an imperfect pattern is folly.

To begin with, the ground of locality does not extrapolating a commandment. It is repeated presumption of Igzy that the ground of locality FORCES (Igzy himself has used such words as “insists” or “enforces”) something. The original statement of the ground of locality is just to present the truth to others. It is the later proponents who made the errors of insisting something by taking divisive stand using the ground of locality. Despite the so many request of me, he has not distinguished between the two – truth itself and its wrong application. That’s why Igzy did not quote anything from the books of WN in his posts. He repeatedly used the wrong applications of the truth by LSM etc as evidence to oppose the truth.

Furthermore, Igzy’s model (free movement of saints between all kinds of Christian groups, probably in the preference of “community churches”) itself is contradictory to this assertion. He admits that at least there were two kinds of churches at the time of the NT – the city church and the house church. If we do not use our ability of inference – which ultimately leads us to the conclusion that the house churches in the NT is actually tantamount to the city churches at that time, the only thing we can confidently say is that there should be only two kinds of churches – the city church and the house church. But Igzy’s previous posts obviously give us the impressions that he admits all kinds of “churches.” This is what he called “imperfect” and “no evidence.”

My point is that even though I admit his right to be against the ground of locality, I cannot accept his so unfair treatments between his model and others’ model.

2. The Bible doesn't prescribe city churches, and gives evidence of non-city (house) churches. That's enough to not make an issue of it.

The same point. How come there are so many churches now except city churches and house churches? Who prescribed those? Igzy’s resort to the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus does not apply in this case, as I already explained before. To Igzy, house church is all non-city churches. Is this right conjecture?

3. To require everyone, and call everyone divisive, who does not subscribe to city churches, is a self-serving attempt to control others.
The same point. Igzy is taking the example of the wrong application of the ground of locality in order to attack the truth itself. When does the ground of locality itself require EVERYONE, and call EVERYONE divisive?


The same point. Igzy is taking the example of the wrong application of the ground of locality in order to attack the truth itself. When does the ground of locality itself require EVERYONE, and call EVERYONE divisive? To me all the denominations (meaning such names as Baptist, Methodist etc) looks "divisive", not everyone. I know there are a lot of wonderful Christians even in denominations.

4. To my observation and analysis, no working model of city churches has been proposed. Each model contains the seeds of its own destruction and ultimate divisiveness.

What is the definition of the “working model”? Even the practice of head-covering, which was so plainly introduced by Paul is controversial. There are sisters who cover their heads and others who do not cover their heads. Very simple. There are saints who accept the ground of locality and others who do not accept it. Very simple. This is the natural outcome due to agreement and disagreement on issues. If we follow Igzy, all the practices and even fundamental truths in the Bible contains the seeds of its own destruction and ultimate divisiveness. Once again, his treatment of the ground of locality is not fair compared to other practices or truths.

5. All arguments for city churches I've heard sound sanctimoniously vague. People who argue for city churches usually end up saying that "we" (What do you mean "we," Kemosabe?) somehow have to find a way to "make it work," and if we don't it's our failure. I tell you what. You pray to the Lord and ask him to give you a way to make it work. When he gives you an answer, let me know. I'll be all ears. I've been asking on this thread and others over and over for a model that works. It's been really strange, but none of the advocates has provided one.

It is very interesting to see how Igzy deals with his model on this issue. When he evaluates the ground of locality from the view point of “working,” he assumes that all Christians should agree with this truth for the truth to be declared to be “working.” Let’s apply the same principle to his model – free movement of saints between all kinds of Christian groups. Seemingly, his model is working as long as saints freely move. But, how about in terms of his assumption he used – all Christians should agree with the truth. NOT AT ALL! This is due to his model’s peculiarity. Contrary to the ground of locality which aims for practical unity of Christians in a city, his model, to begin with, aims for “free movement” at the expense of practical unity among Christians. From the start, his model assumes a state of there being a lot of churches in a city. So, his model is really practical for free moving of saints, not for practical unity of Christians in a city.

6. The local ground teaching stumbles believers. Who knows how many precious believers are shipwrecked because the LC movement poisoned "Christianity" for them. I'll bet there are thousands who don't follow the Lord with much vigor now because someone told them they can't meet with anyone but the LC. Who wants to defend this stumbling to the Lord at the judgment seat?

He is mentioning those who are divisive with the wrong application of the ground of locality, not the truth itself.

7. The local ground teaching divides practioners from all other believers, both by its exclusive bent, and by the delusions of specialness it puts in the mind of its adherents. LCers are generally almost completely incapable of esteeming non-LCers as "better than themselves."

It depends on who you are talking about. By “almost completely,” how many LCers do you mean? Have you ever traveled outside your country to meet “almost completely” all LCers?

8. The local ground teaching restricts the Lord from moving in fresh ways. Members are not free to follow the Lord as he leads, but must get full permission from leadership. If leadership is corrupt, members must disobey the Lord to comply.

Not at all. You can follow your Lord ahead of local leadership. Once again, your assumption is that local leadership is forcing something and corrupt. Think about this. No one can force you to do something in this modern age. Leadership is leadership not by its forcing power but its exemplars. It is saints who decide if they are going to follow the leadership. Any local leadership which restricts the saints who want to follow the Lord, is not proper. That’s why I repeatedly are saying “moving position of eldership” in a city. Think about this. Even though the president of a country was elected legitimately, he can be functioning badly as president. But, we cannot deny the fact he is the president. This is the point when conflicts arise between leadership and people. But, even in democracy, the power of president is controlled by such measures as impeachment. I believe this is why Paul opened the door not to follow local leadership by saying (1Tim 5:19) 『Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.』

9. Critical problems with leadership cannot be resolved peaceably. If a "leading elder" or "apostle" goes bad, there is no mechanism for resolving the situation other than a complete breakdown of the system, which we have seen in cities like Toronto, Columbus, Mansfield, etc, etc. In these situations the sheep are scattered, and left wounded and dying, all because there was no fail-safe on leadership, all because of a fanatical adherence to an imperfect Biblical model which is not even prescribed by Scripture. So much for being as wise as serpents.

So, do you believe the reason the ministry of Paul looks like a failure was due to the ground of locality?

The saints in Toronto, Columbus, Mansfield, etc, etc are those who live in their cities. They have their right to deny any eldership or apostleship. What do you mean by “peacefully?” Any voting system where majority wins? God will reveal his will sooner or later. Let’s be patient.
Igzy’s model does not give us any peaceful method that resolves conflicts. His method is to agree to disagree. This is nothing short of avoiding conflicts by turning to other new party. That’s why we see a lot of denominations now.

10. The local ground teaching is a distraction from the real work of the Great Commission. Love God, love people--those are the two great commandments. The local ground teaching has definitely been shown be a detriment to the second. It has been shown to be easier for Christians to work together to spread the gospel and shepherd people if Christians can drop their pet doctrines (which are the source of division). The local ground is another pet doctrine which hinders the cooperation of Christians.

Igzy, the cooperation of Christians is not the target revealed in the Bible. Now your notion is very obvious to me - “Christians are divided. Let’s accept this solemn, undeniable fact. So, let’s try to find ways to cooperate, rather than seeking practical oneness.” Please try to envision an imaginary US which is divided into two – the North and the South, but still cooperating well. Do you want to call that a practical oneness among them?

Your model simply suggests that we do not need to arrive the point of practical oneness, so we should be satisfied with the current situation by allowing saints to freely move. This is not at all practical oneness any more than the EU is a one country of practical oneness.

Gubei
01-03-2009 01:33 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Dear Gubei,
I prefer the Lord’s own advice to mine. That is to Love God and our neighbor. I prefer the advice of Paul that we would serve in S/spirit not in letter...
Dear Hope,

Thanks a lot. I want to love others by the love of God.

Personally, I am passing through some hard times in my life these days. I've never waited for the second coming of the Lord more than now during my Christian life. I'm really wondering what our Lord is like. Even though we know Him through the records in the Bible and His indwelling Spirit, we won't fully know him until He comes back.

Gubei
01-02-2009 06:27 PM
Hope
Re: The Problem of Division

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Yeah, I guess I'm not aware of any real help on the problem of division either.

I just mentioned certain historical contexts to try to help limit the complicating factors as we discussed some of the issues.

I suppose it's possible that there is simply no doctrine which can substitute for the reality of Christ.
You could be right on.

Any practice or teaching without the reality of Christ is vainity and empty.

Hope, Don Rutledge
01-02-2009 03:46 PM
YP0534
Re: The Problem of Division

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
I can never forget Watchman Nee's warning in his foreword of “The Normal Christian Church Life,” aka “Concerning our Mission.” He declared that he feared those who would take the book as a manual. I fear those who would take “one church-one city” as a model or as an anti-model.
Yeah, I guess I'm not aware of any real help on the problem of division either.

I just mentioned certain historical contexts to try to help limit the complicating factors as we discussed some of the issues.

I suppose it's possible that there is simply no doctrine which can substitute for the reality of Christ.
01-02-2009 11:46 AM
Hope
Re: Spiritual Reality and practical practice

Brother Unto,

A quote from your post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope
Let me help you out here. Let us assume that the 12th chapter of Romans is real. Do you believe, Rom 12:3, God has allotted to each a measure of faith. I am assured that you do...
Quote:

Could you tie this into "the ground of the church"? I must be missing something here. How does the allotment of faith have anything to do with our oneness or the ground of the church?
I was addressing your question about how can you have a practical practice of a spiritual reality. I was attempting to give an illustration which would be clear and not in any way controversial. I guess I did not do the job. Sorry.

The teaching of the ground of the church was for the practice of the reality that the Body of Christ, the Church is one. It is one administratively on a local level not on a universal or regional level.

Hope, Don Rutledge
01-02-2009 11:35 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear Brother YPO534,

You are obviously thinking and seeking to find a more perfect way. Too bad I do not have the privilege of knowing you and being able to fellowship face to face. I am sure you could stimulate me to more love for Christ.

It is very instructive to study church history and learn from those days. What would I have done had I been living in post reformation England or the hills of Albi? I simply have no answer. I am living today in the USA. I must work through things in the here and now. I do not have the answer for the believers of that era and I hesitate to take the position of their advisor or judge.

The New Testament does not serve well as a manual. It is not a book of operation. We Americans are trained to plan our work and to work our plan. Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Church” matches the way we think. He takes his approach right out of modern American Business. He states that the senior pastor is like the CEO. Many like this approach as we are success oriented and want to see our church be a successful organization and do much good for society and the kingdom of God. I am sure that 98% of their motives are good. I own and run a business. I want it to be successful and do a lot of good for my clients. Do we always achieve our objectives? Of course not but we try.

There has been a lot of discussion about what model can work in today’s world. The New Testament has been discussed from the perspective of what is prescriptive and what is only descriptive. I would say there is very little other than the basic facts of the faith that is prescriptive. Such as, Jesus was the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and died a redemptive death on the cross. He rose from the dead and ascended to the heavens and sits on the right hand of God the Father. He will return in glory and receive all who have believed in Him. They will dwell with Him forever. There are some other truths regarding the three persons of the Godhead and the nature of the believers. Such as we are the Body of Christ and members in particular and members of one another etc. (I do not claim this short list is inclusive but is only intended to be illustrative.)

These kind of prescriptive matters apply rigidly to all time in all places. We cannot compromise on them. The fact that Jesus died for our sins is true in post reformation England and in 21th century America.

Now the details of the Christian life and the church practice are not so easily nailed down. How we should react to different conditions are not prescribed. We do know that there were prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch. We know that at least once they were together ministering to the Lord and fasting. We know there were five. It seems that none were from Antioch. We do not have any details regarding what “ministering to the Lord” consisted of. We know the Holy Spirit spoke to them but we have no details of exactly what is the procedure for having the Holy Spirit speak. We do not know who the elders were in the church at Antioch. If fact, we do not even know if there were any elders in the church at Antioch. Yet we are told that the believers were first called Christians in Antioch.

Another example of the prescriptive vs descriptive dilemna is found in Revelation chapters 1-3. How about the mystery of the seven stars? We know the seven stars are the messengers of the churches. How about more details than just that they are in the right hand of the Son of Man who is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands which are the seven churches. I would like some better prescriptive details! What are we to do?

I can never forget Watchman Nee's warning in his foreword of “The Normal Christian Church Life,” aka “Concerning our Mission.” He declared that he feared those who would take the book as a manual. I fear those who would take “one church-one city” as a model or as an anti-model.

I am very happy that this forum has moved in the direction of many personal testimonies of the personal pursuits of following the Lord and seeking to live the Christian life and also of the various posters desire to relate to the members of the Body of Christ in a proper way that would bring glory to the head, Christ and be a building up to the believers. I wonder why none seem to have the exact prescriptive model. I have not seen any destroy the notion that the church in the city is at least a descriptive model you can find in the New Testament record. I have seen plenty of discussion that the LSM/LC version of the church in the city is a joke. I contend that it is nothing but a relic from their past and has no more to do with their current practice than zebras and lions.

While I seek to be kind and express the love of Christ to each and every believer I meet, I am not one who desires to tolerate. Toleration is not longsuffering. We must know the difference. I have said good-bye to more than just the LSM/LC. Some practices and persons just cannot be tolerated. (Please read, Revelation chapter two.)

In conclusion for this post, all I can say is we all must individually give an account to the Lord for how we live and practice in our own particular set of circumstances. Yet there are certainly absolutes we should not violate. There is a high calling we should strive to attain. I want to be an approved follower of the Lamb. To get into just the above few sentences would require hours and hours of fellowship. I am up for it. How about a retreat to the mountains of NC or the coast?

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer who is seeking to be a true disciple.

John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
01-02-2009 10:44 AM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Let me help you out here. Let us assume that the 12th chapter of Romans is real. Do you believe, Rom 12:3, God has allotted to each a measure of faith. I am assured that you do...
Could you tie this into "the ground of the church"? I must be missing something here. How does the allotment of faith have anything to do with our oneness or the ground of the church?

Quote:
I am sure that the apostles would be more than a little befuddled. How could they have ever anticipated the situation of 21th century American Christianity?
In short, my point is that most orthodox, evangelical Christians have every reason to believe that the original apostles would have no problem coming to meet at their church - regardless of the sign on the placard. I think they would care more about if there was biblical/spiritual worship and healthy teaching going on inside. Would they be enthralled with all the various "denominations"? I doubt it. I also doubt that when they found out that there were millions of Christians, just in one country alone, that all the denominations would surprise them either. Again, just a hypothetical that I threw out there.

Quote:
Many of the posters say that the LSM has declared they want to practice oneness but they have actually created more division. AND I AGREE!!! My point is that to seek to practice a practical oneness with all believers is not the problem but the problem is what the LSM has practiced under the name of oneness.
Ah, but here is something that we need to hash out a bit. I don't believe that Witness Lee (here in America at least) EVER really "practiced a practical oneness with all believers". Oh, with his mouth he did one thing, but from the beginning his actions indicated he was only interested in drawing men after himself. Now, it took him a good long while, but he eventually got what he was after. I think it is painfully obvious now that when Witness Lee talked about "the ground of the church" he really and truly meant a group of people that follow his person and his work. Now, in early days in Mainland China, I think Watchman Nee "practiced a practical oneness with all believers", but it got corrupted as well.

The bottom line here is that "one church - one city" or "the ground" is usually used as a smokescreen for abuse. It has happened time and time again throughout church history. Heck, even the Roman Catholics practice this kind of "oneness". Using fancy-shmancy (albeit non-biblical) terms such as "the ground" etc don't really make much difference. The Word says that we are "one body", "baptized into one Spirit", in God's eyes we are one. Now, how does this oneness work itself out "practically"? Well, that's a tough one. Let's keep at it.


Quote:
There was a flurry of posts which seemed to be saying we should not worry about the condition of Christianity around us...
Actually I don't think anybody is saying that "we should not worry about the condition of Christianity around us"... the rub comes in just WHAT do we do about it? Do we just huddle up in our individual meeting places and call all other Christians "poor, blind, dead, Christless" and such (like we did in the Local Church) or do we actually get off our derrieres and practice a practical oneness with other Christians. What is practical? Gee, I dunno...maybe preaching the gospel with them, worship with them, encourage those who are seeking to spread the gospel throughout the world, support ministries to the various needs in our community. These are just a few things.
Quote:
Forget what was okay in 20th Century China or the freedom loving West. We need to have discernment.
Discernment does not take place in a vacuum - what I was getting at was comparing and contrasting our knowledge and inward spiritual discernment with the realities around us. For example, I don't think our discernment should be totally detached from culture around us. We have our Bible. We have our God-given conscience. We have the Holy Spirit. We also have eyes and ears and the benefit of learning from history. ALL these things figure into our discernment I believe.

01-02-2009 01:44 AM
YP0534
The Problem of Division

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Forget what was okay in 20th Century China or the freedom loving West. We need to have discernment. The Church in Ephesus, in Revelation chapter two, was commended for testing apostles and rejecting the false ones. I should have used my discernment when meeting with the LSM/LC. I can say that I was not driven out but eventually used my discernment and the plain scriptures to follow the Lord away from that organization. I did not follow my freedom loving western culture.
Hope?

This is the second time in this post that your response suggests to me that the situation under a state-church might be different. So, suppose we're in post-Reformation England and subject to the see of Canterbury. Or even in the hills of Albi in the 12th century.

Care to address that?

I follow you that the reality of the situation might be different from America where anyone can start a new religion. Also different from a white field ripe for a nativist movement.

But a simple reference to a Biblical context doesn't really solve the problem in that what we are discussing at the end of the day is the Biblical context, right? Yes, Ephesus was praised for exercising discernment in receiving those who might attempt to exercise teaching (or even "deputy"?) authority over them, but that is precisely why we are discussing these matters instead of being an answer about what to do about them. You kind of take premise as proof here, if you see what I mean.

You previously quoted 1 Cor. 11:19, as you said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
We have a tough problem. Paul was very open in his first letter to Corinth. There was division there and he condemned it. In chapter 11 he declares, 1 Cor 11:18-20, For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you. NASB

We should seek to be those who are approved? Does this desire make someone divisive? Sometimes it seems you are contending that if you are concerned about division then you are by default divisive. I Corinthians is very clear. Those who declared “I am of Christ” were guilty of division just as those who declared “I am of Paul.” Taking the position “I am it”, “We four and no more are it.” Of course that should be condemned as divisive. How to have a positive testimony of the oneness of the Body of Christ and not be part of the “I am of Christ” sect is the dilemma.

Thus, please give some attention to how we should address the problem of division.
However, the flurry of activity following that post was mostly about one church in a city vs. many churches in a city. (Also, my posting in response to yours was edited for brevity by an admin and I believe a few other posts were as well, which seems to have unintentionally had the effect of influencing the focus of that discourse.) We then had a number of posts to say essentially that our preference alone cannot win the day but that the Lord clearly has a role even for those who operate within a denominational system (plus a nod to the fact that the doctrine of locality is not presented in scripture as a prescriptive edict.) And then we got right back to the whole issue of the practicality of one church in a city.

So, on the one hand, you are correct that the matter of who might be "approved" (and HOW) has not yet been explored, but neither really has there been a response concerning the underlying point about the practicality of one church in a city. And in your most recent post, you have essentially said, well, look at Ephesus, the one church in that city, for guidance. So now I'm saying, well, I started off looking at Ephesus (where I believe I saw Prisca and Aquilla and the assembly in their house) but when it came to dealing with the false apostles (who probably came from Jerusalem) I got stumped. They come and say they have whatever claim of authority and therefore know best how we should go on here in Ephesus. I'm not buying it but my brothers over there have bought it and now they all want me to be circumcised or else they won't fellowship with me any longer, denouncing me as unclean and deceived and a false teacher.

What shall we do in Ephesus, Hope?

Or, as I suggest, what shall we do in England or in Albi?

I don't believe there's a bright line rule that we might know when we might be required to separate from other believers to go on with the Lord. "False teachings" as a reason for separation is no help whatsoever (and neither is "gross sin" practically speaking) because those terms are not sufficiently well defined. But we must have, and throughout the history of Christianity from the Reformation forward, there must be, some sufficient scriptural ground for saying at some point, "You guys - you're not my kind of guys." Right? Sort of a chapter and verse version of the U.S. Declaration of Independence?

Quote:
When, in the course of believers' events, it becomes necessary for one assembly to dissolve the uniting bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the sons of God, the separate and equal station to which the laws of God's Word and of God Himself entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of Christianity requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident...
Luther's 95 Theses are rather light on scriptural authority for separation, as I recall, but he at least was addressing the underlying problem, as I see it: it's not about a relatively pure expression of God's heart's desire in the assembly rejecting the influence of the untoward outsiders who seek to pollute it; it's a matter of dealing with the entire environment when the synagogue of Satan holds sway over you. What about the believers that Luther withdrew from? You cannot help but say he divided, right?

I hope you can catch my drift here. When I got ejected, I was cut off from the fellowship of the genuine believers whom I loved. I can read that as "they sinned, not me" and suffer the loss as from the Lord. But must we follow Stephen's pattern? (Is that what Paul meant when eventually he said he was bound to return to Jerusalem?) Or, as we remain diligent in the uniting bond of peace, is there a way to also be fully faithful to conscience? I agree that it's only theoretical and that's a problem but if we don't have a scriptural basis for this sort of following our precious Head, don't we just rebuild the Vatican in Anaheim again and again? Or the Church of England on Plymouth Rock?

If the Spirit is the engine and the Bible is the railroad track, where is the switch so that we don't merely go off the rails?

Put more simply: Suppose I meet with my family in my house on the ground of oneness. The folks across the street do the same and we meet together alternate days until one day their cousin from out of town sells them on a mandatory tongues-speaking doctrine and they insist that my family must participate or we are in error. Who rejects who is irrelevant in the final analysis, of course, but how does my house go on?
01-01-2009 10:27 PM
Indiana
Re: "the church" wasn't people, it was an ideal.

I have not been able to keep up with this thread, but in reading the following post, my concept of this brother Igzy will never be the same. He lands punch after punch after punch, and takes more time and thoughtfulness to explain himself, from the heart, and where he is coming from, than I myself had been hearing from him. Oh! the points he makes are precious. His post follows:

*There is nothing wrong with being and praying for oneness. But I think we need to be careful about making oneness our mission. It seems to me that can be a distraction. The Lord commissioned us to disciple the nations, to me that means leading people to the Lord and helping them grow.

***Someone pointed out, rightly, that the Lord never commissioned us to build the church. He said he would do that. What he and the NT writers told us to do is to build up each other. There is a subtle but important difference there. Building up others focuses on people. But building up the church can lead to focusing on an abstract idea or institution. This is exactly what happened in the LC. "The church" became the mission. But "the church" wasn't people, it was an ideal.

*The two great commandments--love God, love people--tell us plainly where the focus of our hearts should be. When we start getting focused on some ideal, "the church," "oneness," "sanctification," "bringing the Lord back," "the consummation of the ages," "the heavenly vision," whatever, people always tend to become means to the end of that vision, and become expendable. This, too, happened in the LC.

***People are never a means to an end. They are the end. They are our mission. If we love God and love people, oneness will not be a problem. You think "practical oneness" deals with your flesh? Try practically loving every single person you meet.

*Come to mention, what exactly does "practical oneness" mean? It's a very loaded term, with a lot of LC baggage attached to it. On the other hand, surely Christian oneness should be visible. The Lord prayed that oneness would help the world believe. But what does real oneness look like? Does it mean one set of elders and lockstep Christians. I don't think the Bible tells us that.

*The pastor of our church meets with and prays with about 60 pastors from our city on a regular basis. They pray for each other and for the Lord's impact in the city. What will this lead to? I don't know, but I know it shows that the Lord is leading them.

*So, concerning the "dreary" option of simply settling for a "denomination" or "free group" (oh, that ingeniously derogatory LC nomenclature), with a pew, a musty hymnal and a weekly bulletin? Cheer up. The fact is, folks, the Lord is working powerfully in Christian groups.

*And guess what? You think you've got something to teach them? Guess again. You are likely to find out you are the one with a lot to learn. I did. Once I got humbled off my LC high horse (still a work in progress) I saw how I had almost completely missed the simple reality of loving God and loving people, and I entered into a completely new phase of my Christian life.

*Oddly, things like "being saturated with the divine nature" don't enter my mind much anymore, when just a few months ago I still thought that kind of thing was really profound. But, you know, that stuff sounds real deep, but it's really not. You know what is really deep? Having a genuine relationship with God and/or another person. That's where the real and satisfying depth is. I thank God He showed me that.
01-01-2009 05:11 PM
AndPeter
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Thank you for bringing out verse 19 and the reference to some being approved. Several posts ago I asked about this matter of some being approved. There was a flurry of posts which seemed to be saying we should not worry about the condition of Christianity around us. Maybe I was at that time getting the message wrong but I do agree that we are not called to just put up with anything or any condition but can legitimately seek to be “those who are approved.”

Hope, Don Rutledge
When the church in Toronto revised its corporate bylaws in 2007 (needed for our interface with the governing bodies in Ontario) we had the leading among the brothers to include in the bylaws the thought that the church would decide whose its apostles were. We used Rev 2:2 as a basis for this inclusion. Here is the exact text.

ARTICLE 10 APOSTLES
10.1 Meaning in Context of These By-laws
In the context of this By-law, “APOSTLE” means a person who substantially and directly was and continues to be involved through the person’s work in Toronto in enlarging and developing the church in Toronto and incorporated as “The Church of the Torontonians”, as confirmed from time to time by ELDERS’ DETERMINATION.

10.2 Recognition of APOSTLES
The ELDERS may from time to time by ELDERS’ DETERMINATION recognize
what person or persons shall be deemed to be an APOSTLE for The Church of the Torontonians.


As you might expect there was much flak thrown from Anaheim as a result of this clause in the by-law.

The complete bylaws can be found at

http://www.thechurchintoronto.ca/cit...news/load.home

Steve P.
01-01-2009 04:37 PM
Terry
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post

By the way, what am I saying that is raising eyebrows?
"Of course I did not go to Cleveland. But I did lose my relationship with most of the brothers in Texas and all the brothers in the Ohio area for nearly 15 years. But all is forgiven. It was forgiven then as well as now. Based on what those brothers held in their conscience they were between a rock and hard place."

Testimonies such as yours is touching and heart warming. It is good to learn reports of relationships forgiven in the past as it is present time. Too often negative reports are given of office improprieties or of "the rebellious ones". Why not more positive reports?

Terry
01-01-2009 04:17 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote from Oregon.
All the believers in any locality being the one body should not be just a spiritual reality but should be practiced as such.
________________________________________
My question Unto referred to.
But is there any need to practically practice a spiritual reality?

Unto, I was asking a question based on the quote from Oregon.

I also recognize that I do put out phrases and thoughts that are not always that clear. Unfortunately I think that is a weakness of trying to communicate by a blog. But it is certainly better than any alternative other than being face to face. Thank you for your response.

Let me help you out here. Let us assume that the 12th chapter of Romans is real. Do you believe, Rom 12:3, God has allotted to each a measure of faith. I am assured that you do. Then how about Rom 12:4, For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function. So there is a spiritual reality that each believer has a measure of faith. Then based on that spiritual fact each member has a function and the functions differ. If this is true (and it is), is there anything wrong with believers seeking to practically recognize the measure in each member and encourage all to function according to their particular function. Or is it enough to just let well enough alone and go with the current situation as it is and trust that everyone has a good heart and do not make waves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
“Practically practice”? Say that three time real fast. I take it that this is at least slightly rhetorical?
Firstly, I think we may encounter some resisting and frustration among us on what constitutes “a spiritual reality”. Secondly, one man’s “practically practice” may be another man’s “religious traditions”. To put a little finer point on this – when we come together as Christians, what is it that makes us “one”. Why should I come and meet with you? Why should I not meet with the other fine and outstanding Christian group a couple of miles down the path? Furthermore, why are you not meeting with that fine and outstanding Christian group in the first place? I think yu’all see me working here….
I like all the above questions. They should be asked! To come up with answers would require some serious prayer, scripture searching and honest self examination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Again, I would bring up the highly hypothetical situation of the scripture writing apostles being dropped into any large, 21st Century city. Where would they go to meet with “the church in Anytown”? No need to raise your hand and shout the answer… I know what you are thinking already… MY CHURCH! My Church! Everybody is going to say my church. I would surely love to have Peter, Paul, John and all the others come to my church. Don’t worry, we can find a few extra chairs. Here’s the rub though…. I would hope that they would approve of the way that we “practically practice” the “spiritual realities” in my church. I would hope that they like the worship songs we sing…I hope we don’t sing too many of them…or too few…or too loud….or too soft. I hope the teaching pastor/elder does not use too few passages from Paul’s writings…or too few from Peter or John’s….or too many….….
I am sure that the apostles would be more than a little befuddled. How could they have ever anticipated the situation of 21th century American Christianity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
… well let me put this another way…. “The real problems came when Lee and his followers claim that they were the only ones who got it right, and everybody else was wrong”. Witness Lee and his followers created yet another division in the Body of Christ by insisting on “practically practicing” his brand of the Local Church. He called it “the vision of the church”. He called it “the church-life”. He called it “the Lord’s Recovery”. He called it “The Church”. Now, many of Witness Lee’s followers still call the religious system he invented all these great and glorious names. Yet aren’t they only exercising their right to practically practice a spiritual reality? Right?….….
Not exactly. They are practicing something but so are the Roman Catholics. The problem with the Catholics is not that they are practicing something but they have it wrong. I once heard the Pope himself in Saint Peters Basilica give an excellent message on the one Body of Christ from Ephesians. His words were very good but everything else was off. Many of the posters say that the LSM has declared they want to practice oneness but they have actually created more division. AND I AGREE!!! My point is that to seek to practice a practical oneness with all believers is not the problem but the problem is what the LSM has practiced under the name of oneness.


Second Question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Apparently the Corinthians had a problem with division. There was also a problem of gross sin among them, which is why he urged them to remove the sinful person from among them – he did not want them to be “one” with this sinful person, for this was polluting the whole church. They also had a problem of listening to false teachers. He warned them that when he came that he would “find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power” (1Cor 4:19) Only the real Words of God are powerful – false teachings are weak and powerless. Again, I would point out that according to the apostle Paul, [U]the only legitimate reasons for Christians to separate themselves from other Christians are gross sin and false teachings.
I like the last sentence of this paragraph. You are right on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
You quoted 1 Cor 1:18: “I hear that divisions exist among you”….but you left out the next verse which completes the apostle’s thought here - verse 19: “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. What did Paul mean here by “approved”? I would say that when taken in context of his letters to the Corinthians, approved means being approved in practice and teaching. If the elders and prominent members there in Corinth continued to allow that sinful brother/sister to remain among them and continued to allow false teachers to wield influence, I do not think he would have had a problem with some breaking away, and then he would surely considered those saints as “approved”, even though they divided from the church. Of course that would have been the most drastic and damaging scenario, and we know from the second letter that things apparently got straightened out with that sinful brother/sister.
Thank you for bringing out verse 19 and the reference to some being approved. Several posts ago I asked about this matter of some being approved. There was a flurry of posts which seemed to be saying we should not worry about the condition of Christianity around us. Maybe I was at that time getting the message wrong but I do agree that we are not called to just put up with anything or any condition but can legitimately seek to be “those who are approved.”


Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Hope, you have stated you have “real problems” with certain Christians…. Fine, no problemo! Nobody is forcing you to agree and/or approve of what they say or do, much less meet with them. Sorry to bring this up, but this was/is one of the major problems with the Local Church – one was/is virtually forced to swallow all sorts of things and stay put, no matter what. That is NOT practical oneness – that is forced behavior and forced oneness, and it is this very kind of dynamic that gets groups placed in the “cult” category. Admittedly, some of this is a culture issue. Forcing people to stay where they do not feel comfortable, or feel that they are not in a healthy situation for themselves or their family, may very well have been acceptable in early 20th Century China or in mid-20th Century Taiwan, but it really flies in the face of most individualistic, freedom loving Westerners. Again, sorry for the long answer, but I wanted to spit out my view of the “practical practice of a spiritual reality”.
Forget what was okay in 20th Century China or the freedom loving West. We need to have discernment. The Church in Ephesus, in Revelation chapter two, was commended for testing apostles and rejecting the false ones. I should have used my discernment when meeting with the LSM/LC. I can say that I was not driven out but eventually used my discernment and the plain scriptures to follow the Lord away from that organization. I did not follow my freedom loving western culture.


Unto, again thank you for your thoughtful reply.

Hope, Don Rutledge
01-01-2009 04:05 PM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Happy New Year!

Some of you have already split from the LSM-led elders in your city, and so produced a division.

There is no LSM or any other kind of "local" church in the city I live in Igzy so I haven't created another division. All I am saying is that there is truth in the Word and I want to adhere to it and not explain it away somehow.
01-01-2009 03:17 PM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
The problem with the LC model was not with the failure of human nature, the problem was with the model itself. It was systemic. Retreating into spiritual generalities of things you think you see in the Bible does not help at all. You need to propose a model that works.
I'm still thinking this "oneness paradigm" through. Personally I find it almost impossible to use the LC model of "dots and circles representing believers in the city." The model forces the believers to either "be the ones" or find those who are. The dangers just abound once the diagram is drawn up, but those are the original concepts of oneness presented by WN, hence an impossible dilemma exists.

Several years ago, when our LC became no more acceptable to my family to serve the Lord, and viewing a "battle" looming on the horizon over the matter of publications, I sold my house by the meeting hall in "the city" and move to a surrounding suburb. That was a way for us to visit other congregations, and not bear the inner turmoil of "being divisive" or meeting "in division."
01-01-2009 02:47 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Don, your words are raising eyebrows. However where are you going with the comment "THE LSM IS NOT ABOUT THE MODEL OF ONE CHURCH ONE CITY"?

Here's my take, a locality can strive to live the model of "One Church One City". If a given locality doesn't recieve LSM publications, there is no desire for LSM to recognize that given locality as a local church. My point is LSM is about LSM. For LSM to function as a business entity, LSM requires the financial support of churches that recieve LSM as their ministry publication.
Local churches can have the Lord's Table and have a Lord's Day service without needing LSM. There is always the Bible.

Terry
Hello Terry,

Some in the LSM were all about the business. Philip Lee was in it for the money and saw it as a business.

Benson Phillips sees the LSM as the move of God on the earth today. And he has been called to head it up. He also likes to build meeting halls and head up projects.

Others see the LSM as their opportunity to be something or be a part of a larger entity.

The leadership has no passion around the practice of the church life, Body Life, assembly life or any of the terms used to describe believers being built up together and Christ being expressed through the many functions of the various members of the one Body of Christ. They stopped speaking of these matters around the time of the move to Anaheim. Of course many of the saints who had been together contnued to have this desire but they were eventually buried or excluded by the LSM cadre and their faithful followers.

It is too true that they are divisive and thus any teaching they embrace will and can be used to divide including the teaching regarding the church in the city.

By the way, what am I saying that is raising eyebrows?

Hope, Don Rutledge
01-01-2009 01:25 PM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
But is there any need to practically practice a spiritual reality?
“Practically practice”? Say that three time real fast. I take it that this is at least slightly rhetorical?
Firstly, I think we may encounter some resisting and frustration among us on what constitutes “a spiritual reality”. Secondly, one man’s “practically practice” may be another man’s “religious traditions”. To put a little finer point on this – when we come together as Christians, what is it that makes us “one”. Why should I come and meet with you? Why should I not meet with the other fine and outstanding Christian group a couple of miles down the path? Furthermore, why are you not meeting with that fine and outstanding Christian group in the first place? I think yu’all see me working here….

Again, I would bring up the highly hypothetical situation of the scripture writing apostles being dropped into any large, 21st Century city. Where would they go to meet with “the church in Anytown”? No need to raise your hand and shout the answer… I know what you are thinking already… MY CHURCH! My Church! Everybody is going to say my church. I would surely love to have Peter, Paul, John and all the others come to my church. Don’t worry, we can find a few extra chairs. Here’s the rub though…. I would hope that they would approve of the way that we “practically practice” the “spiritual realities” in my church. I would hope that they like the worship songs we sing…I hope we don’t sing too many of them…or too few…or too loud….or too soft. I hope the teaching pastor/elder does not use too few passages from Paul’s writings…or too few from Peter or John’s….or too many….

Quote:
“I have concluded that the posters here have agreed that the LSM/LC got it wrong”
… well let me put this another way…. “The real problems came when Lee and his followers claim that they were the only ones who got it right, and everybody else was wrong”. Witness Lee and his followers created yet another division in the Body of Christ by insisting on “practically practicing” his brand of the Local Church. He called it “the vision of the church”. He called it “the church-life”. He called it “the Lord’s Recovery”. He called it “The Church”. Now, many of Witness Lee’s followers still call the religious system he invented all these great and glorious names. Yet aren’t they only exercising their right to practically practice a spiritual reality? Right?

Opps, that was a really long and convoluted answer to your first question. Sorry bout that.


Second Question:

Quote:
Why did Paul in his first letter to Corinth mention division three times?
Apparently the Corinthians had a problem with division. There was also a problem of gross sin among them, which is why he urged them to remove the sinful person from among them – he did not want them to be “one” with this sinful person, for this was polluting the whole church. They also had a problem of listening to false teachers. He warned them that when he came that he would “find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power” (1Cor 4:19) Only the real Words of God are powerful – false teachings are weak and powerless. Again, I would point out that according to the apostle Paul, the only legitimate reasons for Christians to separate themselves from other Christians are gross sin and false teachings.

You quoted 1 Cor 1:18: “I hear that divisions exist among you”….but you left out the next verse which completes the apostle’s thought here - verse 19: “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. What did Paul mean here by “approved”? I would say that when taken in context of his letters to the Corinthians, approved means being approved in practice and teaching. If the elders and prominent members there in Corinth continued to allow that sinful brother/sister to remain among them and continued to allow false teachers to wield influence, I do not think he would have had a problem with some breaking away, and then he would surely considered those saints as “approved”, even though they divided from the church. Of course that would have been the most drastic and damaging scenario, and we know from the second letter that things apparently got straightened out with that sinful brother/sister.

Hope, you have stated you have “real problems” with certain Christians…. Fine, no problemo! Nobody is forcing you to agree and/or approve of what they say or do, much less meet with them. Sorry to bring this up, but this was/is one of the major problems with the Local Church – one was/is virtually forced to swallow all sorts of things and stay put, no matter what. That is NOT practical oneness – that is forced behavior and forced oneness, and it is this very kind of dynamic that gets groups placed in the “cult” category. Admittedly, some of this is a culture issue. Forcing people to stay where they do not feel comfortable, or feel that they are not in a healthy situation for themselves or their family, may very well have been acceptable in early 20th Century China or in mid-20th Century Taiwan, but it really flies in the face of most individualistic, freedom loving Westerners. Again, sorry for the long answer, but I wanted to spit out my view of the “practical practice of a spiritual reality”.

01-01-2009 11:51 AM
Terry
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
THE LSM IS NOT ABOUT THE MODEL OF ONE CHURCH ONE CITY. To find this being taught there, you will need to go deep into the remote stacks and dust off a volume of forgotten lore.
Don, your words are raising eyebrows. However where are you going with the comment "THE LSM IS NOT ABOUT THE MODEL OF ONE CHURCH ONE CITY"?

Here's my take, a locality can strive to live the model of "One Church One City". If a given locality doesn't recieve LSM publications, there is no desire for LSM to recognize that given locality as a local church. My point is LSM is about LSM. For LSM to function as a business entity, LSM requires the financial support of churches that recieve LSM as their ministry publication.
Local churches can have the Lord's Table and have a Lord's Day service without needing LSM. There is always the Bible.

Terry
01-01-2009 11:15 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Right, but I guess I would ask why such "practice" requires the existence of all the trappings of traditional Christian religious worship - membership rolls, clerical workers, meeting halls, etc. Moreover, even if it does require them, shouldn't they be a mere incident of meeting in oneness rather than a goal for an eventual formal organizational system? Talking about who is the right eldership has always seemed like a serious problem of putting the cart before the horse in these discussions.
Thank you YP0534,

Acts 14:23 shows churches were already there and recognized as such before any elders were appointed. Elders are not the issue. Elders do not a church make.

There were a few LSMers in Chapel Hill, NC where I lived in 1989. I told them to their faces that they were a sect and a division. I challenged them on their notions of oneness and I took the position that our oneness was in Christ alone and had nothing to do with our oneness with an apostle or his work. They declared that our oneness was based on our oneness with "THE APOSTLE." They further let me know that oneness with the Apostle meant supporting the current work and burden of the apostle. You could not just be neutral or passive. If you were, that was an undermining of the work. In addition, they informed me that they had written a letter to WL informing him that I was not one with the ministry and not supporting the new way. They planned to deliver it to him at the spring conference in Cleveland. With that we shook hands and parted ways.

I called my best friend, Don Looper, after this encounter. He told me I had made a mistake and should have moved to another town. Our conversation turned to the matter of Deputy Authority. For Don Looper, it was all about Deputy Authority. The matter of one church one city never came up. He never contacted me again. I did get up with him 11 years later on my initiative. I was in San Antonio on business and drove up to see him. He received me for the afternoon but no hospitality was offered. I stayed in a motel.

Within a few days after the encounter with the NC LSMers, I received a call from Titus Chu. He had somehow heard of our problems and what was about to transpire. He invited me to come to Cleveland and stay with him and he would have me sit next to WL during the meetings. Then, these few would not dare do anything against me.

Of course I did not go to Cleveland. But I did lose my relationship with most of the brothers in Texas and all the brothers in the Ohio area for nearly 15 years. But all is forgiven. It was forgiven then as well as now. Based on what those brothers held in their conscience they were between a rock and hard place.

Throughout 1989 and 1990, I waited to see how all would come down. From several sources I was informed that WL had asked on several occasions if someone would visit me to rescue me. He had told the brothers that “Don is the purest brother in the recovery.” I have no idea why he thought that but it seems he did. Finally, he charged Benson directly to go and see me. (There were little birds in the room at that time that would call me.) Within a few days I received a letter from Benson. This was the first letter ever from Benson. He included a check for $500. This was another first, but very much appreciated. Since I had severed my relationship with the LSM etc., I had stayed about one week away from bankruptcy and living on the street. I thanked him for the financial help but it never worked out for us to get together.

The content of his letter and my reply is another story for another time. I will just say this. In his letter, he never brought us “local church” but only wrote of WL and the glorious work that was taking place.

The model of the city church was of no consequence to the LSM cadre. They were all about persons and personalities and power struggles. Thus, I have continued to point to the twin dangers of “Deputy Authority” and “the Work.” In my experience with them from 1974 on, it was not about one church one city or the correct set of elders but all about “the Apostle,” “the Ministry,” “the Work,” “the Flow,” “the Coordination,” “the Oneness,” etc.etc. To quote by beloved brother Dan Towle, “Don you and I cannot be one unless you are one with Max.” On another occasion he stated, “We have a middle management problem,” when referring to local elders. He saw the critical entity as “the Work,” the “we” above and the elders were the middle managers for the Work. Believe me I have pages and pages I could write along this line and quote upon quote. Trust me. THE LSM IS NOT ABOUT THE MODEL OF ONE CHURCH ONE CITY. To find this being taught there, you will need to go deep into the remote stacks and dust off a volume of forgotten lore.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
NASB
01-01-2009 09:31 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I have to agree with Toledo. God has put dear brothers in my work environment that have no association with the local church in any way. I’ve become quite close to these brothers and would miss them very much if they were no longer in my sphere of life.
God’s presence is certainly with all of his people but the oneness of the body locally should be more than just an “in the spirit” thing. The body is universally one…..it should also be one locally. All the believers in any locality being the one body should not be just a spiritual reality but should be practiced as such. The failure and exclusiveness of some should not cause us to depart from the truth spoken to us in God’s Word.

“so that there may be no division in the body” I Cor.12:25

Dear Oregon,

Excellent points: Your statement should be a serious consideration, “God’s presence is certainly with all of his people but the oneness of the body locally should be more than just an ‘in the spirit,’ thing”.

But is there any need to practically practice a spiritual reality?

Why did Paul in his first letter to Corinth mention division three times?

Could a poster or two address these two questions?

1 Cor 1:10, Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you,

1 Cor 11:18, For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.

1 Cor 12:25, that there should be no division in the body

I have concluded that the posters here have agreed that the LSM/LC got it wrong. (Wow! Aren’t I sharp?) The LSM notions of “oneness” and “division” are not anywhere close to Biblical truth. Over time they got so deep in the woods of error that they can no longer see the forest.

I believe it is a good exercise to consider how they got so deep in the woods. Thus, there is a need for both a fair recounting of history and a cool calm consideration of truth and today’s situation with them and the Body of Christ in general.

One theme I read repeatedly is the “poor poor Christianity” mantra of WL. This does need to be examined but I believe in a very cool calm manner as the topic is white hot all by itself. WL’s application of the incestuous children of Lot as the fruit of the gospel among “free group” Christians is way too dramatic and just over the top. Such expounding does not build anyone up but only lays a foundation to condemn and belittle genuine born again believers.

On the other hand, I have real problems, for example, with the prosperity gospel preachers. I have seen too many young believers stumbled when everything did not go smoothly for them after their conversion.

I did not then and do not now believe it is wrong to test and examine what Christians may practice. I never felt that we should not have some discernment about the Christian world around us. To this day I endeavor to test everything but in a right spirit.

Consider a few verses:
Phil 1:9, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

1 Thess 5:21-22, But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

Rev 2:2, 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

I have noticed that some on the forums believe if you have a bad report to give regarding the LSM/LC then you have a free pass from any checks. Reminds me of the LSM boys and their quick attack on any word of discouragement regarding their new way or beloved office or dear minister of the age. NO CHECKS OR EXAMINATION OF THEIR REPORTS ALLOWED.

In a like manner, I have noticed that others in their reaction to the abusive language from WL regarding our brothers in Christianity seem to take the position that all is well in Mudville even if Casey has struck out.

A final comment: I have read the term here judgaholic. Pretty clever on the part of who ever came up with it. The Lord said, Matt 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged.

I have also read about checking the fruit of WL and those in the LSM/LC and applying John the Baptist's words to the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matt 3:8-11, "Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves,' We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 "And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. NASB

Lord save us from being judgaholics and from being excessive fruit inspectors and axe wielders’.

I am anxiously awaiting some good answers to my questions.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.

John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
NASB
01-01-2009 08:36 AM
YP0534
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I have to agree with Toledo. God has put dear brothers in my work environment that have no association with the local church in any way. I’ve become quite close to these brothers and would miss them very much if they were no longer in my sphere of life.
God’s presence is certainly with all of his people but the oneness of the body locally should be more than just an “in the spirit” thing. The body is universally one…..it should also be one locally. All the believers in any locality being the one body should not be just a spiritual reality but should be practiced as such. The failure and exclusiveness of some should not cause us to depart from the truth spoken to us in God’s Word.

“so that there may be no division in the body” I Cor.12:25

Right, but I guess I would ask why such "practice" requires the existence of all the trappings of traditional Christian religious worship - membership rolls, clerical workers, meeting halls, etc. Moreover, even if it does require them, shouldn't they be a mere incident of meeting in oneness rather than a goal for an eventual formal organizational system? Talking about who is the right eldership has always seemed like a serious problem of putting the cart before the horse in these discussions.
01-01-2009 08:31 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I have to agree with Toledo. God has put dear brothers in my work environment that have no association with the local church in any way. I’ve become quite close to these brothers and would miss them very much if they were no longer in my sphere of life.
God’s presence is certainly with all of his people but the oneness of the body locally should be more than just an “in the spirit” thing. The body is universally one…..it should also be one locally. All the believers in any locality being the one body should not be just a spiritual reality but should be practiced as such. The failure and exclusiveness of some should not cause us to depart from the truth spoken to us in God’s Word.

“so that there may be no division in the body” I Cor.12:25
Happy New Year!

The problem with the LC model was not with the failure of human nature, the problem was with the model itself. It was systemic. Retreating into spiritual generalities of things you think you see in the Bible does not help at all. You need to propose a model that works.

I say that the Lord will always need a failsafe to allow true seekers to follow him if "the church" in the city becomes so corrupt that splitting is the only way. Some of you have already split from the LSM-led elders in your city, and so produced a division. You feel justified in doing so. Regardless, the fact is you made "the oneness" subordinate to something else. Yet you still say the oneness in the city needs to be practical. But doesn't that practical oneness mean not breaking from elders no matter what?

Sorry, but you guys sound a little confused to me. You have an ideal yet you don't have a clue as to how to obtain it. Yet when others seek to go on without all the angst about "practical oneness" you judge them and their results as being inadequate, and perhaps stumble them.

I think you've defined "division" too strictly. You think division is two churches in one city. I don't buy it. You want one church in New York, but are perfectly happy with two churches in two small sister cities which are adjacent. Yet the two sister churches are "divided." Suppose there was one city the size of the two adjacent sister cities, then all of a sudden only one church reflects practical oneness, when really nothing has changed but political boundaries. Suppose there were three tiny towns all within a mile of each other. You would think three churches are perfectly fine, when in this situation only one church would serve the cause of practical oneness much better.

So you talk about "practical oneness," but really your thought isn't about practical oneness at all. That's just the justification. It's really about adhering to a pattern in the NT you think is binding, even though no reputable Christian teachers, other that a few Brethren teachers, and Nee and Lee, have ever taken the teaching seriously.

I'm reminded of the attractive woman who is never satisfied with her beauty, and so sits in front of a mirror all day reflecting on her imperfections, not knowing what to do about it. I'm also reminded of the whiny idealistic teenager, for whom the world is never good enough. Both are wasting their life.

Until you have blueprint, don't whine and blame others that your dream house isn't built.
01-01-2009 07:14 AM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
Fair enough. Neither should we make the bad the enemy of the best. So many posters here keep trying to measure the principle of oneness by the failures of the LSM denominational churches.

Just because their experiment failed due to the lusts, ambitions, and rivalries of the "Blended Brothers" (falsely so-called), does not mean that some should not still endeavor to come back to meeting simply and in oneness.


I have to agree with Toledo. God has put dear brothers in my work environment that have no association with the local church in any way. I’ve become quite close to these brothers and would miss them very much if they were no longer in my sphere of life.
God’s presence is certainly with all of his people but the oneness of the body locally should be more than just an “in the spirit” thing. The body is universally one…..it should also be one locally. All the believers in any locality being the one body should not be just a spiritual reality but should be practiced as such. The failure and exclusiveness of some should not cause us to depart from the truth spoken to us in God’s Word.

“so that there may be no division in the body” I Cor.12:25
12-31-2008 03:24 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Mike,

I enjoyed your expounding of 1 Cor. Chapter three. (See post #267)

I have always applied the phrases, 1 Cor 3:12, “Now if any man builds” and 1 Cor 3:13, “each man's work," to everyone. Since Paul does referred to the Corinthians as God’s building then the builders could certainly be a different set of person, aka Paul, Apollos, and Cephas. If they are indeed equivalent to the gifted members in Ephesians chapter four, then the charge of 1 Cor 3:10, “But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.”, becomes a very serious admonition for anyone who has any type of oversight-teaching-shepherding ministry.

For a long time I applied the following to myself as a leading one of the church in Dallas, 1 Cor 3:17, “If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him.” I believed that my failures had to some degree lead to a tearing down of the various brothers and sisters. I am sure that is true but I now believe that the Lord has forgiven me and I am again called on to build. I have come to greatly appreciate, Rom 11:29, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

If you allow me to accept your interpretation, then many in the LSM/LC leadership current and past are subject to more than just a little inspection.

While I agree 1 Cor. three does not charge the saints to check the builders to see if they are up to code so to speak, there are plenty of passages that do tell us that those who labor among the believers must give an account and that the believers should test their work.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.

Would you care to comment on 1 Cor 11:19, For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.

In particular, address “who are approved.”
12-31-2008 02:17 PM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Mike,

Great reminder. See bold text above.

Surely it is not the age of denominations. Surely it is not the age of some subset of the church. But then the Lord did issue a call for overcomers to the seven churches. In 1 Cor. Chapter 11 Paul did referred to those who “were approved.” He also warned us to be careful how we build. By the way what do you feel is to build with wood, hay and stubble? What is to build with gold, silver and precious stone? Should we care?

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who desires to be a true disciple.
I don’t necessarily know what is wood v gold. But in the context of 1 Cor 3, the persons who were being referred to as “building” with anything were not the Corinthian believers, but the ones who they had decided to take up sides behind. Please refer to the entirety of the chapter, noting the transition in verse 9 which identifies Paul and the others that the Corinthians were aligning behind as workers while they, the Corinthians were the building. The ones who are then building in the following verses are not the Corinthians, but the workers — Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and others.

It is interesting that Paul did not define wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver, or precious stones. He simply said that what got built into the church would be tried and the one who built it would suffer some sort of problem/loss (not clearly stated) if his work burned. Paul didn’t even say that the Corinthians were responsible to make the determination about what was wood, hay, or stubble, or was instead gold, silver or precious stone — at least not within the context of these verses. He told them that the workers were coming to build and that what they built with would be tried. (This — the building by the workers — might be somewhat of a parallel with Ephesians where there are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers that equip the saints. Equipping with wood in that context would be parallel with these verse in 1 Cor.)

Paul was telling the Corinthians that picking sides was not their concern. That is not entirely consistent with other verses where there is a charge that some be denied the right to teach, but in most cases, those kinds of admonitions were clearly to the leadership, such as in Paul’s letters to Timothy and/or Titus. Peter and John also had things to say about the discernment of the believers concerning teachings and teachers. It is not clear that this was to be personal discernment or the collective discernment of the assembly. I would lean toward the latter, more like the council in Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15.

I do not say that we should not care about what is kindling v what is fireproof. This is especially true of those who have responsibility to care for the flock. But the flock itself is not necessarily the source of that determination. I realize that this is a little too much like a clergy-laity issue, but the scriptures seem to point more in this direction than in any other. I fear that this is one of those places where we fall back into the mindset that we learned from Lee and the LC. If the leaders are true servants of the flock, the “evils” of the kind of clergy that Lee talked against are not an automatic thing.

As for the letters to the seven churched in Rev 2 & 3, each church was clearly in differing circumstances, yet none were told to abandon their particular place of worship and flee to one or more of the others. The charge and challenge in each case was to be strong, diligent to overcome, not to change to some other way of meeting or to “take the ground.” While each letter ended with the general admonition to hear what the Spirit said to the churches (plural), there was otherwise no indication that any one was admonished to be like another, except to the extent that each could read of the positive things that were said about the others and thereby have a pattern to follow.

This is a general discussion of my understanding on this. We could nuance things, as has Gubei and others, but what I have outlined here is sound and scriptural. Pursuing the things of peace would not seem to be consistent with always feeling obligated to have your radar out to discern the wood from the gold. Too much of the LC-type discernment is about putting borders around truth and practice such that many things that are allowed in the freedom of Christ are deemed not allowed. Look at Romans 14. It seems that the LC is the weaker believers always going out of their way to find believers who have more freedom than they observe in their restricted consciences. It is true that Paul said that the stronger ones practicing their freedom in front of weaker ones could stumble those weaker ones. But the LC claims to be the strongest, yet puts more restrictions on freedom in Christ than almost any others. They seem to go out seeking to find those who are not bound as they are (almost too parallel with “seeking to devour”). If there are Judaizers going out from James in these days, metaphorically speaking, I think it is more likely the LC than any others.
12-31-2008 11:57 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post

You were correct to say that this is not the age of denominations. But it is also not the age of some other subset of the church, such as the church according to cities, or other narrow definition. It is the age of the church. And as Igzy pointed out, it is Christ who will build the church. We are to pursue the things of peace, and things that build one another.
Mike,

Great reminder. See bold text above.

Surely it is not the age of denominations. Surely it is not the age of some subset of the church. But then the Lord did issue a call for overcomers to the seven churches. In 1 Cor. Chapter 11 Paul did referred to those who “were approved.” He also warned us to be careful how we build. By the way what do you feel is to build with wood, hay and stubble? What is to build with gold, silver and precious stone? Should we care?

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who desires to be a true disciple.
12-31-2008 10:40 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
Fair enough. Neither should we make the bad the enemy of the best. So many posters here keep trying to measure the principle of oneness by the failures of the LSM denominational churches.

Just because their experiment failed due to the lusts, ambitions, and rivalries of the "Blended Brothers" (falsely so-called), does not mean that some should not still endeavor to come back to meeting simply and in oneness.
Perhaps we missed the point of the Lord's prayer for oneness. He prayed for oneness, perhaps we should, too, and let him show us along the way what it means and how it is worked out. And in the meantime, don't neglect make the best of what we've got, for His sake.
12-31-2008 10:29 AM
Toledo
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I was simply pointing out that the Lord is operating in the situation today. Don't make the good the enemy of the best.
Fair enough. Neither should we make the bad the enemy of the best. So many posters here keep trying to measure the principle of oneness by the failures of the LSM denominational churches.

Just because their experiment failed due to the lusts, ambitions, and rivalries of the "Blended Brothers" (falsely so-called), does not mean that some should not still endeavor to come back to meeting simply and in oneness.
12-31-2008 10:05 AM
YP0534
Re: Does the same standard apply to all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
While we are pointing our the failure of the LC model, what about everybody else?..
That the teaching regarding one church-one city is not articulated in a fashion that would allow mandatory application is completely a matter of sovereign arrangement.

If it were capable of being forced upon someone, we would of necessity all be members of the one Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church, which might potentially come to view the threat of dissenting opinions to its cherished membership to be so grave as to declare war upon the heretics.

Oh. Wait.

Yeah.
12-31-2008 10:04 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
In 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, Reverend S.A. Luke of the Frebis Avenue Church of God told me that this is the age of denominations, and that the Lord is blessing His people in the denominations. Sorry, I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now.

Of course the Lord's presence is there in the denominations -- He promised that wherever two or three are gathered together, He'd be in the midst.

But just because the Bible says:"If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there," doesn't mean that hell is a good place to meet...
Yes, but the church is not a place, it's a group of people, as you have pointed out. Are you saying there is a group of people meeting in the Lord's name who are hell? (No comments about my family reunions, please.)

Also, I do not believe in the age of denominations. But a community church is not a denomination. It's a whole different animal. Also, many churches, particularly Baptist churches are dropping "Baptist" from their name. Plus, let's give Baptists due credit. They practically invented autonomous churches.

I was simply pointing out that the Lord is operating in the situation today. Don't make the good the enemy of the best.
12-31-2008 09:55 AM
Cal
Re: Does the same standard apply to all?

Hope,

Excellent questions! Now this thread is getting somewhere.

Watchman Nee surely meant well with his locality model. The flaw in it is the insistence on a borders of a city being the borders of a church. It is easy to see that this leaves all kinds of ragged edges, starting with that New Testament doesn't really make this clear, right up to the size, practical overlapping and other nuances of modern cities.

Another problem with it is that it presupposes a model that can be recognized and--and this is key--enforced to the point that those that don't adhere to can be deemed divisive, i.e. we can know who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are. Seems God doesn't really want us to know this.

It seems to me that if the Lord wanted such a clear model he would have given us one. But referring again to the well-worn analogy of the Trinity, we see the pattern, but we cannot agree about the specifics. The problem is with locality, not agreeing on the specifics equals failure. And there will never, ever, be agreement on the specifics.

Divisions over the flesh are bad. Divisions over the Spirit are not. The LC model seeks to define--outwardly with one simple rule--which these are. Can't be done.
12-31-2008 09:54 AM
OBW
Re: Does the same standard apply to all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
What went wrong?
Maybe the problem is that we are focused on the wrong things. Instead of wondering how some have erred (in our opinion) we should be pursuing the things that build one another. And we should understand “one another” much more broadly than just our small sphere ─ or as the song said it “our day and sect.”

We do have differences. Just as there are some who have the peace to eat meat that was offered to idols (Romans 14) but others who have a problem with such things, we cannot condemn those who we think are in error relative to our “scruples.”
12-31-2008 09:34 AM
Hope
Re: Does the same standard apply to all?

Dear Posters,

While we are pointing our the failure of the LC model, what about everybody else? If the divisions among the work of WN and WL are proof that their model of the city church does not work, then what do we say about all the denominations, ministry churches etc. Do they have a wrong model? Does our analysis cut both ways? There are 17 major denominations among the Baptist alone. All practice believers baptism by full immersion. What went wrong? Well maybe they are not really divisions but only needed to stretch their wings and do things more to their liking. Confussing isn't it.

I know several dear believers who have bounced from one Bible Church to another. One phrase I have heard often is "my needs were not being met." Another is "I prefer a larger group," or "I prefer a smaller group." My favorite is "I prefer their worship team and praise service."

WN and WL addressed the problem of division. Was that a mistake? They also had a model and ideal for oneness. Was that a mistake? Was their thought right but their model wrong? If oneness and division are legitimate topics are all christians and christian groups measured by the same standard.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
12-31-2008 09:29 AM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Igzy said:

Quote:
To my mind, any genuine church must receive all believers, otherwise they are a sect. Almost all Christian groups realize and practice this now. They receive all believers. So at least part of what you are envisioning is already in place.
This is so true. Sunday we observed the Lord’s table. It was clearly stated before we began that it was not the table of IBC, but that all born again believers were welcome.

Toledo said:

Quote:
In 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, Reverend S.A. Luke of the Frebis Avenue Church of God told me that this is the age of denominations, and that the Lord is blessing His people in the denominations. Sorry, I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now.

Of course the Lord's presence is there in the denominations -- He promised that wherever two or three are gathered together, He'd be in the midst.

But just because the Bible says: "If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there," doesn't mean that hell is a good place to meet...
You were correct to say that this is not the age of denominations. But it is also not the age of some other subset of the church, such as the church according to cities, or other narrow definition. It is the age of the church. And as Igzy pointed out, it is Christ who will build the church. We are to pursue the things of peace, and things that build one another.
12-31-2008 09:23 AM
Toledo
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I said that no one has the right to judge for us whether we are doing that but the Lord. So if I move from group A to group B, it's nobody's business but the Lord's.
Zing! An excellent point.

It would seem that many of us love to quote John 21: "Lord, and what shall this man do?", but neglect the Lord's reply: "what is that to thee?"

I think it is a grave error for me to be telling other brothers how they should go on with the Lord, while neglecting the speaking I have from Him in my heart. Something about having a log in my own eye comes to mind...
12-31-2008 09:13 AM
Toledo
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Could well be. But it happens to be the model the Lord is operating in in this day and age. And at the very least it's the lesser of all the other "evils" I've seen and heard.
In 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, Reverend S.A. Luke of the Frebis Avenue Church of God told me that this is the age of denominations, and that the Lord is blessing His people in the denominations. Sorry, I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now.

Of course the Lord's presence is there in the denominations -- He promised that wherever two or three are gathered together, He'd be in the midst.

But just because the Bible says:"If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there," doesn't mean that hell is a good place to meet...
12-31-2008 09:06 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

By the way, in my "free movement" model, so called, I never said we were free to do anything by our preferences and tastes. I said that no one has the right to judge for us whether we are doing that but the Lord. So if I move from group A to group B, it's nobody's business but the Lord's.

My model always presupposed that something done "freely" was done with the Lord's permission.

What the LC did (and I hope not Hope), is declare that if you left their group you were by definition doing something by your "preference and taste."

This is plainly just sheer stupidity, the implementation of a circular argument meant to control people.
12-31-2008 08:59 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

The following is Toledo's answer to a post by cityonahill. (click on arrow or scroll down to full post)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
Not all. The New Testament requirement is that we must receive all whom the Lord has received. His requirement seems simple as well: whoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved, or as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name.....
Good Morning Dear Brother Toledo,

My you can say things so well in a short way. I must say amen. Thank you for your post.

Here are a few verses on doing whatever is right in our own eyes. Moses declared that this was one of the practices of the wilderness that needed to cease. Yet the time of the Judges (a time of degradation) is described as everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. LORD SAVE US FROM OUR OWN PREFERENCES AND TASTES.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to become a true disciple.

John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB

A few verses on doing things by our own preferences and tastes.

Deut 12:8-9, You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; NASB

Judg 17:6, In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. NASB

Judg 21:25, In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. NASB

Prov 21:2, Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts. NASB

Prov 16:2, All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives. NASB

Prov 16:25, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. NASB
12-31-2008 08:41 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Igzy’s “free movement” model is off.
Dear Hope,

Could well be. But it happens to be the model the Lord is operating in in this day and age. And at the very least it's the lesser of all the other "evils" I've seen and heard.
12-31-2008 08:34 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The principle of denomination is that you set yourself apart from all other believers. The principle of the church is that you are one with all other believers.

Everybody draws some kind of circle around their little group. Whether it is a doctrine or teaching or practice or leader, whether it is overt or subtle, every group draws a circle and has a boundary. The principle of the church is simply to draw a bigger circle -- even reaching as far as the boundary of the locality in order to include every believer.
Toledo, I think you make a good point. If you feel to meet as a church that includes all believers in the locality then please do so.

To my mind, any genuine church must receive all believers, otherwise they are a sect. Almost all Christian groups realize and practice this now. They receive all believers. So at least part of what you are envisioning is already in place.

However, they probably don't say their church includes all believers in the locality. This is not because of divisiveness, but because of not wanting to be rude. It just sounds a presumptive for a group to say "Everyone is a member of our church." It sounds like they are making decisions for everyone and setting themselves above every other group. They would likely choose to say that they welcome all believers.

Would you say then that they are lacking in vision, or worse, divisive? What would you say is the problem and, more importantly, what is your remedy for it?
12-31-2008 08:28 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Hope,

I agree with Terry. As a relatively young generation, I need your balanced insights, at least not to repeat the same things. I'm supposed to return to my country sooner or later after completing my life in the mainland China.

These days I'm considering what I shoud do when I come back to the local church I belonged to for so long. What would you sugget me?
Gubei
Dear Gubei,

I prefer the Lord’s own advice to mine. That is to Love God and our neighbor. I prefer the advice of Paul that we would serve in S/spirit not in letter. Please see verses below. All this talk about models is to miss the mark. The Southern Baptist model is off. Igzy’s “free movement” model is off. The practice of the LSM/LC model is off. Once we seek to serve by the letter, (a system, method or model) we will find ourselves in oldness. I can fellowship for days on this matter using reams of scripture. May we leave this for another time. May the Lord be full of grace and compassion as you seek to follow him.

Hope, Don Rutledge

Matt 22:37-40, And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." NASB

1 John 2:10, The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. NASB

1 John 3:14-16, We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. NIV

Rom 7:6, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. NASB

Rom 12:2, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV
12-31-2008 07:56 AM
Toledo
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
I guess no matter how you might "learn and try again," the "practical oneness" will always be relative to a minority of believers and subject to preconcieved doctrines that they may have.
Not all. The New Testament requirement is that we must receive all whom the Lord has received. His requirement seems simple as well: whoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved, or as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name.

Pretty much it would seem that you believe on Jesus and after that the sky is the limit. The Lord loves crazy people, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
By defining "the ground of the church" in any way simply creates a denomination.
Nonsense. The principle of denomination is that you set yourself apart from all other believers. The principle of the church is that you are one with all other believers.

Everybody draws some kind of circle around their little group. Whether it is a doctrine or teaching or practice or leader, whether it is overt or subtle, every group draws a circle and has a boundary. The principle of the church is simply to draw a bigger circle -- even reaching as far as the boundary of the locality in order to include every believer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
However, an understanding and agreement of doctrines is needed for the church to go forward in any shape form or fashion.
I don't think so. This was the error of the Roman Catholics. It was followed as well by the Protestants. Who says the church has to have teachings and doctrines? The church only needs believers.

Witness the success of the current praise and worship meetings. They are for the most part utterly devoid of teaching, yet Christians gather to sing, praise, and worship God.

It is the workers who come with their doctrines and their teachings. The church has the right either to receive or reject their ministries. But the church itself can have no teachings. We cannot reject anyone because of a doctrinal disagreement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
Otherwise, we are left with a bunch of lone-ranger individual Christians who will spend their lives chasing the ghost of "oneness."
In my experience, the lone-ranger individual Christians aren't that way because they care about oneness, but because they care for their own personal "spirituality" and because they are not willing to give up anything in order to fellowship with others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
So I guess the answer to your question could be yes! You do need to give up striving for "practical oneness" because at the end of the day that is all it becomes: striving.
Yes, thank you. At last someone comes right out and says it. Forget the prayer of the Lord Jesus in John 17. Forget the command to maintain the oneness in Ephesians 4. Because the LSM is wrong in so many ways, we have an excuse to ignore the scripture...

You would seem to despise striving. Yet striving is a significant part of the New Testament: "striving to maintain the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). And desiring to match the Lord's heart is hardly "chasing ghosts".

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityonahill View Post
There are many denominations and "free groups." I'm sure at least one of them suits your preconcieved doctrines and desired church practices. As long as you can have that local fellowship, assemble with other believers, and go after God together in one accord, you can't go wrong!
I can only assume you are being sarcastic here, but it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. Your last paragraph echoes so many of the posts on this site. The LSM messed up, therefore we are free to do what is right in our own eyes...

I don't buy it. The failure of the LSM denominational churches does not imply that practical oneness cannot be attained in this age.
12-31-2008 07:51 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Forgive me Igzy for my reactions to your posts. And....I'm sure I am biased also......we all are to some degree. All I am doing is posting what is recorded in the NT which you've probably heard many times. Is God blessing all of his children no matter where they are.....certainly to some degree.....and I am not judging them. I've met with many believers not meeting as a "local church".

I guess I just have a bit of a hard time believing that we are free to take a different way other than what is in the Word.
Hey, Oregon, as long as we can fellowship, it will alright. I'm sorry if I'm sometimes too abrasive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The question remaining for us is "Do we just give up hope for practical oneness, and go back to meeting with the denominations and free groups, or do we start over, learn from our mistakes, and try again"? On my part, individually, I struggle to keep my heart open to be one with all believers. I continue to explain the principle of oneness with every believer that I meet, and hope that an expression of this oneness may be built up in my city, so the world may believe that God has sent us His Son.
There is nothing wrong with being and praying for oneness. But I think we need to be careful about making oneness our mission. It seems to me that can be a distraction. The Lord commissioned us to disciple the nations, to me that means leading people to the Lord and helping them grow.

Someone pointed out, rightly, that the Lord never commissioned us to build the church. He said he would do that. What he and the NT writers told us to do is to build up each other. There is a subtle but important difference there. Building up others focuses on people. But building up the church can lead to focusing on an abstract idea or institution. This is exactly what happened in the LC. "The church" became the mission. But "the church" wasn't people, it was an ideal.

The two great commandments--love God, love people--tell us plainly where the focus of our hearts should be. When we start getting focused on some ideal, "the church," "oneness," "sanctification," "bringing the Lord back," "the consummation of the ages," "the heavenly vision," whatever, people always tend to become means to the end of that vision, and become expendable. This, too, happened in the LC.

People are never a means to an end. They are the end. They are our mission. If we love God and love people, oneness will not be a problem. You think "practical oneness" deals with your flesh? Try practically loving every single person you meet.

Come to mention, what exactly does "practical oneness" mean? It's a very loaded term, with a lot of LC baggage attached to it. On the other hand, surely Christian oneness should be visible. The Lord prayed that oneness would help the world believe. But what does real oneness look like? Does it mean one set of elders and lockstep Christians. I don't think the Bible tells us that.

The pastor of our church meets with and prays with about 60 pastors from our city on a regular basis. They pray for each other and for the Lord's impact in the city. What will this lead to? I don't know, but I know it shows that the Lord is leading them.

So, concerning the "dreary" option of simply settling for a "denomination" or "free group" (oh, that ingeniously derogatory LC nomenclature), with a pew, a musty hymnal and a weekly bulletin? Cheer up. The fact is, folks, the Lord is working powerfully in Christian groups.

And guess what? You think you've got something to teach them? Guess again. You are likely to find out you are the one with a lot to learn. I did. Once I got humbled off my LC high horse (still a work in progress) I saw how I had almost completely missed the simple reality of loving God and loving people, and I entered into a completely new phase of my Christian life.

Oddly, things like "being saturated with the divine nature" don't enter my mind much anymore, when just a few months ago I still thought that kind of thing was really profound. But, you know, that stuff sounds real deep, but it's really not. You know what is really deep? Having a genuine relationship with God and/or another person. That's where the real and satisfying depth is. I thank God He showed me that.
12-31-2008 06:44 AM
YP0534
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrotherInChrist View Post
Wow. Whatever enlightened believer told you that should be commended, regardless of what denomination he/she may find himself in.
...
Now to remember to convince my wife I need a new Strong's, interlinear and Vine's (all of them got lost in the last few moves I've made)...
It's been a long time now and I've actually forgotten who exactly said it.

For a long time I just assumed that all believers did that automatically.

If you get around to the Vine's, be careful. Nelson's kind of mixed that title up with its revisions. The original Vine's text is the best if you can find it, even if it is based on the British Revised Version.
12-31-2008 05:44 AM
ABrotherInChrist
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Dude, within days of initial salvation.

"Get a Strong's, a Vine's and a Nestle/Marshall KJV interlinear."

It was a FABULOUS idea and I've made the exact same recommendation to others over the years and have even given them out as gifts to young believers.
Wow. Whatever enlightened believer told you that should be commended, regardless of what denomination he/she may find himself in.

If we all studied the Bible with our resource books (like Strong's, Vine's, etc) at our side, we would not so easily be entrapped by speakers like Lee with his incomprehensible teachings.

Now to remember to convince my wife I need a new Strong's, interlinear and Vine's (all of them got lost in the last few moves I've made)...
12-30-2008 10:03 PM
cityonahill
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The question remaining for us is "Do we just give up hope for practical oneness, and go back to meeting with the denominations and free groups, or do we start over, learn from our mistakes, and try again"?
I guess no matter how you might "learn and try again," the "practical oneness" will always be relative to a minority of believers and subject to preconcieved doctrines that they may have. By defining "the ground of the church" in any way simply creates a denomination. However, an understanding and agreement of doctrines is needed for the church to go forward in any shape form or fashion. Otherwise, we are left with a bunch of lone-ranger individual Christians who will spend their lives chasing the ghost of "oneness."

So I guess the answer to your question could be yes! You do need to give up striving for "practical oneness" because at the end of the day that is all it becomes: striving. There are many denominations and "free groups." I'm sure at least one of them suits your preconcieved doctrines and desired church practices. As long as you can have that local fellowship, assemble with other believers, and go after God together in one accord, you can't go wrong!
12-30-2008 08:45 PM
YP0534
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
They told you that?! Not a very good idea.
Dude, within days of initial salvation.

"Get a Strong's, a Vine's and a Nestle/Marshall KJV interlinear."

It was a FABULOUS idea and I've made the exact same recommendation to others over the years and have even given them out as gifts to young believers.
12-30-2008 07:54 PM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The question remaining for us is "Do we just give up hope for practical oneness, and go back to meeting with the denominations and free groups, or do we start over, learn from our mistakes, and try again"?
Could there be another alternative?

What if the RCC, archaic denominations, and our former LC are not options available to us?
12-30-2008 07:47 PM
Ohio
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post

99.9999% (at least) of people being saved in the world are being saved via groups that LCers would say are not real churches! Isn't it strange that the Lord is choosing to do such a majority of his saving work in groups LCers won't even recognize. Sounds like He recognizes them.
Igzy, does this bother you too?!?

These are the kinds of facts that were needed to destroy all my elitest notions.
12-30-2008 07:35 PM
Ohio
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Hope I can help from time to time.

Just doing what I do, you know?

Oddly, the Local Church people are the ones who first directed me to get reference works and compare Lee's ministry with what I found there.

I just never stopped doing that.

I guess I didn't get the memo.

They told you that?! Not a very good idea.
12-30-2008 05:31 PM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Forgive me Igzy for my reactions to your posts. And....I'm sure I am biased also......we all are to some degree. All I am doing is posting what is recorded in the NT which you've probably heard many times. Is God blessing all of his children no matter where they are.....certainly to some degree.....and I am not judging them. I've met with many believers not meeting as a "local church".

I guess I just have a bit of a hard time believing that we are free to take a different way other than what is in the Word.
12-30-2008 03:57 PM
Toledo
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
This part really perplexes me (not that this is too hard to do:rollingeyes2 How does one practice the church "individually"?
From my point of view, the only way to practice the church is individually. So long as we insist that others agree with us and take our way, we sow the seeds of division among ourselves. But if I on my part take the stand before God that I will not be divided from other believers, I believe God may have a way to produce a practical testimony:

John 17:20--21 Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.

Eph 4:2--4 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body...

Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men.

On my part I recognize that all the believers in my locality (heck, within reasonable driving distance) are the church here. I don't insist that all of them come to meet together -- that is ecumenicism and isn't gonna happen. Rather I make the stand that I will not be divided off from any saint because of any action of my own. Further, I endeavor to make my stand known to those around me and attempt to bring others to this understanding (and perhaps even to meet with me).

Of course, many will not take this way. Others will begin to take this way but will get distracted due to doctrines, teachings, preferences, etc. Some will usurp our practice in order to carve out a little kingdom for themselves. This should not prevent me, individually, from opening my heart to be one with every believer I meet.

This is what has happened among us. We began by taking the stand that we are in fact one. Recognizing that many will not take this way does not have to be a deterrent for us to begin to meet on this ground of oneness. The beginning was frankly glorious. It seemed as though God both honored and blessed our stand.

Only later did division come in due to the insistence of some regarding "one with the ministry". That which had begun so well had -- for many -- turned into just another denomination. We shouldn't be surprised: the same thing happened for Martin Luther, George Fox, John Wesley, Count Zinzendorf, John Darby (not to mention Paul, Barnabas, Cephas, and James).

The question remaining for us is "Do we just give up hope for practical oneness, and go back to meeting with the denominations and free groups, or do we start over, learn from our mistakes, and try again"? On my part, individually, I struggle to keep my heart open to be one with all believers. I continue to explain the principle of oneness with every believer that I meet, and hope that an expression of this oneness may be built up in my city, so the world may believe that God has sent us His Son.
12-30-2008 01:57 PM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Dear Gubei and Oregon,

Simply put, you both have failed to prove conclusively that the house churches in the NT are city churches. And there is no way you can prove it. You can argue all you want and believe what you want, but there is no way you can conclusively show this. Thus it is unreasonable for you to expect others to accept your interpretation. So for you to call others divisive for not meeting as a city church is itself divisive.

If you cannot see this or understand at all what I'm getting at then this conversation is basically over, because you just don't get it.
12-30-2008 01:37 PM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Gubei,

Let me also say that if you genuinely receive all believers and respect all churches in a city then I have no problem with your local ground beliefs. However, if you genuinely receive and respect then the local ground belief is rather superfluous, isn't it?

Because if we all genuinely receive and respect, then real oneness has been achieved, unless you interpret oneness as marching in lockstep under one set of elders, which I most certainly don't, since the downside of such an arragement is potentially much worse, and more likely, than the upside, as history has shown again and again.
12-30-2008 12:36 PM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Gubei,

The ground of locality teaching is an ironic paradox because though it is supposed to issue in oneness, by definition one cannot practice it without condemning other groups, thus it works against oneness. One can believe in head covering while receiving believers and even churches that do not believe it. But one cannot practice the local ground without invalidating every group in the city that doesn't believe it. Thus it is divisive.

You say you receive and fellowship with all Christians which don't hold the local ground. That's as you should. But how do you feel about their groups? Do you feel they are not real churches? If so, your model has proven to be divisive.

For example, I don't believe in Catholicism. Yet, I cannot say the Catholic group down the road is not a real church. The church in Thyatira was a church. I've been to Catholic services where I definitely felt the Lord presence. Call me crazy but it's true. Who am I to say others shouldn't be there if He's there?

99.9999% (at least) of people being saved in the world are being saved via groups that LCers would say are not real churches! Isn't it strange that the Lord is choosing to do such a majority of his saving work in groups LCers won't even recognize. Sounds like He recognizes them. Sounds like you and He are out of sync.
12-30-2008 12:04 PM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Dear Igzy,

My simple question to you which you did not answer at all.

Have you ever read the book – “Rethinking our work” by WN? If you did not read, I have to be surprised how you can criticize the ground of locality without knowing what locality is as defined by its first proponent.
Dear Gubei,

I do not feel obligated to answer every question you have. Many of them can be answered simply by reading my posts more carefully.

I have read The Normal Christian Church Life (Concerning Our Mission) and Further Talks on the Church Life, by WN. I have also read just about every book WL wrote about the matter, including The Practical Expression of the Church and The Genuine Ground of Oneness. I have heard of the book you speak of, but I believe it is titled Rethinking the Work, not Rethinking Our Work. I haven't read that title. I also was in the LC movement for years and heard and read many other message on the local ground.

Finally, I've probably read the NT as much as you have. Please stop acting as if I haven't. I realize once you've come under the sway of WN/WL it's hard to see the NT any other way that the way they told you to see it. This is in part because WL was very good at teaching that thinking differently from them is rebellious, so followers are fearful of doing so. WL was also very good at poisoning any well other than his own, while ascribing blessed status to those who drink from his alone.
12-30-2008 11:53 AM
YP0534
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Interesting comments, YP, thanks. It's so nice to be delivered from the thoughts of "one man only."
Hope I can help from time to time.

Just doing what I do, you know?

Oddly, the Local Church people are the ones who first directed me to get reference works and compare Lee's ministry with what I found there.

I just never stopped doing that.

I guess I didn't get the memo.
12-30-2008 11:28 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

with respect and friendly,

Basically, the one-set of elders you and I should follow is not necessarily any one among the two sets. You can read my analysis of the situation of Toronto in the below.

To be more specific to your question, it's up to the Lord. Our Lord may lead you to A, and me to B. Or He may lead both you and me to A. Or He may lead both you and I to B. Or He may lead you to B, and me to A. Or He may lead you or me to C.
Right. I'd agree.

But the upshot is that the one church per city principle must be either not required or optional, otherwise why would the Lord lead me to A and you to B? Why would he lead one of us to an invalid division of the Body? If there is only one church per city then A and B cannot both be churches, otherwise there are two churches.
12-30-2008 09:53 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
In summary,

Are you saying that the ground of locality should be rejected because
a. the process of formulating it is different from the case of Trinity?
b. the process of formulating it is the same with the case of Trinity, but enough information is in short compared to the case of Trinity?

Gubei
Gubei,

I'm saying the pattern of the Trinity in the Bible is much clearer and plainer than the ostensive pattern of locality, evidenced by the fact that almost everyone believes in the Trinity and almost no one believes in the local ground.

It is just more evidence to discount claims of the existence of some overriding locality truth. It's not the only reason, but it certainly doesn't help your case.
12-30-2008 09:34 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
And I will simply say that human failure will never be a justifiable ground to promote something contrary to what is recorded in God's Word.
This is a true statement, Oregon.

However, continued human failure, not to mention a model which seems to guarantee failure, should be justifiable ground for you to reconsider whether what you think is in God's Word is actually there. You have not shown a willingness to do this, which suggests some hardheadedness mixed with your faithfulness.
12-30-2008 09:18 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrotherInChrist View Post
Igzy: A very good summary. I don't think I could have done as well myself. Thank you for the straight-forward list of points. Well done.
Thank you, ABiC.
12-30-2008 08:52 AM
ABrotherInChrist
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Igzy: A very good summary. I don't think I could have done as well myself. Thank you for the straight-forward list of points. Well done.
12-30-2008 08:49 AM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

An interesting quote from the introduction to The Story of Christianity by Justo L. Gonzalez reads as follows: “The notion that we read the New Testament exactly as the early Christians did, without any weight of tradition coloring our interpretation, is an illusion. It is also a dangerous illusion, for it tends to absolutize our interpretation, confusing it with the Word of God.”

But “absolutizing” interpretations became the hallmark of Lee’s teaching, and more extremely those who would be the continuing heralds of those teachings. Too much is distilled to “simply” this and “just” that, while dismissing any other considerations without discussion. This presumes so much authority upon Lee’s interpretation as to make his words equal to, or even addendums to, the Word of God.

This is reason enough that insisting on something as uncertain as one city – one church (which is then clarified as one city – one local authority/eldership) is beyond the pale of prescriptive doctrines. While there might be arguments that it is God’s ideal, it is only clear that it is an ideal of men who would be the leaders of such a group and pushed upon those who would be their followers.

It is not those who see the uncertainty in interpretation who are at risk of elevating their findings to that of Scripture. It is those who are so certain that they have the answer.
12-30-2008 08:48 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Some might ask themselves, why am I so strong against the teaching of the ground of locality. LCers, of course, believe I have a bad motive or want to save my soul-life or am possessed by the devil or something like that. I mean, how dare I?



Let me summarize:
  1. There is a pattern of city churches in the NT, but it is not perfect. There is no evidence that the house churches mentioned were city churches. So extrapolating a commandment from an imperfect pattern is folly.
  2. The Bible doesn't prescribe city churches, and gives evidence of non-city (house) churches. That's enough to not make an issue of it.
  3. To require everyone, and call everyone divisive, who does not subscribe to city churches, is a self-serving attempt to control others.
  4. To my observation and analysis, no working model of city churches has been proposed. Each model contains the seeds of its own destruction and ultimate divisiveness.
  5. All arguments for city churches I've heard sound sanctimoniously vague. People who argue for city churches usually end up saying that "we" (What do you mean "we," Kemosabe?) somehow have to find a way to "make it work," and if we don't it's our failure. I tell you what. You pray to the Lord and ask him to give you a way to make it work. When he gives you an answer, let me know. I'll be all ears. I've been asking on this thread and others over and over for a model that works. It's been really strange, but none of the advocates has provided one.
  6. The local ground teaching stumbles believers. Who knows how many precious believers are shipwrecked because the LC movement poisoned "Christianity" for them. I'll bet there are thousands who don't follow the Lord with much vigor now because someone told them they can't meet with anyone but the LC. Who wants to defend this stumbling to the Lord at the judgment seat?
  7. The local ground teaching divides practioners from all other believers, both by its exclusive bent, and by the delusions of specialness it puts in the mind of its adherents. LCers are generally almost completely incapable of esteeming non-LCers as "better than themselves."
  8. The local ground teaching restricts the Lord from moving in fresh ways. Members are not free to follow the Lord as he leads, but must get full permission from leadership. If leadership is corrupt, members must disobey the Lord to comply.
  9. Critical problems with leadership cannot be resolved peaceably. If a "leading elder" or "apostle" goes bad, there is no mechanism for resolving the situation other than a complete breakdown of the system, which we have seen in cities like Toronto, Columbus, Mansfield, etc, etc. In these situations the sheep are scattered, and left wounded and dying, all because there was no fail-safe on leadership, all because of a fanatical adherence to an imperfect Biblical model which is not even prescribed by Scripture. So much for being as wise as serpents.
  10. The local ground teaching is a distraction from the real work of the Great Commission. Love God, love people--those are the two great commandments. The local ground teaching has definitely been shown be a detriment to the second. It has been shown to be easier for Christians to work together to spread the gospel and shepherd people if Christians can drop their pet doctrines (which are the source of division). The local ground is another pet doctrine which hinders the cooperation of Christians.
12-30-2008 07:49 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
..My views were once entrenched in one city - one church as much as any brother, but they have slowly changed, partly because the messenger(s) has lost so much credibility...
Ohio,

I agree with you. But, as you said, it was not because the ground of locality was wrong that the chruch was not blessed from God. It was because people were wrong in practicing that. That's why I do not think the strict one eldership per city is not essential. But the fact is there in the Bible. It is natural that any saint who is really willing to follow the patterns in the Bible just wants to follow the pattern of the ground of locality.

Gubei
12-30-2008 07:42 AM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
This statement is simply biased logic by you Igzy. You oppose one church in a city and so you read it this way and present it to us in a way that sounds authoritative.
Oregon, I really like you. I think you are a good guy. But what is this now, the third time, you've called into question my character?

So I'm biased and you are not? I see. You are purely dividing the word, but I'm applying my own logic because... you say I am? Whatever.

Sorry, but you need to realize that in fact you just might be as biased as you think I am. And the fact that your first instinct is usually to attack my motives as somehow base is evidence that you are.

If you'd like to continue this discussion, let's do so. But let's respect each other's opinion and not attack each other's motives, okay? I might just have a point that the Lord wants you to hear, you know?

I don't think your explanation of Romans 16:1-5 is anything you came up with on your own. You seem to be simply repeating the standard LC interpretation, right down to the archaic use of the phrase "these dear ones." So, as far as that goes you really didn't have to think much about your reply, you just repeated what you've been told to believe.

I have no problem with your explanation of Paul's reason for greeting Prisca and Aquilla, Oregon, but regardless of how precious they were, the fact is if someone is already greeting the church he wouldn't tell the hearer to greet the church right in the middle of the greeting.

Suppose you were writing to a family gathering and wrote:
"Greet Aunt Suzy and Uncle Joe, and greet Grandpa and Grandma, and greet the family in Grandma's kitchen, and greet Tom and Sally and Cousin Eugene."

Now if would be unreasonable to expect readers to realize that you meant that "family in Grandma's kitchen" includes Suzy, Joe, Grandpa, Grandma, Tom, Sally and Eugene. Yet this is what you expect us to think Paul meant in Romans.

In fact, most readers would think that the "family in the kitchen" was either a subset of the family or a different family. Grandma is pretty precious as well, but it's still unreasonable to think because she's so precious that therefore the family in the kitchen includes the entire family.

You talked about bias, Oregon. But I think interpreting the four mentions of houses churches in the NT, in Romans, 1 Cor, Colossians, and Philemon as necessarily city churches reflects a bias toward city churches so strong that it must subsume all evidence to the contrary.

I say the New Testament authorizes city churches and house churches, and so gives freedom on how to meet. I meet with a group which does not meet on the ground of locality, yet we receive all believers and have Christ as our center, and I know we are a CHURCH. If you don't think so, I think that shows you have a divisive bias, not me.

Ask yourself, if we are not a church, and are divisive, then why is the Lord so much with us. Why is he blessing us so much?
12-30-2008 07:41 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Hope, by the contrary I think you have something worthwhile to say. Same for Toledo, Steve P. Sure, I regard all as brothers, but whether a current elder or a former elder in a local church assembly there is an aspect of your experience that should not be discarded nor diminished. Rather no longer being burdened by the LSM ideological policies there is the liberty to speak candidly and directed to be shepherds of a flock.

With grace,

Terry
Hope,

I agree with Terry. As a relatively young generation, I need your balanced insights, at least not to repeat the same things. I'm supposed to return to my country sooner or later after completing my life in the mainland China.

These days I'm considering what I shoud do when I come back to the local church I belonged to for so long. What would you sugget me?

Gubei
12-30-2008 07:27 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Let's talk about what's "obvious." Here are the first five verses of Romans 16. Paul is greeting the saints in Rome.
1. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2. that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. 3. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4. who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5. also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
If the church in Rome is the only legitimate church in that city, then Paul is already addressing the church in Rome when he starts greeting the saints. So it makes no sense that the church mentioned in verse 5, which meets in Prisca and Aquilla's house, is the city church.

Imagine you were greeting a club. You wouldn't greet some of the individuals in the club, then greet the club which meets on the corner, then continue to greet the club individuals, all the time expecting listeners to know the club on the corner includes everyone you've mentioned. In fact, that manner of address implies just the opposite--that the club on the corner is in some way different.

One explanation offered is that "church" in verse five simply means "assembly" in a general way, like group. But this is a huge presumption. There is no reason to suggest that the word church here doesn't have the full meaning of church as used in other places in the NT.

So, if patterns are your thing, it seems to me that the pattern here is that church can be used legitimately to describe a city church (v. 1) or a house church (v. 5), as Paul easily moves from one usage to the other, with no apparent sense of a need for explanation of the dual usage.

Suggesting that the church in the house here equals the church in the city seems very forced. In fact, one likely would not even think such a thing unless he or she were predisposed that city churches were the only legit churches, and so needed to shoehorn verse five into that belief.

So what's "obvious?"
Dear Igzy,

I’m not sure I fully understood what you said. Below is my understanding of chapter 16 of Romans.

You wrote.
“If the church in Rome is the only legitimate church in that city, then Paul is already addressing the church in Rome when he starts greeting the saints. So it makes no sense that the church mentioned in verse 5, which meets in Prisca and Aquilla's house, is the city church.”

Let’s see what is obvious in chapter 1 of Romans.


“Rom 1:7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 1:7 -
To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there. (Barns)”

Definitely, the recipients of this epistle of Paul are all the saints in Rome, or the church in Rome.

And then, chapter 16 is the final recommendation of Paul to the church in Rome with a view to introducing the church in Rome to other churches. So, he began with Sister Phoebe who is at Cenchreae, a town close to Corinth.

“Rom 16:1 I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at Cenchreae”

And then, Paul introduced Prisca and Aquila to the church in Rome. And there was a church that is in their (i.e. Prisca and Aquila’s) house.

“Rom 16:3 Salute Prisca and Aquila my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus,
Rom 16:4 who for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles:
Rom 16:5 and salute the church that is in their house. Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ.”

Let’s read

1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Prisca salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

“Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord; Aquila was a Jew of Pontus, and Priscilla was his wife, who came from Italy, all Jews being obliged to depart from Rome, by the order of Claudius Caesar. These came to Corinth, where they met with the apostle; and being of the same occupation, stayed and wrought with him; and when he went from thence to Ephesus, accompanied him thither; see Act_18:3; wherefore having personal knowledge of the members of this church, through their stay with the apostle there, for the space of a year and a half, send their Christian salutations to them, with great affection and respect: (Gill)”

Gubei
12-30-2008 06:47 AM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Hi Ohio,

Firstly I will state publicly that I appeciate your friendly manner. Secondly I will quote a statement from WL which I heard him say numerous times....."I didn't just come down from the moon this morning".

I am fully aware of the situation in Taipei and have been for many years. And I will simply say that human failure will never be a justifiable ground to promote something contrary to what is recorded in God's Word.
Brother Oregon,

My views were once entrenched in one city - one church as much as any brother, but they have slowly changed, partly because the messenger(s) has lost so much credibility. Another reason is that there is no working model to confirm this scriptural pattern. For me it's kind of like saying "you must be born again," and yet never meeting anyone on earth who was. And ... that surely was my case ... growing up in the RCC and their school system. So ... I do feel it is unfair to extrapolate from a limited life experience ... but, of course, things have changed for me, and my horizons have expanded, and I have since then met thousands genuinely "born again."

Now with the practice of "one church - one city," we do have the advantage of examining the whole of church history across the globe. I just have not seen it work well and work for long. My nagging question is this -- if the "correct" church pattern were so important to the Head, then why is He not pouring out His blessing upon them. Why doesn't the Head vindicate this church model? Why is He blessing those "in division?" Why are those "in division" receiving the anointing, getting saved, answered prayers, etc.

I do, however, agree with you concerning the scriptural pattern. It's there in the Bible. So is having "all things common." So is the matter of "church houses." I believe the Spirit of God is able to use many valid paradigms to meet God's need for His children. House churches are thriving in China. Does that mean we all must practice that way? We did, and much of that led to failure.

My question is WHY? I asked this question within for about a quarter century. WHY? My answer is simple. If the Lord leads you, He will bless. If you are just copying a way, even a scriptural way, He doesn't necessarily bless. The lesson is this -- He is the Way! No way can be the way. No way can be THE way. Only He is THE way.

LSM has long attempted to codify "The Way." They have repeated the history of the Pharisees. They have never been blessed for their efforts. Any "blessing" has been manufactured for sale at the trainings. But ... they will never learn. The Pharisees refused to learn also ... and it was God Himself in their midst.
12-30-2008 06:10 AM
Ohio
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
It occurred to me that there may be a little iceberg tip here. This very term in the often neglected sections of the New Testament epistles deals directly with the practical act of receiving believers. There's apparently an affectionate element implied in the term as relates between believers and if Paul were giving direction to warmly welcome these listed ones instead of merely telling them 'hi' upon reading of the epistle, it paints a far more vivid picture of relationships that are merely alluded to. It's not merely a partial roster of the assembly in Rome but instead a list of approved persons who might be expected to minister something in Rome upon their arrival. And Paul concludes the section by issuing a warning concerning divisiveness.

I think I may need to consider the New Testament "greetings" further in this light...
Interesting comments, YP, thanks. It's so nice to be delivered from the thoughts of "one man only."
12-30-2008 06:07 AM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Whenever I considered how difficult (well nigh impossible) it would be for one large modern city to contain just one church and be administered by just one presbytery, I was always pointed to Taipei, as working proof that the one city, one church model was extremely applicable and workable in our day. Not only so, but the explosive and vibrant economy of Taiwan was living proof of the Lord's blessing on "the ministry."

Since I had never been there, and who was I to question the blessing of God, I stopped questioning and started "believing." Then, to my surprise, I learned in the mid-80's that Taipei was dead, aging, lifeless, and in great need of a training to overhaul the church there. Also, in one meeting, the existing eldership was replaced by 80 young serving ones.

Obviously the "model" had not worked out very well. In fact, it appeared a dismal failure, in need of a "laboratory" to try to find something, anything, some new thing to help out. They had been doing all the "right things" for decades, and look what happened to them.

This is why I have become a little weary when anyone claims to have a "better mousetrap." Sure it's easy to condemn apparent shortcomings in the whole of Christendom. Condemnation is easy to teach and easy to learn, just ask a recovering "judgaholic." I would estimate that up to eighty percent of the "sales job" for "one city - one church" came not from the Bible, but from the elitist and exclusive desire to be "God's best."

Hi Ohio,

Firstly I will state publicly that I appeciate your friendly manner. Secondly I will quote a statement from WL which I heard him say numerous times....."I didn't just come down from the moon this morning".

I am fully aware of the situation in Taipei and have been for many years. And I will simply say that human failure will never be a justifiable ground to promote something contrary to what is recorded in God's Word.
12-30-2008 06:01 AM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Let's talk about what's "obvious." Here are the first five verses of Romans 16. Paul is greeting the saints in Rome.
1. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2. that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. 3. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4. who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5. also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
If the church in Rome is the only legitimate church in that city, then Paul is already addressing the church in Rome when he starts greeting the saints. So it makes no sense that the church mentioned in verse 5, which meets in Prisca and Aquilla's house, is the city church.

Imagine you were greeting a club. You wouldn't greet some of the individuals in the club, then greet the club which meets on the corner, then continue to greet the club individuals, all the time expecting listeners to know the club on the corner includes everyone you've mentioned. In fact, that manner of address implies just the opposite--that the club on the corner is in some way different.

One explanation offered is that "church" in verse five simply means "assembly" in a general way, like group. But this is a huge presumption. There is no reason to suggest that the word church here doesn't have the full meaning of church as used in other places in the NT.

So, if patterns are your thing, it seems to me that the pattern here is that church can be used legitimately to describe a city church (v. 1) or a house church (v. 5), as Paul easily moves from one usage to the other, with no apparent sense of a need for explanation of the dual usage.

Suggesting that the church in the house here equals the church in the city seems very forced. In fact, one likely would not even think such a thing unless he or she were predisposed that city churches were the only legit churches, and so needed to shoehorn verse five into that belief.

So what's "obvious?"


This statement is simply biased logic by you Igzy. You oppose one church in a city and so you read it this way and present it to us in a way that sounds authoritative. There is no mention of “The church that is at Rome” and also “the church that is their house” in this epistle. If you can show this to me than I will acknowledge that you have a solid point.

Firstly Paul doesn’t start out greeting the saints in Rome in chapter 16. He starts out commending a sister from another church( which by the way is another dreaded local church……the church which is at Cencrea…a fact that you failed to mention in your biased presentation.) Then He specifically points out Prisca and Aquilla who were Paul’s fellow workers and who even risked their lives for him. Nothing wrong with that special greeting……they had a special place in Paul’s heart because of his long time association with them. And these dear ones were so precious that even the churches of the gentiles were thankful for them.
And this precious couple in the Lord even had the saints gathering in their house. How wonderful……so….greet the church….or….assembly that is in their house.

Your argument is simply a reasoned statement by someone who wants the various divisions in the body of Christ to be a justifiable thing.
12-30-2008 04:49 AM
YP0534
Re: When in Rome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
I had my own reasons in the past for thinking the "church in their house" included all the individuals in the greeting. After your expounding dear YP0534, the entire passage makes better sense.

I did a little further digging.

Although the supplied word "greet" is commonly placed in translations without identifying that it was supplied, Amplified and the Recovery Version also make clear that it was supplied. (I'll note in passing that Lee believed that they lived in Rome, according to his footnote.)

The gloss in my Nestle-Marshall interlinear, which includes punctuation, seems to favor the reading I've suggested. The notes in the Expositor's Greek Testament states that their home may have been in Ephesus, which would also corroborate my reading.

The Greek word itself aspazomai is odd. It appears to be an "aloha" sort of term that could be used for different types of salutation, both initial hello and bidding adieu. Sometimes it has been translated as "embrace," which I'll note can have two meanings in English, as can "welcome."

Vine suggests "welcome" as a translation and that choice would reinforce my reading.

Bauer also suggests "welcome" as a rendering and at one place notes:
Quote:
Mt. 5:47 - certainly means more than 'greet'; be fond of, cherish, be devoted to, like are better.
Kittel states (along with pages of other stuff!):
Quote:
The basic meaning of the term seems to be 'to embrace.'
Louw & Nida, in reference to the occurrence at He 11.33, write:
Quote:
to be happy about something, on the basis that it would prove particularly welcome (thus implying a type of future orientation) - 'to be happy about, to anticipate with pleasure.' [Gk. omitted] 'but from a long way off they saw them (the promises) and anticipated them with pleasure' He 11.33....

to welcome something or someone, with focus upon the initial greeting - 'to welcome, to accept gladly.' [Gk omitted] 'not having received the promises but from a long way off they saw them and welcomed them' He. 11.33...
It occurred to me that there may be a little iceberg tip here. This very term in the often neglected sections of the New Testament epistles deals directly with the practical act of receiving believers. There's apparently an affectionate element implied in the term as relates between believers and if Paul were giving direction to warmly welcome these listed ones instead of merely telling them 'hi' upon reading of the epistle, it paints a far more vivid picture of relationships that are merely alluded to. It's not merely a partial roster of the assembly in Rome but instead a list of approved persons who might be expected to minister something in Rome upon their arrival. And Paul concludes the section by issuing a warning concerning divisiveness.

I think I may need to consider the New Testament "greetings" further in this light...
12-30-2008 03:53 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
By the way, since we are here being all friendly and such, can any local ground advocate answer the following question:

Suppose there are two groups in a city claiming to be meeting as the church on the local ground. You and I visit both and pray about which one to meet with. You feel the Lord is leading you to meet with group A, but I feel the Lord is leading me to meet with group B. We both obey our respective leadings.

Question: Have one or both of us misinterpreted the Lord's leading? Or is it possible we have both interpreted the Lord's leading correctly?
Igzy,

with respect and friendly,

Basically, the one-set of elders you and I should follow is not necessarily any one among the two sets. You can read my analysis of the situation of Toronto in the below.

To be more specific to your question, it's up to the Lord. Our Lord may lead you to A, and me to B. Or He may lead both you and me to A. Or He may lead both you and I to B. Or He may lead you to B, and me to A. Or He may lead you or me to C.

======


The following is my analysis of the situation of Toronto in light of my belief on the ground of locality (5 sets of elders is my assumption for the convenience of explaining.)

I begin with a question which is intended to embarrass anyone who believes the ground of locality.

Q : One set of elders have not been confirmed by all the saints in Toronto. There are 5 sets of elders in Toronto for now. Among those 5 sets, only 2 sets are for the ground of locality – one set is LSM-affiliated and the other set is in Nigel Tomes' camp. Which set of elders should we follow?

The purpose of this kind of question is to generate a dilemma. If anyone believes the ground of locality, he is supposed to follow those elders who also follow the ground of locality. However, in case of Toronto, there are two sets of elders who follow the ground of locality – LSM-affiliated camp and Nigel Tomes' camp. And, to my understanding, each camp is not accepting other. This situation seems to give us the impression that the ground of locality does not stand even among those who follow the truth. Yes, this is a dilemma if we accept the assumption of the question.

However, if we scrutinize the underlying assumption of the question and clarify what "one-set of elders" means, the dilemma can be solved. The assumption of the question is that there should be "one" set of elders who God confirmed among those 5 sets of elders. Let me call those 5 sets of elders A set, B set, C set, D set, and E set, respectively. A set is the LSM-affiliated, B set is of Nigel Tomes, and C, D, E are from other denominations. The key to understanding the solution of this question is as follows. As I already explained in the previous post, "one set of elders who God confirmed in Toronto" is not necessarily one among those 5 sets. On the contrary, I believe "one set of elders who God confirmed" are those who may consist of subset of each 5 sets and even other brothers who are not officially recognized as elder but functioning as such. From the viewpoint of God, there has always been one set of elders in Toronto whether they are in the same Christian group or not. This understanding requires us to broaden our definition of a local church. Because one set of elders may not belong to the same Christian group, we cannot insist that only my group is THE group in Toronto. Thus, the church in Toronto is in a sense more of "universal" than "local," meaning the church in Toronto is an "invisible one-set of elders and saints system."

Of course, the phase 2 of the ground of locality is to seek after a visible one-set of elders in Toronto. The ideal state is when the invisible one-set of elders are equivalent to the visible one-set of elders. This is quite difficult to achieve given the divisiveness of even mature Christians. But just because it is difficult, that does not follow that we can give it up. The ideal state is a kind of target which all Christians should struggle to achieve, just as the perfect sanctification is also a target of all individual Christians.

In conclusion, forcing saints to choose any one-set of elders in Toronto is a non-sense.

Gubei
12-30-2008 03:37 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
UntoHim makes a very important point here. Ground of locality apologists like to make a parallel between the way the Trinity is presented in the New Testament and the way locality is, suggesting that if these two matters are presented in similars ways and if the Trinity is accepted then by the same logic the local ground should be as well.

But if one suggests there is really such a similarity between the way these two matters are presented in the New Testament then one must answer as to why one (the Trinity) has become a foundational element of the Christian faith-- seen, taught and defended by virtually all Christians since the church Fathers, while the other (locality) has been almost completely ignored.

Seems to me then that they are not presented similarly at all.

Local grounders need to honestly ask themselves why has the local ground, which they claim to be so plainly presented in the Bible, passed virtually unseen by Bible scholars for 2000 years. I know the pat answer is that people are too attached to their own choices to receive the "truth" of the local ground. But that is the answer of a crank*.


* An annoyingly eccentric person ; also : one who is overly enthusiastic about a particular subject or activity.
Igzy,

So, I want them to see what is presented in the Bible.

However, Trinity has caused a lot of contentions among Christians.

My understanding of Trinity is quite different from Igzy’s.

As the Christian history confirmed, the so called Church Fathers fought a battle against heretic teachings on Trinity (which automatically includes the issue of the Person of Christ and the Holy Spirit). Now, even among so called fundamental Christians, the understanding of Trinity is not the same.
To me, the ground of locality has not caused as many contentions as Trinity. And the ground of locality does not use such big words as homoousios in order to explain the truth. So, the ground of locality is less problematic than Trinity in terms of the process of inducing into a prescriptive truth from some descriptive verses in the Bible.

So, It is I who is saying that the ground of locality should be accepted because it is presented in the Bible the same way Trinity is presented, but in a simpler process and clearer verses. If you accept Trinity and its process of being confirmed as valid, the ground of locality should be accepted on condition that that the process is the same with the case of Trinity. Now, if you want to attack this logic, you should prove that the ground of locality is not presented the way Trinity is.

But, your logic does not make sense. You just denied the ground of locality to begin with, without proving that the process of formulating it is different from Trinity, and just said the process was wrong. This means that if Igzy had been a brother in 3~4 century, he could have rejected Trinity on the ground that Trinity is controversial.

Igzy, you are using a circular logic to deny the ground of locality. What matters now is whether the ground of locality is valid or not. So, you cannot start your argument by denying the assertion to begin with. And in #130, you seem to have admitted that the process of formulating the ground of locality is okay, but problem was the shortage of enough information.

In summary,

Are you saying that the ground of locality should be rejected because
a. the process of formulating it is different from the case of Trinity?
b. the process of formulating it is the same with the case of Trinity, but enough information is in short compared to the case of Trinity?

Gubei
12-29-2008 10:20 PM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear UntoHim

You wrote.
The "doctrine of the Trinity" was formed very early in church history because it is all over the pages of the New Testament. The major teachings/doctrines/beliefs regarding the Trinity are central and core to the Christian faith. The "ground of the church" is, at best, a very minor, peripheral matter, which is why it is not addressed by the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or even the early church fathers. None of the early councils dealt with "the church ground" either.”

UntoHim, I agree with you. That’s why I do not insist phase 2 of the ground of locality (i.e. one set of elders in a city). I do not think one set of elders in a city is essential in our Christian life.

You wrote.
Gubei, you really need to go back and read the New Testament my brother (and Less of Nee/Lee)...there are only two reasons for division amongst Christians - Sin and false teachings. Sadly, there was/is more then enough of these negatives in the Local Church for a stern warning to be sounded to current LC members, as well as to those considering joining the movement.”

UntoHim, sorry if my explanation is not correct. When I said “This means there is no dividing factor among Christians except locality”, this does not mean that there is another factor except sin and false teachings that divide Christians. Of course, all Christians are one in the notion of the universal church. What I was tried to say was that Christians are divided (actually meaning distinguished) by geography in its administration if we follow the ground of locality.

Gubei
12-29-2008 10:05 PM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear Hope,

Also in my country, a lot of denominations are using "local churches" with different meanings from what I have used. Actually denominations are using the term, local churches, as meaning the scattered assemblies belonging to thier denominations.

Gubei
12-29-2008 09:53 PM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Say what?

Your entire quote never used a word I have written.

Me offering the Southern Baptist as a model and defending them? I beg your pardon! Please show that to me. I had no such intention.

Hope, Don Rutledge
Dear Hope,

My sincere apologies if I misundersood you. I thougt you were promoting the Southern Baptist.

May I ask you to explain to me what your model as to how meet is?

In the Lord,
Gubei
12-29-2008 09:44 PM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Dear Igzy,

Welcome back.

You wrote.
I'm back. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate Christmas that's fine.”

My simple question, to begin with. Do you celebrate Christmas? That is very unbiblical “practice.” It is very weird that you are so quick to abandon the ground of locality which is supported by the Bible, and also so quick to accept that unbiblical practice. Hopefully you do not say that Christmas should be celebrated because the Bible does not prescriptively reject it.

You wrote.
It's clear to me now that Gubei rather than defending any current practice of the local ground is proposing an ideal model of how the local ground might actually work. I say "might" because his model is theoretical. It has never been worked out in practice and so has not been completely tested. This is not a criticism, it is just a fact. He seems to think the model should be tried. Others reply, Don't bother.”

Igzy, please read the NT. My model was simply conducted by Paul 2,000 years ago. When I say “ideal state,” that does not mean “theoretical.” Actually, the ground of locality should have not been “ideal” in church history, but “common and widely practiced.” The only reason the ground of locality was considered “ideal” by me is due to being divisiveness of human nature.

You wrote.
What is interesting is that this impasse actually points to the inherent problem with ever trying to put a theoretical local ground ideal into practice: That is, The city church model is supposed to be about practical oneness, but none of us really know what practical oneness really looks like. So the idea is hamstrung from the start. How can we agree to practice a certain model if we honestly don't agree the model is correct?”

Igzy, please read the N.T. And you will know what practical oneness really looks like. To me, the idea stands from the start. And if you do not agree to admit that the ground of locality is in the Bible, the only thing you can do is to say that there is no model in the Bible. But, you have gone too far to suggest your own model.
So, please make this clear. Are you saying that there is no model as to how to meet in the Bible? Or are you saying that we should meet according to your model? Your posts are mixed in this matter.

You wrote.
So, ironically, trying to work out practical oneness is bound to lead to fundamental disagreements on whether we actually have it or not. These disagreements themselves may become points of division. So the attempt to achieve practical oneness by pushing a particular outward model seems to be doomed to self-defeat. This is what I call the ironic paradox of trying to apply practical oneness in a one-size-fits-all model. It contains the seeds of its own failure.”

Igzy, you are not consistent in defining “being divisive”

You said "Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude," meaning being divisive is not just any model but the heart and attitude of those who hold that model. I totally agree with this definition of your own. And I hope you are consistent in your wonderful definition. Let’s think about the practice of head covering of sisters. Even though I do believe sisters had better to cover their head during church meetings according to the Paul’ instruction, I do not condemn any sister who does not cover their head. Also, I expect other Christians not to condemn me by my holding that truth. So, I do not want to be divisive in my heart and attitude. Now can you say that the practice of head covering contains the seeds of its own failure? Is that ironic paradox? The principle is the same with the ground of locality.


You wrote.
Now, some might call this defeatism, even unbelief. Others, like Gubei, might say that the problem is not with the idea of locality, but with fallen human nature. But saying that fallen human nature is the problem forgets that the problem with achieving "practical citywide oneness" is not just a lack of geniality, it is also a lack of clear insight to know precisely which "model" of practical oneness is the correct one. Since it is not clear that we can, in this life, ever hope to achieve a level of holiness where we could expect to agree on precisely what "locality" means, a precise viable locality model which is not heavy on liberality is a pipe dream.”

Igzy, it is very clear. “One city – one church – one set of elders in that city.” How can it be clearer?

You wrote.
Is this defeatism and unbelief? I do not think so. I believe it it realism with faith.”

I think it is a compromise to ease our obligation to keep practical oneness.

You wrote.
Gubei sincerely thinks his model is according to God. He is "fully persuaded in his own mind." That's good. That's as it should be. However, the real question is: What does he do when others in the city he lives in disagree with him on his interpretation? Does he "condemn" them, or does he drop the matter to preserve the fellowship? If he does the latter, this suggests that his model was not as fundamental to oneness as being willing to drop it was, which suggests that his model (and all others) was just another potential point of doctrinal contention which must, in the end, like head covering and musical taste, be expendable.”

Igzy, please do not wrongly boil down what I said. Despite repeated requests, you are not properly “quoting” what I said. The same thing is happening with OBW. I said the phase 2 (having one set of elders in a city) is not essential in our Christian life. BTW, OBW thinks Trinity is not fundamental. Once again, I want to clarify my belief. I will not drop my belief of the ground of locality, including one-set of elders in a city. But I will keep fellowshipping with other Christians in my city. To me, fellowshipping with them is more important than insisting one set of elders in my city. PLEASE QUOTE THIS!

You wrote.
It is not that locality is wrong. The issue is: Just what does locality mean? Since the Bible is unclear on this, pushing a particular interpretation is detrimental to exactly what locality is supposed to be about. That's the ironic paradox.”

My simple question to you which you did not answer at all.

Have you ever read the book – “Rethinking our work” by WN? If you did not read, I have to be surprised how you can criticize the ground of locality without knowing what locality is as defined by its first proponent.

Gubei
12-29-2008 08:56 PM
Hope
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Hope,

If you want to fairly evaluate "First Baptist church" or "Calvary Chapel", please do not use WL or LSM's bad practice. You should use the Bible. You should be comparing the denominations and local churches on the basis of the Bible, not be defending the denominations using other's bad histories.

Gubei
Say what?

Your entire quote never used a word I have written.

Me offering the Southern Baptist as a model and defending them? I beg your pardon! Please show that to me. I had no such intention.

Hope, Don Rutledge
12-29-2008 08:43 PM
Ohio
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Actually, whether we take the ground of locality or not, the practical aspects of our Christian life won't change much. In this ever-getting busier modern society, most of our Christian activities are restricted to our personal life and limited fellowship with other Christians.
Our place was divided over the recent quarantine and many of the brothers I have known for years became quite discouraged. At different times, several have said similar things to me, in effect, "Where's the church? It's in my heart. It's in my home. It's with my family. It's with the saints I fellowship with." They were so frustrated with the program, with the leadership, with the fighting, with the debates, etc. and were reduced to "me and the Lord and those around me." It was the LSM that tried to make things so grandiose. We began our Christian walk with "two or three" and will probably end the same way.
12-29-2008 08:33 PM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Call me liberal if you want, but hanging a sign outside that says "First Baptist church" or "Calvary Chapel" is not hating your brother. Now let's compare and contrast that with putting to print the outrageous statement that "Protestantism is Christless." Here is Witness Lee in the Life Study of Philippians:
"This is the reason that we say that, in a very real sense, Protestantism is Christless, for Christ is outside the door"
http://books.google.com/books?id=jho...esult#PPA23,M1
Oneness is not just what you say, it is what you do.
Hope,

If you want to fairly evaluate "First Baptist church" or "Calvary Chapel", please do not use WL or LSM's bad practice. You should use the Bible. You should be comparing the denominations and local churches on the basis of the Bible, not be defending the denominations using other's bad histories.

Gubei
12-29-2008 08:32 PM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Sometime during a visit ... I will relate to you some of my unique discoveries while digging in the library stacks at SMU in Dallas. Or perhaps when you are here and we are relaxing ... then we can have our discussion of church history … naw, no way!!!

Oops, sorry!!! In the past, on this forum and the other, when I offered a little word of wisdom or discernment I was thoroughly put in my place since I am a former local church elder. I and Toledo must never offer any semblance of admonishing or warning since we are forever polluted by our past association.
Brother Hope, sounds inviting indeed ... library stacks at SMU? ... fascinating discoveries from the wildest of places? ... now if only I could get my wife on board ... or shall I say on the beach ... but ... are not all things possible with God?

As far as the "beating" you took on the forum ... it was indeed painful to watch at times, and quite disturbing to me too. Mostly, it's not just the differing points of view, but the insistence on them, that divides us as believers. We are a bunch of hurting people, and hurting people hurt each other! I have long considered myself to be "damaged goods." But, no matter how beat up we are, in Christ Jesus there is hope for us!
12-29-2008 08:23 PM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Gubei, you are right. At the same time WL attacked Lang's book Churches of God which addressed the matter of church eldership and church autonomy. Lang had written the book out of the same Brethren environment which the Recovery faced at the time. Lang ably expounded from scriptures in order to address many deficiencies which developed among the Darby exclusives. These truths were extremely dangerous to the system developing under LSM, hence the need for WL to enact a coordinated assault via quarantines upon all the proponents of the book and the truths within which were slowly spreading.

Like you, for the same reasons, "my evaluation of WL is mixed" also. For these reasons, the "ground of locality" is also paradoxical to me. I see the ideal beauty of it in the N.T., and at the same time, I see its ugly fruit in church history. Hence, the Spirit of God never made it prescriptive in the N.T. It happened, it was wonderful, it was recorded, it ended.
Ohio,

I understand what you say. But, let's think about this. The Spirit of God never made Trinity prescriptive in the N.T. And then, historically, there have been a lot of debates on that. But the truth is not over.

Actually, whether we take the ground of locality or not, the practical aspects of our Christian life won't change much. In this ever-getting busier modern society, most of our Christian activities are restriced to our personal life and limited fellowship with other Christians. But, my point of taking the ground of locality is that the truth is for oneness of Christians.

It's easy to criticize the ground of locality, but how about other models presented by other posters here? Despite the repeated denial of others, their actions of presenting something (i.e. Igzy's "freemovement model" and Hope's "congregationalism model of The Southern Baptist") is to preseting a kind of prescriptive something which also should be evaluated by the yardstick they used to criticize the ground of locality. I do not think they passed the evaluation.

Gubei
12-29-2008 07:05 PM
Terry
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post

In the past, on this forum and the other, when I offered a little word of wisdom or discernment I was thoroughly put in my place since I am a former local church elder. I and Toledo must never offer any semblance of admonishing or warning since we are forever polluted by our past association. So please all posters just ignore this post if you so desire. I do not wish to stir up trouble as I did in the past. If you need to vent against a former elder please do so by the PM and spare the other posters.
Hope, by the contrary I think you have something worthwhile to say. Same for Toledo, Steve P. Sure, I regard all as brothers, but whether a current elder or a former elder in a local church assembly there is an aspect of your experience that should not be discarded nor diminished. Rather no longer being burdened by the LSM ideological policies there is the liberty to speak candidly and directed to be shepherds of a flock.

With grace,

Terry
12-29-2008 05:28 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Whenever I considered how difficult (well nigh impossible) it would be for one large modern city to contain just one church and be administered by just one presbytery, I was always pointed to Taipei, as working proof that the one city, one church model was extremely applicable and workable in our day. Not only so, but the explosive and vibrant economy of Taiwan was living proof of the Lord's blessing on "the ministry."

Since I had never been there, and who was I to question the blessing of God, I stopped questioning and started "believing." Then, to my surprise, I learned in the mid-80's that Taipei was dead, aging, lifeless, and in great need of a training to overhaul the church there. Also, in one meeting, the existing eldership was replaced by 80 young serving ones.

Obviously the "model" had not worked out very well. In fact, it appeared a dismal failure, in need of a "laboratory" to try to find something, anything, some new thing to help out. They had been doing all the "right things" for decades, and look what happened to them.

This is why I have become a little weary when anyone claims to have a "better mousetrap." Sure it's easy to condemn apparent shortcomings in the whole of Christendom. Condemnation is easy to teach and easy to learn, just ask a recovering "judgaholic." I would estimate that up to eighty percent of the "sales job" for "one city - one church" came not from the Bible, but from the elitist and exclusive desire to be "God's best."

Dear Ohio,

In my brief history of the early local churches in the USA, I had a few paragraphs on myths and endless genealogies. During the middle ages there was a type of historical writing called a hagiography. It was about real events and persons but either with a highly romanticized exaggerated wonderful spin or it was the worst possible negative spin and both were woefully short of real details but rife with bias and agenda. A scholar must sort through what is history and what is hagiography. We have the same issue with the LSM/LC and Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Sometime during a visit to the snow country in the GLA, while we are sitting before a roaring fire roasting chestnuts, I will relate to you some of my unique discoveries while digging in the library stacks at SMU in Dallas. Or perhaps when you are here and we are relaxing on the beach watching the silhouettes of the dolphins against the horizon as they swim and leap through the wind and surf, then we can have our discussion of church history … naw, no way!!! The North Carolina beach is too beautiful and relaxing to spoil it with some volume of forgotten lore.

My romanticized notion of Taiwan was burst in 1967. It seems they had a very good beginning. Then a storm came due to financial matters, TA Sparks’ visit and then WL expelled his five close co-workers. Then came the bad business venture.

Witness Lee then returned in 1967 with 141 USA saints. We had a very good time together. I saw meetings not too different than what you might see in a gospel preaching church in the USA. I had many conversations with Taiwan brothers and learned of many problems they had experienced in their short history.

I happened to be there again in the spring of 1986. They were starting their big change and new way. There was very little to see or positive reports to give. Their spiritual level was lower than in 1967.

Please consider this word from an old salt. Beware of positive or negative hagiography. Oops, sorry!!!In the past, on this forum and the other, when I offered a little word of wisdom or discernment I was thoroughly put in my place since I am a former local church elder. I and Toledo must never offer any semblance of admonishing or warning since we are forever polluted by our past association. So please all posters just ignore this post if you so desire. I do not wish to stir up trouble as I did in the past. If you need to vent against a former elder please do so by the PM and spare the other posters.

Hope, Don Rutledge
12-29-2008 04:47 PM
Hope
Re: When in Rome...

Dear YP0534,

Very interesting digging. Cenchrea was the seaport suburb of Corinth. It was very plausable that Phoebe and Prisca and Aquilla were well acquainted. Since the couple was from Rome it is normal that would have accompanied Phoebe there. Romans was written from Corinth. The gospel in Corinth started with the couple and it is logical that the church initially gathered in their home.

The proper translation of the passage rest with the Greek work kai. Is it connecting the verb greet or is it connecting churches and church. Here is the Strong's dictionary explanation of the word.
NT:2532 kai (kahee); apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words:
KJV - and, also, both, but, even, for, if, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yet.

I had my own reasons in the past for thinking the "church in their house" included all the individuals in the greeting. After your expounding dear YP0534, the entire passage makes better sence.

Thanks again,

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer who is seeking to become a true disciple.
John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
12-29-2008 02:42 PM
YP0534
When in Rome...

Perhaps someone can help me here.

Where does it say that Prisca and Aquilla lived in Rome?

Acts 18:2 says they got booted out of Rome.
Acts 18:18 says they traveled with Paul.
Acts 18:26 has them at Ephesus.
1 Cor 16:19 seems to have them in Asia.

And according to KJV and NASB "greet/salute" is supplied in Rom. 16:5.

The whole context of that section of Romans appears to be that Phoebe from Cenchrea, and Prisca and Aquilla from wherever, were visiting Rome. Looks like maybe Epaenetus was traveling with Prisca and Aquilla. In Paul's commendation of Prisca and Aquilla, he testifies that they have stuck out their own necks for him, and he gives them thanks. He then also relates the gratitude of the churches of the Gentiles and the church which is in their house (presumably back somewhere in Asia, by my reading.)

Does Romans have to have been written before they got chased out of Rome for some reason that I'm not aware of?
12-29-2008 02:07 PM
Ohio
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Actually if you just drop the term "ground of the church" and look at the clear picture in the recorded NT all the believers in any city where the gosple went were the church in that city. It's very obvious and one must almost purposely choose to deny it.
Whenever I considered how difficult (well nigh impossible) it would be for one large modern city to contain just one church and be administered by just one presbytery, I was always pointed to Taipei, as working proof that the one city, one church model was extremely applicable and workable in our day. Not only so, but the explosive and vibrant economy of Taiwan was living proof of the Lord's blessing on "the ministry."

Since I had never been there, and who was I to question the blessing of God, I stopped questioning and started "believing." Then, to my surprise, I learned in the mid-80's that Taipei was dead, aging, lifeless, and in great need of a training to overhaul the church there. Also, in one meeting, the existing eldership was replaced by 80 young serving ones.

Obviously the "model" had not worked out very well. In fact, it appeared a dismal failure, in need of a "laboratory" to try to find something, anything, some new thing to help out. They had been doing all the "right things" for decades, and look what happened to them.

This is why I have become a little weary when anyone claims to have a "better mousetrap." Sure it's easy to condemn apparent shortcomings in the whole of Christendom. Condemnation is easy to teach and easy to learn, just ask a recovering "judgaholic." I would estimate that up to eighty percent of the "sales job" for "one city - one church" came not from the Bible, but from the elitist and exclusive desire to be "God's best."
12-29-2008 02:06 PM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Let's talk about what's "obvious." Here are the first five verses of Romans 16. Paul is greeting the saints in Rome.
1. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2. that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. 3. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4. who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5. also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
If the church in Rome is the only legitimate church in that city, then Paul is already addressing the church in Rome when he starts greeting the saints. So it makes no sense that the church mentioned in verse 5, which meets in Prisca and Aquilla's house, is the city church.

Imagine you were greeting a club. You wouldn't greet some of the individuals in the club, then greet the club which meets on the corner, then continue to greet the club individuals, all the time expecting listeners to know the club on the corner includes everyone you've mentioned. In fact, that manner of address implies just the opposite--that the club on the corner is in some way different.

One explanation offered is that "church" in verse five simply means "assembly" in a general way, like group. But this is a huge presumption. There is no reason to suggest that the word church here doesn't have the full meaning of church as used in other places in the NT.

So, if patterns are your thing, it seems to me that the pattern here is that church can be used legitimately to describe a city church (v. 1) or a house church (v. 5), as Paul easily moves from one usage to the other, with no apparent sense of a need for explanation of the dual usage.

Suggesting that the church in the house here equals the church in the city seems very forced. In fact, one likely would not even think such a thing unless he or she were predisposed that city churches were the only legit churches, and so needed to shoehorn verse five into that belief.

So what's "obvious?"
12-29-2008 01:33 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Re: The Ground Of The Church
________________________________________
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei
The ground of church is not mentioned literally in the Bible, just as Trinity is not.
The "doctrine of the Trinity" was formed very early in church history because it is all over the pages of the New Testament. The major teachings/doctrines/beliefs regarding the Trinity are central and core to the Christian faith. The "ground of the church" is, at best, a very minor, peripheral matter, which is why it is not addressed by the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or even the early church fathers. None of the early councils dealt with "the church ground" either.
Quote:
What matters is what the ground of church is talking about. The ground is simply locality. This means there is no dividing factor among Christians except locality....

Posted by Unto,

Quote:
Gubei, you really need to go back and read the New Testament my brother (and Less of Nee/Lee)...there are only two reasons for division amongst Christians - Sin and false teachings. Sadly, there was/is more then enough of these negatives in the Local Church for a stern warning to be sounded to current LC members, as well as to those considering joining the movement.
--------------------------------------------------------------
From Hope, this post
Dear Brother Unto,
It would be excellent if we did not have such a convoluted history regarding this term “ground of the church.” It is not a scriptural expression and is not anywhere on the same level as the non-scriptural term Trinity. Yet, what some, including myself were thinking when they heard the term “ground of the church” was the teachings and declarations of the New Testament regarding the Headship of Christ and the Oneness of the Spirit and the One Body and the One New Man and the functioning members who are one Body and the non-preferential care for all the members of the One Body. Over the years, I have put as much of the errors of the LSM out of my mind as the Lord has allowed me to purge. I have not been wild and just tossed the baby with the bath water. I cannot remember using the term “ground of the church” in decades, maybe for over 30 years. I never liked the term even when with the church in Dallas. I have always preferred to use the Bible and Bible terminology. In fact, a wonderful deacon in Dallas turned me in to Benson in the early 80’s for saying we should not be quoting WN and WL but rather the Bible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope
When it comes to the practicality of a spiritual reality, the Bible does not give prescriptive formulas

Posted by Unto:

Quote:
While there are some exceptions to this, for example the establishment of baptism and the Lord's Table, I would strongly disagree that "the ground of the church" could be considered anything aproaching "a spiritual reality". Again, this is taking into account that our oneness is not based upon where we meet, the style of our meeting, etc, etc.
Dear Brother Unto,
The fact of the church and the practical functioning Body of Christ as described in Romans 12 has a spiritual reality. Placing this spiritual fact and practice in a time and place involves both practice and reality. Just shouting "ground of the church" will not get the job done. I know for a fact that the early brothers, such as John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, and John So, to name a few, desired deeply to see the spiritual reality of the church realized in a practical local expression. They were not in love with a term "ground of the church."

Post from Brother Unto,

Quote:
So, if the Bible does not give us any prescriptive formula for the practice of the ground of the church, then why would we allow/participate/ in the establishment of an entire sect/movement which is largely based upon this prescriptive formula? Admitedly, I am overstating a bit here to make my point.
Dear Brother Unto,
In the early days, I do not believe that the fellowship among the brothers and sisters centered around the issue of the ground of the church. It is a true fact that this term came to have a central role in the formation of a movement that differed from the original move of the Spirit.

Be careful both ways. Do not throw out the baby with the bath water. But do throw out the bath water for the baby's sake. For example. You cannot find the Southern Baptist Denomination in the New Testament. How could millions of believers establish a movement over a certain form of Baptism?

BUT believers Baptism is a big thing to me. It is worth fighting for. The story of the battle for this truth is quite a testimony of the work of the Spirit and the courage of many. But taking this truth regarding Baptism as a measure by which to divide the Body of Christ and set believer against believer is a shame. I ask how could this happen? None of this is very simple.


Quote: from Hope
The church, the assembly, the Body of Christ, Christ as the Head of the Body etc. must be first and foremost practiced locally and even individually. Hence, the stress in the New Testament on the “local church.”

From Unto
,
Quote:
This part really perplexes me (not that this is too hard to do ) How does one practice the church "individually"?
Dear Brother Unto,

For example, Heb 10:24-25, and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. NASB

How often should we assemble? How much and how do we encourage one another? How do we stimulate one another to love and good deeds? Which good deeds? All of these matters of a practical church life must be practiced in each particular situation by each particular brother or sister. THE ISSUE IS THAT EACH OF US INDIVIDUALLY MUST SEEK THE LORD DIRECTLY. Then we must seek the Lord collectively but not much at all on an extra local scope. If we are extra local, then we will not need to seek the Lord as our head but can just defer to a program.

To take individual and local responsibility to live before the Lord is not common among the believers today. Most have deferred to a clergyman or system of some sort and or to the program from headquarters. And everyone suffers loss.


Hope, Don Rutledge
12-29-2008 01:13 PM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

By the way, since we are here being all friendly and such, can any local ground advocate answer the following question:

Suppose there are two groups in a city claiming to be meeting as the church on the local ground. You and I visit both and pray about which one to meet with. You feel the Lord is leading you to meet with group A, but I feel the Lord is leading me to meet with group B. We both obey our respective leadings.

Question: Have one or both of us misinterpreted the Lord's leading? Or is it possible we have both interpreted the Lord's leading correctly?
12-29-2008 12:44 PM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Actually if you just drop the term "ground of the church" and look at the clear picture in the recorded NT all the believers in any city where the gosple went were the church in that city. It's very obvious and one must almost purposely choose to deny it.
Purposely choose to deny what, Oregon? That the New Testament mentions city churches, or that we are bound to practice them?
12-29-2008 12:37 PM
Cal
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
The "doctrine of the Trinity" was formed very early in church history because it is all over the pages of the New Testament. The major teachings/doctrines/beliefs regarding the Trinity are central and core to the Christian faith. The "ground of the church" is, at best, a very minor, peripheral matter, which is why it is not addressed by the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or even the early church fathers. None of the early councils dealt with "the church ground" either.
UntoHim makes a very important point here. Ground of locality apologists like to make a parallel between the way the Trinity is presented in the New Testament and the way locality is, suggesting that if these two matters are presented in similars ways and if the Trinity is accepted then by the same logic the local ground should be as well.

But if one suggests there is really such a similarity between the way these two matters are presented in the New Testament then one must answer as to why one (the Trinity) has become a foundational element of the Christian faith-- seen, taught and defended by virtually all Christians since the church Fathers, while the other (locality) has been almost completely ignored.

Seems to me then that they are not presented similarly at all.

Local grounders need to honestly ask themselves why has the local ground, which they claim to be so plainly presented in the Bible, passed virtually unseen by Bible scholars for 2000 years. I know the pat answer is that people are too attached to their own choices to receive the "truth" of the local ground. But that is the answer of a crank*.


* An annoyingly eccentric person ; also : one who is overly enthusiastic about a particular subject or activity.
12-29-2008 12:27 PM
Oregon
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
The "doctrine of the Trinity" was formed very early in church history because it is all over the pages of the New Testament. The major teachings/doctrines/beliefs regarding the Trinity are central and core to the Christian faith. The "ground of the church" is, at best, a very minor, peripheral matter, which is why it is not addressed by the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or even the early church fathers. None of the early councils dealt with "the church ground" either.

Actually if you just drop the term "ground of the church" and look at the clear picture in the recorded NT all the believers in any city where the gosple went were the church in that city. It's very obvious and one must almost purposely choose to deny it.
12-29-2008 11:17 AM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
The ground of church is not mentioned literally in the Bible, just as Trinity is not.
The "doctrine of the Trinity" was formed very early in church history because it is all over the pages of the New Testament. The major teachings/doctrines/beliefs regarding the Trinity are central and core to the Christian faith. The "ground of the church" is, at best, a very minor, peripheral matter, which is why it is not addressed by the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or even the early church fathers. None of the early councils dealt with "the church ground" either.

Quote:
What matters is what the ground of church is talking about. The ground is simply locality. This means there is no dividing factor among Christians except locality....

Gubei, you really need to go back and read the New Testament my brother (and Less of Nee/Lee)...there are only two reasons for division amongst Christians - Sin and false teachings. Sadly, there was/is more then enough of these negatives in the Local Church for a stern warning to be sounded to current LC members, as well as to those considering joining the movement.


--------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
When it comes to the practicality of a spiritual reality, the Bible does not give prescriptive formulas
While there are some exceptions to this, for example the establishment of baptism and the Lord's Table, I would strongly disagree that "the ground of the church" could be considered anything aproaching "a spiritual reality". Again, this is taking into account that our oneness is not based upon where we meet, the style of our meeting, etc, etc.

So, if the Bible does not give us any prescriptive formula for the practice of the ground of the church, then why would we allow/participate/ in the establishment of an entire sect/movement which is largely based upon this prescriptive formula? Admitedly, I am overstating a bit here to make my point.


Quote:
The church, the assembly, the Body of Christ, Christ as the Head of the Body etc. must be first and foremost practiced locally and even individually. Hence, the stress in the New Testament on the “local church.”
This part really perplexes me (not that this is too hard to do:rollingeyes2 How does one practice the church "individually"?

12-29-2008 09:18 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Dear UntoHim,

The ground of church is not mentioned literally in the Bible, just as Trinity is not. What matters is what the ground of church is talking about. The ground is simply locality. This means there is no dividing factor among Christians except locality, or time-and-space limitation which was given to man who is not as omnipresent as God.

And then, please think about "The Southern Baptist" which Hope mentioned. Of course, I agree with their activities except their name - The sourthern Baptist. As you siad, "It was not used, or even faintly implied, by the Lord Jesus or the scripture writing apostles." To me, the name itselt sounds very divisive.

Gubei

Pretty good statement dear Brother Gubei.

When it comes to the practicality of a spiritual reality, the Bible does not give prescriptive formulas. The church, the assembly, the Body of Christ, Christ as the Head of the Body etc. must be first and foremost practiced locally and even individually. Hence, the stress in the New Testament on the “local church.”

I once had a very interesting conversation with Witness Lee about the term “Local Church.” Philip Lee was collecting various statements of faith from various denominations and seminaries. WL was telling me all about it one day over lunch. (He was addressing me directly regarding the state of Christianity.) He declared that Philip had told him that, “the term ‘Local Church’ has become a hot property.” WL went on to ask if I was aware of the denominations picking up this term which they surely had gotten from him, WL. (WL always suspected that Christianity was reading his material and gleaning the best for their own use.) So he read me a statement from a Southern Baptist pamphlet where the term “Local Church” was used. He declared this was proof that we were right to use the term and that we would see Christianity use it more and more.

I smiled and waited for Benson or Ray who were also there to say something. They only nodded their heads in agreement with WL. (In fairness to them, the statement had been directed at me.) Then I explained to WL that I had grown up using the term “Local Church.” The Southern Baptist used it all the time to distinguish themselves from the universal administration of the Catholic church and the bishop/district system of the Methodists and Episcopals etc. I then turned to Benson and Ray and ask them to affirm that this was so. It was amusing watching them being forced to correct WL. They confirmed what I said. WL was visibly disappointed and we went on to something else.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple

John 8:31-33, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
12-29-2008 08:57 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Gubei et al,

I'm back. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate Christmas that's fine.

It's clear to me now that Gubei rather than defending any current practice of the local ground is proposing an ideal model of how the local ground might actually work. I say "might" because his model is theoretical. It has never been worked out in practice and so has not been completely tested. This is not a criticism, it is just a fact. He seems to think the model should be tried. Others reply, Don't bother.

What is interesting is that this impasse actually points to the inherent problem with ever trying to put a theoretical local ground ideal into practice: That is, The city church model is supposed to be about practical oneness, but none of us really know what practical oneness really looks like. So the idea is hamstrung from the start. How can we agree to practice a certain model if we honestly don't agree the model is correct?

So, ironically, trying to work out practical oneness is bound to lead to fundamental disagreements on whether we actually have it or not. These disagreements themselves may become points of division. So the attempt to achieve practical oneness by pushing a particular outward model seems to be doomed to self-defeat. This is what I call the ironic paradox of trying to apply practical oneness in a one-size-fits-all model. It contains the seeds of its own failure.

Now, some might call this defeatism, even unbelief. Others, like Gubei, might say that the problem is not with the idea of locality, but with fallen human nature. But saying that fallen human nature is the problem forgets that the problem with achieving "practical citywide oneness" is not just a lack of geniality, it is also a lack of clear insight to know precisely which "model" of practical oneness is the correct one. Since it is not clear that we can, in this life, ever hope to achieve a level of holiness where we could expect to agree on precisely what "locality" means, a precise viable locality model which is not heavy on liberality is a pipe dream.

Is this defeatism and unbelief? I do not think so. I believe it it realism with faith.

Gubei sincerely thinks his model is according to God. He is "fully persuaded in his own mind." That's good. That's as it should be. However, the real question is: What does he do when others in the city he lives in disagree with him on his interpretation? Does he "condemn" them, or does he drop the matter to preserve the fellowship? If he does the latter, this suggests that his model was not as fundamental to oneness as being willing to drop it was, which suggests that his model (and all others) was just another potential point of doctrinal contention which must, in the end, like head covering and musical taste, be expendable.


It is not that locality is wrong. The issue is: Just what does locality mean? Since the Bible is unclear on this, pushing a particular interpretation is detrimental to exactly what locality is supposed to be about. That's the ironic paradox.
12-29-2008 08:40 AM
UntoHim
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suannehill View Post
...To meet with the LSM group you must follow certain practices in a certain way. Which tells me they no longer meet on the ground of locality, but on a new ground that they have not yet admitted or recognized. They SAY they accept Christ as a common bond. However, in practice they must DO and SAY things in a particular way The "remedy" is the same for all. Drop "I am of ------". That is the scriptural way. God have mercy on us all!
Ah, that stickler of all sticklers... "in practice"!
"Do what I say and not what I do" does not cut it for Christian leaders I'm afraid, or even for a whole group of Christians who claim to be God's move on earth. Since the very beginnings of his ministry here in America, Witness Lee had a very bad habit of setting standards for others that he himself was either unwilling or unable to live up to. When push came to shove, all Lee and his followers have ever done was to push and shove, just like most other Christians and Christian groups have been doing for centuries.

Sorry folks, but the old adage of "it's the thought that counts" is straight from the gates of hell - at least it is when we are talking about Christian oneness.

Check out what the apostle John had to say:

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
(1John 2:9-11)

Call me liberal if you want, but hanging a sign outside that says "First Baptist church" or "Calvary Chapel" is not hating your brother. Now let's compare and contrast that with the outrageous statement that "Protestantism is Christless." Here is Witness Lee in the Life Study of Philippians:
"This is the reason that we say that, in a very real sense, Protestantism is Christless, for Christ is outside the door"
http://books.google.com/books?id=jho...esult#PPA23,M1

Oneness is not just what you say, it is what you do.

12-29-2008 06:01 AM
Ohio
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
To my best knowledge, it was the early (or late) 1980s that WL actually changed the teaching of WN on the ground of locality, claiming that apostles (referring to himself and his co-workers) should not sever their connection to local churches. I think this "later Lee's" teaching is very far way from that of WN. Furthermore, WL said that actually we do not need to have many ministries in this modern age in which by the power of transportation and telecommunication, one ministry can efficiently cover all over the world.
I believe that was the start of our tragedy. Thus my evaluation of WL is mixed.
Gubei, you are right. At the same time WL attacked Lang's book Churches of God which addressed the matter of church eldership and church autonomy. Lang had written the book out of the same Brethren environment which the Recovery faced at the time. Lang ably expounded from scriptures in order to address many deficiencies which developed among the Darby exclusives. These truths were extremely dangerous to the system developing under LSM, hence the need for WL to enact a coordinated assault via quarantines upon all the proponents of the book and the truths within which were slowly spreading.

Like you, for the same reasons, "my evaluation of WL is mixed" also. For these reasons, the "ground of locality" is also paradoxical to me. I see the ideal beauty of it in the N.T., and at the same time, I see its ugly fruit in church history. Hence, the Spirit of God never made it prescriptive in the N.T. It happened, it was wonderful, it was recorded, it ended.
12-29-2008 12:21 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear UntoHim,

The ground of church is not mentioned literally in the Bible, just as Trinity is not. What matters is what the ground of church is talking about. The ground is simply locality. This means there is no dividing factor among Christians except locality, or time-and-space limitation which was given to man who is not as omnipresent as God.

And then, please think about "The Southern Baptist" which Hope mentioned. Of course, I agree with their activities except their name - The sourthern Baptist. As you siad, "It was not used, or even faintly implied, by the Lord Jesus or the scripture writing apostles." To me, the name itselt sounds very divisive.

Gubei
12-28-2008 02:16 PM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
...Actually, the local churches were, by definition, divisive from the beginning. But that division was not as willful or organized in the early days and was therefore somewhat benign. But any time you come into a divided situation and claim to have the answer and that those who follow you are not divided, there is a problem
I'm sure many of you have heard the humorous saying "going to church does not make you a Christian anymore then hanging out in your garage makes you a car".

Since the beginning here in America, Witness Lee and his followers have been putting the cart before the horse. They always want to declare that they are "THE church" before they actually act like the church. You see, the city in which the church meets in is not the ground of the church any more then the meeting hall itself is the church. They are both misnomers. We all know that just because people ignorantly call the building "the church", it does not make the wood, bricks and mortar the household of God or the Body of Christ. Similarly, just because a bunch of Christians move to Anytown USA and then declare that they are "THE church in Anytown", it does not make them the only legitimate Christian church in Anytown. As a matter of fact, such hasty and outrageous claims should call into question the legitimacy of such a group right off the bat.

In any event, this term "the ground of the church" is a man made term based upon a man made concept. It was not used, or even faintly implied, by the Lord Jesus or the scripture writing apostles. Just because the scriptural description and definitions of our oneness were not "practical" enough for Nee and Lee, it did not give them the right to make up all new descriptions and definitions out of thin air. By doing so they are simply dividing the Body of Christ even more.

12-28-2008 10:14 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Don,

I disagree. Actually, the local churches were, by definition, divisive from the beginning. But that division was not as willful or organized in the early days and was therefore somewhat benign. But any time you come into a divided situation and claim to have the answer and that those who follow you are not divided, there is a problem.

There are not multiple sets of elder sin Toronto because of the so-called “Work.” There were multiple sets of elders in Toronto long before Witness Lee was born. And if those multiple assemblies with multiple elders can become more one with each other in Christian fellowship, it will not matter that they hold some few preferences differently and continue to meet as separate assemblies. Without even going to Toronto to see for myself, I bet there is a trend in that direction.

And you keep referring to the practical side of the church as “local.” Yes, I agree that it is local. It is very local. But leaving it “local” in such a vague way on this forum is the equivalent of saying “one city one church,” or even if you disregard political boundaries, only one assembly covering some patch of land and no one is going from within one patch to join with believers in another.

I am not saying you are proposing this. And I am not saying it would not be ideal. But unless you are somehow weighing in with Gubei, you seem to be suggesting something that I do not think you intend. Reading the remainder of the post could be read either way, so a clearer stand on what is “local” would be helpful.
Dear Brother Mike,
We have a tough problem. Paul was very open in his first letter to Corinth. There was division there and he condemned it. In chapter 11 he declares, 1 Cor 11:18-20, For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you. NASB

We should seek to be those who are approved? Does this desire make someone divisive? Sometimes it seems you are contending that if you are concerned about division then you are by default divisive. I Corinthians is very clear. Those who declared “I am of Christ” were guilty of division just as those who declared “I am of Paul.” Taking the position “I am it”, “We four and no more are it.” Of course that should be condemned as divisive. How to have a positive testimony of the oneness of the Body of Christ and not be part of the “I am of Christ” sect is the dilemma.

Thus, please give some attention to how we should address the problem of division. Can we conclude that the Southern Baptist Denomination is a division? If not, other than the LSM/LC, are there any Christians who assemble in a divisive way. Paul said 1 Cor 11:17-18, But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. NASB

The Southern Baptist practice is congregationalism. That is, every church must be in administration independent. When I say local, practical etc I have the headship of Christ in mind. The LSM/LC has administrationally eliminated “the churches” from the scriptures and thus annulled the Headship of Christ. The Southern Baptists practice administration local which is the model in the New Testament. They also practice fellowship and mutual cooperation among the various congregations on many levels which they do without giving up their local administration. This is also in the New Testament. Thus, I would say they are two for three. While the LSM/LC is zero for three. There are many many other matters which should be our concern regarding the current spiritual condition of an assembly but that is for another thread.

I am not weighing in with my good friend Gubei. For one thing I still am not clear what he is saying. My fault not his.

This matter of oneness should be looked at from many sides. Is it acceptable to just sort of chant, “hey, hey everybody is okay. We are one in Christ. Hey , hey everybody is okay.” Why did the Lord pray, John 17:11, Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are. NASB
Can we just be cavalier about the whole matter of division and oneness? Why did Paul write, Eph 4:3, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. NASB

I believe Watchman Nee came up with the understanding of One Church, One City due to much prayer, Bible searching and anguish of heart. What about all the division? Where can we find the Oneness of the Body of Christ expressed? Now unfortunately, it has not worked out, as I believe, he expected.

Now Mike, the reason there are multiple sets of elders in Toronto now as well as 150 years ago is because of “the work.” WN coined the term “the work.” But the practice of gifted servants of the Lord forming their own particular groups in various cities goes way way back long before there was a Toronto.

I also, as you have guessed, would not be surprised if various groups are coming together more to serve together and honor the Lord as their common Savior. Whenever the Lord works in a fresh and genuine way, He brings us together. It just never seems to happen that way with LSM/LC groups. When they have a new move or new way, they have a storm. It seems that every few years, evil men like me desire to draw men after themselves in order to have their own ministry and following or they just have “taken another way,” or they have been “brought into Darkness,” or they are “infected with leprosy,” or they were “rebellious like those of Korah,” etc.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.

John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” NASB
12-28-2008 02:36 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear OBW,

You wrote.
"I disagree. Actually, the local churches were, by definition, divisive from the beginning. But that division was not as willful or organized in the early days and was therefore somewhat benign. But any time you come into a divided situation and claim to have the answer and that those who follow you are not divided, there is a problem."

I already asked you this question, but you did not answer. According to Igzy's definition, "being divisive" means

"Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude" - Igzy

And then, how can you just assume that the local churches were divisive from the beginning? Now by what definition are you saying? Please elaborate on it.

And you wrote.
"There are not multiple sets of elder sin Toronto because of the so-called “Work.” There were multiple sets of elders in Toronto long before Witness Lee was born. And if those multiple assemblies with multiple elders can become more one with each other in Christian fellowship, it will not matter that they hold some few preferences differently and continue to meet as separate assemblies. Without even going to Toronto to see for myself, I bet there is a trend in that direction."

Now you are talking about an early stage of the phase 2 of my model. Yes, this is what I want to see. Obviously, this is a part of my model on the ground of locality. So, why do you reject my model?

BYW, still I have one question. You used the word "assemblies." It's okay to me. But, what if those assemblies have such names as "Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian etc?" Do you think they can go on with those names? The NT is obviously against denominations.

Gubei
12-28-2008 02:17 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Gubei, if you read Suanne's post at #182 of this thread I believe what she's saying ties into what I've quoted of you. That is meeting on the ground, but used rightly. For that to happen a local church would need to be independent of a ministry publisher.

Terry
Terry,

I cannot agree with you more. Personally, I have a very bad experience with LSM.

After the ex-communication of Titus Chu (I watched the moving clip), I've considered whether there was anything which can justify that ex-communicatin, but I have not found.

Thesedays, my concern is about how to apply Titus 3:10

(Titus 3:10) Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.(NIV)

If I reject LSM, that is not because of the ground of locality, but because of the "disguised" ground of locality of LSM, which seems to be equivalent to being divisiveness.

Gubei
12-27-2008 08:26 AM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Don,

Quote:
Once the LSM was formed in 1973 and WL and Max Rapoport began to attempt to head up the local churches into a single “move” with a central “coordination” then the practice of the church in the city began to be divisive.
I disagree. Actually, the local churches were, by definition, divisive from the beginning. But that division was not as willful or organized in the early days and was therefore somewhat benign. But any time you come into a divided situation and claim to have the answer and that those who follow you are not divided, there is a problem.

Quote:
Consider how they came to have multiple sets of elders in Toronto. It was due to the so called “Work.”
There are not multiple sets of elder sin Toronto because of the so-called “Work.” There were multiple sets of elders in Toronto long before Witness Lee was born. And if those multiple assemblies with multiple elders can become more one with each other in Christian fellowship, it will not matter that they hold some few preferences differently and continue to meet as separate assemblies. Without even going to Toronto to see for myself, I bet there is a trend in that direction.

And you keep referring to the practical side of the church as “local.” Yes, I agree that it is local. It is very local. But leaving it “local” in such a vague way on this forum is the equivalent of saying “one city one church,” or even if you disregard political boundaries, only one assembly covering some patch of land and no one is going from within one patch to join with believers in another.

I am not saying you are proposing this. And I am not saying it would not be ideal. But unless you are somehow weighing in with Gubei, you seem to be suggesting something that I do not think you intend. Reading the remainder of the post could be read either way, so a clearer stand on what is “local” would be helpful.
12-27-2008 08:07 AM
YP0534
Re: taking sides

Quote:
Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
Religion IS a mental illness ! It screws peoples' minds up!

Look how screwed up Islam has screwed up the poor Muslim people?

Catholicism is filled with superstition and half truths. Very few people KNOW whether they're saved or not.

Protestants in the Denominational church think going 'to church' is good enough!

People in the Charasmatic/Evangelical movement...'All Praise & Worship' is not going to cut it either if there is no repentence of sin in their lives!

You catch my drift.
I do catch your drift but, this is a hard word for me, CMW.

I've been thinking about it, praying over it.

I'd agree that religion frequently resembles mental illness in its manifestations but I think might be too much to say that religion *is* "mental illness".


Moreover, I don't think it really goes quite far enough in a more important sense.

Religion is a sickness of the entire soul, of the heart, and not just the mind.

In fact, most religion seems to have precious little to do with the mind at all....
12-27-2008 07:49 AM
Terry
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
I still believe the ground of locality is not a divisive doctrine if used rightly.
Gubei, if you read Suanne's post at #182 of this thread I believe what she's saying ties into what I've quoted of you. That is meeting on the ground, but used rightly. For that to happen a local church would need to be independent of a ministry publisher.

Terry
12-27-2008 06:23 AM
Oregon
Re: Clarification

Excellent post Sue.
12-27-2008 05:57 AM
Suannehill
Re: Clarification

From an outside observer, I believe that Nigel's group would accept the others long before the LSM group would accept anyone. To meet with the LSM group you must follow certain practices in a certain way. Which tells me they no longer meet on the ground of locality, but on a new ground that they have not yet admitted or recognized. They SAY they accept Christ as a common bond. However, in practice they must DO and SAY things in a particular way.
The "remedy" is the same for all. Drop "I am of ------". That is the scriptural way.
God have mercy on us all!
Sue
12-27-2008 04:07 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Dear all,

I presented my opinion on the situation of Toronto in light of the ground of locality.
I want to listen to other members' practical remedy for the situation of Toronto.

Sorry, if this suggestion is out of the scope of this thread.

Gubei
12-27-2008 04:01 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

The following is my analysis of the situation of Toronto in light of my belief on the ground of locality (5 sets of elders is my assumption for the convenience of explaining.)

I begin with a question which is intended to embarrass anyone who believes the ground of locality.

Q : One set of elders have not been confirmed by all the saints in Toronto. There are 5 sets of elders in Toronto for now. Among those 5 sets, only 2 sets are for the ground of locality – one set is LSM-affiliated and the other set is in Nigel Tomes' camp. Which set of elders should we follow?

The purpose of this kind of question is to generate a dilemma. If anyone believes the ground of locality, he is supposed to follow those elders who also follow the ground of locality. However, in case of Toronto, there are two sets of elders who follow the ground of locality – LSM-affiliated camp and Nigel Tomes' camp. And, to my understanding, each camp is not accepting other. This situation seems to give us the impression that the ground of locality does not stand even among those who follow the truth. Yes, this is a dilemma if we accept the assumption of the question.

However, if we scrutinize the underlying assumption of the question and clarify what "one-set of elders" means, the dilemma can be solved. The assumption of the question is that there should be "one" set of elders who God confirmed among those 5 sets of elders. Let me call those 5 sets of elders A set, B set, C set, D set, and E set, respectively. A set is the LSM-affiliated, B set is of Nigel Tomes, and C, D, E are from other denominations. The key to understanding the solution of this question is as follows. As I already explained in the previous post, "one set of elders who God confirmed in Toronto" is not necessarily one among those 5 sets. On the contrary, I believe "one set of elders who God confirmed" are those who may consist of subset of each 5 sets and even other brothers who are not officially recognized as elder but functioning as such. From the viewpoint of God, there has always been one set of elders in Toronto whether they are in the same Christian group or not. This understanding requires us to broaden our definition of a local church. Because one set of elders may not belong to the same Christian group, we cannot insist that only my group is THE group in Toronto. Thus, the church in Toronto is in a sense more of "universal" than "local," meaning the church in Toronto is an "invisible one-set of elders and saints system."

Of course, the phase 2 of the ground of locality is to seek after a visible one-set of elders in Toronto. The ideal state is when the invisible one-set of elders are equivalent to the visible one-set of elders. This is quite difficult to achieve given the divisiveness of even mature Christians. But just because it is difficult, that does not follow that we can give it up. The ideal state is a kind of target which all Christians should struggle to achieve, just as the perfect sanctification is also a target of all individual Christians.

In conclusion, forcing saints to choose any one-set of elders in Toronto is a non-sense.

Gubei
12-27-2008 03:55 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Before I begin Gubei when I read your posts responding to OBW or Igzy I consider your posting to be debating through discussions, but still keeping a oneness in spirit.

I was one who at one time had maintained "the ground of locality" was the only way and any other way was illegitimate. I had since repented of my divisive spirit. The "ground of locality" I see now as a divisive doctrine which divides and in some cases excludes Christians from meeting.

In Witness Lee's final conference, what "wrong attitude" he repent for? It seems what I had heard third party was exactly as you're saying, but it is contrary to what LSM released.

Terry
Terry,

You look already familiar with WL's final repentance. LSM's "interpretation" of WL's repentance is different from my understanding. I strongly believe he literaly repented for his wrong attitude to other Christian groups outside of local churches.

You can read some articles on this matter at http://www.concernedbrothers.com

But, WL gave us his repentance in Chinese (Mandarine), most of English speakers have difficulty in grasping what he really said. I'm not Chinese and my Mandarine is not perfect, but I can understand important expressions in Chinese. I believe WL was really repenting for his wrong attitude to other Christians.

As contrary to your case, I still believe the ground of locality is not a divisive doctrine if used rightly.

Gubei
12-27-2008 03:33 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Ohio,

To my best knowledge, it was the early (or late) 1980s that WL actually changed the teaching of WN on the ground of locality, claiming that apostles (referring to himself and his co-workers) should not sever their connection to local churches. I think this "later Lee's" teaching is very far way from that of WN. Furthermore, WL said that actually we do not need to have many ministries in this modern age in which by the power of transportation and telecommunication, one ministry can efficiently cover all over the world.
I believe that was the start of our tragedy. Thus my evaluatoin of WL is mixed.

As you said, LSM is functioning as a "mother ship" even in my country. Other than the problems in Toronto, my country have experienced a really serious problem of other kind. But I do not want to elaborate on it.

One thing is clear to me. The source of the problem is not the ground of locality itself.

Gubei
12-26-2008 12:34 PM
Terry
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post

Problematic is the abuse of that truth by some immature and “naïve” saints who blindly follow the truth. They do not know how much and how seriously they can be “divisive” by wrongly using the ground of locality which is supposed to be used for the opposite purpose..

Such expressions as “concubines,” “illegal building-ups” which were used to describe other denominations were enough to prove that the attitude we had was very far way from the “sprit” of the ground of locality - oneness, I believe. Fortunately, WL repented his wrong attitude at his final official conference.
Before I begin Gubei when I read your posts responding to OBW or Igzy I consider your posting to be debating through discussions, but still keeping a oneness in spirit.

I was one who at one time had maintained "the ground of locality" was the only way and any other way was illegitimate. I had since repented of my divisive spirit. The "ground of locality" I see now as a divisive doctrine which divides and in some cases excludes Christians from meeting.

In Witness Lee's final conference, what "wrong attitude" he repent for? It seems what I had heard third party was exactly as you're saying, but it is contrary to what LSM released.

Terry
12-26-2008 04:46 AM
Ohio
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
You are speaking the same language with me now. It seems that you are the first brother who mentioned that - "You have developed concepts never spoken by LSM." To be honest with you, "unconditionally" is a bit hype because definitely the NT gave us a few cases in which we cannot accept other Christians - for example divisive ones.
Brother Gubei, these few scriptures about divisive ones have grown to monstrous proportions, including anyone deemed by LSM to "teach differently." Using the analogy of "contagious leprosy," all other attendants in close proximity suffer "guilt by association." Today's LC conflicts and resulting quarantines are plain unrecognizable to a reader of the N.T.

Hope, I believe, has rightly described the root problem in the LC's to be "the work." This concept pervades all LC thoughts, and since "the work" dictates the leadership and the direction of all LC's, the system cannot provide any self-correction. In this regard, the word "local" is a total farce. Show me one LC involved in "local" community good works. Thus, any good-hearted intentions at oneness, real local oneness, oneness on "the ground," are sabotaged by allegiances to "the work."

Until the matter of appointment of elders becomes congregational or local in nature, the LC's will always have leaders from afar wrestling for control. Many have said that the N.T. always has a plurality of elders and never has a single elder over many churches. It all sounds good, but GLA battles and lawsuits, without exception, were rooted in extra-local controls, whether ties to Cleveland or ties to Anaheim. "The work" appoints elders, relocates workers, and orchestrates all extra-local fellowships. No major decision is ever made just locally. As a result, all churches surrounding "the work" church become merely satellites to the "mother ship."
12-26-2008 04:09 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Brother Gubei, you have taken this matter of "locality" to places where "no man has gone before." You have developed concepts never spoken by LSM.

Can you explain the danger of the "breaking the phase 1 – accepting other Christians unconditionally"? Doesn't the Bible teach us to "accept other Christians unconditionally." What am I missing here?
Ohio,

You are speaking the same language with me now. It seems that you are the first brother who mentioned that - "You have developed concepts never spoken by LSM."

To be honest with you, "unconditionally" is a bit hype because definitely the NT gave us a few cases in which we cannot accept other Christians - for example divisive ones.

According to internet sources, the situation in Toronto is such that LSM-affiliated saints are asking the saints in Toronto to get out of Nigel Tomes’ camp to LSM-affiliated camp. Is my understanding right?

However, judging from the internet sources, I cannot find any thing in the situation in Toronto that is related to the causes by which the NT permits us to cut the fellowship with other Christians – in this case, Nigel Tomes’ camp.

BTW, it is very weird why Igzy and OBW are interested in my opinion for the situation of Toronto. I’ve never been there. I’ve never had any communication with any saint in Toronto. Thus, I’m not in a good position to judge who is right or not.

Gubei

p.s. If I misunderstood your quetion with my irrelevant answer, please let me know.
12-26-2008 03:51 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suannehill View Post
Strange that you should mention "not siding with any party right now". This is exactly the position that I took.
Do you know what the LSM people nearly screamed at me? CHOOSE! CHOOSE! You HAVE to take a side. My reply was that I am for Christ and the Church and I choose God's side...Wrong answer!
The choice HAS to be LSM in all of the turmoil...or you are out! No arguments, prayer, or logic means anything to them...only LSM.
I walked through this nonsense... it is a mental illness that seems to take the place of spiritual discernment.
Suannehill,

As early as almost 20 years ago when I was first attracted to the "Lord Recovery" in my country, I noticed something wrong which was operative in the speaking of some leaders in the local church there. I was disappointed at the spiritual pride and exclusiveness of them. But, generally speaking, the church life in the “Lord Recovery” in my country was better than my previous experiences in other denominations. However, during that period, I have gone through every type of negative things – wrong leadership, rebellion, condemning other brothers, and even worse forms.

The single biggest reason I did not leave my church life was the fact that I was attracted to the ground of locality – which was supposed to be for oneness of saints. I read the classic of WN – “Rethinking the work.” The logic was perfect to me. It was the very ground of locality which have made me remain in the local church until now. And I still believe the truth itself is right.

Problematic is the abuse of that truth by some immature and “naïve” saints who blindly follow the truth. They do not know how much and how seriously they can be “divisive” by wrongly using the ground of locality which is supposed to be used for the opposite purpose..

Such expressions as “concubines,” “illegal building-ups” which were used to describe other denominations were enough to prove that the attitude we had was very far way from the “sprit” of the ground of locality - oneness, I believe. Fortunately, WL repented his wrong attitude at his final official conference.

In a sense, now all the storms and problems in Toronto is a part of the legacy of the erroneous past that should be settled down by us. And I believe the best remedy is not to side with any party. It will take some time. But I learned we should be patient to see the movement of God. Even though I’ve got informed of the situation of Toronto from internet sources, to be honest with you, I’m not so familiar with the situation of Toronto. However, if already one party began their position by insisting something, which seems to indicate they are divisive. I hope God will show his will as soon as possible.

One thing I’m sorry is that some brothers in this forum attribute those storms and problems to the ground of locality itself, not distinguishing between a truth and its wrong application. It is very easy to give up the ground of locality which is much more difficult to practice than head covering or the Lord’s supper. However, just because practicing it is difficult, that does not necessarily follow that we can give up the practice. The attraction of the ground of locality is that the more we accept the truth, it forces us embrace other dissenting Christians the more, which is unlike other truths which make us so easily condemn dissenting ones. Of course, the NT prescribes a few cases in which we can cut our fellowship with other Christians – for example, divisive ones. Let’s keep an eye on who is divisive in Toronto.

BTW, I do think Igzy and OBW are my good brothers. At the end of the day, “one-set of eldership” which we should follow is not essential practice for our practical Christian life. “One-set of eldership” should be achieved by natural consensus of saints, not by enforcement. Actually the end image of Igzy’s model is similar to mine. But I think his approach is very dangerous.

I’m preparing another post to clarify my model further. I believe other members in this forum can benefit from the discussions between I and Igzy, OBW.

Gubei
12-26-2008 03:31 AM
Ohio
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post

Now I want to talk about the situation of Toronto. You seem to ask me a practical remedy for that city with a view to getting me embarrassed because if I side with any one party – whether it be LSM-affiliated or Nigel Tomes, you can easily attack me for my siding. My remedy is that we should not side with any party for now. I already mentioned that the ground of locality consists of two phase. The church in Toronto “seemingly” is divided now. That means they are in the danger of breaking the phase 1 – accepting other Christians unconditionally. To talk about the phase 2 is needless now. And one-set of eldership is not essential in our Christian life. The winner will be those saints who accept other Christians to the end. The loser will be those saints who reject other Christians first. This is the “spirit” of the ground of locality. As contrary to your understanding, the ground of locality does not encourage conflicts and division. All the saints in Toronto, whether they are for the ground of locality or not, whether they are for LSM or Nigel Tomes, are members of the church in Toronto.
Brother Gubei, you have taken this matter of "locality" to places where "no man has gone before." You have developed concepts never spoken by LSM.

Can you explain the danger of the "breaking the phase 1 – accepting other Christians unconditionally"? Doesn't the Bible teach us to "accept other Christians unconditionally." What am I missing here?
12-25-2008 12:53 PM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Okey dokey,

Should we get it going within the "apologies accepted" boards, or someplace else?

Brother UntoHim,


That would be a good place.

Two verses to consider as a kick off of the topic are Rom 14:9-10, 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. NASB

Note how the Lordship of Christ is mentioned as a very central point of the Lord's death and resurrection. This chapter ties our being judged at the judgment seat of God with our judging our brother and usurping his conscience.

As we discuss the revelation of the Headship of Christ, we could consider how essential this Headship is to the oneness of the Body of Christ and to a properly functioning practical local assembly. Since we have many with a similar experience in the LSM/LC, I suggest that we also consider our history. We could relate our positive experiences as well as any shifts away from the Headship of Christ expressed in the local administration in each church. I propose that we should also consider our history as it is related to the Headship of Christ directly over each individual member in their lives and function in the Body of Christ.

Testimonies and experiences are often the best teacher both from a positive perspective and from the perspective of what to avoid.


Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.

John 8:31-33, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” NASB
12-25-2008 12:24 PM
UntoHim
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Okey dokey,

Should we get it going within the "apologies accepted" boards, or someplace else?
12-25-2008 10:16 AM
AndPeter
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
I propose a thread on the Headship of Christ. For me, without the desire to know the practical heading up of Christ debating about how to keep the oneness locally will never get off the ground.
Amen.

Steve.
12-25-2008 09:11 AM
Hope
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear Forum,

First, I have not read every post on this thread. Please forgive me but it has become very convoluted. My simple limited country boy mind just has difficulty getting my brain around all the nuisances.
1. THE GROUND OF THE CHURCH.
2. ONE CHURCH ONE CITY.
3. APPOINT ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH.
4. APPOINT ELDERS IN EVERY CITY.
5. FREEDOM IN CHRIST
6. MULTIPLE SETS OF ELDERS
7. OUR MODERN WORLD
8. WHAT IF THIS AND THAT THEN SO AND SUCH
Whew, this is a lot of heavy lifting.

On the other hand.
1. I will build my church. General statement
2. Tell it to the church. Very practical and must be local.
3. The church in such and such a city. Very Practical and must be local.
4. The church in so and so’s home. Very practical and must be local.
5. The churches in such and such district or province. Definitely not local.
6. Churches of the Gentiles. Definitely not local.
7. Churches of the saints. Definitely not local.
8. Churches of Christ. Definitely not local.
9. Churches of God. Definitely not local.
10. Messengers of the churches. Definitely not local.

The church is local primarily because Christ is the head of the church. He is in charge and He is building it. Consider how important is the word "churches." There are never elders over many churches. Once you have elders functioning in an extra local way the headship of Christ is in jeopardy. Likewise there is never a single elder over any church. Once you do have a single or leading elder, pastor or whatever, the headship of Christ is in jeopardy.

IT IS THROUGH THE PRACTICAL LOCAL CHURCH THAT CHRIST’S HEADSHIP TO THE BODY IS REALIZED.

Take away the reality of the headship of Christ and division is swift to follow. Once the LSM was formed in 1973 and WL and Max Rapoport began to attempt to head up the local churches into a single “move” with a central “coordination” then the practice of the church in the city began to be divisive. Today what the LSM and BBs promote as the local church is not recognizable to me. How many of the original saints have left because the so called ground of the church was lost to the central work. Thus among them the “churches” have disappeared and only the hollow name of the church in so and so city remains.

Consider how they came to have multiple sets of elders in Toronto. It was due to the so called “Work.” Suannehill and the saints in Mansfield were told to make a choice. With which “Work” and set of “Co-workers” will you affiliate?

To take a practical position of being one with all the blood bought believers in Christ Jesus is really very easy and simple. It just comes “natural” for the born again S/spirit within every believer. It sure does feel good to the S/spirit to receive, love and honor all the Lord’s dear children. No one needs to understand all the fine points of one church, one city to preserve the oneness of the Spirit.

I propose a thread on the Headship of Christ. For me, without the desire to know the practical heading up of Christ debating about how to keep the oneness locally will never get off the ground.

Hope, Don Rutledge
A believer who is seeking to be a true disciple.
John 8:31-33, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
12-25-2008 07:27 AM
countmeworthy
Re: taking sides

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
It is religion.

I have often marvelled over the years how men and women who have dedicated their entire lives to the Lord can get so mixed up and twisted and upside down and backwards, fully meaning well before God at every stage.

The enemy is subtle.
Religion IS a mental illness ! It screws peoples' minds up!

Look how screwed up Islam has screwed up the poor Muslim people?

Catholicism is filled with superstition and half truths. Very few people KNOW whether they're saved or not.

Protestants in the Denominational church think going 'to church' is good enough!

People in the Charasmatic/Evangelical movement...'All Praise & Worship' is not going to cut it either if there is no repentence of sin in their lives!

You catch my drift.

JESUS is the ONLY WAY for us to escape the stronghold of religion. He is the SAVIOR & is MIGHTY to SAVE. HE is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE and no one can come to the FATHER but through our Precious Lord JESUS!

(I'm preaching to the choir here....)
12-25-2008 05:33 AM
YP0534
taking sides

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suannehill View Post
it is a mental illness that seems to take the place of spiritual discernment
It is religion.

I have often marvelled over the years how men and women who have dedicated their entire lives to the Lord can get so mixed up and twisted and upside down and backwards, fully meaning well before God at every stage.

The enemy is subtle.
12-25-2008 04:28 AM
Suannehill
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Dear Igzy,

...
Now I want to talk about the situation of Toronto. You seem to ask me a practical remedy for that city with a view to getting me embarrassed because if I side with any one party – whether it be LSM-affiliated or Nigel Tomes, you can easily attack me for my siding. My remedy is that we should not side with any party for now. I already mentioned that the ground of locality consists of two phase. The church in Toronto “seemingly” is divided now. That means they are in the danger of breaking the phase 1 – accepting other Christians unconditionally. To talk about the phase 2 is needless now. And one-set of eldership is not essential in our Christian life. The winner will be those saints who accept other Christians to the end. The loser will be those saints who reject other Christians first. This is the “spirit” of the ground of locality. As contrary to your understanding, the ground of locality does not encourage conflicts and division. All the saints in Toronto, whether they are for the ground of locality or not, whether they are for LSM or Nigel Tomes, are members of the church in Toronto.

You may say I’m too lofty in this remedy. And you may say I’m saying too easily because I’m very far away the problems in Toronto. But the same thing has happened so many times in my country for long time. And I have observed what happened to saints with different response and positions on the problems. My conclusion is that the mature saints who are really according to the will of the Lord just prayed and waited for our Lord to move first. Sooner or later, wrong leadership turned out to be a failure. Seeming division or chaos is actually nothing from the viewpoint of our God.
...

Gubei
Strange that you should mention "not siding with any party right now". This is exactly the position that I took.
Do you know what the LSM people nearly screamed at me? CHOOSE! CHOOSE! You HAVE to take a side. My reply was that I am for Christ and the Church and I choose God's side...Wrong answer!
The choice HAS to be LSM in all of the turmoil...or you are out! No arguments, prayer, or logic means anything to them...only LSM.
I walked through this nonsense... it is a mental illness that seems to take the place of spiritual discernment.
12-25-2008 03:04 AM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Dear Igzy and OBW,

My simple questions for understanding you better.

1. Have you ever read "Rethinking the work" by WN or "The genuine ground of oneness" by WL?

2. Do you have your church life in America now?

Gubei
12-25-2008 02:43 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Dear Gubei,

You obviously cannot follow the nuances of English. You keep latching on things I am saying and making an issue about minutia in a way that no one who clearly understands English would do. You seem to want to "win" every single point, to the point of totally missing the point I was making. You miss the forest for the trees. You keep arguing with your own misinterpretations of what I say. I'm sure it's great fun for you, but I feel a little left out since I didn't say half the stuff you want to insist I did.

I've never been interested in debating your "model" because you've never been able to define it clearly. I've been debating the ground of locality doctrine in general. You keep wanting to steer me to talk about your ideas.

But I'm unable to that because you've presented them as such gobbledygook that I don't exactly know what you believe. Your views seem to be so complicated and so scripturally threadbare that every church is going to need a cadre of lawyers just to prove to you they are legitimate, so you don't "condemn" them.
Dear Igzy,

If it is due to my poor English, please accept my apologies.

But I’m not sure whether you read or not the classic on the ground of locality – “Rethinking the work” by WN. You said you had been debating the ground of locality doctrine in general. But, I have never seen you quote that book. Furthermore, you said you were in a local church, which is assumed to have been under the influence of WL. But you did not quote anything from “The genuine ground of oneness” by WL. And I presented my model in this thread, but you did not correctly quote my model despite my repeated request. Instead, you repeatedly mentioned the wrong application of the ground of locality by LSM or other local churches to criticize the truth.

You are simultaneously claiming that the Bible is silent on how to meet so the ground of locality should not be accepted, while claiming your model. The first argument you made in order to reject the ground of locality is that the truth were never taught by our Lord, the apostles, or the early church fathers.
You wrote.
“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground.
3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?”

If you want to be consistent with this argument, your model can be accepted only by the teachings of our Lord, the apostles, or the early church fathers. Or you can say that there is no model given by our Lord, the apostles, or the early church fathers as to how to meet.

But you presented your model without any mentioning of the teachings of our Lord, the apostles, or the early church fathers. Where is your model from? Your answer was mixed. You mentioned “logic” and “freedom in Christ.” And neither was convincingly enough. In case of logic, you are breaking your own prescription – the need of the teachings of our Lord, the apostles, or the early church fathers for a model to be accepted as a valid doctrine on how to meet. In case of “freedom in Christ,” that is not logical because your interpretation of the freedom in Christ and your model do not match. Your interpretation of the freedom in Christ is such freedom as from something negative – the Mosaic Law, or other undue imposing of regulations. But your model is such that even though there is no such negative thing, the saints have the freedom to move. So, you are insisting the absolute freedom of saints in terms of movement to other church. Of course, no elder can prevent the saints from freely moving to other church in modern democratic countries. But once again, Paul gave us very different direction in his epistles. This is where “Sola Scriptura” should stand.

Now I want to talk about the situation of Toronto. You seem to ask me a practical remedy for that city with a view to getting me embarrassed because if I side with any one party – whether it be LSM-affiliated or Nigel Tomes, you can easily attack me for my siding. My remedy is that we should not side with any party for now. I already mentioned that the ground of locality consists of two phase. The church in Toronto “seemingly” is divided now. That means they are in the danger of breaking the phase 1 – accepting other Christians unconditionally. To talk about the phase 2 is needless now. And one-set of eldership is not essential in our Christian life. The winner will be those saints who accept other Christians to the end. The loser will be those saints who reject other Christians first. This is the “spirit” of the ground of locality. As contrary to your understanding, the ground of locality does not encourage conflicts and division. All the saints in Toronto, whether they are for the ground of locality or not, whether they are for LSM or Nigel Tomes, are members of the church in Toronto.

You may say I’m too lofty in this remedy. And you may say I’m saying too easily because I’m very far away the problems in Toronto. But the same thing has happened so many times in my country for long time. And I have observed what happened to saints with different response and positions on the problems. My conclusion is that the mature saints who are really according to the will of the Lord just prayed and waited for our Lord to move first. Sooner or later, wrong leadership turned out to be a failure. Seeming division or chaos is actually nothing from the viewpoint of our God.

Igzy, do not flee to other church so easily. Of course, the saints in Toronto can move to other cities to avoid the problems. But if you pray and stay there as a pillar of God waiting for our Lord to do something, you yourself is an REAL elder in Toronto. At the end of the day, the roles of apostles and elders have shrunk so much in our modern church life.

Gubei
12-24-2008 10:32 PM
Gubei
Re: The Ground Of The Church

OBW,

It seems that you do not understand my previous posts. And you are wrongly boiled down what I said. How many times did I say that you or Igzy should correlty "quote" what I really said? You are cliaming that you read my all posts, but you are repeating the same questions that I already answered.

You wrote.
"Using NYC is an interesting choice. It is composed of the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. These all are, by normal definitions, cities with their own mayors. In fact, Brooklyn by itself would be among the top 10 cities in the US. But for whatever reason, these cities banded together as one to comprise New York City, which also has its mayor. If you watch TV, you would see that the NYC District Attorney is really just the DA for Manhattan."

OBW, yes you are in the better postion than me to define whether NYC is one city or 5 cities. I'm not American. I just have been to NYC one time. So, you are advised to officially ask the city hall of NYC on whether NYC should be regarded as one city or 5 cities according to the political definition. If they answer one city, there should be one church. If they answer 5 cities, there should be 5 churches. And then, apply this principle to other cities. Do not ask me. Please ask the American government officials on the matter of cities. You just need to follow their instructions as Paul did in the Roman Empire.

Concerning "one city - one church - one set of eldership in tha city," I already gave you enough explanation in my previous posts. Please re-read what I said using some bilbical verses and othe expositors' interpretation.

But, once again for your convenience,

(Titus 1:5) 『For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you--』

Now without the word "church" in our discussion, we are advised to appoint elders in every city.


More interestingly, you and Igzy are denying the fact that Igzy presented his model prescriptively. I showed you what "prescribe" means by the definitions of some authoritative English dictionaries. You are just denying that simple fact now. You can discuss truths in the Bible. But, please do not change the fact. I'm happy because all the correspondences are recorded in this thread for all to see.

Igzy wrote.
“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground.
3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?”

"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."

“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”

“Allowing free movement actually prevents division rather than encourages it. For example, suppose some saints feel their leadership is no longer following the Lord. If they feel compelled to stay by a locality principle or some such they are expected to squelch their impulse. In some cases this may be good, but there are bound to be cases where the Lord is indeed moving them to make a change. If they are not free, they must eventually make a confrontation and ugly things are bound to happen.

On the other hand, if they are free to leave, then they can go in peace. Neither side has to loudly condemn the other because of the "each being fully persuaded in their own mind" principle. They simple need to be free to follow there consciences.”

“Freely moving is not the same thing as being divisive. Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude. For example, I may leave a church to move to another one in a divisive way, or in a pure way, it all depends on my heart.”

Now please look at the definition of "prescribe" from another dictionary - Encarta of MS.

pre•scribe [pri skrb]
(past and past participle pre•scribed, present participle pre•scrib•ing, 3rd person present singular pre•scribes)
verb
1. vti order use of medication: to order a course of treatment for a patient, usually the use of a particular drug at set times and dosages
Most doctors are wary of prescribing antibiotics for relatively minor infections.

2. vt recommend remedy: to recommend a particular course of action or treatment as a remedy for something
I prescribe lots of tender loving care.

3. vt lay down rule: to say with authority that a course of action should be taken
the penalties prescribed by law

4. vi set down regulations: to lay down rules or laws
5. vti law claim property right: to claim a right to something on the grounds of possession over a long period of time


Do not forget that Igzy added the biblical authority to his model by mentioning "freedom in Christ."

1. And please focus on Igzy's model once again.

“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”

Igzy two times said "the Bible (also) indicates." Indicates what? First, the appointment of the official leaders, second, the recognition of the appointment by consensus. I agree. And then? Suddenly, for some reason (Igzy did not give us the reason), one does not agree with the consensus which is according to the Lord. Then he is FREE to move! Do you think this is the remedy of the Bible? This is the model in the NT? Of course, you are free to move as an American who have the right of free movement according to the Constitution. But how about as an Christian? Do you have any biblical verses that permit this kind of movement?

OBW, please answer these questions before you go on.

2. Another problematic things in your post.

You wrote.
"There are many doctrines that have been developed from descriptions. And those are almost all controversial when all Christians are asked to make a determination as to their scriptural correctness. Only the basics of the faith are understood consistently. Note that even the doctrine of the trinity is not a fundamental of the faith. Neither is baptism by emersion, or Calvinism v Armenianism. Likewise, you may like to hold to a doctrine of one church per city. But when you make it a requirement — like a fundamental of the faith — it defeats itself by taking a divisive stand in the name of unity. It defines those who disagree as in error. And to correct that error, they must agree with you. It is never the answer that you determine that you are incorrect and allow them."

a. "Note that even the doctrine of the trinity is not a fundamental of the faith."

OBW, please tell me. Who said this? Is Trinity not fundamental to you?

b. "But when you make it a requirement — like a fundamental of the faith — it defeats itself by taking a divisive stand in the name of unity."

OBW, now I'm very serious. Is that what I actually said in my previous posts?
PLEASE "QUOTE" WHAT I SAID, not your wrong understanding!

c. "it defeats itself by taking a divisive stand in the name of unity."

OBW, you are assuming that taking the ground of locality is equivalent to taking a divisive stand.
But, please refer to the definition of being divisive which was given by Igzy - your collaborator now.

"Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude" - Igzy

You wrote.
"So, once again, you need to de better than say the same things in different ways. Scripture does not appear to be on your side. Don’t prove me wrong by analogy or metaphor. Find scripture that says it must be. If scripture says it must be, then it must be. But we have not been shown where it makes such a statement. In fact we have found where it indicates quite the contrary."

a. Did I prove you wrong by analogy or metaphor? Please quote those if any.
b. Please write EXACTLY where it indicates quite the contrary.




Gubei
12-24-2008 01:34 PM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Dear Gubei,

You obviously cannot follow the nuances of English. You keep latching on things I am saying and making an issue about minutia in a way that no one who clearly understands English would do. You seem to want to "win" every single point, to the point of totally missing the point I was making. You miss the forest for the trees. You keep arguing with your own misinterpretations of what I say. I'm sure it's great fun for you, but I feel a little left out since I didn't say half the stuff you want to insist I did.

I've never been interested in debating your "model" because you've never been able to define it clearly. I've been debating the ground of locality doctrine in general. You keep wanting to steer me to talk about your ideas.

But I'm unable to that because you've presented them as such gobbledygook that I don't exactly know what you believe. Your views seem to be so complicated and so scripturally threadbare that every church is going to need a cadre of lawyers just to prove to you they are legitimate, so you don't "condemn" them.
12-24-2008 10:33 AM
YP0534
assembling vs. Church

ekklesia means "assembly"

I don't disagree that the concept is based in part upon "the reality of the brotherhood of believers" at all.

I just resist the application of this concept as a "universal church" because it deprives us of the ability to see the Body clearly.

Plus, being in the same brotherhood is endlessly disputed, I'm afraid.
12-24-2008 09:49 AM
OBW
Re: The Ground Of The Church

Gubei,

Quote:
The definition of city should be found in the Bible.
Yet you did not find one.

Using NYC is an interesting choice. It is composed of the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. These all are, by normal definitions, cities with their own mayors. In fact, Brooklyn by itself would be among the top 10 cities in the US. But for whatever reason, these cities banded together as one to comprise New York City, which also has its mayor. If you watch TV, you would see that the NYC District Attorney is really just the DA for Manhattan.

Then look at Houston and Dallas. Each has grown over the years by taking in both unincorporated land and absorbing smaller cities that surrounded them. Under your model, the LC in Renner, had there been one some 30 or so years ago, would have disappeared into Dallas when the city voted to be annexed. So once again, an action by people who have no interest in any church could dictate how two separate churches exist by merely merging two separate cities. A separate existence would be obliterated by a governmental action.

Actually, when you read about the “church in” wherever in scripture, are you really sure that it is defining a single group of people, other than the fact that they are in one general vicinity? You say that you answered all of Igzy’s questions, but without the starting notion that there is only one legitimate assembly with one set of elders within a particular governmental jurisdiction, your arguments fall flat. You read each verse as if it says there is one church (assembly) in a city. Then based on that, you read that elders, which are legitimately according to an assembly, must also be according to the city because you have pre-defined an assembly as covering the whole of a city.

So what about those “churches” that were in someone’s house to which Paul made reference? Surely Paul sent his letter to someone whom he had a close association. But he was not exclusive. He wanted to make sure that the group that got the letter included some others there that met in someone’s home. He did not chastise either group as being divisive with respect to the other.

You are incorrect to say that I did not read your response to Igzy. I read all of your comments. You have laid them out like a expository preacher making his points. But when the starting premise is in controversy, those that follow cannot be accepted as given. Each is premised upon a fact of one city one church. Poke a hole in that and the following points are meaningless.

Igzy has not prescribed anything. You have prescribed one church per city even though the very texts of scripture make no definitive statements on the subject and the descriptive ones available are at best (from your perspective) unclear and more rightly seen as making no statement about how we are to meet.

If your only argument continues to be that Paul’s letters (actually, only the two to Corinth) say church in city and the seven letters in Revelation say church in city, then how do you understand Christ saying that he would build his church (singular) and not churches (plural) since there would be many cities? And I don’t think he was talking about Jerusalem because he was not in Jerusalem at the time. Despite YP’s strong aversion to the idea of universal church, it would appear that the scriptural use of the term we translate as church is not entirely based on the practical expression of assemblies that meet together, but on the reality of the brotherhood of believers. So Paul had no conflict to make reference to the church in Nympha’s house while writing to the whole of the believers in Colosse. And he wrote to “all in Rome,” “saints in Ephesus” (assuming that “Ephesus” is actually in the original text), “saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi,” and “brothers in Christ at Colosse.”

If your only argument is to continue to repeat that the few instances where scripture used the term “church” in conjunction with the name of a city without dealing with the places where the scriptures indicate potentially more than one “church” in a city and where “church” was clearly talking more universally than to mean practical assemblies, then you have exhausted your resources and have not made your case. You are correct to point out that I will continue to say your prescriptive is not in scripture. But it is not because I simply refuse to see it. I see what is actually there. You have done no more than provide descriptions as indication of prescription.

There are many doctrines that have been developed from descriptions. And those are almost all controversial when all Christians are asked to make a determination as to their scriptural correctness. Only the basics of the faith are understood consistently. Note that even the doctrine of the trinity is not a fundamental of the faith. Neither is baptism by emersion, or Calvinism v Armenianism. Likewise, you may like to hold to a doctrine of one church per city. But when you make it a requirement — like a fundamental of the faith — it defeats itself by taking a divisive stand in the name of unity. It defines those who disagree as in error. And to correct that error, they must agree with you. It is never the answer that you determine that you are incorrect and allow them.

So, once again, you need to de better than say the same things in different ways. Scripture does not appear to be on your side. Don’t prove me wrong by analogy or metaphor. Find scripture that says it must be. If scripture says it must be, then it must be. But we have not been shown where it makes such a statement. In fact we have found where it indicates quite the contrary.
12-24-2008 04:27 AM
Gubei
What is city

By the request of Igzy, I want to start elaborating on my belief. The first topic is what city is.

- The definition of city varies with modern countries. For your information, my country’s “urbanization rate” is over 90%. That of China is about 50%. I’m not sure of that of US.

- So, the definition of city should be found in the Bible. And the notion of “city” in the NT should be interpreted according to the times when the NT was written – the Roman Empire. At that time, the city means a smallest political administration unit which is separated by meaningful geographic distance. You can find this through the maps attached to our modern Bible.

- Do not worry about the size of city. For example, the US is a country and the Republic of Marshall Islands is a country. Those two countries are members of the UN regardless of their size of land area or population.

- Bejing is a city. There is one major. NYC is a city. There is one major. Manhattan is not a city. That is a borough. Basically, NYC is meaningfully separated from other city (e.g. Boston) by the yardstick of scarcely populated geographic distance. 5 boroughs in NYC are not cities. If you have GIS software such as Arc-View, it is very easy to visualize how cities are meaningfully separated.

- Sometimes, two cities are really close to the extent that population is not separated by meaningful geographic distance. And then you just need to follow the political administration’s distinction.

Gubei
12-24-2008 04:19 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

Dear brother Igzy,

I’m very sorry that I have to say that you once again are getting around the issue.

You wrote. (#269)
“Rather than address the real problems with how I view the church (which is based on the bible and history), you have chosen to take the ploy of saying I contradict myself by saying I prescribe something and yet say you should not. This is a clever ploy but it is simply a diversion.”

But, please re-read what you wrote in your post in # 267.

“Your whole argument that I'm prescribing something restrictive is very weak. You keep screaming to be fair, but the fact is you are wrong. I'm not prescribing anything other than being silent where the Bible is silent.

As to the free movement of saints, I never prescribed it. I said the Bible doesn't restrict it, so we should allow it. Please show me the verses that show saints cannot move from church to church. I don't think the local ground should be taught, but I wouldn't restrict it until it starts becoming divisive, and it usually does. It's hard for someone to practice the local ground (at least in a way that means anything) without drawing lines that cut off fellowship.”


Please pay attention to “As to the free movement of saints, I never prescribed it. I said the Bible doesn't restrict it, so we should allow it.”

It is very easy to prove that you did prescribe something by showing you what you have really said in the previous posts. So, I proved it in post #268. (BTW, I do not understand why the quotation of Webster’s Dictionary on the word “prescribe” is deleted? Who deleted that part?) Now you are not dealing with that issue. Instead, you are resort to other issue by saying that “This is a clever ploy but it is simply a diversion.”

Igzy, I know the nuance of the word “clever,” “ploy” are not so good in English. But I do not think I deserve to hear those words applied to me. I’m just saying the FACTS. As contrary to your repeated claming that “I said the Bible doesn't restrict it, so we should allow it”, you said a lot of detailed processes and procedures in your model as evidenced in post #268. Furthermore, you mentioned “freedom in Christ” as a biblical ground for your model. The freedom that we have in Christ Jesus is the freedom from the bondage of the Mosaic Law, as evidenced from my former quotations of other famous expositors. Even if I accept your interpretation (i.e. freedom from religionists who would impose their interpretation of law on believers (see 2:4, 3:1, 5:7) ), anyway the freedom means “the freedom from something negative.” With this understanding of “the freedom from something negative”, please re-read what you said -“I said the Bible doesn't restrict it, so we should allow it” Here, “it” means your model – free movement of saints. And which kind of negative things are there for saints to freely move? Let’s once again look at your model from what you actually said.

The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

Surprising is the fact that there is no negative thing! According to your model, “If one doesn’t agree with the consensus one is free to meet elsewhere” The only necessary condition for free moving is not something negative, but disagreement of the mover! My conclusion is that your model and your biblical ground do not match even if I accept your interpretation of “the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus.”

You wrote.
You also use the ploy of saying I do not provide Biblical support for my model, but this is not accurate. I said the Bible shows city churches and house churches and does not prescribe either. Therefore there is freedom implied in the Bible on how to meet.

Igzy, please re-read what you said. Are there any clear and strong inferences to support your model? Yes, there are “city churches” and “house churches” in the NT, if you will. And then, how come you jump to “free movement between churches” from that fact? As contrary to your very weak argument, Paul said that

Phi 4:2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. (ASV)

(1Tim 5:19) 『Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.』(KJV)


These two verses strongly means that we should have one mind in a church, and if there is conflicts with elders, we should settled down those conflicts, rather than “free moving” to other churches.

You wrote.
Further, you have not even defined locality plainly. Just what is a locality? How can you prescribe something that you can't even define clearly?”

Did I not define locality? Please re-read what I have written in this thread, including the matter of apostles. It’s you who did not carefully read other’s posts. Otherwise, you are getting around the issue by pretending you did not read. And if you are not familiar with “locality”, please go to the classic – “Rethinking our work” by WN. Now I’m really curious whether you did read that book. Also I’m very curious how you have criticized the ground of locality without reading the explanations of the truth.

You wrote.
Freedom in Galatians is not simply freedom from Mosaic law. In context it includes freedom from religionists who would impose their interpretation of law on believers (see 2:4, 3:1, 5:7). This includes by implication those who would seek to impose a Christian law, e.g. a standard of "locality," on everyone, such as yourself or anyone else. Or do you think it is okay for Christians to impose their law on each other? If Galatians doesn't speak to that, what does?”

First and foremost, please quote the verses at least for the convenience’ sake of reading you posted.

(Gal 2:4) 『This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.』
(Gal 3:1) 『You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.』
(Gal 5:7) 『You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?』


You are trying to give impression to readers that I’m INSISTING something by saying that
This includes by implication those who would seek to impose a Christian law, e.g. a standard of "locality," on everyone, such as yourself or anyone else. Or do you think it is okay for Christians to impose their law on each other?”

Igzy, do you not remember how many times I said that I did not insist? Do you not remember how many times I said phase 2 is not essential? And why did you introduce new expression – a Christian law? Did I ever use that expression? Are you trying to put the ground of locality parallel to the Mosaic Law? Do not go too far from what I actually said. Do you think Paul was establishing a Christian law which should be regarded as the NEW Mosaic Law, when he said about the head covering of sisters?

You wrote.
You've said you don't insist on multiple elders and continue to say that I say you do, when I never did. I never said you insisted on multiple elders. I said I don't understand any definition of the city church which does not eventually want one eldership. As implied by your Phase 2 phase, you do seem to eventually want to see one eldership? Right? So isn't there ultimately the thought that one eldership is the best? But over what? The city? The burrough?

Please re-read what I have written in this thread and what WN said. And please “quote” what I said without change (adding or deleting).

You wrote.
Where you are going wrong, dear Gubei, is that you say the Bible teaches the ground of locality, yet you can't even define a locality. So how can I be against what you are for if you can't even really define what you are for?”

Igzy, you have been against my model. Now you are saying that “So how can I be against what you are for if you can't even really define what you are for?”

You wrote.
What is a locality? How many localities are there in Bejing? Taipei? New York City? Houston? And who decides? If you think there are 10 localities in Bejing but there are 15 assemblies there, does that mean the optimum has not been met? And who is the arbitrator of all this? The apostle? And how do we decide who he is?”

All answers you want to hear are already there in my previous posts and WN’s book. Please re-read those and “quote” those. That’s a BASIC.

You wrote.
In short, the model of locality you seem to be offering is like a plane with no landing gear. You want us all to get on and fly in it, but you don't have any provision for landing. I want to know what you plan to tell saints in cities like Mansfield and Toronto et al to do when their elders tell them they are divisive if they don't follow LSM, or give them some other ridiculous commandment. What is your provision for them?”

Igzy, you are simultaneously saying “So how can I be against what you are for if you can't even really define what you are for?” while rejecting my model. This is what is called “being inconsistent,” “being illogical.”

You wrote.
These are not trick questions. They are plain and should be easy to answer in a few words if you know what you are talking about. And you either have concrete answers for them or you don't. If you don't you can say you are according to the Bible all you want but you still don't have anything practical to offer anyone, and so are just kind of blowing smoke.

My assertion to you in short, dear Gubei, is that you have some very lofty ideals, but no practical way of working them out, at least none you seem to be able to articulate. I would suggest instead of continually trying to show your ideal is the right one, spend some time thinking and praying about how these practical problems are to be worked out. Don't expect me to board your plane until you install some landing gear.
This opens up another issue for grounders. Have any of you spent any time praying about this matter? Or did you just take WL's model and run with it because he said so? I have prayed about it. A lot. I ask because when I was in the LC, I just took it as truth and never prayed about it. I suggest try praying to the Lord about some of these problems I've identified. See what he says
.”

Igzy, in addition to your prayers, please read the NT.

Gubei
12-24-2008 04:17 AM
Gubei
Re: Clarification

OBW, I already latched onto this matter in the previous post. There is a concrete answer given by me. You are asking me as if you did not read at all of my posts. Please "quote" what I said, and then ask me.

Gubei
12-23-2008 09:08 AM
OBW
Re: Clarification

Gubei,

Let me latch onto Igzy’s comment.

Quote:
I want to know what you plan to tell saints in cities like Mansfield and Toronto et al to do when their elders tell them they are divisive if they don't follow LSM, or give them some other ridiculous commandment. What is your provision for them?
This is the crux of the matter. And it goes beyond two or more claiming to be “the church” within a locality. What about the assemblies that were there, with their elders, long before any came into that “locality” with this formula for their elders being the ones and that all others had to agree or be “poor, pitiful fallen Christianity?” You would add one more division in the name of oneness? That is ridiculous. Especially since there is no evidence that the LSM/LC way is the “God ordained” way that everyone must follow.
12-23-2008 08:20 AM
Cal
Re: Clarification

Gubei,

Rather than address the real problems with how I view the church (which is based on the bible and history), you have chosen to take the ploy of saying I contradict myself by saying I prescribe something and yet say you should not. This is a clever ploy but it is simply a diversion.

You also use the ploy of saying I do not provide Biblical support for my model, but this is not accurate. I said the Bible shows city churches and house churches and does not prescribe either. Therefore there is freedom implied in the Bible on how to meet. Further, you have not even defined locality plainly. Just what is a locality? How can you prescribe something that you can't even define clearly?


Freedom in Galatians is not simply freedom from Mosaic law. In context it includes freedom from religionists who would impose their interpretation of law on believers (see 2:4, 3:1, 5:7). This includes by implication those who would seek to impose a Christian law, e.g. a standard of "locality," on everyone, such as yourself or anyone else. Or do you think it is okay for Christians to impose their law on each other? If Galatians doesn't speak to that, what does?


You've said you don't insist on multiple elders and continue to say that I say you do, when I never did. I never said you insisted on multiple elders. I said I don't understand any definition of the city church which does not eventually want one eldership. As implied by your Phase 2 phase, you do seem to eventually want to see one eldership? Right? So isn't there ultimately the thought that one eldership is the best? But over what? The city? The burrough?


Where you are going wrong, dear Gubei, is that you say the Bible teaches the ground of locality, yet you can't even define a locality. So how can I be against what you are for if you can't even really define what you are for?

What is a locality? How many localities are there in Bejing? Taipei? New York City? Houston? And who decides? If you think there are 10 localities in Bejing but there are 15 assemblies there, does that mean the optimum has not been met? And who is the arbitrator of all this? The apostle? And how do we decide who he is?


In short, the model of locality you seem to be offering is like a plane with no landing gear. You want us all to get on and fly in it, but you don't have any provision for landing. I want to know what you plan to tell saints in cities like Mansfield and Toronto et al to do when their elders tell them they are divisive if they don't follow LSM, or give them some other ridiculous commandment. What is your provision for them?


These are not trick questions. They are plain and should be easy to answer in a few words if you know what you are talking about. And you either have concrete answers for them or you don't. If you don't you can say you are according to the Bible all you want but you still don't have anything practical to offer anyone, and so are just kind of blowing smoke.

My assertion to you in short, dear Gubei, is that you have some very lofty ideals, but no practical way of working them out, at least none you seem to be able to articulate. I would suggest instead of continually trying to show your ideal is the right one, spend some time thinking and praying about how these practical problems are to be worked out. Don't expect me to board your plane until you install some landing gear.


This opens up another issue for grounders. Have any of you spent any time praying about this matter? Or did you just take WL's model and run with it because he said so? I have prayed about it. A lot. I ask because when I was in the LC, I just took it as truth and never prayed about it. I suggest try praying to the Lord about some of these problems I've identified. See what he says.
12-23-2008 03:44 AM
Gubei
Clarification

Dear my brother, Igzy,

I want to clarify once again as follows. (I used your name, Igzy, and you/he interchangeably.)

1.What Igzy really said in his previous posts
Igzy wrote.
Quote:
"Your whole argument that I'm prescribing something restrictive is very weak. You keep screaming to be fair, but the fact is you are wrong. I'm not prescribing anything other than being silent where the Bible is silent."
The Bible is full of vivid picture of describing the ground of locality. That's why I am not silent on that. BTW Was Igzy really silent? Below is his writings about rejecting the ground of locality and presenting his own model.

Quote:
“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground.
3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?”

"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."

“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”

“Allowing free movement actually prevents division rather than encourages it. For example, suppose some saints feel their leadership is no longer following the Lord. If they feel compelled to stay by a locality principle or some such they are expected to squelch their impulse. In some cases this may be good, but there are bound to be cases where the Lord is indeed moving them to make a change. If they are not free, they must eventually make a confrontation and ugly things are bound to happen.

On the other hand, if they are free to leave, then they can go in peace. Neither side has to loudly condemn the other because of the "each being fully persuaded in their own mind" principle. They simple need to be free to follow there consciences.”

“Freely moving is not the same thing as being divisive. Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude. For example, I may leave a church to move to another one in a divisive way, or in a pure way, it all depends on my heart.”
Igzy, you not only denied the ground of locality, but also gave us your model with detailed processes and procedures. Even though I’m not an English native speaker, this is obviously what is meant by the English word “prescription.”

2. What does “prescription” mean?
Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (2000) defined “prescribe” as follows. According to this authoritative American dictionary, I’m telling that you gave us your prescription.
SEE: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/check

3. You seem to misunderstand the ground of locality.
You wrote.
Quote:
“The ground of locality doctrine is not a teaching that allows an inch of disagreement on its meaning because the teaching says that those who don't agree with it are divisive.”
Who said this? Divisive ones are not those who are against the ground of locality. Simply speaking, I do not think you are divisive, even though you are against the ground of locality. On the contrary, I already, several times, said that some “LCers” are divisive by wrongly using the ground of locality. What makes one divisive is not whether he is for or against the ground of locality. But most of divisive ones tend to be against this truth.

BTW, it is obvious that you are making the mistake of not distinguishing between phase 1 and phase 2 in the ground of locality. The ground of locality is composed of two phases. Phase 1 is about accepting other Christians unconditionally. Phase 2 is about seeking after one-set of elders in a city. Phase 1 is essential in our Christian life to supply each other with the richness of Christ. However, Phase 2 is not essential. This can be explained by citing the matter of head covering of sisters. The head covering is prescribed in the Bible, but not essential in our Christian life. That's why I can tolerate any sisters who do not cover their head in church meetings. Then I do NOT INSIST that practice. However, if any chance for me to clarify my position would be given to me, I will say the head covering is right according to the Bible.

Igzy adheres to only the phase 2, which is a subset of the ground of locality. Furthermore, he defined the ground of locality as INSISTING PHASE 2. So, whenever he mentions the ground of locality, actually he means the INSISTING PAHASE 2, or INSISTING ONE-SET OF ELDERS IN A CITY. I several times pointed out his mistake of misrepresenting the ground of locality by his own, arbitrary definition of the ground of locality, but he rejected to correct his mistake. And then, he cited LSM's wrong applications of the ground of locality in order to vindicate his prescription despite the fact that I several times pointed out LSM's wrong applications are another story. Think about this. Head covering of sisters and INSISTING head covering of sisters are very different.

The phase 2 of the ground of locality, or one-set of elders in a city cannot be reached without a full operation of phase 1. As contrary to Igzy's understanding, I claimed that one-set of elders in a city should be sought after by being open to other Christians, not by INSISTING. I took the example of the church in NYC. Obviously, the local church there (if my memory is correct, one meeting hall is in Manhattan, and the other is in Flushing), which was initiated by WL's ministry, was not the first Christian ground in NYC. I do not oppose any initiating of the practice of the ground of locality in any city. However, after establishing a group of Christian on the ground of locality with one-set of elders, they should seek after being open to other Christians in that city. And they should admit that the one-set of elders are not representing the whole Christian body in that city. Of course, their effort to unify all the Christians in that city under one-set of elders could turn out to be a failure. If that's the case, there is no way except continuing prayers. Think about this. You can try to persuade sisters into taking head coverings, but if the sisters reject your proposal, there is no way. But one-set of elders in a city or head covering of sisters are not essential in our Christian life. You do not need to condemn them. As you know, some so called "LCers" made mistakes in this regard. They condemn other Christians too much with such expression as "concubines", "illegal building-up of church." Those actions, naturally, invited further conflicts and divisions among Christians.

BUT I condemn the denominations which have other names such as Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, etc. According to the divine nomenclature of church, there is no other example in the Bible than naming it with the expression of "The church in XX." Furthermore, Paul strictly rebuked Corinthians for that wrong action. I do not believe that "the denominations are only for the identification."

4. Logic
You wrote.
Quote:
"There's nothing wrong with logic. You can't type a clear sentence without it. You can't find your way to the meeting hall without it. You can't interpret the Bible without it. WL himself often said, "That's not logical."
I did not say we should not use logic. I want to be as logical as possible. Do not get me wrong. I said we should use the biblical verses to support any model before we use our logic. Think about this. The truth of Trinity is not logical. That's why Jehovah's Witnesses claims that Trinity is wrong. But Trinity is there beyond our human logic or understanding. Sola Scriptura, the great declaration of the Reformers is such that our Christians beliefs should be based on the Bible itself before human traditions, pre-conceptions, or logic.

5. Biblical ground
The shortcoming of Igzy's model is that there is NO scriptural basis. I asked him to give us any verses which support his model. He gave us
Quote:
“Wrong. I am not prescribing anything that restricts anything, except that you let people decide for themselves where they meet. And that is prescribed by the principle of freedom in Christ, which is solidly Biblical.”
But, he was not correct in quoting the exact verse in the Bible ("freedom in Christ" should be "freedom that we have in Christ Jesus" according to Gal 2:4), and the verse is about the Mosaic Law. I do not believe we can extrapolate that much. Furthermore, as contrary to his assertion, the verse is not prescriptive. So, it is also very obvious that he is drawing a prescriptive principle for practice from a descriptive verse in the Bible, the action which he has opposed so severely when I did with the ground of locality.

Igzy wrote.
Quote:
“The point is that non-prescriptive patterns in the Bible do not provide enough to enforce doctrine which restrict freedom. The fact is the Bible does not give us enough information about locality for it to be practically practiced. It just doesn't. That was God's choice not mine. This is why you can't answer practical questions about how very real problems are solved.”
Igzy once again try to attack the ground of locality by saying the Bible does not give us enough information. But, we have a lot of descriptive verses which support the prescriptive principle of the ground of locality. In addition, he did not give us "enough information" for his model (free movement of saints).

Igzy wrote.
Quote:
“No, if you want to put forth locality in the same manner--a vague, somewhat mysterious principle, then fine. Then you'd be comparing apples to apples. But the difference between Trinity and locality is that locality by its very nature is extremely practical. It cannot be practiced unless everyone agrees on exactly what it means. With the Trinity we can disagree a lot on the meaning and still fellowship. LCers believe the Son is the Father; non-LCers don't. Yet they can still fellowship. But if you believe locality means the city and I believe it means the burrough then we've got a very practical problem which is insurmountable.”
I already answered this question. The ground of locality can be practiced even without universal agreement among Christians in a city. We do not need to have "unanimous voting for one-set of elders." Anyone who is for this truth can practice this truth. And they can fellowship with other Christians in that city. Once again, Igzy's understanding of the ground of locality is such that those who follow this truth necessarily reject other Christians. This is his assumption, not the fact.

Gubei
12-21-2008 06:57 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

I'm really shocked how you use the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus that way. Gal 2:4 is not about confirming "free moving of saints." PLEASE rethink your position. It is very dangerous to resort to the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus to advocate your model. My understanding of Gal 2:4 is such that we do not need to be controled by such Mosaic Laws as circumcision.

The ground of locality is not for taking your freedom. You are over and over again equate (the wrong, tyrannical eldership) with (the ground of locality itself.)

My point about the divisive ones is that once you reject those, that is nothing other than division. So every division should not be evaluated as same thing.

Gubei
Gubei,

I have no idea what you are talking about. I'm still not at all clear how you think the local ground should be practiced or how in effect your practice is any different than many assemblies per city like we have now. I don't understand what one church per city with many sets of elders means as practically. What's the point of arguing about it?

Your whole argument that I'm prescribing something restrictive is very weak. You keep screaming to be fair, but the fact is you are wrong. I'm not prescribing anything other than being silent where the Bible is silent.

As to the free movement of saints, I never prescribed it. I said the Bible doesn't restrict it, so we should allow it. Please show me the verses that show saints cannot move from church to church. I don't think the local ground should be taught, but I wouldn't restrict it until it starts becoming divisive, and it usually does. It's hard for someone to practice the local ground (at least in a way that means anything) without drawing lines that cut off fellowship.

Gubei, Either you don't understand what the word prescribe means or you are not correctly reading the posts by OBW and me. So I would say we've reached a semantical impasse. I suggest we move on.
12-21-2008 06:13 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I don't plan on running to you Igzy and it's that kind of language that casuses people to react to your statements. Maybe you need to take a hard look at how you express yourself on this forum.
Dear Oregon,

If you look over all my posts on this board I think you can say I have been largely civil. But even after being that way no one has had the civility to honestly answer my questions.

I'd ask you to understand a certain amount of frustration on my part with people who claim to know the truth but can't answer the first questions about the practical ramifications of it, yet still act like it's the truth, yet with complete disregard for how this "truth" has plowed under the Christian lives of so many. Frankly, that makes me mad.

My goal has alway been to spare those locked into a mindset of one church per city who are in a dilemma when that church splits, as it has many times recently. In my mind, the classic LC church model can do nothing for these people. No one has stepped in correct me on this. To me this seems very callous to those victims. The LC has always looked at its members as potential cannon fodder for the outworking of their vision, in marked contrast to the Shepherd who would leave the whole flock to save one.

It's nothing personal, so I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings when I point this out. But it's a fact. The real harshness is in the implications of the LC belief and practice. My tone on this board pales by comparison.
12-20-2008 11:45 PM
Gubei
Interim writing

As contrary to Igzy and OBW's repeated position that the ground of locality is not supported in the Bible and Christians are free to hop from church to church, I once again clarify my position as follows;

1. Paul praised the saints who followed his practices.
1Cor 11 shows us that how Paul was happy when he saw Corinthians follow his practice. He was happy because they held the teachings, just as Paul passed them on to Corinthians.

(1Cor 11:1) 『[1] Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. [2] I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

Paul went to say that there was no other practice.

[16] If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.

Appointing elders in every city is not just practice but also Paul's charge.

Tit 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;


2. The freedom that we have in Christ Jesus in Gal 2:4 is about keeping the Mosaic Law. I do not believe we can apply Gal 2:4 to "free hopping from church to church."
Gal 2:4 and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: (Darby)

"To spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus - In the practice of the Christian religion. The liberty referred to was, doubtless, the liberty from the painful, expensive, and onerous rites of the Jewish religion; see Gal_5:1. Their object in spying out the liberty which Paul and others had, was, undoubtedly, to be witnesses of the fact that they did not observe the special rites of the Mosaic system; to make report of it; to insist upon their complying with those customs, and thus to secure the imposition of those rites on the Gentile converts. Their first object was to satisfy themselves of the fact that Paul did not insist on the observance of their customs; and then to secure, by the authority of the apostles, an injunction or order that Titus should be circumcised, and that Paul and the converts made under his ministry should be required to comply with those laws. (Barns)"

"2. That in his practice he firmly adhered to the doctrine which he had preached. Paul was a man of resolution, and would adhere to his principles; and therefore, though he had Titus with him, who was a Greek, yet he would not suffer him to be circumcised, because he would not betray the doctrine of Christ, as he had preached it to the Gentiles. It does not appear that the apostles at all insisted upon this; for, though they connived at the use of circumcision among the Jewish converts, yet they were not for imposing it upon the Gentiles. But there were others who did, whom the apostle here calls false brethren, and concerning whom he informs us that they were unawares brought in, that is, into the church, or into their company, and that they came only to spy out their liberty which they had in Christ Jesus, or to see whether Paul would stand up in defence of that freedom from the ceremonial law which he had taught as the doctrine of the gospel, and represented as the privilege of those who embraced the Christian religion. Their design herein was to bring them into bondage, which they would have effected could they have gained the point they aimed at; for, had they prevailed with Paul and the other apostles to have circumcised Titus, they would easily have imposed circumcision upon other Gentiles, and so have brought them under the bondage of the law of Moses. But Paul, seeing their design, would by no means yield to them; he would not give place by subjection, no, not for an hour, not in this one single instance; and the reason of it was that the truth of the gospel might continue with them - that the Gentile Christians, and particularly the Galatians, might have it preserved to them pure and entire, and not corrupted with the mixtures of Judaism, as it would have been had he yielded in this matter. Circumcision was at that time a thing indifferent, and what in some cases might be complied with without sin; and accordingly we find even Paul himself sometimes giving way to it, as in the case of Timothy, Act_16:3. But when it is insisted on as necessary, and his consenting to it, though only in a single instance, is likely to be improved as giving countenance to such an imposition, he has too great a concern for the purity and liberty of the gospel, to submit to it; he would not yield to those who were for the Mosaic rites and ceremonies, but would stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, which conduct of his may give us occasion to observe that what under some circumstances may lawfully be complied with, yet, when that cannot be done without betraying the truth, or giving up the liberty, of the gospel, it ought to be refused. (Henry)"

3. Paul did not say that saints can freely hop to be under the other elders. Contrarily, Paul is advising us to try to have one mind and settle down disputes related to an elder.
Phi 4:2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. (ASV)

(1Tim 5:19) 『Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.』(KJV)

"That they be of the same mind - That they be united, or reconciled. Whether the difference related to doctrine, or to something else, we cannot determine from this phrase. The language is such as would properly relate to any difference.
In the Lord - In their Christian walk and plans. They were doubtless professing Christians, and the apostle exhorts them to make the Lord the great object of their affections, and in their regard for him, to bury all their petty differences and animosities. (Barns)"

Gubei
12-20-2008 03:39 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
Yup, I'm gone. I aced calculus, but I can't follow this. Math is one thing; english is another. All the one's and two's and A's and B's are more than confusing.

The thought may be there, but as written, it is visible only as through a glass darkly...

Try again?
Sorry Toledo. I'm not a native English speaker. I know my English is not so good. I will try once again. Any comments are okay

The ground of locality includes nomenclature of the church, fixing the boundary of a church, appointing the leadership in that church. These are “practices” that should be practiced physically visibly. But the underlying principle of those practices should be based on the Bible (just as head covering of sisters is a practice with the principle of submission.), and the principle of the ground of locality is in phase 1 - accepting every saint in the Lord – the oneness. I believe that if phase 1 is really practiced in Pittsburgh, there will only one church under one leadership. This is phase 2.

Phase 1 is essential in our Christian life because without it, our fellowship through which we are supplying each other in the Lord as described in the Bible will be hindered.

However, phase 2 is not essential in our Christian life because without it, we can fellowship with other Christians in Pittsburgh. That’s why I do not insist one-set of elders in a city. However, because one-set of elders in a city is revealed in the Bible, just as head covering is, I say phase 2 was practiced in the early churches and we’d better follow those examples. And I believe the descriptive examples in the Bible are actually prescriptive because all the examples are really consistent in showing us how Paul and Apostles practiced the matter. In short, one-set of elders in a city is prescriptive in the Bible, but not essential in our Christian life.

Unfortunately, Igzy and OBW – my loving fellow Christians – not only assumed that I INSISTed one-set of elders but also misrepresented the ground of locality as “insisting one-set of elders in a city.” Furthermore, by presenting some analogies with the problem of causality, they are trying to give readers the impression that the ground of locality has its own problems. So, it is clear that they are committing the Type 2 error. As you know, some leaders in the local churches are in the Type 1 error.

In conclusion, I’m not sure whether the saints in Pittsburgh, especially those who are in the leadership position, really accept each other. If that’s the case, phase 2 is too far away to be practiced. So, my advice to Peter is to follow the leading of the Lord for now with the recognition that ORIGINALLY one-set of elders in Pittsburgh is right, just as there is one administration of mayor and officials in Pittsburgh. This is the end image of what I have said. This end image is really similar to Igzy’s model. But approach is quite different.

Gubei
12-20-2008 02:53 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Igzy,

You wrote.
Quote:
“We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?”
Please quote the exact verse in the Bible supporting your assertion. And please define the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus and how far we can extend that freedom.

You wrote.
Quote:
“It cannot be practiced unless everyone agrees on exactly what it means.”
No. We do not need to wait for all saints to agree on exactly what it means. Any saints who agree can gather together according to the ground of locality.

You wrote.
Quote:
“The point is that non-prescriptive patterns in the Bible do not provide enough to enforce doctrine which restrict freedom.”
Once again, you are assuming that the ground of locality “enforces” something. Now you are using “enforce” instead of “insist.” Just like we do not enforce (insist) sisters to cover their heads, the ground of locality is not enforced or insisted. I already mentioned that one-set of elders are not insisted because it is not essential in Christian life. Thus, it is clear you are equating the truth with enforcing it.

BTW, please re-read what you wrote when you presented your model.
Quote:
“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”
You are saying that the official leader(s) is appointed by the Lord and recognized by consensus. This means that that appointment and consensus are in the will of the Lord. But, you simultaneously are saying “If one doesn’t agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere” Igzy. Please explain. The consensus was according to the will of the Lord. Then, how can you say that one is free to meet elsewhere?

In the Lord

Gubei
12-20-2008 08:25 AM
Toledo
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I don't understand this algebra.
Yup, I'm gone. I aced calculus, but I can't follow this. Math is one thing; english is another. All the one's and two's and A's and B's are more than confusing.

The thought may be there, but as written, it is visible only as through a glass darkly...

Try again?
12-20-2008 07:28 AM
YP0534
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I don't understand this algebra.
12-20-2008 06:57 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
A further practical (and personal) thought on the “local ground.”...
Peter,

The ground of locality is prescriptive from descriptive verses in the Bible. There are two phases in this truth. Phase 1 – accepting every saints in the Lord. Phase 2 – having one-set of elders in a city. Phase 1 is prescriptive and essential in our Christian life. Phase 2 is prescriptive but not essential in our Christian life.

There are two kinds of errors as to the ground of locality.

Type 1 error
- Claming that phase 2 is essential in our Christian life
-
Type 2 error
- Claiming that phase 2 is not prescriptive in the Bible.

Type 1 error shows us that you can have your Christian life without the one-set of elders in Pittsburgh. So, feel free to follow the leading of Lord for now. But generally speaking, you are advised to follow someone who think the church in Pittsburgh include all the saints in Pittsburgh.(A)

Type 2 error shows us that you and so called “elders” in the Pittsburgh should be united as one. (B)

(A)+ (B) is the end image of the ground of locality, very similar to Igzy’s model. But please pay attention to the fact how big differences there are in terms of approach.

Gubei
12-20-2008 06:45 AM
Ohio
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
It's funny, but the Spirit flows uphill easier than he flows downhill.
Igzy, I like this. Thanks.
12-20-2008 05:52 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?....
How is he divisive? Is he sowing trouble in the church that the elder leads? Then the elder has authority to deal with him. Does he have a reputation of being divisive in some other church? Then the elder can't deal with him until he causes trouble in his own church.
Igzy,

I'm really shocked how you use the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus that way. Gal 2:4 is not about confirming "free moving of saints." PLEASE rethink your position. It is very dangerous to resort to the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus to advocate your model. My understanding of Gal 2:4 is such that we do not need to be controled by such Mosaic Laws as circumcision.

The ground of locality is not for taking your freedom. You are over and over again equate (the wrong, tyrannical eldership) with (the ground of locality itself.)

My point about the divisive ones is that once you reject those, that is nothing other than division. So every division should not be evaluated as same thing.

Gubei
12-20-2008 05:36 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei, I have explained this already, please go back and read. But let me summarize. The Trinity is a pattern in the Bible, it is a truth. But it is not one that is necessary for salvation nor fellowship not anything that practical. A specific interpretation of the Trinity is not a matter of faith. The fact is the truth is a little vague. It's a mystery.
No, if you want to put forth locality in the same manner--a vague, somewhat mysterious principle, then fine. Then you'd be comparing apples to apples. ...
Igzy,

You once again are getting around the issue. I did not ask how Christains can have different understandings of Trinity. I asked how Christians draw their prescriptive conclusions from the descriptive verses in the Bible.

And your analogy is misleading in describing the real situation.

In your analogy of physically impossible theater, the problem is the wrong suggestion of that physically impossilbe theater.

But in the matter of the ground of locality, the problem is divisive ones, not the model itself. You are confused in causality.

Gubei
12-20-2008 05:23 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Wrong. I am not prescribing anything that restricts anything, except that you let people decide for themselves where they meet. And that is prescribed by the principle of freedom in Christ, which is solidly Biblical.
I'm not asking you to change anything you believe. I'm asking you to explain how it works out practically and what its ramifications are. How people meet is extremely practical. Thus far you've only said you believe in the ground of locality. Okay, fine. But that's pretty meaningless if you can't provide a practical plan as to how it is worked out. Like for example, how we know which group in a city which claims to be meeting on the ground and is inclusive of all Christian is the one we should meet with.
False. Biblical principles have been given. Freedom in Christ. Lack of commandments. House churches which cannot be shown to be equivalents to local churches, etc.
Igzy,

But please read this written by yourself.

“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground. 3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground. Why should we teach it?”

You not only denied the ground of locality, but also said “Why should we teach it?” This means that we SHOULD NOT teach it. This is what is called “prescription.”

My Longman dictionary gives me these definitions for “prescriptive.”

“1 saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done
prescriptive teaching methods 2.stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used”

And PLEASE quote the EXACT VERSE from the Bible when you claim your model is based on the Bible. I cannot find "Freedom in Chirst" in my Bible. Gal 2:4's expressions is "Freedom that we have in Christ Jesus."

With respect, is Gal 2:4 the only verse you have found to support your model? I cannot relate this verse to free moving of saints because it is very obvious Paul is saying the matter of keeping circumcision or the Mosaic Law in Gal. 2:4.

Gubei
12-20-2008 05:17 AM
YP0534
Re: Not me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
You're born again, you're in a place with other believers, you meet with other believers, you are in the assembly and can't get out of it because it's not of you or of any human being or organization. There is no necessity for a designated or official leadership or "local church" designation for this to exist. It is the spiritual reality of there being Christians meeting in a place and God being glorified therein.
An additional comment on this point:
I now think Lee's error was his teaching that the "local church" being "practical" required that there was "a church that you could go to" and his outright dismissal of the notion that the Lord's presence wherever two or more were gathered indicated the practical assembly.

The condition may not be good and division may be an issue but the assembly in that place exists regardless and there is no requirement for a certified gathering having "taken the ground" for us to reference "the assembly" in a place.

Lee would denigrate the trans-denominational gatherings that happen in cities from time to time. Admittedly, the content tends to be somewhat worldly and religious but the participants in those things almost invariably refer to the activity as being a gathering of "the church" in that place, and rightly so. If the Local Church people would be joined in oneness with them in Christ in that context, the entire building of God could be benefitted.

Ministering Christ anywhere produces the same results as ministering Christ anywhere else: building up the Body. There is absolutely no prerequisite for proper doctrine.
12-20-2008 05:02 AM
Gubei
Response to OBW

OBW,

I have to say that you are very inconsistent in describing your position.

You wrote.
Quote:
“First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything.”
But please read this written by Igzy.
Quote:
“1.The Lord never taught the local ground.
2.The apostles never taught the local ground.
3.The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?”
Igzy not only denied the ground of locality, but also said “Why should we teach it?”
This means that we SHOULD NOT teach it. This is what is called “prescription.”

My Longman dictionary gives me these definitions for “prescriptive.”

“1 saying how something should or must be done, or what should be done
prescriptive teaching methods 2.stating how a language should be used, rather than describing how it is used”

And then he gave us his model.

Quote:
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."
Quote:
“The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.”
In Igzy’s model, I cannot find such words as “likely, possibly, probably” but I find simple present tense assertions – simply speaking, “prescription.” Especially, pay attention to the last shocking sentence – “LET each be fully persuaded in his own mind.” This reminds me of the great declaration of God in Genesis - “LET there be light.” Igzy’s writing is simply PRESCRIPTIVE.

You wrote.
Quote:
You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.”
I assume you are saying Gal. 2:4

(Gal 2:4) This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.(NIV)

This verse is related to the matter of circumcision – or keeping the Mosaic Law. This is not even descriptive for explaining how to meet. You simply failed in presenting both prescriptive and descriptive verses in the Bible to defend your position. Simply you are extending or extrapolating too much. If you can extend the boundary of the freedom in Christ as far as you wish, why not even to accepting the ground of locality?

You wrote.
Quote:
“The biggest problem with your position is not that it is clearly wrong, but rather that you state that it is “according to the Bible” when it is at most following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. But what do you do when Paul makes mention of the church in someone’s house? Was that not in reference to an assembly of believer’s in a house where there was also referenced a church in the city?”
Yes, the ground of locality is following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. I agree. Then, how about Igzy’s model? Please show me as many verses about “free moving of saints” as the ground of locality. And then please show me that “free moving of saints” is “the” way. OBW, you are requiring others of what you yourself cannot do.

You wrote.
Quote:
“This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect. We see clear references to an assembly ─ in this case within a house ─ as the church (assembly) while the entirety of the city was also referred to as the church. This happened in the letters to the Romans (16:11), Corinthians (1st 16:19), and in Colossians (4:15) referring to a house that was either in Colossae or Laodicea. So Paul referred to the city as a whole, but also to a subset of that city ─ a group meeting in a house ─ as the church. He did not call them Hall 2, or refer to them as derelict in understanding the right way to meet because they met separately. They must not have met with the others or there would be no need to greet them separately from the general greeting in the beginning of the letter.”
OBW, please read the following verses.

Rom 16:4 who for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles:
Rom 16:5 and salute the church that is in their house. Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ.

1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Prisca salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Col 4:15 Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house.
Col 4:16 And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

You can find such expressions as “the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ,” “cause that it (the epistle) be read also in the church of the Laodiceans.” How many saints do you think Paul got in Asia when he said “the first-fruits?” How many saints could have been there to read the epistle of Paul at that time – before invention of printing, e-mail, internet, TV? The reason they gathered together in their house is that the number of saints in a city was really small to the extent that they can gather in a specific house. Paul is intimately describing the situation by saying the church that is in their house.

And then, please think about this. The Bible clearly is saying that elders were appointed according to cities. Our issue is about the practice of church life centering on the matter of administration which is related with the appointment of elders. So, I ask you to show me the biblical verses which “prescriptively” are saying there were many churches in a city with each eldership.

You wrote.
Quote:
“So, do you use a piano in your meetings? Guitar(s) (acoustic or electric)? These are not described as being part of worship in the New Testament. We now read from books. Should we revert to scrolls? I know that these may seem silly or even sarcastic. But I am serious. If there must be a description to allow something that is not prohibited but there is nothing prescribing something contrary, then much of what we now do must be ended.”
OBW, we are talking about models of how to meet which is according to the Bible. You seem to be thinking that how to meet and using piano is on the same level among the truths in the Bible. As you said, we do not necessarily need to have the biblical verses to allow something, for example using piano. But how about appointing elders? Do you really think that you do not need to read the Bible to find any examples, or patterns conducted by the Apostles? Please read the NT. What kind of examples do you find? Free moving of saints? Please read the Bible before you use your logic.

You wrote.
Quote:
“You want to talk about the Trinity. Yes, I accept the truth of the Trinity. But I will assert that despite Justyn’s claim that there is a clear doctrine on the subject, it is not that clearly singular even among the most ardent evangelical groups. In fact, making a general doctrine of the Trinity that must be agreed to in full or you are a heretic is quite problematic. When I review the Berean’s own version, I am happy to accept it as essentially true. But they would argue that disagreeing, even nuancing it a little, results in teaching a “different Christ” with suspicion about its adherents’ salvation. ....”
OBW, do you think you are answering my question? My question was “if you accept Trinity – whether it be more tritheism or more modalism, please show me any PRISCRIPTIVE verses supporting it.” You are getting around the issue. Anyway even in your writing, it is very obvious that Christians are drawing PRISCRIPTIVE conclusions using descriptive verses.

You wrote.
Quote:
“As for the divisive person, I have seen this in action. A sister began to cause division in our assembly. After some warning, and some time, she was asked to leave. While we did not send letters to every other assembly to exclude them from all fellowship, we presume that if the patterns begin again somewhere else, it will happen again. Do you presume that “have nothing to do with them” means that everyone everywhere must exclude them? It does not say that. I should note that this person is not necessarily persona non grata at IBC. She has been back on occasion. But without some kind of clear repentance, she is not welcome to regularly be among the fellowship at IBC. This was not a case of excommunication.”
“She was asked to leave.” This is what is called “division.” Regardless of taking any model, it is impossible to have no problem. OBW, it is not the ground of locality but the divisive ones that make problem. Do not be confused in causality.

You wrote.
Quote:
“Last, the issue with the “ministries” in Phil 1 was not that they did or did not belonged to Paul’s ministry. It was about actions taken for the sake of creating affliction for Paul. Do you presume that ministries not belonging to Paul always caused him affliction or were somehow in conflict with him? These verses to do not say that. They do not suggest that a ministry must belong to Paul. You have taken verses in which Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of the gospel even by some who thought that such public proclamation might have a negative impact on him in his prison, and turned it into a claim that ministries were either Paul’s or were in conflict with Paul. These verses do not say that. This is an assumption not supported by the scripture.”
I do not fully understand what you are saying. I quoted Phil 1 in order to say that there could be a lot of ministries and Paul seems to have recognized those.

You wrote.
Quote:
“But Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.”
You are evaluating only the half of Igzy’s claiming. Please be FAIR!
Igzy is saying that we should practice the free moving of saints depending on the Lord’s will. But he failed in presenting any prescriptive or descriptive verses in the Bible to support his model. Furthermore, the so called “circularity error” is nothing other than the misunderstanding of causality. Furthermore, if any elder can reject divisive ones, that is contradict the free moving of saints.
12-19-2008 11:33 PM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Oregon, you can believe in the local ground if you want. That's your business. Just don't come running to me when you have a leadership crisis and you end up with two elderships each claiming to be over the city.

And God help those poor saints who don't have the answers to the questions I've asked when that time comes because you're not going to know what to tell them, and they are going to suffer for it.

And guess what? Ironically, in the end it's going to be okay for there to be two groups in that city because that's going to be the only way those saints can go on. Unless you expect them to just wring their hands and not meet with anyone until an angel or something comes down and tells each of them who to follow.

I don't plan on running to you Igzy and it's that kind of language that casuses people to react to your statements. Maybe you need to take a hard look at how you express yourself on this forum.
12-19-2008 06:52 PM
aron
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything. You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.

... Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.

Way too long.
It was rather long; I had to try twice to read it through all the way. But your logic was followable for me, which I think commends it well. And although it may have been long, it was well argued, and therefore the length was probably necessary.
12-19-2008 02:52 PM
YP0534
Not me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect.
I have no such desire and have never said this.

I recognize the members of all the gatherings/churches within a geographical area as constituting the unique assembly in that place. I'm recognizing all the people gathering in all the denominational churches in a place as as spontaneously and collectively representing the genuine and unique assembly in that place without them or anyone else doing anything more.
  1. Once born again, you can't get out of the Lord's Body. Call it "Universal Church" if it makes you happy to do so.
  2. Wherever you are, LSM-affiliation having nothing to do with it, there is an "assembly of God" in every place where there is one Christian meeting with another one Christian.
  3. Optimally, all believers meet together as much as possible while ignoring the denominational differences that could cause genuine divisions.

You're born again, you're in a place with other believers, you meet with other believers, you are in the assembly and can't get out of it because it's not of you or of any human being or organization. There is no necessity for a designated or official leadership or "local church" designation for this to exist. It is the spiritual reality of there being Christians meeting in a place and God being glorified therein.

If Paul were to write a letter today to the believers meeting in Anaheim, I'm certain he would intend that letter to be read by all the believers in Anaheim, not merely those who claim a certain status or qualification. He would write to "the assembly in Anaheim" and mean the Baptists and Catholics and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Local Churchers as well.

I can't condone the denominationalism which undeniably tends to keep the believers separate in ways contrary to the free flow of God among His people. Nevertheless, all the brothers and sisters in a place are the members of "the church" in that place no matter what they say or do or think about their meetings. The various meetings, if the hearts are pure, are a small problem indeed. I'm not thrilled about the signs on the lawns but, some have said here, those signs don't really mean anything anyways. In the larger picture, I'm inclined to agree and had to repent for getting as hung up on them as I once did.

On a side note, because of the religious connotations of "church" and the fact that everyone wants to be "a" church or "the" church and the fact that it's just a lousy translation, I have advocated referring to the collective of all the believers in a place as "the assembly." Let them be a "church" who wish to be a "church"; if they are believers, they are nevertheless the assembly as well.

I have stated that the assembly is constituted by its assembling but I've never stated that there was an issue of "a single physical gathering" at all.

In fact, I would strongly argue exactly the opposite.

The assembly can be seen everywhere the believers physically meet, even in the denominational gatherings. I cannot otherwise explain my experiences of seeing for myself God manifested in the praises of His saints in denominational and independent gatherings.
12-19-2008 12:59 PM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription?
First, denying that there is a prescription is not prescribing anything. You are suggesting that we must find a description that matches what we do to allow it. But Paul clearly admonished freedom in Christ where there was not something requiring something different. That may not have ever been said in the context of how to meet in terms of one city one church, or simply assembling with believers however we do it, but it was freedom in Christ.

The biggest problem with your position is not that it is clearly wrong, but rather that you state that it is “according to the Bible” when it is at most following a pattern seen in the Bible but not stated as “the” way. But what do you do when Paul makes mention of the church in someone’s house? Was that not in reference to an assembly of believer’s in a house where there was also referenced a church in the city?

This is where YP’s desire to associate the term “church” or “assembly” only with a single physical gathering is potentially incorrect. We see clear references to an assembly ─ in this case within a house ─ as the church (assembly) while the entirety of the city was also referred to as the church. This happened in the letters to the Romans (16:11), Corinthians (1st 16:19), and in Colossians (4:15) referring to a house that was either in Colossae or Laodicea. So Paul referred to the city as a whole, but also to a subset of that city ─ a group meeting in a house ─ as the church. He did not call them Hall 2, or refer to them as derelict in understanding the right way to meet because they met separately. They must not have met with the others or there would be no need to greet them separately from the general greeting in the beginning of the letter.

So, do you use a piano in your meetings? Guitar(s) (acoustic or electric)? These are not described as being part of worship in the New Testament. We now read from books. Should we revert to scrolls?

I know that these may seem silly or even sarcastic. But I am serious. If there must be a description to allow something that is not prohibited but there is nothing prescribing something contrary, then much of what we now do must be ended.

You want to talk about the Trinity. Yes, I accept the truth of the Trinity. But I will assert that despite Justyn’s claim that there is a clear doctrine on the subject, it is not that clearly singular even among the most ardent evangelical groups. In fact, making a general doctrine of the Trinity that must be agreed to in full or you are a heretic is quite problematic. When I review the Berean’s own version, I am happy to accept it as essentially true. But they would argue that disagreeing, even nuancing it a little, results in teaching a “different Christ” with suspicion about its adherents’ salvation. I have written several times in this forum that the doctrine of the Trinity is more rightly a set of boundaries within which the truth exists. There are many statements about the person and nature of God as three and as one, but never stated in a way to reconcile them fully in Human terms. This leaves some amount of mystery and uncertainty. I see many evangelical groups as believing within bounds, but very close to tritheism. On the other hand, the LC was within bounds but very close to modalism. I should not need to say more about this.

Actually, my position on the Trinity is somewhat consistent with what I am saying about how to practice “church.” The clear word is to assemble ─ even not forsake assembling. Paul told some that were meeting together to quit preferring one leader over another (Corinth). (And the LC took up sides to say that Lee was the one to follow.) But he did not condemn Priscilla and Aquila for the “church that meets at their house” when they were in Rome or in Corinth. Same for Nympha.

As for the divisive person, I have seen this in action. A sister began to cause division in our assembly. After some warning, and some time, she was asked to leave. While we did not send letters to every other assembly to exclude them from all fellowship, we presume that if the patterns begin again somewhere else, it will happen again. Do you presume that “have nothing to do with them” means that everyone everywhere must exclude them? It does not say that. I should note that this person is not necessarily persona non grata at IBC. She has been back on occasion. But without some kind of clear repentance, she is not welcome to regularly be among the fellowship at IBC. This was not a case of excommunication.

Last, the issue with the “ministries” in Phil 1 was not that they did or did not belonged to Paul’s ministry. It was about actions taken for the sake of creating affliction for Paul. Do you presume that ministries not belonging to Paul always caused him affliction or were somehow in conflict with him? These verses to do not say that. They do not suggest that a ministry must belong to Paul. You have taken verses in which Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of the gospel even by some who thought that such public proclamation might have a negative impact on him in his prison, and turned it into a claim that ministries were either Paul’s or were in conflict with Paul. These verses do not say that. This is an assumption not supported by the scripture.

You complain about my sole use of logic. This is patently false. If your Christian experience must be based upon definite words of scripture to prescribe how it is to be lived, then my logic is faulty. But everything I have said, even if you think it is just logic, is actually application of logic to scripture. And when I say logic, I include the simple use of grammar to establish what the verses actually say. Lee said a lot of things that the verses he used to support his positions did not actually say. It is the same with your understanding of one church one city. The words written do not clearly support the requirement that all persons within the confines of a city (a devise of human organization) must meet as one assembly. They also do not deny it. They do not require that there be more than one assembly. But even the presumed description of one city one church is undermined by the three instances I have previously mentioned. IN those cases, there is a general reference to the church in the city, but also references to the church in someone’s house (and they are not the ones presumed to be receiving the letter initially). What that means is not stated. Lee presumed it away and claimed a prescription. But his presumption is nothing but presumption. It is not some divine inspiration to say it means something that the words actually written do not say.

Complain about my logic if you will. But just because logic is in use does not make it invalid. Even scripture’s negative reference to logic was not put there to allow anyone to ignore the actual words and say they mean something else. It was to assert that what it says is true even if you can’t logically understand how it could be. But you must use logic. If you cannot reconcile what you say with the words from which you claim your support, then you cannot win. And I do not mean win in terms of just beat me or Igzy in a debate. You cannot claim to actually understand and follow scripture if you allow yourself to follow doctrines that are contrary to what scripture actually says. We are using your verses as well. We really do not need others to refute your position. And unless you can establish that there is a prescribed way that contradicts our model, or find other scriptural fault in our model, it should be acceptable. Our model is not prescriptive. We do not need to prove it. If we could, it would be prescriptive. The only way to refute our model is to claim yours is prescriptive (which you cannot establish) or to find scripture that stands against our model. We need no scripture to actively allow it. Just like we need no scripture to have a piano.

But Igzy is denying the one city one church model. He is doing so by 1) demonstrating that scripture does not command it and 2) shows that following it` can only result in errors that contradict it. It is a circle of errors that cannot stand as a prescribed way.

Way too long.
12-19-2008 11:13 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
Who are the “elders” in Pittsburgh? Who has the right “stand”? Who should I be “under”? What does the “local ground” doctrine as a prescription from the Scripture teach that I should do? Where should I meet?
What I find so stunning about this thread, and other similar ones I've had the privilege to take part in, is that none of the local ground believers have attempted to answer these questions.

Is the question boring? Is it trite? Is it stupid? Is the answer so obvious that it's not worth sharing? Or is it that you can't answer because you haven't a clue?


BTW, Peter. As to being "under" someone, I've found it's better to just be under everyone, but obedient only to the Lord. The LC has a warped view of "being under." They think it means being obedient to them. I disagree. I think it means being willing to serve and esteeming others better that yourself. I go to a Bible study and I try to be under everyone there. It's funny, but the Spirit flows uphill easier than he flows downhill.
12-19-2008 10:59 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
It the end of the day, one can't establish that the Scripture prescribes multiple "denominations" in a city, etc. I'm not sure that's the point. I don't think Igzy is saying there should be multiple congregations in a city. He is saying that the Scripture doesno't prescribe that there shouldn't be.
Correct.

Quote:
There will be some things where the Scripture grants liberty, but the Spirit does not for me. But I would be skeptical if anyone says that the Spirit convicts you that I should be restricted.
I agree.

Quote:
Paul was "bound by the spirit" to go to Jerusalem. The brotherstold him "in the spirit" NOT to go to Jerusalem. How should we understand this? To my mind, the only way to tease this out (other than saying the Spirit is schizophrenic) is that when the Spirit convicts you personally it trumps a leading of what others think is prescribed for you.
I agree.

Quote:
In short, given the lack of confirmable Scriptural prescription for one-city-one-eldership, feel free to follow that model, but there is little place to judge others for not buying into it.

Make sense?
Totally.
12-19-2008 08:48 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
Oregon, you can believe in the local ground if you want. That's your business. Just don't come running to me when you have a leadership crisis and you end up with two elderships each claiming to be over the city.

And God help those poor saints who don't have the answers to the questions I've asked when that time comes because you're not going to know what to tell them, and they are going to suffer for it.

And guess what? Ironically, in the end it's going to be okay for there to be two groups in that city because that's going to be the only way those saints can go on. Unless you expect them to just wring their hands and not meet with anyone until an angel or something comes down and tells each of them who to follow.
12-19-2008 07:58 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Hi Igzy, I appoligize if I have offended you brother. I guess that I am reacting to what I consider to be strong statements by you that, to me, disregard the Word of God. That's what I am reacting against. I will never accept someones logic that finds a way to circumvent the Word.....and maybe I have misread you and this is not your intent.
No problem, Oregon. I'm not trying to circumvent the Word, I'm trying to interpret it. I'm trying to make it fit together. The local ground doctrine has holes big enough to drive a DayStar through, and I'm sorry but that's not good enough for me. So an alternative Biblical interpretation is needed.


But allow me to say I do have a real problem with these broad-based dismissals of logic. Let me say that kind of response is boilerplate LC stuff, taught and practiced by WL himself.

There's nothing wrong with logic. You can't type a clear sentence without it. You can't find your way to the meeting hall without it. You can't interpret the Bible without it. WL himself often said, "That's not logical."

I hate to be the one to have to tell you guys this but Lee's dismissal of logic (while employing his own) was one of the ways he controlled your minds. The sooner you figure that out the better.

To attack logic itself shows a clear problem in thinking. Logic is indespensible in interpreting the Bible. The question then should be, "Is the logic valid?" Saying "this is just your logic" is a meaningless Leeism. Of course it's my logic. Your job is to tell me how my logic is mistaken, not dismiss it out of hand simply because it's logic.

My counter question is, How do you know my logic is not the Lord's? Well, you have to tell me how it plainly contradicts the Bible (in whole) or how it is self-contradictory. No one has done this.

Quote:
As to who the real elders are in Toronto......I believe that the "local churches" tied in with LSM are no longer standing on the ground of oneness with all believers.
This pretty much makes my point. You say "I believe." See? So it does boil down to what you believe--in other words, your freedom in Christ to follow the Spirit. Thus freedom in Christ says that more than one group claiming to be the one church in the city is permissable, because you and I might disagree on which one is the right one. Thus multiple groups in the city must be permissable in general. This has always been my basic point.
12-19-2008 07:26 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:

Furthermore, you and Igzy over and over again used "prescriptive things" to evaluate the truth of the ground of locality. Why are you so reluctant to my simple request for you to apply the same thing to your model?
We've already addressed this as well. The Bible prescribes freedom in Christ. Therefore to limit that freedom you need a counter prescription, not just a doctrine concocted from vague patterns. In other words, if you are going to take away someone's freedom, you need a clear reason for doing so. The local ground is anything but clear. Why do you think it ends up in court?

Quote:
3. I supppose you accept the model of Igzy. So I ask this question.

You are an elder of a church. And a divisive one comes to your church.
Are you going to accept him or not? Of course, he would definitely say his action is according to the will of the Lord.
How is he divisive? Is he sowing trouble in the church that the elder leads? Then the elder has authority to deal with him. Does he have a reputation of being divisive in some other church? Then the elder can't deal with him until he causes trouble in his own church.
12-19-2008 07:16 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
2. You are not fair in dealing with my answer to the question of prescritpve things. I answered the question by saying the case of Trinity. You have not mentioned about that. Please tell me. Do you accept the truth of Trinity? If so, show me any prescritpve verses which support Trinity.
Gubei, I have explained this already, please go back and read. But let me summarize. The Trinity is a pattern in the Bible, it is a truth. But it is not one that is necessary for salvation nor fellowship not anything that practical. A specific interpretation of the Trinity is not a matter of faith. The fact is the truth is a little vague. It's a mystery.

No, if you want to put forth locality in the same manner--a vague, somewhat mysterious principle, then fine. Then you'd be comparing apples to apples. But the difference between Trinity and locality is that locality by its very nature is extremely practical. It cannot be practiced unless everyone agrees on exactly what it means. With the Trinity we can disagree a lot on the meaning and still fellowship. LCers believe the Son is the Father; non-LCers don't. Yet they can still fellowship. But if you believe locality means the city and I believe it means the burrough then we've got a very practical problem which is insurmountable.

The point is that non-prescriptive patterns in the Bible do not provide enough to enforce doctrine which restrict freedom. The fact is the Bible does not give us enough information about locality for it to be practically practiced. It just doesn't. That was God's choice not mine. This is why you can't answer practical questions about how very real problems are solved.

Let me use an analogy, ground of locality advocates are like someone who comes in and says:

"I think the best way to have movie theater is for the audience to sit in a 360 degree circle of seats around a cylindrical movie screen."

So people say, "OK. So how do we make it work? What's the technology?"

To which the advocate answers, "I don't know. But I know it's the best way."

And the people, trying to be helpful, reply, "Well, it might well be in theory, but if it's the best it should be workable."

The advocate answers, "This is just your human logic."

And the people say, "Whatever. Just come back when you have some practical answers."


I represent those people waiting for practical answers.
12-19-2008 07:08 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription? And as contray to your observation, I did not insist my model. I already said that the ground of locality is not essential in the common belief among Christians such as salvation, Trinity etc.
Wrong. I am not prescribing anything that restricts anything, except that you let people decide for themselves where they meet. And that is prescribed by the principle of freedom in Christ, which is solidly Biblical.

Quote:
I believe the issue of the ground of locality is like that of head covering of sisters. If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would answer that sisters shoud take head covering. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according the Bible.
I'm not asking you to change anything you believe. I'm asking you to explain how it works out practically and what its ramifications are. How people meet is extremely practical. Thus far you've only said you believe in the ground of locality. Okay, fine. But that's pretty meaningless if you can't provide a practical plan as to how it is worked out. Like for example, how we know which group in a city which claims to be meeting on the ground and is inclusive of all Christian is the one we should meet with.

Quote:
1. You still are basing your arguement on only logic, not on any even "descriptive" verse in the Bible.
False. Biblical principles have been given. Freedom in Christ. Lack of commandments. House churches which cannot be shown to be equivalents to local churches, etc.
12-19-2008 04:08 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I'm still awaiting answers. How do I know who the true elders in Toronto are?
Hi Igzy, I appoligize if I have offended you brother. I guess that I am reacting to what I consider to be strong statements by you that, to me, disregard the Word of God. That's what I am reacting against. I will never accept someones logic that finds a way to circumvent the Word.....and maybe I have misread you and this is not your intent.

As to who the real elders are in Toronto......I believe that the "local churches" tied in with LSM are no longer standing on the ground of oneness with all believers. They may say so...but in actual practice it's the ministry itself and how one relates to it that has become their real ground of oneness. We should gather with believers in our locality and recieve all our brothers and sisters simply on the basis of them being fellow believers. I'm not familiar with your situation in Toronto but if some were gathering there on that basis and I lived there I would probably meet with them.

And by the way Igzy.....I have met with many dear saints over the years meeting as a this or a that and I do not judge them. Most of them have a real portion of the Spirit in their midst. I have a good number of dear bothers in my work circle. I'm not judging these dear saints. But to say that all the believers gathering as the church in their city is not in the word......that's just too much to be saying.
12-19-2008 02:41 AM
YP0534
Meta-Thread Analysis

I'm quite interestd in this dialog on this point concerning "the ground" but it seems a bit misplaced on its current thread. Not to be religious about such things, but, in the long run, it would probably be better if this exchange were under a more descriptive heading.

Just a thought.

Also, aron, you and I should probably relocate to something called "Receiving the Believers" somewhere else. I hope you would start such a thread and perhaps incorporate a summary of your most recent comments on the topic. Maybe you could post those verses again but this time afford us your comments on each?

The Lord be with each of you today!
12-18-2008 08:14 PM
Peter Debelak
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

A further practical (and personal) thought on the “local ground.”

First, it would seem to me that if one-city-one-eldership was a prescription in the Scripture, then an individual not under that eldership is in violation of the Scripture.

Okay, so my personal situation.

I live in Pittsburgh, where there are many churches (green, red, square, tall, short, electric and stodgy). In each, they have taken a stand here or there (presently or in some past day) on a non essential item. There is also a “local church” here.

I don’t meet regularly with any of them. I have been to meetings of the “church in Pittsburgh” (as it is registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) and I have been to gatherings of other congregations. I am not formally “under” any eldership. That said, I know the “elders” and other saints in the “church in Pittsburgh” and have fellowship with some. I can attest that I have a heart of submission when I fellowship with them. But this is built on a history and, well, a life relationship. I also have fellowship with certain brothers who meet with a Presbyterian church in town. A regular “reform” church with all sorts of radical social/spiritual missions. They’re not “it” for me, but there’s one brother with whom I’ve developed a relationship for whom I have much respect and, if convicted, would readily submit.

Still further, there are a few brothers in town who have no affiliation with a group whatsoever, with whom I have a long relationship. I tell you that there are few others in this Steel city whose words pierce my conscience more or fuel my petition of our Lord more.

Who are the “elders” in Pittsburgh? Who has the right “stand”? Who should I be “under”? What does the “local ground” doctrine as a prescription from the Scripture teach that I should do? Where should I meet?

If the doctrine is prescribed in the Scripture, then an answer like “Obey the Lord in your Spirit” is not an answer. That would be redundant if the Scripture is clear on the matter.

My “problem” is, the only answer I have peace with is “Obey the Lord in your Spirit.” Which means I may very well be violating the “local ground” if it is a prescription in the Word.

Any thoughts or suggestions from those who insist that the “local ground” is a prescriptive reality in the Word?

In Love,

Peter
12-18-2008 07:48 PM
Peter Debelak
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I'm not trying to hurl insults Igzy. I'm reading all the posts here and following what people are saying. I'm just not going to accept human logic that conrtradicts the Word of God. I don't care how many people or elders have made mistakes in this locality or that locality. The Word is the Word and that is the authority to me.....not human reasoning.

Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
I'm quoting Oregon, but this is also a response to Gubei (who has argued that Igzy is making a prescription).

At the end of the day, one can't establish that the Scripture prescribes multiple "denominations" in a city, etc. I'm not sure that's the point. I don't think Igzy is saying there should be multiple congregations in a city. He is saying that the Scripture doesno't prescribe that there shouldn't be.

I grant that there's pretty robust description of one church in each city in the New Testament.

Thing is, there are several possibilities for this: its prescribed by God; its the beginnings of a new faith and thus there won't be many variants just yet; it was more feasible given political, historical and geographic realities at the time.

Each of these are possible. But you can't go to the Scripture and prove any of them wrong - and thus each remains possible. Thus, appeal to the SCripture cannot resolve this matter definitively. Given that we are governed by the Scripture and the inward Spirit, we are left to the inward convicting of the SPirit on this matter. Some will be convicted to take a "locality" stand and some will not. But there is no grounds to insist or judge the stand the other is making.

As an anology. Are electric guitars prescriptively prohibited by Scripture? I don't see it. And thus, if my brother tells me that he has the peace and grace, even leading to have a "band" to lead praise, I have no grounds to restrict him by the Word. You can't come to me and say, "Show me where the Scripture permits electric guitars." That's not how it works. We have freedom in Christ unless the Scripture says otherwise.

Its like the law. I am free to do whatever I please in a free society unless there is a law which prohibits it. If I feel like eating cornflakes on Sunday, you can't come to me and ask "What law authorizes you to do that?" (unless you're in certain small towns in Tennesse - in which case, it might in fact be prohibited). I am free to do so unless there is an express legal prohibition.

There will be some things where the Scripture grants liberty, but the Spirit does not for me. But I would be skeptical if anyone says that the Spirit convicts you that I should be restricted.

Here's a Scriptural puzzle:

In Acts 19-21, Paul was "bound by the Spirit" to go to Jerusalem. However In Tyre, the disciples told Paul "IN THE SPIRIT" not to set foot in Jerusalem (Acts 21:4). ANd then, those with Paul, including Luke, in Caesarea, entreated Paul not to go to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:12).

Paul was "bound by the spirit" to go to Jerusalem. The brotherstold him "in the spirit" NOT to go to Jerusalem. How should we understand this? To my mind, the only way to tease this out (other than saying the Spirit is schizophrenic) is that when the Spirit convicts you personally it trumps a leading of what others think is prescribed for you.

In short, given the lack of confirmable Scriptural prescription for one-city-one-eldership, feel free to follow that model, but there is little place to judge others for not buying into it.

Make sense? Sorry for the rambling, divergent, round-about way of expressing it...

In Love,

Peter
12-18-2008 05:48 PM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I'm not trying to hurl insults Igzy. I'm reading all the posts here and following what people are saying. I'm just not going to accept human logic that conrtradicts the Word of God. I don't care how many people or elders have made mistakes in this locality or that locality. The Word is the Word and that is the authority to me.....not human reasoning.

Show me in the Word where there are various denominations etc. Use the Word of God to tear down the oneness of believers in a locality....not your logic as to why nobody can decern who the real elders are. If you can show me in the Word that it's OK to divide the church up into all these various different types of assemblies then your arguements will carry some weight. Human failure will never be a valid reason to disregard what is in the Word.
12-18-2008 05:02 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

OBW,

I have to disagree.

Igzy is prescriving something by denying other's model. If that is not prescription, what is prescription? And as contray to your observation, I did not insist my model. I already said that the ground of locality is not essential in the common belief among Christians such as salvation, Trinity etc.

I believe the issue of the ground of locality is like that of head covering of sisters. If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would answer that sisters shoud take head covering. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according the Bible.

If you ask me what is right according to the Bible, I would anwer that the ground of locality should be practiced. But I will not insist that practice because that is not essential in our Christian life. In other words, I will accept all the Christians regardless of their position to this matter, but I will not change my model which is according to the Bible.

The reason why I think the ground of locality is not essential is due to the following verses by Paul.

Phil. 1
[13] So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; [14] And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. [15] Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: [16] The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: [17] But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. [18] What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. [19] For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

These verses mean that even in the time of Paul, there were some ministers who did not belong to the ministry of Paul. But Paul recognized their ministries. This means that even in a city, there are some saints who were not under the ministry of Paul or Paul-appointed eldership. But Paul was not bothered by the fact.

Now, I think I am fair in revealing the all the verses in the Bible regarding my model, whether it be for my model or against my model. Do not forget. I'm using verses in the Bible before I use logic.


1. You still are basing your arguement on only logic, not on any even "descriptive" verse in the Bible. Logic is the last resort when we discuss any truth or model concering the Bible. OBW, do not get around the issue. My simple question simply asks a simple answer. As contrary to the case of the ground of locality which has at least some descriptive verses in the Bible whether you agree or not, Igzy's model does not have any supporting verses in the Bible. "sola scriptura" is the first step we should take in talking about truth or model. Furthermore, you and Igzy over and over again used "prescriptive things" to evaluate the truth of the ground of locality. Why are you so reluctant to my simple request for you to apply the same thing to your model?

2. You are not fair in dealing with my answer to the question of prescritpve things. I answered the question by saying the case of Trinity. You have not mentioned about that. Please tell me. Do you accept the truth of Trinity? If so, show me any prescritpve verses which support Trinity.

3. I supppose you accept the model of Igzy. So I ask this question.

You are an elder of a church. And a divisive one comes to your church.
Are you going to accept him or not? Of course, he would definitely say his action is according to the will of the Lord.

(Titus 3:10) 『Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.』

Gubei
12-18-2008 04:43 PM
aron
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
If the Spirit is the true teacher, what shall we say about those who try to teach us something that the Spirit isn't confirming?

I don't really have any answers but I'm pretty sure that brotherly love should be the key factor with whatever response we have (and such is my expectation from those who might insist that I drop my position instead!)
I love this question because it goes to the heart of what I struggle with continually.

First, if our position is unyeilding love, how can someone insist we drop that towards them? They often will ask us to drop it towards "others" if we are to join them. In other words, join the "quarantine" or whatever barricade they have erected to fellowship.

Can we say to one involved in struggle, "I am one with you but not one with your antagonism towards _____ ?"

I think so. I believe so. I hope so. I believe love covers all, love suffers all, love ultimately conquers all.

If God could love us while we were yet sinners, while we were yet unlovable, unloving, unlovely, then surely we can tolerate others who are intolerant, especially if they are intolerant of us, especially if they can't tolerate our tolerance! I know that's a mouthful, but I think it makes sense.

If you think I am making these points up, see my earlier post (#217)responding to YP's question. I have a few verses there. Also, I can attest that I was not "good material" for anything, but God loved me and reached me anyway. Cannot I now, with this love dwelling in me, do the same toward others?

So I think that this is a "stand" we can hold to even while we move toward others. I know that the Lord Jesus didn't have much tolerance toward the intolerant; he was gentler on the drunkards and publicans than he was on the religious holier-than-thou folks. But only Jesus is without sin; the rest of us can rightly take the place of repentant sinners.

So there's my thought; whether it's valid is open to question, and whether I can live up to my theology is also open. But it kinda inspires me, you know?
12-18-2008 03:41 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I understand your question, but you are actually comparing my apples to your oranges. The difference should be clear to you because I've already made reference to it, but I'll try to be plainer. The difference is that you are creating restrictions based on non-prescriptive patterns. ....
Igzy,

As I told you before, we are saying the same thing from different angles, but approach is quite different. Do you remember I said "the end-image" would be almost similar?

I want to clarify more.

1. In my model, saints can move to other local churches. I do not think restricting movement preserves oneness.

2. Concerning the biblical verses, whether those be prescriptive or descriptive, I am comparing my apples with your apples. As you and OBW agreed, my model has some "descriptive" verses in the Bible. But you have not showed me any even descriptive verses which support your model. First and foremost, any model should be based on the Bible. That is what is called sola scriptura. I do not object any model which is different from mine as long as that is based on the Bible. This is the reason why I cannot willingly accept your model even though the end-image is quite similar to mine.

3. Igzy, what matters in the matter of practice is the case in which divisive ones come in. If every Christains are not divisive but according to the will of the Lord, there in no need to talk about "practice", "model" etc. Whatever pratice or model we have, there will be no problem.

I'm asking you the case in which divisive one come in, when you, if you are an elder of a church, have to make decision to accept him or not. The divisive one would definitely claim he is according to the will of the Lord. What would your decision be? Accept or Reject?

(Titus3:10) Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.(NIV)

If you reject him, he will claim that you are divisive. If you accept him, you are not following the prescriptive verse in the Bible.

My point is that no model is perfect as long as there is divisive ones come.

Gubei
12-18-2008 02:54 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
One proposes that there's no possilbility for anything other than one assembly in a place. Another proposes that there's no practical possibilty for only one church in a place of any size. Do they agree to disagree and praise the Lord together? Do they agree to disagree but exercise the freedom separate just the same?
"..God has called us to peace." 1 Cor 7:15b.
12-18-2008 02:19 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Oregon:
In other words, they insist you and I are wrong and we insist that they are wrong and we're not really getting anywhere with that for whatever reason.
Not true. It's not you or Oregon I am trying to convince. It's those looking on. It's for that reason that I try to present as plain and intelligent an argument as possible. Gubei has, too. Oregon hasn't. He's acted as if the points I've made don't exist.
12-18-2008 01:28 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
Oregon, don't you have time to formulate something better than this? Or is this the best you can do?

I would like to discuss this issue of locality with you. But you seem content to hide behind the barricades of your dogma and hurl insults over the wall. Why are you so afraid to take on the apparent weaknesses in this doctrine you've been told to believe?

No one in the LC ever addressed the holes in this doctrine. So what are you supposed to do when someone attacks the deity of Christ? You are supposed to have an answer. You are supposed to employ logic (e.g. if Jesus wasn't God, who was he?). But because you can't logically defend your locality doctrine, you resort to insulting logic itself. That's very disappointing.

I'm still awaiting answers. How do I know who the true elders in Toronto are?
12-18-2008 01:11 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Gubei,
We do not need to support freedom in Christ. But you need to support hard rules. And we do not see them.
This sums it up.
12-18-2008 12:35 PM
aron
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
... what to do about someone who strongly believes that your "stand" is beyond the pale? How do you maintain your "stand" while remaining one with such a one who wishes to withdraw???
If my stand includes as it's cornerstone repentance in the face of God's overwhelming love, then I don't violate it when I reach out to others, acknowledging my at least partial error. Only God is 100% right. The rest of us, including me, are at least somewhat in error.

Do I always live it? No, I can be arrogant and self-righteous and judgmental. But at least in theory, I think this approach can allow movement without being violated.

God's love, ultimately, conquers all. It's just a matter of time.
12-18-2008 09:59 AM
YP0534
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
But cutting off believers who are not in sin, but merely in subjective interpretational error, is to me not the love of God. We should take a stand for the truth (scripture, logic, the testimony of history, and even our own experiences and subjective "feelings"), but I believe the greatest truth of all is love. God has commended His own love to us, in Christ Jesus, and we therefore can commend God's love to one another. Cutting off one another over disagreements may in fact be love, but I have yet to be persuaded of this by any of the means I have listed above.
Fine, aron. I understand the same way. But I'm still puzzled.

How to remain in oneness with those who would actually denounce your "stand for the truth" as you propose?

One proposes that there's no possilbility for anything other than one assembly in a place. Another proposes that there's no practical possibilty for only one church in a place of any size. Do they agree to disagree and praise the Lord together? Do they agree to disagree but exercise the freedom separate just the same?

More to my immediate point, however, what to do about someone who strongly believes that your "stand" is beyond the pale? How do you maintain your "stand" while remaining one with such a one who wishes to withdraw???

Have you become a stumbling block for the sake of your truth, which itself is not confirmed by more than your own conscience????
12-18-2008 08:45 AM
aron
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
Oregon:

Given that what you say is true, what is your response, if any? How do we relate to our brothers and sisters who do what you say they do? I'm mostly concerned that I might be one who could be subject to such a charge on some issue or other and I'd like to know, if I could, how I might discern the Spirit's leading in the circumstance as opposed to just having to choose between my own logic and another's presentation of verses.
Good questions, and relevant to any topic on which there are varying weights placed on varying sets of scriptures.

My own take is this: when I base my oneness on the necessity of the other one coming to meet me, rather than vice versa, then I am in for a long and cold wait in the dark. Here is the old complaint: "When the others just see my way (my logic, the primacy of my crucial verses, etc), then we will all get along. Then all problems will be over and we will have heaven on earth." It will be some variation on this theme. "You must come to where I am."

Then I see the action of God. He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son. (John 3:16).

While we were yet sinners, God loved us anyway. Christ died for us in our wretched state. (Rom. 5:6,8).

God manifested His love for us by sending His only begotten Son, that we might have life and live through this One. (1 John 4:9).

Herein is real love, not that we loved God [we could not], but that God loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10).

Any attempt by man to bridge the gap, to cover the lack, to make up the lost ground, are illusion and vanity. From Adam and Eve's fig leaves to the tower of Babel and right up through. God alone can bridge the divide.

So to assume we are in the truth, and to expect others to come to our stand, our "ground", is perhaps a tad presumptuous. Rather we see the sending God. We have the real truth, God's love come into our hearts (Romans 5:5), that we might also be the ones stretching forth.

This is why I so strongly disagree with the events of the past few years. Let's assume Titus was wrong and the Anaheims were right. Let's assume the GLA churches with a cacaphony of electric music and dramatizations were in error.

But cutting off believers who are not in sin, but merely in subjective interpretational error, is to me not the love of God. We should take a stand for the truth (scripture, logic, the testimony of history, and even our own experiences and subjective "feelings"), but I believe the greatest truth of all is love. God has commended His own love to us, in Christ Jesus, and we therefore can commend God's love to one another. Cutting off one another over disagreements may in fact be love, but I have yet to be persuaded of this by any of the means I have listed above.
12-18-2008 07:33 AM
YP0534
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
Oregon:

Given that what you say is true, what is your response, if any? How do we relate to our brothers and sisters who do what you say they do? I'm mostly concerned that I might be one who could be subject to such a charge on some issue or other and I'd like to know, if I could, how I might discern the Spirit's leading in the circumstance as opposed to just having to choose between my own logic and another's presentation of verses.

In a room full of Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, my own logic might be superior to the scriptures cited. On the other hand, faced with substantial scriptural proof from a recognized orthodox teacher, I might stubbornly resist to remain with my own considerations.

I'm in agreement with you on the doctrinal point you have presented. Some on this forum hold sharply divergent opinions. We surely would prefer to preserve the oneness of the Spirit here, but I'm pretty sure I could talk until I was blue in the face and some would never change their minds on this point.

In other words, they insist you and I are wrong and we insist that they are wrong and we're not really getting anywhere with that for whatever reason. How can I be comfortable that I'm not the one in self-delusion other than to take it before the Lord and accept my inner sense as more reliable than their presentation? If the Spirit is the true teacher, what shall we say about those who try to teach us something that the Spirit isn't confirming?

I don't really have any answers but I'm pretty sure that brotherly love should be the key factor with whatever response we have (and such is my expectation from those who might insist that I drop my position instead!)

Obviously, my inquiry goes far beyond the particular topic at hand but I think it's really something we need to consider here if we truly wish to have fruitful fellowship, on this topic or any other point of departure...
12-18-2008 06:55 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

The New Testiment is full of verses showing that in the apostles days all the believers in each city where the gospel went were the church in that city. There were no multible chuches in localities. Because there are no verses in the bible such as II Igzy 4:3 " Thou shalt gather as the church in your city" you claim that the scriptures don't teach one church one city. The posters here willfully take their own logic over the scriptures.
12-17-2008 01:00 PM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

You said this to Igzy:

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.

This statement establishes that you do not understand what Igzy is saying. He is not prescribing anything. He is denying the establishment of doctrines that prescribe when there is no scripture in support of such prescription. The first sentence I quoted above is much better turned back on yourself. You are supporting a doctrine that make prescriptive requirements but you are unable to support those requirements with scripture. You are only able to point to places where it might be accurate to suggest that your position is described.

We provide a model that is consistent with scripture where it prescribes, but allows freedom where it does not. We do not see the extremes of prescription that Lee, and apparently you see. We need no scripture to support freedom in Christ where you cannot find restriction prescribed. The question is legitimately directed at you. You are prescribing. That requires support. Without that support, then there is the freedom in Christ that we support. We do not need to support freedom in Christ. But you need to support hard rules. And we do not see them. Rather than running from our question, you can only win the argument by actually providing the support Igzy requests.

When I read the verses you have provided so far, I do not see an prescription of a particular rule. They actually make no statement in support of such a position. It can only be said that if your prescription were true, the verse could stand as it is. But if there is no such prescription, the verse could also stand as is. Therefore, these verses do not define a prescription. They merely describe a set of facts that are insufficient to establish a prescription in scripture.

So asking Igzy how people moving around is supposed to be policed can only be understood as suggesting that they should be policed. Since Igzy has no prescriptive rule on the subject, there is no objective fact that can be scrutinized to say that moving from one assembly to another is in error. He is not asking you to tell him how to police it under his understanding. He is asking you to explain how, and why, it should be policed. You need to look at your model for that answer. You need to explain how scripture prescribes an answer that is steadfast and sure.

He asked, but expected the answer to be consistent with the one city one church rule which is already being argued as not prescribed by scripture. That means that under his model there is no simple answer. In fact, the only answer is that if it is a problem before God, then God will deal with it one way or another. There is no need for man to impose more stringent rules to keep people from moving around. As he has said, there are many reasons to move. If there is not divisiveness in the heart, or a desire to run from legitimate discipline, it is not denied by scripture. There is no rule to make a person stay anywhere.
12-17-2008 06:51 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Allowing free movement actually prevents division rather than encourages it. For example, suppose some saints feel their leadership is no longer following the Lord. If they feel compelled to stay by a locality principle or some such they are expected to squelch their impulse. In some cases this may be good, but there are bound to be cases where the Lord is indeed moving them to make a change. If they are not free, they must eventually make a confrontation and ugly things are bound to happen.

On the other hand, if they are free to leave, then they can go in peace. Neither side has to loudly condemn the other because of the "each being fully persuaded in their own mind" principle. They simple need to be free to follow there consciences.

Ultimately, requiring oneness based on some arbitrary interpretation of a locality pattern in the NT is bound to require someone to ignore their conscience. Again this is good reason to believe the apparent pattern does not require us to formulate a formal restrictive doctrine.
12-17-2008 06:40 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

Please rethink your reply. I'm not saying whose model is right.
I'm trying to show you how we should be balanced in evaluating others' model.

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.
I understand your question, but you are actually comparing my apples to your oranges. The difference should be clear to you because I've already made reference to it, but I'll try to be plainer. The difference is that you are creating restrictions based on non-prescriptive patterns. I am allowing freedom by not creating restrictions where the Bible is silent. That's the difference. My model is based on the Bible, it just doesn't make restrictive assumptions where the Bible is silent. Your model is based on the Bible, too. But yours makes restrictive assumptions (e.g. saints cannot move from church to church) where the Bible is silent. That's a big difference.

Quote:

Igzy,

For your model's practicality, a lot of questons can be made. For now, I just want to adhere to above mentioned issue except one thing.

You asked me.
"So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed."

Igzy, this was my question to you. You should answer to me. Are you saying really "free moving" in your model even without reject divisive ones which was commanded by the Bible? Please clarify your model further.

Gubei
Freely moving is not the same thing as being divisive. Being divisive is a matter of heart and attitude. For example, I may leave a church to move to another one in a divisive way, or in a pure way, it all depends on my heart.

The Lord may be leading me to move, and it's really no one else's call but mine, because I alone really know what the Lord is leading me to do. This is what living by conscience and following the Spirit boils down to.

On the other hand, I may actually have a divisive heart and want to avoid fellowship with certain people. When I move it may outwardly look more or less the same to a casual observer as when I move with a pure motive, but there is a world of difference. So you really can't judge someone just because they changed churches.

Being divisive means having a divisive heart which expresses itself in sowing discord. These types of people, ultimately, are pretty easy to spot. They don't fellowship, they grumble. Someone who moves from church to church is not necessarily divisive.

There is a term in Christian circles--"church hopping." It describes moving from church to church seeking comfort. It's a negative term. Christians in general know that they should not just move on a whim, to satisfy themselves. However, they also know that you cannot restrict a genuine leading of the Lord. This is balance.

The LC model presumes that restricting movement preserves "oneness," but I don't see the justification for enforcing that in the Bible. It is imbalanced.
12-16-2008 03:35 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

The Bible says nothing restricting saints from moving from church to church. Are you suggesting that if the Bible doesn't explicitly allow something that it therefore disallows it? If not, then why are you asking me to provide the Biblical permission for something the Bible does not mention?

BTW, there's nothing wrong with logic. After all, you are employing it as well. You can't interpret the Bible without it. Neither could WL. You attach the word "human" to my logic as a means of dismissing it. That's straight from WL's playbook. His logic was "divine"; everyone else's was "human."

So please don't condescend. I'm not employing logic in a vacuum. I'm using it in the light of the Bible, history, experience and my sense of the Lord's leading. Hopefully you are not doing any differently.

So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed. Who has the authority to condemn or excuse such movement? Who judges? If you can't answer these practical questions then your model is not practical and is bound to fall apart.



How do you decide who to "condemn?" For example, suppose there are two "local" churches A and B, in city C. Saint S decides the Lord has led him to move from A to B, and the elders of B have no objection. How do you know, if you are in A (or anywhere else) whether you should "condemn" S? Can you do it because:
  1. A and B are too close together, and therefore violate locality?
  2. A and B are too far apart, and so S is not eligible to be in B.
  3. S did not get permission from the elders of A whether he could move? (As if they are his lords.)
  4. B does not follow the right apostle, and so B is not a genuine church?
  5. Something else?
I'm waiting to hear the rules of how to condemn a saint because condemning saints is a serious matter and you have stated that being able to do so is one of the great advantages of the ground of locality doctrine.
Igzy,

Please rethink your reply. I'm not saying whose model is right.
I'm trying to show you how we should be balanced in evaluating others' model.

You cannot provide me with some prescriptive verses supporting your model. And, as you agreed, your model is based on logic.

If that's the case, you should not evaluate others' model by the yardstick which you yourself cannot abide by. Then, why did you repeatedly ask providing prescriptive verses on the ground of locality?

Your are getting around this issue. Please directly answer.

Igzy,

For your model's practicality, a lot of questons can be made. For now, I just want to adhere to above mentioned issue except one thing.

You asked me.
"So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed."

Igzy, this was my question to you. You should answer to me. Are you saying really "free moving" in your model even without reject divisive ones which was commanded by the Bible? Please clarify your model further.

Gubei




Gubei
12-16-2008 09:26 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
OBW, please think about this. How many crucial truths in the Bible are supported by "prescriptive" verses? The Bible is not a well-written systematic theology textbook or US Constitution-type mandate. They are histories, epistles, and so on an so forth, but not least so prescriptive as Wesminster Confession.
I've already thought about this and addressed it several times. The ground of locality doctrine is not a teaching that allows an inch of disagreement on its meaning because the teaching says that those who don't agree with it are divisive. Since it's unreasonable to expect people to agree on the exact meaning of any non-prescriptive "truth," the teaching makes not a lick of practical sense.
12-16-2008 09:03 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

The Bible says nothing restricting saints from moving from church to church. Are you suggesting that if the Bible doesn't explicitly allow something that it therefore disallows it? If not, then why are you asking me to provide the Biblical permission for something the Bible does not mention?

BTW, there's nothing wrong with logic. After all, you are employing it as well. You can't interpret the Bible without it. Neither could WL. You attach the word "human" to my logic as a means of dismissing it. That's straight from WL's playbook. His logic was "divine"; everyone else's was "human."

So please don't condescend. I'm not employing logic in a vacuum. I'm using it in the light of the Bible, history, experience and my sense of the Lord's leading. Hopefully you are not doing any differently.

So, again, please tell me how saints moving around is supposed to be policed. Who has the authority to condemn or excuse such movement? Who judges? If you can't answer these practical questions then your model is not practical and is bound to fall apart.

How do you decide who to "condemn?" For example, suppose there are two "local" churches A and B, in city C. Saint S decides the Lord has led him to move from A to B, and the elders of B have no objection. How do you know, if you are in A (or anywhere else) whether you should "condemn" S? Can you do it because:
  1. A and B are too close together, and therefore violate locality?
  2. A and B are too far apart, and so S is not eligible to be in B.
  3. S did not get permission from the elders of A whether he could move? (As if they are his lords.)
  4. B does not follow the right apostle, and so B is not a genuine church?
  5. Something else?
I'm waiting to hear the rules of how to condemn a saint because condemning saints is a serious matter and you have stated that being able to do so is one of the great advantages of the ground of locality doctrine.
12-15-2008 03:36 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?

This is the problem with your input here, Gubei. The other shoe never drops. You never give us practical guidelines for practicing your model. You say the ground of locality tells us who we can "condemn" (oh boy!) but then don't give us specifics. That's like giving a loaded gun to a blind man and telling him to try to shoot the apple off your head.
Igzy,

Your answer is not directly related to my original question.

The base on which you have over and over again reject the ground of locality was the fact that the truth has no "prescriptive" verses in the Bible.

And you finally showed us your "practical model" which basic element is saints' free moving depending on the Lord's will.

So I asked the same question you asked as to the ground of locality.
- Tell me what prescriptive verses are there supporting "saints' free moving depending on the Lord's will."

But you are answering the question by saying that "And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?" Your answer is not based on the Bible, but your human logic, which you have so many times used to reject the ground of locality.

Gubei
12-15-2008 03:23 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Gubei,

Are you trying to replace Lee? That is just the kind of logic he would use. He would start, as you did in the first of three, by saying something preposterous with no support, yet in a manner that causes the listener/reader to be compelled to accept it. Then he would argue by saying scriptural-sounding things and linking them together as if the various things were controls for one another. But note that you actually only referenced one passage — 2 Cor 12:12. And this one does not establish anything concerning your main points. Instead, it establishes the uncertainty of your point. The rest is opinion as to what it means because unrelated things that are extrapolated from unmentioned passages are strung together as if they are fact. This is how Lee created his doctrine of the economy of God. There are only 2 verses in chapter 1 of TEOG where he defines the doctrine, and he doesn't even understand them properly (generous) or he intentionally misrepresented what they said (more likely). The doctrines of "ground of locality" or "ground of oneness" are no different.

Discussing doctrines must be done in the light of the actual scriptures available. They cannot be based upon the words supplied by the very person whose doctrines are being questioned. That would be Lee. You must start with the scripture, and from the scripture establish what scripture actually says and rest on that. Lee started with his concept and found scriptures that he could twist to say what he felt was true. His claim of being an apostle was his justification for saying non-scriptural things. He called non-scriptural as scriptural.
OBW,

Basically, I am trying to say that WN or WL's teachings should be considered one of diverse teachings in fundamentalists' camp. I know there are some questionable teachings or practices in them, but I do not think they have really gone far as to be called "heresy."

Getting back to the ground of locality, what matter is that you cannot say the truth is unbiblical any more than you can with Trinity. I recognize your right to reject that truth, but I do not recognize your right to call it "unbiblical" as long as you accept Trinity on which really a lot of understandings exist among sincere Christians and a few descriptive verses exist.

OBW, please think about this. How many crucial truths in the Bible are supported by "prescriptive" verses? The Bible is not a well-written systematic theology textbook or US Constitution-type mandate. They are histories, epistles, and so on an so forth, but not least so prescriptive as Wesminster Confession.

One error of some Christians is that they do not distingush between having different interpretations which are still in the boundary of fundamentalists' camp and calling other fundamentalists' interpretations "unbiblical, heretic etc." Of course, WL himself repeated this error. As I alrerady several times made it clear, "the ground of locality" is not an essential element in our Christians life. Any Christian who even belongs to Catholic can be a overcomer for God who will expedite the second coming of our Lord Jesus.

Gubei
12-15-2008 01:37 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
YP0534, clearly there's no getting around the denomination issue. Until the Lord returns, this is the environment we're faced with. What we can do is have the right heart in order to pursue the oneness of the spirit.
For example in my old neighborhood there was a community church, 7th Day Adventist, Lutheran, Prebyterian, Baptist, etc. I don't advocate practices of any particular assembly/congregation/metting place, but when I meet an individual from one of these congregations I can seek a oneness in the Spirit. We each have the Bible as our one unique standard.
Am I making sense?

Terry
Yes. Total sense.

A fundamental problem with the LCs is that, for all their talk, they never really had the courage of their convictions.

If they had really been for the practical oneness they envisioned, they would have ceaselessly contacted all the Christian groups, patiently explained their beliefs, and encouraged practical oneness, doing whatever it took to break down barriers. They would have been more than willing to turn over leadership (like in that old LC legend that the leadership was offered in return for oneness in China). They would have constantly prayed for fellowship and favor with other Christians.

Instead the LC movement settled for moving into cities, setting up shop, ignoring the rest of the Christian community, raising barriers, and acting beligerantly, like they were ipso facto the kings of the hill. In other words, they thought they were special. Most LCers are hooked on being special and above the rules. They can't imagine a Christian life where they aren't some kind of elite Christian group. This desire is, in fact, of the devil.

To address Toledo's problem, of how former LCers can go on, I think a big part, Toledo, is to forget about being something special. We need to see how thinking we are special actually isolates us from people and alienates them, the very ones we are called to serve. How can you serve when you are constantly angling for a reason to think you are better than all those poor saps out there. When you don't think you are special you don't judge people.

Jesus was a great example of this. To paraphrase, although he was God he didn't think of equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself.

Now, substitute "being in God's unique move" for "equality with God" and ask yourself if LCers saw that as a thing to be grasped. If they did, ask yourself if they thereby expressed Christ.
12-15-2008 12:52 PM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
So, those who contend for the oneness of the Spirit clearly cannot be hung up on the vocabulary.

Grace be with us all today!
YP0534, clearly there's no getting around the denomination issue. Until the Lord returns, this is the environment we're faced with. What we can do is have the right heart in order to pursue the oneness of the spirit.
For example in my old neighborhood there was a community church, 7th Day Adventist, Lutheran, Prebyterian, Baptist, etc. I don't advocate practices of any particular assembly/congregation/metting place, but when I meet an individual from one of these congregations I can seek a oneness in the Spirit. We each have the Bible as our one unique standard.
Am I making sense?

Terry
12-15-2008 09:31 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Don't you think there could be some saints who are divisive and "freely" move here and there on the grounds that that is Lord's will? Your model is also very vulnerable to the divisive saints.
In the first place, it's none of my business what others' motives are. I'm not their policeman. In the second place, a divisive saint is someone who sows discord, not someone who decides to meet somewhere other than where I think he should.

Quote:
And if we follow your model, we have no choice but to confirm their "free moving."
Right. And that's as it should be. Now, we might have some reservations about someone's decision to do something, but that's far from condemning them.

It's just not our place to decide for someone else that they are not following the Lord when it comes to where they meet. Like I said, how do we know where we meet is really the place for everyone?

Gubei, it sounds like your model lends itself to being suspicious of every motive except the "approved one." You sound more like LSM than you think.

Quote:
However, if we follow the ground of locality, we can condemn them.
There's the seed of the problem. The ground of locality boils down to knowing who to condemn. I already knew that, but I'm glad you confirmed it. This exposes it's purient nature. This is exactly what I was talking about, Gubei. The doctrine of locality has a dark side. You've just confirmed it. It cannot exist without condemning someone.


Here's the thing we need to realize about his matter, Gubei. God didn't make us or anyone else the policeman of other people's motives. Whether people are being led by the Lord or by they own selfish motives is really not much of our business. Besides, none of us has the discernment to consistently read peoples' motives.

Practically the entire Catholic Church condemned Martin Luther. Most of them went into eternity thinking they had sided with God on that issue. What a surprise they must have had! Now in the light of history, do you really think God has given us a church structure so that we can know who to condemn?

Quote:
Please rethink our whole discussions thus far. I know you are a very considerate fellow Christian. I know no model is perfect. But, at least, any model should be based on the Bible. I cannot find any verse in the Bible which confirms "free moving" of saints.
I have rethought it. Many times. And the more I think about it the more I believe that any attempt to enforce "locality" is wrong. Believe it all you want. But once you try to enforce it (i.e. by "condemning" people who don't conform the way you think they should) you are out of bounds.

And if saints cannot "freely move," what, exactly can they do? Where can they meet? And where does the Bible say they cannot freely move?

This is the problem with your input here, Gubei. The other shoe never drops. You never give us practical guidelines for practicing your model. You say the ground of locality tells us who we can "condemn" (oh boy!) but then don't give us specifics. That's like giving a loaded gun to a blind man and telling him to try to shoot the apple off your head.
12-15-2008 05:27 AM
YP0534
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
MikeH, the way I have understood this teaching is one city one expression. Meaning in a city there could be only one expression of Christ, but more than one assembly. Let's take Seattle for example. For years the LC church in Seattle had two assemblies, but one expression. Practically one assembly was for the English speaking and the other for the Chinese speaking.
The fallacy behind the LC concept is they are the legitimate expression of Christ in any given city. Any assemblies apart from them are illegitimate.
It is simply ludicrous to say an assembly needs to be affiliated with a specific Christian publisher/ministry in order to be considered legit.

For example usually on Saturday nights I meet with a group of Christians in Bellevue, Wa. With each of us our only common connection are brothers and sisters in Christ. However since it's not a LSM/LC home meeting, I have been told our meetings are illegitimate.
I disagree with such a divisvie concept. Rather all Christians who meet in a given city are the expression of Christ regardless whether they meet with lcers, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.

Terry
Well, based upon my recent observations of posters on this site, I'd say, paraphrasing someone else, you're merely kicking the can down the street. Soon enough there will be groups of Christians arguing that they are the only genuine representative of the "expression" and then you'd have some others claiming that there are obviously multiple "expressions" in the city.

I have previously advocated for use of the better translation when referring to the unique group all the believers in a place and relegated the poor translation of "church" to whoever wanted to use it. But if there are now to be multiple "assemblies" within a single place, well, you'll soon enough have multiple "expressions" as well.

Obviously, no one can control the vocabulary used to describe the different sects and denominations. They are "churches" or "assemblies" or "expressions" or whatever people want them to be. So, those who contend for the oneness of the Spirit clearly cannot be hung up on the vocabulary.

Grace be with us all today!
12-15-2008 05:21 AM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

Are you trying to replace Lee? That is just the kind of logic he would use. He would start, as you did in the first of three, by saying something preposterous with no support, yet in a manner that causes the listener/reader to be compelled to accept it. Then he would argue by saying scriptural-sounding things and linking them together as if the various things were controls for one another. But note that you actually only referenced one passage — 2 Cor 12:12. And this one does not establish anything concerning your main points. Instead, it establishes the uncertainty of your point. The rest is opinion as to what it means because unrelated things that are extrapolated from unmentioned passages are strung together as if they are fact. This is how Lee created his doctrine of the economy of God. There are only 2 verses in chapter 1 of TEOG where he defines the doctrine, and he doesn't even understand them properly (generous) or he intentionally misrepresented what they said (more likely). The doctrines of "ground of locality" or "ground of oneness" are no different.

Discussing doctrines must be done in the light of the actual scriptures available. They cannot be based upon the words supplied by the very person whose doctrines are being questioned. That would be Lee. You must start with the scripture, and from the scripture establish what scripture actually says and rest on that. Lee started with his concept and found scriptures that he could twist to say what he felt was true. His claim of being an apostle was his justification for saying non-scriptural things. He called non-scriptural as scriptural.
12-15-2008 04:55 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

OBW,

I fully understand what your saying. Also I cannot go on this discussion for the same reason you said. If you cannot give me any verse that says "one city - one church is not right" in the Bible, you also cannot claim.

Thanks.

Gubei
12-14-2008 10:01 AM
Toledo
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others.
A telling observation...
12-14-2008 09:38 AM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post

The “one city one church” is already established as a prescription of Lee not supported by scripture.
MikeH, the way I have understood this teaching is one city one expression. Meaning in a city there could be only one expression of Christ, but more than one assembly. Let's take Seattle for example. For years the LC church in Seattle had two assemblies, but one expression. Practically one assembly was for the English speaking and the other for the Chinese speaking.
The fallacy behind the LC concept is they are the legitimate expression of Christ in any given city. Any assemblies apart from them are illegitimate.
It is simply ludicrous to say an assembly needs to be affiliated with a specific Christian publisher/ministry in order to be considered legit.

For example usually on Saturday nights I meet with a group of Christians in Bellevue, Wa. With each of us our only common connection are brothers and sisters in Christ. However since it's not a LSM/LC home meeting, I have been told our meetings are illegitimate.
I disagree with such a divisvie concept. Rather all Christians who meet in a given city are the expression of Christ regardless whether they meet with lcers, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.

Terry
12-14-2008 08:31 AM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Please show me any as prescriptive verses in the Bible, saying "elders are not according to cities" as these two verses. Which interpretation does the Bible support?
This is the primary problem with your whole argument. There were, at the time, not clearly any more than one assembly in any city, although there are mentions of churches in someone’s house which does open some uncertainty on that assumption. But nowhere does scripture clearly associate the existence of a church (an assembly) exclusively with a city with no others present. It merely notes that there was one at the time by writing to that one. And even if there was, the writing to those in a particular city by the singular word does not become uncertain. The writing would be to all of them.

Jesus didn’t say “I will build one church in each city.” He said “I will build my church.” This overarching reference to “assembly” or ‘church” in such a universal way does not support “one city one church.” It merely establishes a oneness among believers that transcends time and space without making any comment on the realities of time and space.

You can say that there is no scripture denying your position. But there is also no scripture that denies the use of modern music styles rather than music that was modern to someone else’s generation. But nowhere does it say that we must use modern music. Or 17th century music. Or simply two-generations-old music. There is no doctrine on the subject. We have no such tradition in our assemblies. Do you?

Same here. The “one city one church” is already established as a prescription of Lee not supported by scripture. It is not a bad idea. But it is not prescribed. But it is also not denied. That is not an opening through which you are permitted to drive a requirement.

Lack of denial is not support for requirement. You have made no case by taking such a position. It is an argument that is not supported by scripture or logic. And don’t fall back on “spiritual discernment” as some others have done in the past. Spiritual discernment is not contrary to scripture.

If you are unable to do more than show descriptions of what was and extrapolate from descriptive to prescriptive, then this discussion is over. I will not keep going on it. The rational debate is over. If you want to hold to something not supported by scripture, you are free to do so. But you cannot make a claim that it is a requirement applicable to the rest of us.
12-13-2008 07:33 AM
Ohio
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
But everything in our Christian life is by the Spirit, not only the matter of appointing elders. We are discussing "practice" now. By practice I mean some visible and physical action of man. Please do not equate my model with WL's. I even did not post my former writings here.

I know my model is not perfect. But I hope we have a good fellowship. And I promise I will be corrected by you and Igzy or any other posters here who will indicate my errors. Actually that's the purpose of my posting my model.
Brother Gubei, I understand we are discussing "practices." But, where the Bible has none, and we mandate one, then we create a nightmare of problems. Thus the record of church history.

What is your model? Which post was it that I did not read thoroughly?
12-12-2008 11:42 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
This requirement that "only apostles appoint elders" has done more to destroy the character of "local" churches than perhaps anything else. Since the apostles have been gone for almost 2,000 years, do we have no more elders, and thus no more churches?...
Ohio,

With respect,

But everything in our Christian life is by the Spirit, not only the matter of appointing elders. We are discussing "practice" now. By practice I mean some visible and physical action of man. Please do not equate my model with WL's. I even did not post my former writings here.

I know my model is not perfect. But I hope we have a good fellowship. And I promise I will be corrected by you and Igzy or any other posters here who will indicate my errors. Actually that's the purpose of my posting my model.

In Christ,
Gubei
12-12-2008 11:32 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
Igzy,

Eldership cannot be fully discussed without discussion on the matter of apostles. I hope we will have another round of good fellowship on this matter soon. I will post my former writings very soon. Thanks.

Gubei
12-12-2008 11:29 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

If the ground of locality does not require one eldership then what is the point of it? If the point is to indicate that believers in a geographic area should meet together, what is the size of the area? I mean, at what point do you say "These believers are close enough together to meet together but aren't so there is a problem. " This is the problem with drawing stark lines like locality. Just what does locality really mean? If you simply mean that it's a general principle to show we should be willing to meet with any believers possible then I have no problem with that.

The oneness of the Spirit means that whenever we encounter Christians we should receive them. It doesn't matter if the geographic area we share with them is the neighborhood, the burrough, the city or the county. We still should receive them and, if the situation warrants, meet with them. So locality is a bit superfluous here, in that it is vague anyway, and so doesn't say more than the oneness of the Spirit says.

In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
Igzy,

The boundary of a city is its political boundary. In the big city like London, the administration can delegate elders' function and authority to some extent to its district level responsible ones for the convenience of affairs, but The church in London is just one. And the nomenclature should be based on this simple method. BTW, why do you think we should gather together "physically" if we follow the ground of locality? You do not need to.

You several times mentioned "community churches." I higly evaluate their open-mindedness. But, the nomenclature should be based on the Bible.

Igzy, I already several times defined what the locality means - time and space limitations given to man by God.

As opposed to the first impression of locality - different people who live in their home town, locality means ,in this specific context, universality among Christians EXCEPT the innate limitations given to the finite man by the infinite God for the purpose of creation of the world.

Gubei
12-12-2008 11:13 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Since the ground of locality in practice insists on making people agree on things which no reasonable person could expect them to agree on (e.g. just what "locality" means, who are the elders, etc), it therefore invites contention, and so is a problem itself.
Igzy,

with respect,

Once again, you must be thinking that the ground of locality is insisting one set of eldership in a city. However, the ground of locality is pahse 1 + phase 2

phase 1 = accepting other Christians unconditionally as described by your wonderful expressions

phase 2 = one set of eldership (not by insisting but by the Spirit)

Therefore, the ground of locality does not include "insisting one set of eldership", but you are thinking that the ground of locality is insisting one set of eldership. You are thinking the problematic practice of LSM or some local churches in mind whenever you write your posts to me.

And as another practical remedy for phase 2, you gave me your model.
You wrote.
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads.

Most community churches these days start small. Perhaps a person or group feels called to start a church in a particular part of a city. They begin to meet in a modest setting, like a home. Either the Lord blesses them with growth and confirmation or he doesn't. If the group does flourish, as it does the leadership becomes more solidfied and official.

Since newcomers are not bound to meet with the group by some arbitrary requirement (e.g. one-church-per-city) they have no reason to join unless they feel the Lord is personally leading them to do so, which likely means they like the direction the leadership is taking. If they don't they simply don't join. There is no reason to contend with leadership since they are not compelled to be there anyway."

Your logic is such that if it is the Lord's will, we can freely move to other groups. My question is how do you know that is Lord's will? Don't you think there could be some saints who are divisive and "freely" move here and there on the grounds that that is Lord's will? Your model is also very vulnerable to the divisive saints. And if we follow your model, we have no choice but to confirm their "free moving." However, if we follow the ground of locality, we can condemn them.

Igzy,

Please rethink our whole discussions thus far. I know you are a very considerate fellow Christian. I know no model is perfect. But, at least, any model should be based on the Bible. I cannot find any verse in the Bible which confirms "free moving" of saints.

Gubei
12-12-2008 11:10 PM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
Igzy, I would agree it would be impractical for all these Christians to meet in place. Rather there would be multiple assemblies. It would be unrealistic to think each would be non-denominational. Some would be non-denominational and some would be denominational. Each assembly would have elders unique to their own assembly.

Terry
12-12-2008 11:04 PM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post


This matter of appointing elders only by apostles has no prescription in scripture. Once you use Titus 1.5, then I ask how is Titus an apostle? Who are today's apostles? I have concluded that much of this practice has the underlying motive of Chinese culture top-down management style. Often times these appointments of elders have no concern for the feelings of the saints, no concern for who are the real shepherds, no concern for genuine spiritual maturity. Instead they appoint elders from afar who are loyal and subservient to the appointer, who in turn maintain their special status amidst the church as the sole apostle.
Hi Ohio. I would like to touch the matter of appointment of elders. It is difficult to generalize when relating to the elders. I believe many do care for the saints, there are real shepherds, and there is care for genuine spiritual maturity. However it is not at the cost of loyalty to the appointer or to their peers. It is through the teaching of deputy authority, does the feelings of the saints, the shepherds, and concern for genuine spiritual maturity become secondary.
What is primary? It is loyalty to the appointer whatever the cost may be.

Terry
12-12-2008 10:40 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I will not quote all of your post. I read the verses. They indicate that Paul wrote to or about all the believers in the particular cities. While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time, and Phil 1:1 actually mentions the elders, there is nothing about that fact that makes the elders "according to cities." This is an overlay not provided in the scriptures.

It is almost like when my wife used to complain that the fact that a game for our boys resided on the hard drive of our computer was responsible for her email not working right. It is true that the game is on the hard drive. And it is true that her email was having problems. But the game was no more responsible for the email troubles than the email was responsible for the game being present on the hard drive.

There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city. Their office was related to the believers with whom they met. I note that there were never elders appointed in cities where no believers lived and met.

I know you want it to be true, but the scripture just does not support it.
OBW,

I want to elaborate on my logic as follows for your understanding.

You wrote

"Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city."

In short, your point is that the appointment of elders is in each church, which is not necessarily tantamount to the boundary of cities. Thus you concluded that "Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority."

The best way to point out the shortcomings of your interpretation is to show that there was one church in one city at the time the Bible was written by Paul. If I am successful in that task, the boundary of a church can be equal to the boundary of the city where the church is. Subsequently, the appointment of elders in each church means the appointment of elders in each city. So, I quoted

Phi 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (ASV)

Phi 4:15 And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; (ASV)

What do you read when you see "all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi?" in Phi 1:1. Those are the recipients of this epistle. They are referred to as "ye Philippians" in Phi 4:15, followed by the juxtaposition of "church" and "ye". This means that

All the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi = ye Philippians = the church in Philippi
-> There was just one church in Philippi. This was the understanding of Paul.

My interpretation is in line with Barnes.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus - The common appellation given to the church, denoting that it was holy; (Barnes)

WN and WL were not alone. As opposed to your comment that "While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time", I was trying to prove that Apostle Paul equated "all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi" with "the church in Philippi", meaning only one church in Philippi.

And you wrote
"There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city."

I already several times clarified that actually prescriptive vs. descriptive dichotomy is not so useful. Please tell me. Is Trinity prescriptive or descriptive in the Bible? Definitely, Trinity is descriptive. Then, can you argue that Trinity is not legitimate truth because there is no prescriptive verse in the Bible?

Furthermore, there are two critical verses.

(Acts 14:23) 『Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.』

(Titus 1:5) 『For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:』

Please show me any as prescriptive verses in the Bible, saying "elders are not according to cities" as these two verses. Which interpretation does the Bible support?

Gubei
12-12-2008 01:15 PM
Ohio
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
This requirement that "only apostles appoint elders" has done more to destroy the character of "local" churches than perhaps anything else. Since the apostles have been gone for almost 2,000 years, do we have no more elders, and thus no more churches?

WL comes on the scene and basically says this, "no other church apart from us is legitimate. Only I can appoint elders, so I must be the only true apostle, and the elders I appoint are the only true elders, and the churches under them are the only true churches." Of course, he would never be so candid to say this plainly, but what part of this did he not imply repeatedly?

This matter of appointing elders only by apostles has no prescription in scripture. Once you use Titus 1.5, then I ask how is Titus an apostle? Who are today's apostles? I have concluded that much of this practice has the underlying motive of Chinese culture top-down management style. Often times these appointments of elders have no concern for the feelings of the saints, no concern for who are the real shepherds, no concern for genuine spiritual maturity. Instead they appoint elders from afar who are loyal and subservient to the appointer, who in turn maintain their special status amidst the church as the sole apostle.

I surely agree with Igzy and Paul in Acts 20.28, who placed the flock of God first "among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God."
12-12-2008 12:36 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Your model does not explain how the official leader is appointed based on the Bible.
Not true. The Bible indicates that the official leader(s) is/are appointed by the Lord. This appointment is recognized by consensus, which the Bible also indicates. If one doesn't agree with the consensus, one is free to meet elsewhere. (Let each be fully persuaded in his own mind.) This is my model.

BTW, the pastor of my church was not appointed by an apostle. Does that mean if you came to meet with us that you would not recognize his authority? If you would, where does his authority come from?
12-12-2008 11:36 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

Furthermore, there is a causality problem in your illustration of the no immune system. The cause of problem is not the no immune system (the ground of locality) but the gem (divisive human nature which can be sometimes in the form of even "insisting" the ground of locality – as we have seen in the case LSM).
Since the ground of locality in practice insists on making people agree on things which no reasonable person could expect them to agree on (e.g. just what "locality" means, who are the elders, etc), it therefore invites contention, and so is a problem itself.
12-12-2008 11:35 AM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Let's look at some verses in Philippians.

...

Then, let's look at a verse in Romans.
I will not quote all of your post. I read the verses. They indicate that Paul wrote to or about all the believers in the particular cities. While we can presume that at that particular time all were, in some form or fashion, meeting together at least some of the time, and Phil 1:1 actually mentions the elders, there is nothing about that fact that makes the elders "according to cities." This is an overlay not provided in the scriptures.

It is almost like when my wife used to complain that the fact that a game for our boys resided on the hard drive of our computer was responsible for her email not working right. It is true that the game is on the hard drive. And it is true that her email was having problems. But the game was no more responsible for the email troubles than the email was responsible for the game being present on the hard drive.

There is nothing in the verses mentioned, or in any others that I can find, that dictates elders according to cities. It can only be seen in a couple of places that elders were mentioned as being in a city (descriptive) and not that their office was related to the city. Their office was related to the believers with whom they met. I note that there were never elders appointed in cities where no believers lived and met.

I know you want it to be true, but the scripture just does not support it.
12-12-2008 11:31 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

If the ground of locality does not require one eldership then what is the point of it? If the point is to indicate that believers in a geographic area should meet together, what is the size of the area? I mean, at what point do you say "These believers are close enough together to meet together but aren't so there is a problem. " This is the problem with drawing stark lines like locality. Just what does locality really mean? If you simply mean that it's a general principle to show we should be willing to meet with any believers possible then I have no problem with that.

The oneness of the Spirit means that whenever we encounter Christians we should receive them. It doesn't matter if the geographic area we share with them is the neighborhood, the burrough, the city or the county. We still should receive them and, if the situation warrants, meet with them. So locality is a bit superfluous here, in that it is vague anyway, and so doesn't say more than the oneness of the Spirit says.

In a 5-mile by 5-mile square in my city, I would guess there are at least 25,000 Christians. These Christians are close enough to assemble together. But doing so is not practical due to the sheer numbers. So what do you believe is their obligation to each other in that area and how is that practically fulfilled?
12-12-2008 10:23 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)

Suppose you have a person with no immune system. As long as no disease germs come along, he's going to be just fine, it will seem his system works perfectly. But if germs do come along, and they are sure to, he is not going to survive.

Now a city with one church and one eldership is precisely like that man with no immune system. As long as no problems come along, well, the system seems to work. But if any kind of problem comes along where the leadership's over-all-the-city authority is challenged, the system does one of two things:

It either turns mean and becomes oppressive, which is a kind of conflict. Or, if the leaders are actually godly, like those in Columbus, they don't assert themselves and allow the disgruntled to leave and meet where they want, in which case they are assenting that they actually aren't over all the city in the first place.

Since disagreements with leadership, legitimate or otherwise, are bound to happen eventually, the model is bound to break down in one of two ways, one which shows the dark side of the arrangement, the other which assents to an alternative model.
Igzy,

Thanks for your clarification. This seems to be my last comments on this issue.

You wrote
"Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads."

Igzy, now I understand what you are saying. It seems that the end-image of yours is almost similar to mine. But your approach is quite different than mine. I still believe that elders are appointed by apostles. Your model does not explain how the official leader is appointed based on the Bible.

I'm going to post my writings on apostleship soon.

You wrote
"Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)"

Igzy, so your definition of the ground of locality is one eldership, which equation I have over and over again been opposing. Basically, the ground of locality is not on one eldership.

Furthermore, there is a causality problem in your illustration of the no immune system. The cause of problem is not the no immune system (the ground of locality) but the gem (divisive human nature which can be sometimes in the form of even "insisting" the ground of locality – as we have seen in the case LSM). And contrary to the name of "no immune", the system has an ability to unite saints by exposing their real state. Once again, what causes problem is not the ground of locality itself but the divisive human nature, even if that disguise itself as "insisting" the ground of locality. I believe we need to know this subtle distinction.

In the Lord,

Gubei
12-12-2008 09:36 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

It seems that one could substitute "oneness of the Spirit" for your definition of "ground of locality" and get the same meaning you have for it.

Also, one issue in this discussion is the definition of division. Division means more than simply meeting in different places, or having different leaders. Division means an unwillingness to fellowship, or as Rick Warren says, "ceasing to listen." So if I meet here and you meet there, if we are still willing to fellowship we are not divided.
12-12-2008 08:48 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts.
Let me address by analogy the issue of one eldership (not ground of locality) necessarily leading to conflicts. (Ground of locality without one eldership is pretty meaningless.)

Suppose you have a person with no immune system. As long as no disease germs come along, he's going to be just fine, it will seem his system works perfectly. But if germs do come along, and they are sure to, he is not going to survive.

Now a city with one church and one eldership is precisely like that man with no immune system. As long as no problems come along, well, the system seems to work. But if any kind of problem comes along where the leadership's over-all-the-city authority is challenged, the system does one of two things:

It either turns mean and becomes oppressive, which is a kind of conflict. Or, if the leaders are actually godly, like those in Columbus, they don't assert themselves and allow the disgruntled to leave and meet where they want, in which case they are assenting that they actually aren't over all the city in the first place.

Since disagreements with leadership, legitimate or otherwise, are bound to happen eventually, the model is bound to break down in one of two ways, one which shows the dark side of the arrangement, the other which assents to an alternative model.
12-12-2008 08:27 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
UntoHim I'll agree with you on your statement concerning the minister of the age and one publication,

Your statement concerning Nee reading something into the bible that is not there is a clear example of some of the extreem statements made on this site. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field.
UntoHim, I believe, is talking about the city boundaries as a requirement. This is plainly not in the Bible. If you want to assume such a requirement exists, that's your business. But you have no right to hold others to it. The commandment simply isn't there, and there are plainly possible exceptions to the pattern of it in the NT.
12-12-2008 08:23 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Hi Ohio,

I understand your statement and where you are in your thoughts somewhat. Firstly....I'm not an LSMer. I would never support the actions and views of what the "Local Church" has become. Nor am I of Lee. But to go as far as some of the posters have on this site is simply too much. The word gives us more than just a picture of the "early" church. There may not be literal commandments in the NT regarding one church in every city but to just say that such a situation didn't exist in Paul's day is almost purposeful denial.

I have gone to many meetings of dear saints not meeting as "local churches" and have been ministered to by God many times. I would never judge our fellow believers meeting in various denominations and independant fellowships. But to say certain things are not in the Word as some promote here is just going way to far. It's almost like making a statement such as....."the bible doesn't say anything against smoking marijuana therefore it's OK."

Do you think that if the apostolic church woud have divided itself in those early years and put names up saying...."The Church of This" or "The Church of That" that it would have been just fine. There's no way I'm going to believe that.
Oregon, I think the issue is that your principled positions seem to not provide you with a course of action. In other words for example, you don't believe in signs or names. What action are you going to take because of that? Condemn people who do? What do you think that will accomplish?

Or you believe that the pattern of one church in the city is plain. Okay, so what action are you going to take based on that? What action do you expect others to take?

Do you expect everyone in a city of a million simply to agree on who the elders are in order to serve some overriding principle of "oneness?" What if some in their conscience can't do that. What then?
12-12-2008 08:04 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

with respect,

Despite your repeated denial, you are using WL's teaching and practice on the ground of locality, over and over again, in order to blur my model. This is only time you look in agreement with me on the issue of one set of elders, but immediately, you are talking about how wrongly "WL and LCs" practice the truth. I already, several times, admitted that. Why do you repeat the same thing to me? What do you think you are talking about - my model or WL's model?
Gubei,

You misunderstand me. My issue in this thread has never been you or your model. So I'm not trying to blur it because I'm not addressing it. You seem to think I'm contending with you. I'm not. I'm contending with the problem of the idea that one set of elders over one city is sustainable. I don't believe it is. And I believe I have shown that logically.

My issue has always been to show that whenever anyone insists on one set of elders over a whole city that immediately problems are created, because there is no ground to expect everyone to know and therefore agree on who those elders are.

I did address your model. I said it was fine as long as you don't insist on one set of elders. You seemed to say that you indeed don't so I have no issue with it. Several others pointed out that your contention that there are one set of elders even if we can't know for sure who they are is kind of meaningless, and I'd agree with that, but I didn't feel to pursue it.

Quote:
And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts. Do you remember the fact that I asked you how you can deal with the counterexamples where two groups gather together after recognizing their proper ground?
I'm sorry but I didn't feel you ever explained your counter-examples well enough for me to understand the point you were trying to make.

Quote:
I'd like to ask you this. Do you think this is a model which includes any practical things such as boundary of Christain groups, administration etc?
Yes, mutual respect between groups and for the group one meets with takes care of these matters.

Quote:
The reason your model cannot be evaluated in terms of practice is that you did not show us any thing which is related to practices such as the boundary of Christian groups, administration, eldership etc.

So, I hope you clarify your model by answering the following questions.

In your model, there is eldership? If any, how to confirm the eldership? How do we know Brother A is anelder or not?

The issue of boundaries, administration etc. of multiple Christian groups in one city is different from that of the one church per city model precisely because the boundaries vary and so must be recognized based upon mutual recognition and respect. The freedom to leave relieves the pressure of disagreement about leadership or direction. If a group of Christians which meet on the corner recognize their pastor or elders, who am I to come in and tell them otherwise? But if some of them disagree and feel before the Lord that there is something wrong with the leadership, they are free to leave. Whether their reason for leaving is acceptable to the Lord is between them and the Lord. It's not anyone else's business. Nor is it anyone's place to condemn them for doing so.

Eldership is confirmed, therefore, by recognition by followers. I.e. People follow the leader(s) because they are persuaded in their own minds that the Lord wants them to follow those leaders. So although a leader may be the official leader of a church, no one is compelled to meet with that church. They are free to meet where the Lord leads.

Most community churches these days start small. Perhaps a person or group feels called to start a church in a particular part of a city. They begin to meet in a modest setting, like a home. Either the Lord blesses them with growth and confirmation or he doesn't. If the group does flourish, as it does the leadership becomes more solidfied and official.

Since newcomers are not bound to meet with the group by some arbitrary requirement (e.g. one-church-per-city) they have no reason to join unless they feel the Lord is personally leading them to do so, which likely means they like the direction the leadership is taking. If they don't they simply don't join. There is no reason to contend with leadership since they are not compelled to be there anyway.

If the leadership goes bad the Lord can "remove the lampstand?" How does he do that? Well, he doesn't open the earth and swallow it. The members simply vote with their feet, and become former members.

Does this answer your questions?
12-12-2008 07:56 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
W. Nee also wrote of the practical limitations of one church, one city and in his book TNCCL, he mentions something like postal districts as a potential boundary. Hence, if the "one city" model was impractical for a megacity like London, then smaller units would be acceptable. This view seemed more "workable" to me by allowing numerous congregations in a city, as long as they don't overlap. This is the one requirement of any paradigm based on "ground." We can negotiate the size of the geographical unit, but once the boundaries "overlap," then we have --by definition -- a division.

This is probably, at least to me, the root of the dilemma. Once we have two congregations in the same geographical unit, but not under the same eldership, we have a division. This, in a nutshell, defines the "law of locality." And ... for so many of us, who idealized the notion of the one true N.T. church, this model initially seemed to fit. It seemed to explain the problems of divisions and seemed to provide a better way, a scriptural way. In practice, however, all attempts to implement this model have failed in some way. That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.

Regarding one eldership in one city, I remember reading a word study years ago, which studied "shepherd / pastor." One comment was notable, which highlighted the inherent bond between "pastor" and "flock." This relationship is totally lost with the requirement for one set of elders in a city. The inherent bureaucracy is impossible to avoid. The truth of "little flock" is gone. London to the exclusives, and Taipei to the Recovery, were always supposed to be the big city "models" for this paradigm. They never worked properly, with the negatives far outweighing the positives. Both places became work centers and de facto headquarters. In an attempt to solve this problem, in one day WL appointed 80 new elders in Taipei. Supposedly all these brothers were already shepherding districts and halls. Hence, a move partly in the right direction, but still handcuffed by requirements to "fellowship" all together as one presbytery.

It seems the Spirit has told us many things which were "wrong," but never prescribed the right "way," leaving open many "ways" which He could later bless according to His leading to meet the need of God's children in some place at some time. I see the danger in attempting to duplicate patterns which were blessed elsewhere. In contrast to LSM "one city, one church" entrenchments, the GLA made numerous attempts, even traveling around the world, to find "the way" which God was blessing, and then duplicating it locally. It seems that paradigm is also doomed to fail.

Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc. What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God. God in His ingenuity has used an untold diversity of ways. All of them were fruitful for a season. None of them should be considered the "God ordained way."
Ohio,

I want to add my opinions.

The definition of division is not whether saints are under one set of elders or not. The definition of division is "being out of the Spirit of oneness."

"The ground of oneness" and "the ground of locality" are not the same thing. The ground of oneness is the uniting Spirit. The expression of this oneness among Christians is the local practice of church life where all the saints in a city receive each other only on the ground each is their brothers and sisters.

As opposed to the first impression of the word "locality" - distinguishing people by their home town, the meaning of locality in this context is universality because locality here means that the only separating element of Christians is "time and space" which was given to finite man from the infinite God. In other words, "the ground of locality" is a great proclamation that there is NOTHING which can divide Christians EXCEPT man's innate limitation (the constraints of time and space) which was given by God for creation of the world.

Gubei
12-12-2008 07:22 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Gubei,

Thank you for your comments on the matters of oneness and leadership. I agree that striving for oneness is not unimportant.

However, insisting on oneness (particularly of a specific manifestation) can actually be divisive itself. This is almost paradoxical, which is one reason it is so hard to come to grips with. Yet we know God is not the God of confusion.

Either the local ground is a matter of the faith and thus required of everyone, or it is not and should not be required of anyone. The local ground cannot be some special "truth" which is not a matter of the faith but still must be adhered to by everyone as if it were. This is actually the way WL and the LCs treat the teaching, which is doublemindedness, which is confusion, which leads to division.
Igzy,

with respect,

Despite your repeated denial, you are using WL's teaching and practice on the ground of locality, over and over again, in order to blur my model. This is only time you look in agreement with me on the issue of one set of elders, but immediately, you are talking about how wrongly "WL and LCs" practice the truth. I already, several times, admitted that. Why do you repeat the same thing to me? What do you think you are talking about - my model or WL's model?

And you did not reply my questions about your assertion that the ground of locality necessarily leads to conflicts. Do you remember the fact that I asked you how you can deal with the counterexamples where two groups gather together after recognizing their proper ground?

Additionally, you showed me your model by saying

"My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

I'd like to ask you this. Do you think this is a model which includes any practical things such as boundary of Christain groups, administration etc?

Whenever you evaluate my model, you just adhere to the matter of "eldership" - the second phase of my model, which I have not even insisted at all, neglecting the first phase of my model in which all saints just confess they are not separated Christians, which is exactly the same as your model.

The reason your model cannot be evaluated in terms of practice is that you did not show us any thing which is related to practices such as the boundary of Christian groups, administration, eldership etc.

So, I hope you clarify your model by answering the following questions.

In your model, there is eldership? If any, how to confirm the eldership? How do we know Brother A is an elder or not?

Gubei
12-12-2008 04:56 AM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Where in the Bible are elders according to cities? I see them as being shepherds of the flock. As overseers of the church.

Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city.

Acts 16:4 makes mention of elders in Jerusalem. But this does not make their position according to the city. It is only their location.

James 5:14 makes reference to calling the elders of the church.

1 Peter 5:1 says "to the elders among you." "You" is the church, not the city. For the most part, the city is heathen.

Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority.

So besides Nee's or Lee's extra-biblical edicts, where is this "according to the Bible?"
OBW,

Thanks for your question.

Let's look at some verses in Philippians.

Phi 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (ASV)

Phi 4:15 And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; (ASV)

To all the saints in Christ Jesus - The common appellation given to the church, denoting that it was holy; (Barnes)


In phi 1:1, the epistle of Paul's recipient is ALL THE SAINT in Philippi. And in Phi 4:15, Paul's words actually equate "you Philippians, which are the saints there" with (the) "church" there. Therefore, the church in Philippi include all the saints in Philippi. It is very obvious that there is only one church in Philippi according to Paul's understanding. Barnes' interpretation is in line with my explanation.

Then, let's look at a verse in Romans.

Rom 1:7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ASV)

To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there. (Barnes)


Barnes' interpretation is that ALL THE SAINTS in Rome, whether they be Romans or other ethnic group, are the Church at (or in) Rome.

Now I believe the verses you mentioned can be interpreted as saying
"elders according to cities."

Gubei
12-11-2008 10:06 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
Gubei:

It seems you see the "ground of locality" as prescribed in the scriptures (though the practice may lag behind). My question is:

Is the prescription "one city-one church" or would it equally comply with the Scriptureal mandate if we had "one region-one church" or "one-nation, one church" or "one-neighborhood, one church" etc...?

I ask this question only because you don't include the "one set of elders" in your rubric as a practical matter, only as a heavenly matter. Thus, I'm not sure why one would limit the geographic region. If having one eldership is not practical (i.e. we can't really know who the TRUE elders are, to whom to submit), then why limit the prescription to "one city, one church?"

In Love,

Simeond
Thanks for your questions.

1. Prescription vs. Description
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, NIV)

This verse is prescriptive in form, and we take this verse as prescriptive in meaning as well.

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29, NIV)

This is prescriptive in form, but we do not take this verse as prescriptive in meaning, because we do not gouge it literally.

Trinity is not supported by prescriptive verses in the Bible like "You should believe the truth of Trinity", but we think the truth is there in the Bible as prescriptive by a lot of descriptive verses about Trinity.

2. The boundary of city
In the Bible and the time when the NT was written, a "city" means a group of people with a distinctive geographical area, which is distinguished by other city by geographical distance. In other words, a city means a time and space limitation which has been applied to a group of people and area. Man is under time and space limitation. God is not under time and space limitation. The ground of locality is nothing other than the declaration that all the saints are not separated at all EXCEPT time and space limitation, which necessitates man arranging physical Christian meetings and some administrative affairs to be done in that constraints.

Region is larger than city in that the notion contains several cities in it. Nation is much larger. Neighborhood is smaller than city. The right size for practical Christian life is city by definition.

3. You do not need to bother to find a exhaustive name-list of elders in a city
We cannot and need not to know that name-list. If you find one or two elders who you think are really according to the standard of God, just follow them. This is very practical.

4. The ground of locality is not for one set of elders.
I do not understand why many posters here criticize me for insisting "one set of elders."
The goround of locality is more about every saints in a city confessing he or she is just a Christian living in that city, less about those saints confessing he or she is under a authority of administration of a specific group of elders. So, I said there are two phases in the truth of the ground of locality. The second phase in which practically we have one set of elders who are accepted by all the saints in a city is really hard to achieve, if not impossible. However, what is impossible is possible with God. We should not give up any possible chance on grounds that our human perceptions do not match.

Please think about this. I'm not saying the second phase now. I'm saying the first pahse. How many Christians in your city are saying that they are just Christians in that city? Contrarily, I see really a lot of Christians say that they are saints in the Presbyterian church, Baptist church, etc.
The truth of locality has a exposing funcution of human nature. That's not without worth.

Thanks.
In love
Gubei
12-11-2008 08:02 PM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
1. Elders are according to cities
According to the Bible, elders are simply according to cities, not assemblies. And the definition of city is well given by Watchman Nee in his book "Rethinking the work." I believe he effectively dealt with the matter of the boundary of a city. Please let me know if you are not familiar with WN's teaching on this matter.
Where in the Bible are elders according to cities? I see them as being shepherds of the flock. As overseers of the church.

Acts 14:23 reports the appointment of elders in each church, not in each city.

Acts 16:4 makes mention of elders in Jerusalem. But this does not make their position according to the city. It is only their location.

James 5:14 makes reference to calling the elders of the church.

1 Peter 5:1 says "to the elders among you." "You" is the church, not the city. For the most part, the city is heathen.

Only Titus 1:5 makes reference to appointing elders in every town. But given the wording of the other references, this is easily understood as referring to the churches that were in those towns, and not to the towns themselves. The towns probably had elders (according to the local political system(s)). To presume that this one is the key and the others must be re-read to match it would be nothing short of spiritual myopia. You do not read the majority in line with the exception — you read the exception in line with the majority.

So besides Nee's or Lee's extra-biblical edicts, where is this "according to the Bible?"
12-11-2008 04:58 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture..
OBW,

I'm going to clarify my position as follows;

1. Elders are according to cities

According to the Bible, elders are simply according to cities, not assemblies. And the definition of city is well given by Watchman Nee in his book "Rethinking the work." I believe he effectively dealt with the matter of the boundary of a city. Please let me know if you are not familiar with WN's teaching on this matter.

2. The Bible does not prescribe "elders according to assemblies."
If the Bible had prescribed the "eldership according to assemblies", the issue would have been really easy. So, please let me know of verses which obviously prescribe "eldership according to assemblies."

3. Is Trinity mentioned prescriptively in the Bible?
Trinity is a crucial Truth in the Bible. But, the Bible does not give us any prescriptive verses on this. That's why theologians have drawn "prescriptive common elements as to Trinity" from a lot of "descriptive verses as to Trinity."
The same thing can apply to the truth of one city - one church.

4. Practicality is a subtle word.

Impracticality to human eyes is not so important to God. As you know, we, Christians, died with Christ 2000 years ago. To our human eyes, is it possible? How were we able to die with Him even before we were born? That is very impractical to our human eyes. But we know we really did by our spiritual eye. With the same spiritual eye, we can see a city as being under
"one set of elders." In that sense, it is very meaningful.

I feel I have to point out now one thing that is not fair to me in dsicussing this issue. As you may have read, Igzy gave me his model saying

""My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

Do you think his model is "practical?" I have never objected his model, and I could not agree with him more. BUT, we do not see this kind of nice situation happen now. If his model has worked so nicely, we all do not need to discuss this issue spending a lot of time. If that "ideal" state is so prevalent among Christains, what's the use arguing this is right or that is right? As you and I see now, on the countrary, there are a lot of divisions among Christians, especially promoting some "names - denominations." That was the point where WN began to scrutinze the Bible and he gave us his findings.

So, I hope you and Igzy give me another "practical" model under the condition that Christains do not accept each other.

5. Moving position
BTW, eldership and apostleship is a moving position. As long as you are out of Christ, you are not qualified elder at that very moment despite the fact that you were an elder before. Just as the Bible is not God's word when you just catch objective information from the Bible (as some theologians do), an elder is not an elder when he does not doing his function according to God.

6. WL's error
Have you ever heard the dispute between WL and TAS about this matter? I've heard WL criticized TAS for not following the one city- one church model. It is said that at that time TAS more emphcized the spritual aspect of the church. Now I think that TAS was mentioning the spritual (or universal) aspect of a local church (i.e. mini unversal church, if I can borrow Igzy's word). I think WL was in error at that time by just adhereing to the administration aspect of a local church.

Gubei
12-11-2008 08:55 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

Thank you for your comments on the matters of oneness and leadership. I agree that striving for oneness is not unimportant.

However, insisting on oneness (particularly of a specific manifestation) can actually be divisive itself. This is almost paradoxical, which is one reason it is so hard to come to grips with. Yet we know God is not the God of confusion.

Either the local ground is a matter of the faith and thus required of everyone, or it is not and should not be required of anyone. The local ground cannot be some special "truth" which is not a matter of the faith but still must be adhered to by everyone as if it were. This is actually the way WL and the LCs treat the teaching, which is doublemindedness, which is confusion, which leads to division.
12-11-2008 07:47 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
At what point in time did division of the body become acceptable? It was condemded in Paul's day but now it is OK because to practice the oneness of the body is unworkable and therefore not necessary. So it is no longer important to God,. A simple hand shaking while we all stay in our practicle divisions is the current move of God on earth.
Respectfully, Oregon, in the first place, it's your definition of division, not the Bible's. In the the second place, the local ground model of non-division produces division. As I said, it's self-contradictory, and so it is an absurdity.

Why does the local ground model produce division? Because it is practically based on expecting everyone to agree on who the elders over the city are. Since who they actually are cannot be proven, to expect everyone to agree about it is unreasonable and thus contentious and divisive.
12-11-2008 07:28 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.
Excellent point, OBW.
12-11-2008 07:27 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.
Amen, Ohio. Also, I would add it will not only not work, it will do more damage than good, as history has shown. Just ask the ones torn apart by the fights to be "king of the city."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc.
Another gem.
12-11-2008 07:23 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Titus 1:5 “ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…”
Acts 14: 23 “ And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom thy believed.

In Paul’s day all the believers in a locality where Paul preached and people were saved…..they all were the church in that city. The elders that were appointed in the church were the same elders that were appointed “in every city”.
Oregon,

Respectfully, the verse does not say only one set of elders were appointed in every city. The supposed parallel you see is not supported strongly enough by the text to be a point of doctrine. Your second paragraph is simply a presumption.

As I said:
  1. The Lord never taught the local ground.
  2. The apostles never taught the local ground.
  3. The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?
12-11-2008 06:10 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

At what point in time did division of the body become acceptable? It was condemded in Paul's day but now it is OK because to practice the oneness of the body is unworkable and therefore not necessary. So it is no longer important to God,. A simple hand shaking while we all stay in our practicle divisions is the current move of God on earth.
12-11-2008 04:47 AM
Ohio
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.
W. Nee also wrote of the practical limitations of one church, one city and in his book TNCCL, he mentions something like postal districts as a potential boundary. Hence, if the "one city" model was impractical for a megacity like London, then smaller units would be acceptable. This view seemed more "workable" to me by allowing numerous congregations in a city, as long as they don't overlap. This is the one requirement of any paradigm based on "ground." We can negotiate the size of the geographical unit, but once the boundaries "overlap," then we have --by definition -- a division.

This is probably, at least to me, the root of the dilemma. Once we have two congregations in the same geographical unit, but not under the same eldership, we have a division. This, in a nutshell, defines the "law of locality." And ... for so many of us, who idealized the notion of the one true N.T. church, this model initially seemed to fit. It seemed to explain the problems of divisions and seemed to provide a better way, a scriptural way. In practice, however, all attempts to implement this model have failed in some way. That is why the Bible never prescribed it in the first place. Like having "all things common" -- it happened, yes, but don't try to duplicate it, because it will never work.

Regarding one eldership in one city, I remember reading a word study years ago, which studied "shepherd / pastor." One comment was notable, which highlighted the inherent bond between "pastor" and "flock." This relationship is totally lost with the requirement for one set of elders in a city. The inherent bureaucracy is impossible to avoid. The truth of "little flock" is gone. London to the exclusives, and Taipei to the Recovery, were always supposed to be the big city "models" for this paradigm. They never worked properly, with the negatives far outweighing the positives. Both places became work centers and de facto headquarters. In an attempt to solve this problem, in one day WL appointed 80 new elders in Taipei. Supposedly all these brothers were already shepherding districts and halls. Hence, a move partly in the right direction, but still handcuffed by requirements to "fellowship" all together as one presbytery.

It seems the Spirit has told us many things which were "wrong," but never prescribed the right "way," leaving open many "ways" which He could later bless according to His leading to meet the need of God's children in some place at some time. I see the danger in attempting to duplicate patterns which were blessed elsewhere. In contrast to LSM "one city, one church" entrenchments, the GLA made numerous attempts, even traveling around the world, to find "the way" which God was blessing, and then duplicating it locally. It seems that paradigm is also doomed to fail.

Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc. What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God. God in His ingenuity has used an untold diversity of ways. All of them were fruitful for a season. None of them should be considered the "God ordained way."
12-11-2008 04:27 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Titus 1:5 “ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…”
Acts 14: 23 “ And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom thy believed.

In Paul’s day all the believers in a locality where Paul preached and people were saved…..they all were the church in that city. The elders that were appointed in the church were the same elders that were appointed “in every city”.
12-10-2008 10:54 PM
Peter Debelak
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei:

It seems you see the "ground of locality" as prescribed in the scriptures (though the practice may lag behind). My question is:

Is the prescription "one city-one church" or would it equally comply with the Scriptureal mandate if we had "one region-one church" or "one-nation, one church" or "one-neighborhood, one church" etc...?

I ask this question only because you don't include the "one set of elders" in your rubric as a practical matter, only as a heavenly matter. Thus, I'm not sure why one would limit the geographic region. If having one eldership is not practical (i.e. we can't really know who the TRUE elders are, to whom to submit), then why limit the prescription to "one city, one church?"

In Love,

Simeond
12-10-2008 01:31 PM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Gubei,

The main problem I see with your analysis is that it puts too much emphasis on a boundary of human politics as being important to the body of Christ. Elders are not according to cities, they are according to assemblies. To presume a singleness of elders over all assemblies within one human political boundary (a function of the kingdom of the world) is to presume a hierarchy that is not supported by scripture.

Even if you argue that without causing several separate groups to become joined under a unified eldership that is seen by God but not seen or acknowledged by man, what is the point? Since these elders do not necessarily confer with each other, the fact of the oneness and acceptance as elders at God’s level has no bearing on the conduct of the separate assemblies. There is nothing prescriptive about that, even if in the heavenly view it is true.

This would be true if we simply allow that each assembly is a separate assembly with its own leadership which is headed by Christ. Since man is at least partly responsible for the existence of that leadership, there may be some that are not true spiritual leaders while others are. We still do not “see” this standing or lack of standing before God, but He does.

So the emphasis on “ground” is meaningless to this analysis. Whether we will have a single assembly in each city, in each neighborhood, and a few small cities joined together, or grouped as we do throughout the cities of the world, we are all assemblies that are headed by Christ. We may have differences in flavor, in emphasis, and in some other “minors” but we are one as Christians. The totality of our leadership within whatever arbitrary geographic area you choose is the leadership for that area, but it is not according to Nee’s or Lee’s formula that springs from “one city one church.”
12-10-2008 01:04 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Igzy,

It is very clear we are seeing the same thing just differently. You are more concerned about a negative aspect of the truth (i.e. oppression and abuse) and I'm more concerned about the other negative aspect of the truth (i.e. de facto legalizing division). But I'm sure we are in the same camp in God.

Just for more clarification,

1. I do not think we should strive for one set of eldership in the way of make or break. The one set of eldership is there ALWAYS regardless of our recognition of it. This is my general principle. As I wrote in the previous post, the only case this one set of eldership over a whole city is easily accepted is when there was no existing church in that city. So, Paul was able to set up a lot of churches and elders in his journeys without difficulties in terms of eldership. But, as you said, this 21 century gives us a totally different picture. For example, in NYC, there were a lot of Christians even before WL and LSM set up their group. As I said, the church in NYC should includes all the saints there. Thus, WL or LSM -appointed ones cannot represent the whole Christian body in NYC. So, they cannot claim they are in charge of NYC. However, they can present the early church model and fellowship the application of the truth in NYC to other Christian groups. The outcome of this kind of so called "NYC Conference with all responsible brothers" could be positive or negative. Even though the outcome is not so satisfactory, that kind of trying is not without meaning. At least they can be reminded of the importance of oneness.

But as you and I repeatedly pointed out, WL and LSM's approach was not like this. They just started their meeting and proclaimed they are legitimately in charge of NYC. This is, as you said, oppression and abuse.

2. How to identify one set of eldership. Igzy, there is no perfect or practical way unless we are omniscient. The same "problem" happens when we talk about how to identify who is an apostle. And there is no guarantee that yesterday's elder or apostle is today's elder or apostle. So, asking who is your elder of apostle is, in a sense, meaningless.

3. You are right when you say my model is not 100% practical. My model assumes an ideal situation. My belief is that God may have not expected this model to be fully kept by Christians, but must have wanted to set a ideal model (which is as perfect as He is) before us for us to consider our situation againt that model. In that sense, the function of the truth is same with the Mosaic Law.

Igzy, please give me about one week before I post my writings about apostleship. I'm very time-pressured now for personal affairs. Thanks.

Gubei
12-10-2008 07:08 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear Gubei,

I don't have the time to address each of your points, but let me say I see you making several important ones. And let me say again that I don't see you as an LSM-sympathizer.

However, I do not see how expecting only one set of elders over a whole city does not open the door to abuse. And again, you cannot tell me how we know for sure who those elders are.

When I asked you about the church in Toronto, I was wasn't expecting you to know anything specific about that situation. However, if you cannot give me general principles for how to know who the one set of elders are, then you wouldn't be able to tell me who the elders actually were in any city, whether you were intimately familiar with it or not. Since you cannot give me general principles, then the ideal of one eldership is unsustainable. (As I said, appealing to apostleship just kicks the can down the road. We can't know for sure who the genuine apostles are either.)

My point is not to say that striving for practical oneness is a bad thing. My goal is to say once you start expecting one eldership over one city you have actually built walls, not torn them down.

In other words, one eldership has a dark side of contention and oppression lurking. Christians need to have the freedom to move and meet as the Lord leads. The idea that they necessarily in the Lord's eyes need to remain under one eldership (which as I've said we have no way of clearly identifying) means they must endure whatever abuses those elders dish out. This is the LC legacy. Oh, they wax spiritual about how such an arrangement "deals with the flesh," and so forth. However, a lot of things deal with the flesh. Having typhoid deals with the flesh. But that doesn't mean I'm going to go out and try to contract it.

Besides history has shown the Lord doesn't work that way. He always has worked with groups which have thrown off the bonds of oppressive leaders and followed HIM alone. A doctrine of one eldership does not allow for this. I cannot believe that he expects us in this age to live under a system which practically guarantees that corruption in leadership cannot be reformed.



Three facts about the local ground:
  1. The Lord didn't prescribe it.
  2. The apostles didn't prescribe it.
  3. The early church fathers didn't prescribe it.
So why would anyone else prescribe it?

Imagine this scenario. Suppose the Bible plainly prescribed the local ground. Suppose there was a verse that commanded "There should be one set of elders over one and only one church in each city." This is basically how the LCers think; they act like there is such a verse. But suppose there were? What would have happened when the Catholic church got control of the churches? Each local church would have been Catholic, directed by Rome. The leaders of those churches would have had the strong Biblical ground to suppress and condemn any other gatherings. And reformers would have been less likely to have the boldness to break away. Or they would have had to declare themselves the one church in the city. And there would have been a mad rush to be "king of the hill" in each city. The Reformation either wouldn't have happened or would have occurred much differently.

No. I have concluded that the Lord was very wise in not commanding one church per city. As I said, the Bible doesn't insist on it so God forbid that anyone else should either.
12-09-2008 05:43 PM
aron
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
I know there are one set of elders who are according to God's heart regardless of my knowledge of the exact number of elders in Mumbai. And of course, "the one set of elders" are not organized according to human way.
Amen. Of course, "not organized according to the human way" would seem like a contradiction to most, but God is in charge.

But it is worth noting that the stone in Daniel chapter 2 is "cut [shaped, formed] not with human hands"...this stone pushes off the fallen human arrangements and eventually becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth.

This stone is not formed with human hands. My view is that when we try to arrange ourselves, even with a biblical or scriptural template, our hands inevitably get on the stone.

God knows who is who. It is sufficient for us to receive one another. Let God do the sorting out.
12-09-2008 05:41 PM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.
Igzy, the idea of a model where there's elders over an entire city-church is impractical. It could only work in a town whether is only one assembly.
I propose in a given city there is (x) number of assemblies. Each assembly have elders only for that specific assembly. All the assemblies collectively are the church in that city. Any given assembly could be Lutheran, Brethren, Baptist, Presbyterian, LSM, or a Community assembly. One key item is the capacity and willingness to receive and acknowledge one another in expressing Christ in that city.

Terry
12-09-2008 04:21 PM
Gubei
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.



Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.

The problem, as you can surmise from my posts, is not the idea there is one church in a city. The problem comes in when you try to organize that ostensive church with a specific set of elders and make the claim "these are the elders over the whole city." As I have said ad nauseum, how do you know that? My posts on this have probably grown tiresome to some, but that annoyance could be solved by providing an answer. No one has.
Igzy,

I read this wonderful expressons only after I completed my previous post.

"a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church"

That's what I was trying to say. But still I have "one set of elders" over the whole city in mind.

I will explain like belows.

1. Let's suppose that there are 3 Christain groups in Mumbai

For the convenience' sake, let's dub the 3 groups as group A (100 saints), group B (200 saints), and gorup C (300 saints) except elders in that number of saints. And each group has a few elders each. So,

- group A : 5 elders + 100 saints
- group B : 4 elders + 200 saints
- group C : 3 elders + 300 saints

The total number of saints in Mumbai = 5+4+3+100+200+300=612 saints

2. How many saints in the church in Mumbai?

My answer = 612 saints = ALL SAINTS IN MUMBAI

3. How many elders in the church in Mumbai?

It depends on who is answering this question.

a. most saints in group A = 5 elders
b. most saints in group B = 4 elders
c. most saints in group C = 3 elders
d. some saints who think group A, B, C are all God's house = 12 elders (5+4+3)

Let's suppose our God recongnizes only 2 among 5 in group A, 1 among 4 in group B, and 1 among 3 in group C as qualified elders according to His heart, the answer should be 4 elders (=2+1+1). Furthermore, if there is brother Tom, who is doing the function of elder accordding to the standard of God, even though he is not offically accepted as elder in any groups, the number of elders in Mumbai should be 5 (4+1).

Now I have "one set of elders" in Mumbai, which number is 5. In most of the case, I do not know the fact there are 5 elders in Mumbai because I'm not as omniscient as God. But I know there are one set of elders who are according to God's heart regardless of my knowledge of the exact number of elders in Mumbai. And of course, "the one set of elders" are not organized according to human way.

4. Are The church in Mumbia and the elders "visible"?

God sees the church in Mumbai and elders every second.
God sees there is one church in Mumbai and 5 elders there.

I want to see as God sees.

Gubei
12-09-2008 01:52 PM
Gubei
Re: Not necessarily

Igzy,

I still need to clarify my position to you. Despite your negation, I believe you are thinking of me as one of LSM-type advocate of the truth.

1. Actually, we are envisioning the same practice of church life in mind.

Did you notice that? Your model is what I have thougt in mind.

You wrote
"My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves."

I could not agree with you more on this.

2. what I mean by the "ground of locality"

As opposed to somepeople who abuse the truth, the ground of locality should be used to unify Christians. Please look at the below two examples in which an elder is giving teaching to a new comer.

Elder A : Brother Tom, welcome to the house of God. We are God's unique expression in this city. We are following the truth of the ground of locality which is in the Bible. As you may notice, there are a lot of Christains in this city who have been deviated from this crucial truth in the Bible. They are wrong. It is God's will for you to come to our meeting.

Elder B : Brother Tom, welcome to the house of God. According to the Bible, all the saints in a city was called the church in that city. This truth is referred to as the ground of locality. As you know, there are a lot of saints in this city. And we love them as our brothers and sisters. We should accept them according to the truth in the Bible.

Igzy, I basically believe the ground of locality means more accepting other brothers and sisters without condition than administratoin. In other words, despite the word "locality", the gound of locality means more universality than locality. If God is omnipresent (or out of the limitation of time and space), locality means little to Him.

3. the ground of locality has two phase

You wrote
“If the Lord wanted us to practice the local ground, since it is a practical matter he would have given us the practical tools to do so. A primary issue with the city church model is knowing who to follow. Since you cannot give me a way of determining who the elders actually are, the model can't even get out of the gate, and I have to conclude it is actually impractical and therefore superfluous.”


Igzy, you are thinking that the ground of locality means one unitary eldership in a city. But, when I use the term the ground of locality (or one city – one church), I have in mind the situation that every saint accept others in that city (as described by your wonderful expressions). Of course, the next phase – one unitary eldership in that city - is not unimportant. As we know, according to the Bible, in the early churches, there were the situation in which even this second phase – one unitary eldership in a city – was rightly conducted. However, I already made concession on this matter. Due to human nature and the big size of modern city, practically, it is very difficult to have one unitary eldership in a city in this 21 century, if not impossible. So, I even suggested that the ground of locality is more for exposing human nature in its functioning.

Furthermore, even as WL admitted, the local church is not directly related with the second coming of our Lord. Overcomers, who will be from any Christian groups, is related with the long-awaited event among Christains. In that sense, one unitary eldership (or administration) seems to me not to be so critical at least in terms of our Lord's second coming.

You can be a good American even though you are not in line with the administrative policy of American government. Americans are not for administratoin, but administration is for Americans.
As you know, the problem with LSM-model is that they force saints to follow administration.

But, I think you have gone too far with the word “superfluous.” Just as the Mosaic Law is not superfluous, “one unitary eldership is a city” is not superfluous. That is a truth originally revealed in the Bible. What’s impossible to man is possible to God. Who knows one day the church in Toronto goes back to this original situation by the work of the Spirit. Let’s not be in such haste in giving up the truth, at least for the time God might make them one.


4. Not every descriptive in the Bible is without prescriptive authority



You wrote
“The law gives us specific and direct commandments. There is no commandment to practice the local ground, so your point does not work here.”

As some theologians, including WN and WL, claim, we should not take only the prescriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive. We also should take some descriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive according to our interpretation. Some times, we should not take prescriptive portion in the Bible as prescriptive. We do not pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands when those commit sins.

5. “Necessarily” means “without counterexamples”, but there are some.


You wrote.
“Differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention. Practicing it requires everyone agree on exactly what it means and how it is carried out. This will never happen, thus trying to force it is a distraction and even a detriment to the Lords' work of saving people. Let's get back to what the Lord commanded us to do.”

Yes, differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. But it leads to contention really so frequently and so many times. That’s what I said.
Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention? I already said that “not necessarily.” How can you deal with some counterexamples in which scattered groups gather together giving up their former position?

6. We are on the same page on the fact that denominations are wrong.

You wrote
“I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs. Signs are bad if they confuse or divide, but those that simply identify are not a problem. Denominations are losing membership. The community church movement is skyrocketing. Most CC's simply use signs and names to identify. I see the trend going in the right direction.”

Despite your negation, at least to me, you seem to allude that I’m in for LSM’s position of the ground of locality by saying that “I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs.” As I already made it clear, the one true church in a city includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. And you seem to deny denominations as I do. It’s good. About community church, I do not have much knowledge.

7. The church in Chee Foo includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city

You wrote
“Implicit in your remedy is the assumption that you are right and others are wrong. This is precisely the problem that is built into the LC model. You cannot "take the ground" without assuming others are wrong. The LC model even says that other groups which meet on the ground (like the other three in Cheefoo that Hope talked about) are wrong. Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others. Hope can tell you about how this occurs in Raleigh.”

Once again you seem to allude that I am for LC model by saying the example of Chee Foo. But I already replied to Hope by saying the four so called local churches in Chee Foo are WRONG. If four community churches fellowship each other, it’s really good! The only concern I have about them is that why they use the word “community” in front of “church.”

By the way, one question. Do you think you are right and I am wrong in the matter of ground of locality? I expect yes. That’s why you and I exchange this long postings each other. Then, why can some not think others are wrong?

8. A more difficult issue - apostleship

You wrote
“Appealing to apostleship is just kicking the can down the road. Like elders, there is no way for us to determine who the real modern apostles are. It all comes down to opinion, and as we know, if you insist on your opinion you create contention. This is exactly what has happened when some insist Witness Lee was a apostle. Appealing to apostleship just creates more problems.”

As I told you in my previous post, let’s talk about this later. BTW, you do not seem to look up my postings in the Berean forum. I know that is not convenient to you. Yesterday (in China time), I found my writings about this matter in doc format, which was written 1 and half year ago in my Laptop. Let’s fellowship later.

BTW, please give me your definition of apostle in one or two sentences. That will be helpful for our later discussion. I had a really hard time in discussing this issue with a brother who cannot deal with what comes by the simple difference of definition.

9. Tronto?

You wrote
“So, again, please tell me. Who are the elders of the church in Toronto? The LSM-following elders or the CB-following elders, or someone else? And how do you know? I need to know who to meet with when I visit there. This was the question I asked you to answer.”

You are asking too much to me who has never been to Toronto.  I’m so sad to see the situation. Why should I, who were born in a really small country in Asia and now living in China for some reason, confirm who are elders and who are not in Toronto which is really far away from my place? But if you insist I will after posting the aforementioned my doc file in this thread.

BTW, can you tell me where you are living now? That will be helpful for me to better understand you.

Let’s keep in touch.

Gubei
12-09-2008 11:06 AM
YP0534
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.
An excellent articulation of what I'm often struggling to say!

The assembly in a place is "a sort of mini invisible, city-wide 'universal' church...[without] one set of elders over the whole city."

That's really wonderful!
12-09-2008 09:49 AM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Igzy,

I agree that taking on their position is an excellent way to show its fatal flaws. It's just that this particular position is so retched that I feel as if I am having to put on waders to work in a sewer system.

In any case, keep up the good work.
12-09-2008 09:17 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Let me stress that the question "who are the elders" is not just a means of argumentation. It is a real question which Christians associated with the LCs all over the world have been asking. Many of them have been tormented by this question. All the ostensive elders can do is claim "we are" and condemn the other set. This leads nowhere but to escalated accusations. And so the followers continue in their confusion and misery. No one has an answer for them. How tragic.

Well, I'm attempting to give them an answer. I'm attempting to show them that they don't need to follow the model because the model, ultimately, does not work. You can be free to follow the Lord where he leads you to meet. The church was not intended to be a prison, but a pasture. And if the Lord sets you free you shall be free indeed.

If you happen to enjoy an idyllic situation where all the Christians in your city meet together and are happy to follow one set of elders, then more power to you. I hope the Lord uses your church to save many. But realize you may have no plan B when your elders go bad but continue to insist that they still lead the one church and that all who don't follow them are outside the Lord's will. That's when you'll see the dark side of this thing.

BTW, great post, Hope. Deal breaker indeed.
12-09-2008 09:15 AM
Hope
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Hello Gubei, and others

Could be your MBA text books gave a spin that gave you a distorted view of how capitalism actually works. Over the years I have hired several young graduates from top business schools with majors in finance. They all have told me that they started from scratch with us in learning how the economy and investments actually work. Sometimes I have a similar thought about the LSM and all of their trainings etc. The BBs such as Ron Kangas, Andrew etc. really do not have a clue as to how God’s economy actually works. I brought up the Chee Foo situation to illustrate that something is way off in somebody’s practice and understanding.

May we assume for a moment that the description of the church in Ephesus etc could be practical and is preferred to what we find today. Good ole IGZY has put his finger on the deal breaker. That is the issue of authority. The whole notion of “the Work” and “Deputy Authority” creates a fertile ground for the flesh of man, (as you, Gubei have been appealing to for an explanation for the problems) to create more division while cloaking itself in spiritual talk and reasons.

The New Testament urges us to walk in humility and endeavor to keep the oneness of the S/spirit and to arrive at the oneness of the Faith. We are not admonished to be under the authority of the right set of elders, who where appointed by the right apostle, who is a co-worker in the right “work,” which is under “the Apostle of the Age.”

One thing is certain. In the New Testament “elders” were not bosses. I am including some teaching on what is a biblical elder in my book on the LC history. Maybe that would be a good discussion for this forum and contrast that with the LSM version of eldership?

By the way I admire how both Igzy and Gubei have hung in their with their views and concerns. Prov 25:2, It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. NASB May we all search out the truth and practice of the oneness of the Body of Christ.

I certainly appreciate the sentiments of OBW shown below. This topic does make you want to throw up your hands or wind your watch or jump through a hoop backward due to the frustration. I have spent many years considering, searching and trying to figure out how to proceed. I probably have a ways to go yet. Please posters, weigh in. We all can learn and be perfected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I both enjoy and despise this discussion. ...

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. ...

But the most despised part of the discussion is that in every case, any argument between two or more groups about who is “the” church with “the” elders ignores the many existing assemblies that were there before any such exclusive group came along and claimed to have the Holy Grail of churchism.

They scoff at so-called divisions as they add one more to the mix while saying that they are not a division because they say they are the one church for the city. On whose authority? Not on scripture’s.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus, who is seeking to be a true disciple.
12-09-2008 08:47 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I both enjoy and despise this discussion.

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. This is an excellent way to cast a cloud over the very teachings that the LC promotes, most notably one church in one city under one set of elders. When there is a group who has that position then some splinter away and then try to wrestle the title away from the others, the foolishness is put on display.
Amen, OBW. Amen.

Quote:

What a joke. This is the height or arrogance ─ or is it ignorance. Probably both. I agree that the tactic of framing the “one city one church” doctrine debacle in terms of a disagreement between two groups as to which one it should be points to the emptiness of their claims. But I can only barely stomach it because it starts by presuming that such a non-biblical teaching is actually correct.
I totally understand you revulsion, OBW. But often the best way to disprove a point is to start by assuming it is true and then show that if it is true it must be false, in other words that it is self-contradicting. This is what I have attempted to do and I believe I have succeeded.

It seemed to me this might be one way to jostle the thoughts of the hard-core local grounders, and get them to think outside their box for a change. If they are honest they have to come to grips with the fact that they cannot tell me how to determine for sure who the elders over a city are, and so they have to consider that perhaps their model is really just a nice theory which has no enduring practical application.

In the meantime we should all consider getting back to the business of cooperating with any and all Christians we encounter to spread the truth of the Lord to a lost world. We all should stop making the good the enemy of what we think is the best.
12-09-2008 08:03 AM
OBW
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I both enjoy and despise this discussion.

I enjoy it because it puts the spotlight on those who claim to be “the” ones with “the” elders. This is an excellent way to cast a cloud over the very teachings that the LC promotes, most notably one church in one city under one set of elders. When there is a group who has that position then some splinter away and then try to wrestle the title away from the others, the foolishness is put on display. Thankfully there have been some who have realized that such a claim is hollow and have allowed the splinter group to have their precious name.

But the most despised part of the discussion is that in every case, any argument between two or more groups about who is “the” church with “the” elders ignores the many existing assemblies that were there before any such exclusive group came along and claimed to have the Holy Grail of churchism. They come with a formula of doctrines that they say are the proper ones and dismiss the reality of the church that is expressed in the lives of Christians who already gather in assemblies all over some large cities. They scoff at so-called divisions as they add one more to the mix while saying that they are not a division because they say they are the one church for the city. On whose authority? Not on scripture’s.

What a joke. This is the height or arrogance ─ or is it ignorance. Probably both. I agree that the tactic of framing the “one city one church” doctrine debacle in terms of a disagreement between two groups as to which one it should be points to the emptiness of their claims. But I can only barely stomach it because it starts by presuming that such a non-biblical teaching is actually correct.
12-09-2008 08:01 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
I think believing everyone needs to be following the same set of elders over a whole city is detrimental to receiving the believers in that city. Seems to me we have to also acknowledge that the Lord is working among them in the groups they happen to be in, perhaps in some ways better than our own, even if those groups are not organized the way we'd like.

Quote:
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.
Well, seems like this is just making the city church a sort of mini invisible, city-wide "universal" church. This is fine, I suppose, assuming you don't insist on one set of elders over the whole city.

The problem, as you can surmise from my posts, is not the idea there is one church in a city. The problem comes in when you try to organize that ostensive church with a specific set of elders and make the claim "these are the elders over the whole city." As I have said ad nauseum, how do you know that? My posts on this have probably grown tiresome to some, but that annoyance could be solved by providing an answer. No one has.
12-09-2008 07:42 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.

Terry
Excellent point Terry.
12-09-2008 07:07 AM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Hope, I received my "cockeyed notion about capitalism" from my MBA school and a lot of textbooks. Even thoug I have a lot to say about this, I admit this anaology is not so good for discussing the issues at hand.

Getting back to your question.

The churchi in Chee Foo, which is a bit away from where I'm living now as a foreigner in this country, includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. Not only the four groups, but also all other Christians in that city are members of the church in Chee Foo.

If the four groups are respectively claiming that only they are the church in Chee Foo, they all are wrong. Anyone who claims that any subset of the church in Chee Foo is the church in Chee Foo, he is wrong. And the relevance with WN or WL is not a deciding factor at all.

I'm not sure I'm answering to your question after having understood rightly.
Please clarify anything you want for further answer from me.

Gubei
Gubei,

Respectfully, this answer does not help anyone decide who to meet with. I thought the local church was supposed to be practical. Your answer is completely impractical. It's just theory.

(Removed last paragraph)
12-09-2008 06:55 AM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

I cannot understand why you seem to think I'm for LSM in this matter. I serveral times said that I do not agree with LSM on this matter.
I never said you were for LSM.

Quote:
Igzy, I fully agree with you in that point. Practically, I do not believe this truth will be satisfactorily practiced before our Lord comes back. Not because the truth is wrong but because of human nature.
If the Lord wanted us to practice the local ground, since it is a practical matter he would have given us the practical tools to do so. A primary issue with the city church model is knowing who to follow. Since you cannot give me a way of determining who the elders actually are, the model can't even get out of the gate, and I have to conclude it is actually impractical and therefore superfluous.

Quote:
Igzy, please think about it. Why did God give Isralites the Mosaic Law?
That's for exposing man in their inability in keeping God's law. Is Mosaic Law WRONG? Absoultely NOT. MAN IS WRONG.
The law gives us specific and direct commandments. There is no commandment to practice the local ground, so your point does not work here.

Quote:
Also, think abut this. Trinity is really difficult to understand. That's why there have been so many heretical teachings in church history, even now. Is Trinity WRONG?
Differences on interpreting the Trinity do not necessarily lead to contention. Differences on interpreting the local ground necessarily do lead to contention. Practicing it requires everyone agree on exactly what it means and how it is carried out. This will never happen, thus trying to force it is a distraction and even a detriment to the Lords' work of saving people. Let's get back to what the Lord commanded us to do.


Quote:
Please think about this. As you said, you can deny other eldership in a city than that you accept for some reason. You may meet with some saints who are on the same page with you. It's okay to me. But think this serious picture you are watching everyday in your city. A lot of signboards reading "Baptist Church", "Holy of Holies", "Presbyterian Church" and so on and so forth. Is that biblical?
I'm a lot more worried about a group claiming to be the one true church in the city than I am about signs. Signs are bad if they confuse or divide, but those that simply identify are not a problem. Denominations are losing membership. The community church movement is skyrocketing. Most CC's simply use signs and names to identify. I see the trend going in the right direction.

Quote:
You are arguing that I'm wrong because I did not give you practical remedy.
Here it goes.

Let others meets themselves without criticizing them UNLESS
a. they theach obvious heretical things
b. they promote their "signboards"

And Let's pray for them and for us to be one (even PRACTICALLY).
Implicit in your remedy is the assumption that you are right and others are wrong. This is precisely the problem that is built into the LC model. You cannot "take the ground" without assuming others are wrong. The LC model even says that other groups which meet on the ground (like the other three in Cheefoo that Hope talked about) are wrong. Four community churches in a city will fellowship, meet and pray with each other freely. Four "local churches" in a city will not. They will at best pretend the others don't exist. Usually one or all will condemn the others. Hope can tell you about how this occurs in Raleigh.

Quote:
My last question. Please explain to me your model which is according to the Bible BEFORE YOU REPLY MY POINTS ABOVE. You must have yours judging from so confident tone of your speaking.
My model is to meet with believers and receive all Christian believers and groups. Oneness is shown by our willingness to receive others and to acknowledge that the Lord may be working in ways better than our own in a group meeting just a few miles away. In other words, the attitude of oneness is one of receiving, love, graciousness and humility--esteeming others as better than ourselves. Since the Bible never insists that we meet on the "ground of locality" I have no right to insist on it either.

Quote:
BTW, if you want to talk with me about "the appointment of elders", which unavoidably is related with the matter of apostleship, you can refer to my posts in the Berean forum by searching my name. If it is not convenient to you, I will clarify this another important issue once again for you later in this forum.
Appealing to apostleship is just kicking the can down the road. Like elders, there is no way for us to determine who the real modern apostles are. It all comes down to opinion, and as we know, if you insist on your opinion you create contention. This is exactly what has happened when some insist Witness Lee was a apostle. Appealing to apostleship just creates more problems.


So, again, please tell me. Who are the elders of the church in Toronto? The LSM-following elders or the CB-following elders, or someone else? And how do you know? I need to know who to meet with when I visit there. This was the question I asked you to answer.
12-08-2008 11:25 PM
Gubei
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
Dear Brother Gubei,

Better leave the discussion of economic to others. Where did you get this cockeyed notion about capitalism? Capitalism works on the principle that if resources are scarce the market will develop new resources or more efficient ways to use the available resources. Because an entrepreneur's efforts will be rewarded then the capitalist is willing to risk his time, effort, thought and capital. Communism calls this greed and hopes men would risk time etc to meet a common need with no thought of reward. Yet the Lord Himself will return with rewards for the faithful servants and praises those who multiplied their talents. Communism is wrong for it puts no premium on profitable labor. Sharing is not communism. The early church did not practice communism.

So better leave economic discussions to those who know economics. Your argument is invalid. Contend for one church one city from the truth of the Bible and dissect any failure directly. I am holding my fire on the subject.

Here is a question. How is it that there are four local churches in Chee Foo, China all claiming the ground of the church and all claiming to be in the line of Watchman Nee’s teaching? Chee Foo was Witness Lee’s home town.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
Hope, I received my "cockeyed notion about capitalism" from my MBA school and a lot of textbooks. Even thoug I have a lot to say about this, I admit this anaology is not so good for discussing the issues at hand.

Getting back to your question.

The churchi in Chee Foo, which is a bit away from where I'm living now as a foreigner in this country, includes ALL THE SAINTS in that city. Not only the four groups, but also all other Christians in that city are members of the church in Chee Foo.

If the four groups are respectively claiming that only they are the church in Chee Foo, they all are wrong. Anyone who claims that any subset of the church in Chee Foo is the church in Chee Foo, he is wrong. And the relevance with WN or WL is not a deciding factor at all.

I'm not sure I'm answering to your question after having understood rightly.
Please clarify anything you want for further answer from me.

Gubei
12-08-2008 11:05 PM
Gubei
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Of course the truth is good. Your problem is you have assumed for everyone else that the local ground is indeed the truth. Yet you cannot answer practical questions about it. This is a warning flag for me and should indicate to you that perhaps you should rethink things. I know it's hard, I was indoctrinated once myself.
Igzy,

1. I do not promote the way LSM are using and implementing the teaching of one-city, one-church.

I cannot understand why you seem to think I'm for LSM in this matter. I serveral times said that I do not agree with LSM on this matter.

2. Practice of one-city, one-church is very difficult as you said.

Igzy, I fully agree with you in that point. Practically, I do not believe this truth will be satisfactorily practiced before our Lord comes back. Not because the truth is wrong but because of human nature.

3. Why did God give us this kind of so impractical truth in the Bible?

a. Mosaic Law

Igzy, please think about it. Why did God give Isralites the Mosaic Law?
That's for exposing man in their inability in keeping God's law. Is Mosaic Law WRONG? Absoultely NOT. MAN IS WRONG.

b. Trinity

Also, think abut this. Trinity is really difficult to understand. That's why there have been so many heretical teachings in church history, even now. Is Trinity WRONG?

Igzy, it is one thing to be in the Bible as a truth and it is another how practical that truth is or easy to understand.

4. There is a BIG difference between just disagreeing and promoting another group in a city.

Please think about this. As you said, you can deny other eldership in a city than that you accept for some reason. You may meet with some saints who are on the same page with you. It's okay to me. But think this serious picture you are watching everyday in your city. A lot of signboards reading "Baptist Church", "Holy of Holies", "Presbyterian Church" and so on and so forth. Is that biblical?

5. My practical remedy

You are arguing that I'm wrong because I did not give you practical remedy.
Here it goes.

Let others meets themselves without criticizing them UNLESS
a. they theach obvious heretical things
b. they promote their "signboards"

And Let's pray for them and for us to be one (even PRACTICALLY).


My last question. Please explain to me your model which is according to the Bible BEFORE YOU REPLY MY POINTS ABOVE. You must have yours judging from so confident tone of your speaking.

BTW, if you want to talk with me about "the appointment of elders", which unavoidably is related with the matter of apostleship, you can refer to my posts in the Berean forum by searching my name. If it is not convenient to you, I will clarify this another important issue once again for you later in this forum.

Gubei
12-08-2008 08:47 PM
Terry
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
So, what exactly is the right application? Please be sure to explain how disagreements on who are the true elders are resolved. When there can only be one church in a city, there are going to eventually be disagreements on this issue, as we indeed see today.
Igzy, There is a principle in the Bible. There may have been periods where there seemed to be a right application, but the pride in man always sunk what seemed good. We have it in local church history, Brethren istory, etc. It's because of disagreements and pride, that brings about denominations in all Christianity. As a result of disagreements is there an inability to recieve brothers and sisters.
About one church in a city, we should be clear between church and assembly. Couldn't there be many assemblies in a city, but one church as the expression? Not to be confused with one single assembly claiming to be the sole expression, but many assemblies.

Terry
12-08-2008 03:26 PM
Hope
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

Thanks for your analysis of my position. But I have to disagree.

...

Secondly, communisim itself is not wrong. What's wrong is human nature. According to capitalistic economy, the most basic assumption is that "resource is scarce, but human greed is unlimited." Do you think this human greed is right? According to Acts, we know the early church conducted a kind of communism by the Sprit. And think about this. What does the subprime crisis mean to us? Are you happy with the collapse of economy? If you "officially" deny one city- one church model, that is adding fuel and legalizing Christian divisions.

In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.

Gubei
Dear Brother Gubei,

Better leave the discussion of economic to others. Where did you get this cockeyed notion about capitalism? Capitalism works on the principle that if resources are scarce the market will develop new resources or more efficient ways to use the available resources. Because an entrepreneur's efforts will be rewarded then the capitalist is willing to risk his time, effort, thought and capital. Communism calls this greed and hopes men would risk time etc to meet a common need with no thought of reward. Yet the Lord Himself will return with rewards for the faithful servants and praises those who multiplied their talents. Communism is wrong for it puts no premium on profitable labor. Sharing is not communism. The early church did not practice communism.

So better leave economic discussions to those who know economics. Your argument is invalid. Contend for one church one city from the truth of the Bible and dissect any failure directly. I am holding my fire on the subject.

Here is a question. How is it that there are four local churches in Chee Foo, China all claiming the ground of the church and all claiming to be in the line of Watchman Nee’s teaching? Chee Foo was Witness Lee’s home town.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.
12-08-2008 03:20 PM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.
Of course the truth is good. Your problem is you have assumed for everyone else that the local ground is indeed the truth. Yet you cannot answer practical questions about it. This is a warning flag for me and should indicate to you that perhaps you should rethink things. I know it's hard, I was indoctrinated once myself.
12-08-2008 03:15 PM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Gubei,

The fact that you have counter examples does not eliminate the problem, it simply shows that in some cases the problem is not manifested. But in any of those situations you speak of the problem is waiting to happen, and you have no solution for it once it does, other than to condemn on group or another. And that solution is not acceptable, since there is no way for you to prove who the real elders are.

Further, the fact that two sets of leaders disagree is not necessarily a point of weakness or immaturity, at least not one for which we can decide for everyone which is wrong. The disagreement may be on a substantial and important points, at least in their minds. For example, one group believes Lee's ministry represents the essence of the Bible, the interpreted word, and so must be adhered to. Another group does not believe this. Each is not necessarily acting badly, they are acting as their conscience dictates, at least it is easy to imagine a situation where that is the case. Each are being, ostensibly, as pure as they can be, they simply disagree on a point that they cannot get around or find common ground on.

So how does one decide which one is right? The old-fashioned way, you pray and make up your mind. Someone else's claims to being right are more or less meaningless. You have to decide for yourself. So if there are two groups claiming to be the leaders of the one church, I might pray and go along with one group; and you might pray and go along with the other. But because I am convinced in my mind that I'm right, does that mean I can say you are then not following the true elders? I don't see how anyone can make that case. And so if neither of us can decide for the other, the idea of a genuine single eldership is theoretical, it is not practical. Yes, we might all go along and make it happen, but what if my conscience won't let me go along? You have no solution for that either.

As I've said before, you have not given me a practical way of how do determining for everyone in a city in a way that can be enforced who the elders of that city are. Therefore, despite the fact that you can point to instances where everyone in a city are under the same elders (and I don't think you can; all you can show is a group of recovery members who are all under one set), your model is still theoretical.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't say I thought it was necessarily a bad thing for all the Christians in a locality to be under one eldership. The problem comes in when for example a subgroup decides the elders have gone off the deep end and leave (and they are within their right in doing so) and those elders proceed to condemn them, as if they have franchise rights over the city or something.

This is the LC mentality and I would say it is a problem which lurks latently in every single LC church. It's built into the model whether you admit it or not. It cannot not be. Why because once a group is convinced their elders are necessarily the unique leaders of the city-church, then they must believe that those who don't follow them are wrong in some way, otherwise they don't really believe it, in which case the point is moot.
12-08-2008 01:30 PM
Gubei
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Once you insist on one church per city practically you are effectively advocating one set of elders per city. This in turn gives authority to an arbitrary set of men to insist that every Christian in the city obeys them under threat of being cast out of the church experience in that city.

Gubei talked about the deplorable state of the human tendency to divide. I see that as much less of a threat than the deplorable state of the human tendency to suppress. The former was a characteristic of the Reformation, the latter of the Roman church. Which produced the worse results?

Igzy,

Thanks for your analysis of my position. But I have to disagree.

First of all, you are assuming that "one city- one church model inevitably bringing in "conflict" between so called elders, leading to caos. So, the model is bad." However, as I mentioned, there are some counterexamples to your logic and that's what our God wants to see by this truth. Whether it be with this truth or not, there will be conflict between leading brothers in a city because some of them are not mature but divisive. It's the exposing aspect of one city - one church model that can condemn those kind of divisive leaders. Think about this. I do not believe any PROPER elders would conflict with others at the risk of division. In either cases, (harmony or conflict between elders in a city), the truth has a valid functions, especailly in its second function - exposing human nature.

Secondly, communisim itself is not wrong. What's wrong is human nature. According to capitalistic economy, the most basic assumption is that "resource is scarce, but human greed is unlimited." Do you think this human greed is right? According to Acts, we know the early church conducted a kind of communism by the Sprit. And think about this. What does the subprime crisis mean to us? Are you happy with the collapse of economy? If you "officially" deny one city- one church model, that is adding fuel and legalizing Christian divisions.

In conclusion, the truth itself is GOOD and should be preserved and taught as such. And leave them who abuse this truth to suppress others. They are divisive and will be judged by our God. Even without this truth, they would have been divisive anyway.

Gubei
12-08-2008 09:54 AM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Once you insist on one church per city practically you are effectively advocating one set of elders per city. This in turn gives authority to an arbitrary set of men to insist that every Christian in the city obeys them under threat of being cast out of the church experience in that city.

Gubei talked about the deplorable state of the human tendency to divide. I see that as much less of a threat than the deplorable state of the human tendency to suppress. The former was a characteristic of the Reformation, the latter of the Roman church. Which produced the worse results?
12-08-2008 09:29 AM
Cal
Re: Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gubei View Post
Igzy,

However, just becase it is not so easy to practice the truth, that does not necessarily follow that we can give up the truth.

My point is that even though one unifying eldership of a local church should be accepted as a valid truth in the Bible, that should not be over-empahsized as to make divisions - as done by "Late Lee."

To me, seeing how difficult it is to practice the truth just leads me more into the deplorable sigh of how human nature is divisive than into the doubt of how this truth is not plausible.
Hi Gubei,

Here you are basically admitting what I've been saying. There is no practical way to determine which of competing sets of elders are indeed the real set. So your solution is to be nice and kind of hope things work out. That's not very practical when push comes to shove (and there has been a lot of shoving going on lately.)

The problem is not human nature. The problem is you are advocating a practical model for which you cannot provide practical instructions.

I can anticipate some responses. E.g. Everyone has to take the cross and all that. But the fact is the set of elders that "win out" didn't have to take the cross. All they had to do was convince enough people they were bona fide, by any means necessary. This is precisely what we have seen.

This is why I cannot accept the idea of one set of elders over one church in a city as any kind of mandate. Because eventually the ruthless will try to control, and the weak have no place to go. This is also the Roman model.


Advocates of the local church model love to speak of it in all its idealized purity. Unfortunately, a practical local church comes down to following one set of leaders, and those advocates never let the other shoe drop and tell us just how to know who those elders are. They just keep harping on the "truth" of one church per city.

Most of them, like you Gubei, lament "human nature" as the barrier to this ideal. This reminds me of the advocates of Communism in the 20th century. They were always pleading that Communism was a great system, just that it had never been done right. They kept blaming the people. It never occured to them that perhaps their ideal was never intended for this world.
12-08-2008 09:05 AM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
Hi Igzy,

Firstly:
The word “church” in the NT many times is translated assembly and Paul may just be referring to the fact of saints assembling in someone’s house. Also it seems that there were some localities in the NT where there may not have been many believers and the whole church probably gathered in a single house in that city. I pointed out the fact in the Word of saints meeting in many houses and yet the scripture refers to them as “ the church” and not churches. Why is this? Are you neglecting this point?
I am well aware of the references in the Word of "the church in the house", although these are few and couldn’t even come close to the number of verses referring to the church in the city.
Hi Oregon,

I'm not neglecting the point. My issue is not that there is not in some sense "one church" in a city in much the same way as there is one church universally. My issue is that once you claim that one church must be organized practically with one set of leaders there is no way to determine who the actual leaders of that church are. The best you can get is people claiming to be the leaders. So if you have two sets of leaders claiming to be the elders over the church in Toronto (which is in fact the case now, as in many other cities) there is no way to resolve the situation. This is being demonstrated in real time as we write.

In Witness Lee's movement (aka The Recovery) he and his co-workers were always the final arbitrators on this point. So if they said a set of elders or an assembly was not the real church in the city, then that was pretty much it. In other words, the validity of a particular church was decided by a movement. This is decidedly unscriptural. I seen nothing in the Bible that gives workers the authority to declare churches valid or invalid. This is in fact the way of Rome.

Quote:
Secondly:
Please don’t think of me as an LSM person dealing with this matter in the way it has been dealt with by them. I am not. I am totally aware of the wrong application of this by certain ones and I believe I pointed this out in a previous post.
So, what exactly is the right application? Please be sure to explain how disagreements on who are the true elders are resolved. When there can only be one church in a city, there are going to eventually be disagreements on this issue, as we indeed see today.

Quote:
Thirdly:
Your statement that the local ground practice leads to sin and is inconsistent and unworkable may be logical in your mind but to me it is somewhat ludicrous.
If it's ludicrous you ought to be able to tell me how the Christians in a city decide who the proper elders over than one church are. For example, who are the real elders over the church in Toronto? The ones over the LSM church or the ones over the CB church? Or none? How does one know? If you cannot answer this then my point is not ludicrous.


Quote:
The gathering of believers outside of denominationalism simply on the grounds that they are the Lord’s body and not Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans or what have you is something which would be very much in agreement with the Word. How this is practiced by the LSM churches may be in error but it doesn’t change the fact that when you look at the church in the NT what you see is believers assembling together in cities where the gospel had gone to and they are referred to as the church in that city. There is abundant proof of this in the Word……far more proof then the few references to “the church in the house”. If the few verses concerning the church in the house are any persons ground for believing that there can by multiple churches in any city then that ground is very weak indeed.
There is nothing wrong with meeting just as a church in the oneness of the Spirit. In fact, this is how most community churches meet these days, including the one I meet with. There is no thought that we are better than anyone or have an exclusive thing going.

The problem comes in with insisting that a group must meet on the ground of the city to be a legitimate church. The Bible does not command us to do this. Also, there are too many verses which may give ground to churches on different grounds other than the city (e.g. the house) to insist on the grounds of the city.

Besides, once you insist on the ground of the city, who is to say the proper group meeting on the ground is the one you happen to meet with? Maybe it's someone else.

Now that there are many cities with more than one group claiming to be the church, it is simply a he-said-she-said situation, with no way to resolve it. This is why recovery churches end up in court. It's an indication of a severe flaw in the practical city church model.
12-07-2008 04:17 AM
Gubei
Not necessarily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
The church in the house was referred to as the church in the house. This is the side you have neglected. You cannot demonstrate from scripture that the church in the house referred to in the NT is equivalent to the church in the city...
Igzy,

Not necessarily. I have several counterexamples to your logic. In my country, some groups which used to gather separately eventually gathered together after recognizing each other's right ground as the local church in that city. Of course, as you described, there are many cases in which two groups just reject others even after recognizing other's right ground. However, just becase it is not so easy to practice the truth, that does not necessarily follow that we can give up the truth.

As opposed to the general understanding of many posters here, I believe a local church has more chrateristic of unversal church than local because basically, for example, the church in Moscow include all the saints there, regardless of their accepting of the truth of one church - one locality.

My point is that even though one unifying eldership of a local church should be accepted as a valid truth in the Bible, that should not be over-empahsized as to make divisions - as done by "Late Lee." To my understanding, Paul seems that he did not trouble so much from the saints who did not belong to his ministry, those must have been under the other eldership of the specific city than that set up by Paul.

[14] Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. [15] It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. [16] The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. [17] The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. [18] But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (Philipians 1, NIV)

Of course, my conjecture should be confined in the condition that those saints did not promote any other "signboard" like Presbyterian, Mothodist, Baptist etc, as we notice Paul's another warnings not to do so. After all, to have a group's own interprestatoin of a specific truth in the Bible is one thing, and to officailly hang a signboard of that interpretatoin as the way it distinguish themselves from other Christains is another. In that sense, I criticize all the denominations.

The reason why I think the universal charateristic of a local church is more important is that at the end of the day the second coming of our Lord is more related with the produce of overcomers who will be from all the saints, regardless of their acceptance of one church - one city truth. BUT this cannot deny the stern existence of the truth in the Bible ; one church - one city.

To me, seeing how difficult it is to practice the truth just leads me more into the deplorable sigh of how human nature is divisive than into the doubt of how this truth is not plausible.

Gubei.
12-06-2008 04:41 AM
Oregon
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Hi Igzy,

Firstly:
The word “church” in the NT many times is translated assembly and Paul may just be referring to the fact of saints assembling in someone’s house. Also it seems that there were some localities in the NT where there may not have been many believers and the whole church probably gathered in a single house in that city. I pointed out the fact in the Word of saints meeting in many houses and yet the scripture refers to them as “ the church” and not churches. Why is this? Are you neglecting this point?
I am well aware of the references in the Word of "the church in the house", although these are few and couldn’t even come close to the number of verses referring to the church in the city.

Secondly:
Please don’t think of me as an LSM person dealing with this matter in the way it has been dealt with by them. I am not. I am totally aware of the wrong application of this by certain ones and I believe I pointed this out in a previous post. I remember many years ago Witness Lee telling us that if we went to a locality and there were already some meeting there then we should join with them regardless of their differences from us. I guess you would call this “Early Lee”. I agree with this view. We should gather with the saints whom God had already brought together in that locality. The practice of the LSM saints has been very wrong in this and they have completely disregarded Witness Lee’s word from years ago. Therefore your argument concerning who are the real elders is irrelevant. The fact that some have done wrong in this matter doesn’t negate the truth. If some baptize in an abusive way does that mean that baptism is no longer legitimate?

Thirdly:
Your statement that the local ground practice leads to sin and is inconsistent and unworkable may be logical in your mind but to me it is somewhat ludicrous. The gathering of believers outside of denominationalism simply on the grounds that they are the Lord’s body and not Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans or what have you is something which would be very much in agreement with the Word. How this is practiced by the LSM churches may be in error but it doesn’t change the fact that when you look at the church in the NT what you see is believers assembling together in cities where the gospel had gone to and they are referred to as the church in that city. There is abundant proof of this in the Word……far more proof then the few references to “the church in the house”. If the few verses concerning the church in the house are any persons ground for believing that there can by multiple churches in any city then that ground is very weak indeed.
12-05-2008 03:33 PM
Cal
Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon View Post
I’m well aware of the “house” churches in the NT Igzy. In Jerusalem “they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Thousands were being saved and added to the church…not churches….even though they were meeting from house to house. These thousands of believers were referred to as “ the church in Jerusalem”….not “the churches in Jerusalem.”

Acts 8:1 “the church that was at Jerusalem”

Acts 11:2 “ the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem”

Acts 15:4 “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and the apostles and elders…”
The church in the house was referred to as the church in the house. This is the side you have neglected. You cannot demonstrate from scripture that the church in the house referred to in the NT is equivalent to the church in the city.

Another problem with your doctrine is that you can't tell us how it is worked out in practice, or how it avoids the incrimination of those who don't submit to the group which "takes the ground." I've demonstrated this several times and no one has been able to answer counter my charges.

Let me demonstrate again. Suppose you and some others "take the ground" in a city. Now suppose another group does, too. Suppose each set of elders thinks the other group's elders are not bona fide. If so, one or both of the set of elders must, if they take their own local ground doctrine seriously and to its logical conclusion, consider the other set of elders, and therefore their followers, in error for not coming over to their side.

In other words, the presumption of being the elders of the "one church" in the city must necessarily lead to the dismissal of every other group in the city, even those which claim to meet on the local ground.

Thus, elders of a group taking the ground must by definition do two things:
  1. Expect every Christian in the city to accept that they are indeed the God-appointed leaders of all the Christians in that city.
  2. Take a position who those that do not submit to them are wrong with God.
Conclusion: Given that they have no way of proving #1, it therefore can be nothing but an unreasonable and unwarranted expectation. Therefore #2 is also unreasonable, unwarranted and therefore sinful. Since one cannot believe #1 without also believing #2, the local ground practice is therefore shown to necessarily lead to sin, and is thus inconsistent and unworkable.


On an even simpler level, there is no way of determing which set of elders who claim to be over the "one church" in the city actually are the true elders. Therefore, the "one church" in the city doctrine is practically unworkable and must be considered superfluous.
11-27-2008 06:48 AM
Oregon
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Having read through this thread I appreciate the open warmness of all who have posted. My experience in the “Local Churches” has deeply affected my life as I am sure it has yours also. I heartedly embraced the matter of one church in every city from my first days in the local church in 1970. I also, sadly to say, was one of the young boisterous condemners of denominational Christianity. But as the these years have passed, with all the turmoil many of us have passed through, my views have been altered somewhat.

I still believe in one church in every city though……simply because when I open the Word of God and read the record of the early saints in the New Testament, to me, it is still very evident that in the minds of the early saints and the apostles all the believers dwelling in a certain place were “the church” in that particular location. The dividing up of the fellowship of the body on different grounds was strongly condemned by the Apostle Paul. The Word is the Word. What any of us have passed through over the years does not alter it.

The fact that the “Local Churches” have departed from what is revealed in the record of the New Testament does not change the truth of the Word itself. I think most of us would agree that “The Ministry” and how you relate to it….has become the real ground of oneness in the local churches. I still have the desire to gather with other believers in my locality and be nourished with them in the Word and in the Lord’s presence and to practice the assembling together that the Word speaks of.
10-30-2008 12:18 PM
kisstheson
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Hello dear brothers,

If I may, all of you have alluded to and implied a crucial issue, which is that the best concept of the church does not work without frequent applications of the cross. Without the cross continually working on our natural pride, any point that we feel differentiates us from other believers will become overly magnified and overly emphasized as time progresses. This will lead to the point becoming applied in strict legality (think of the history of baptism by immersion, head coverings, the ground of locality, etc.)

Examining the history of the "Lord's Recovery" as a whole in the 1900's, I see that what was at first a very slight and very gradual diminishing of the importance of the cross, ended up becaming a very big and very noticeable diminishing of the importance of the cross. In one of his last speakings before he went to be with the Lord, WL bemoaned the fact that he had been giving the LC "dumplings without garlic and vinegar", which he explained as giving the LC lots of rich "high-peak" truths without a balancing emphasis on the cross. He warned the LC that receiving the "high-peak" truths without the cross would only produce excessive pride and would end up greatly damaging the LC. Sadly, his words have proven to be very prophetic.

I really need to get back to that thread I started which was discussing TAS's books entitled "That They All May Be One, Even As We Are One". TAS's view on "the ground" was very simple - Simply gather, wherever and whoever you are, centered on Christ alone and outside all know divisions. This is what he saw in the NT as the reality of "the ground". While expanding upon this topic, TAS said something that struck me as very profound: He admitted that even his simple idea of the ground could not be maintained in a particular assembly unless the Lord had gained a group of "solidly-crucified" ones in that assembly. A group of "solidly-crucified" ones - this is what will guard against the otherwise inevitable pride, exclusiveness, and legality. These ones are not "super Christians" or puffed-up ones; rather, they are simply those who have known a lot of the breaking of the cross and thus have had their pride dealt with. Probably, most of their service to the assembly will be on their knees, in their private room of prayer. Their "spiritual noses" will be keen to signs of pride, exclusitivity, and legality whenever they might arise.
10-30-2008 11:42 AM
YP0534
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
One thing I don't like about the one-church-one-city approach is that it's circumscribed by man-made political boundaries. I think this is a direct result of a legal application of the scriptural record.
The assembly wherever you are doesn't have "membership" as far as I can see.

That is most likely where things go off and, in my view, it's related to the "universal church" problem.

I don't believe "church membership" is really a New Testament concept, is it?
The word "membership" doesn't appear in KJV, NASB, RSV, NIV or Darby...
10-30-2008 10:50 AM
aron
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
... my theory is that any inkling of legality over the one-church-one-city is the camel's nose under the tent. As soon as you in any way start to insist on it, you are destined to assume an attitude of intolerance.

While I believe Nee's heart was in the right place (for whatever that's worth), I also believe that the whole teaching of one-church-one-city is destined to produce division, no matter how benign it starts out.

Why? Because is so darn cut and dried. Either your in the "one church" or you are not. And if you are not, you are dead wrong to those who are in it. Even though they have neglected to remember that they have no way of knowing for sure whether the group they are in is indeed the one church, or that their elders lead that one church.

In other words, the idea doesn't work.
One thing I don't like about the one-church-one-city approach is that it's circumscribed by man-made political boundaries. I think this is a direct result of a legal application of the scriptural record.

I live in East Cummerford, and there is a line on the ground where I cross to Waverly. Different politicians, school district, cops, fire dept., etc. But really, on the ground, it is going from Oak Ave. to Maple Ave. Brother Bob down on the next block is "under" the "church" in Waverly. I am subject to "elders", whether chosen by fiat or election, in E. Cummerford.

So when I meet with the saints in Cummerford, I am with the "church in Cummerford", or even I am the "church in Cummerford", but when Bob and I gather we are "blending" ecumenically or some such, even when he and I live closer to each other than to anyone else.

I prefer YP's approach. When you gather with two or three (or twenty or thirty, or whatever) in the Lord's name, He is there. An assembly of believers, any assembly, is just that: an assembly. A city, or town, or hamlet, or a chariot on the south road to Egypt; it doesn't matter. Cutting and pasting based on man-made political jurisdictions is dead from the word "go".
10-30-2008 10:49 AM
Ohio
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by kisstheson View Post
If you will allow me to "muddy the waters" a little, I can see three distinct periods in the "Lord's Recovery" in the 1900's. First there was "early Nee" in the 1920's, 1930's, and the early 1940's. Then there was "later Nee/early Lee", a period which covers from the resumption of WN's ministry in the late 1940's all the way to the mid-1980's. Lastly, there was "later Lee/BB's" which began in the mid-1980's and is still with us today.

You all will undoubtedly remember our time with brother "cuttingstraight" over at "that other forum". It was while I was investigating some issues during debate with "cuttingstraight" that I saw a small, but definitely noticable, difference between WN's speaking in the famous "What Are We?" message and in his book The Normal Christian Church Life, compared to WN's speaking after the resumption of his ministry in 1948, especially in his book Church Affairs. While there is a noticeable hardening toward other Christian groups and toward those who would not completely toe the line in the "Lord's Recovery" in "later Nee", there was a good amount of WN's characteristic big heartedness still in evidence.
KTS, Thanks. I do remember cuttingstraight. How could I forget? We went a few rounds together. He came on board implying that NigelT was a heretic, and I got a little "iritated." He came in like the wind, and left the same way. I miss him.

I guess I view LSM translations of WN with suspicion -- especially the later ones. It's hard for me to believe WN would develop narrow, exclusive tendencies after what he went thru, especially while the communists were taking over the country. You may be right.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Igzy, you may be right. I view pride and religious zeal (think Laodicea) to be far more dangerous to us than the teaching of "one city, one church." Toledo summarized the spirit of WN's teaching quite well. The teaching was proffered to help believers, not hurt them nor divide them. The teaching was basically descriptive, not prescriptive, as it later became. In the opening preface of the book, WN described just such danger.

Personally, I believe that any blessing from the Lord can bring with it some amount of danger. We are so easily puffed up, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. The dangers lie here, rather than in the teaching. Pride can use the most benign of teachings to cause trouble.
10-30-2008 10:22 AM
Cal
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Ohio,

Maybe. But my theory is that any inkling of legality over the one-church-one-city is the camel's nose under the tent. As soon as you in any way start to insist on it, you are destined to assume an attitude of intolerance.

While I believe Nee's heart was in the right place (for whatever that's worth), I also believe that the whole teaching of one-church-one-city is destined to produce division, no matter how benign it starts out.

Why? Because is so darn cut and dried. Either your in the "one church" or you are not. And if you are not, you are dead wrong to those who are in it. Even though they have neglected to remember that they have no way of knowing for sure whether the group they are in is indeed the one church, or that their elders lead that one church.

In other words, the idea doesn't work.
10-30-2008 10:08 AM
Ohio
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
If you are talking about basic spiritual oneness then, yes, the onus is on you in a healthy way. But if you are talking about the local ground teaching then as soon as a group "takes" the ground, they are putting the onus on everyone else to meet with them. So, while I see Ohio's point, I disagree that Nee's version would have resulted in anything different, because once you require the local ground, escalation of the teaching to current intolerance levels is only natural. It's another systemic flaw.
WN taught "basic spiritual oneness," and emphasized that Biblical oneness put an end to all divisive things of man. He spoke how nothing should separate believers except geography. What we see practiced by LSM/LC's in no way resembles what he taught ... in fact he would be appalled by what is done in his name. Most of the GLA churches went back several years ago and read TNCCL when LSM began making claims about one publication and teaching differently. Reading his book, I could not believe the present practices so-called based on his teachings.

I have found that the only teaching of WN's which could be considered "suspect," is the matter of "deputy authority." Due to suspicious LSM editorial practices over the years, however, the verdict is still out on that one. I am listening to Hope, though. He has made some comments of note on this topic.
10-30-2008 10:03 AM
kisstheson
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Hey OBW, nice to see you again!

This little excerpt displays some of the the difficulty of understanding the LC's. Two totally conflicting views of the "ground of oneness." I read Toledo's account, and I agreed. I read OBW's account, and I also agreed. How ironical. The two contradict, yet both are true. How can this be?

This is why I came up with the concept of "early Lee / later Lee." Toledo's post reflects the teachings of WN which impacted the ministry of "early Lee," and which many have espoused, but which have sadly contributed to their also being quarantined over the years. OBW's account reflects the ministry of "later Lee" so staunchly held today by the "beloved blendeds" at LSM.

This highlights the striking differences that exist today between our foundational teachings and our current practices. The extensive writings between the BB's and the CB's, before and after the Whistler quarantine, all too often illustrated this.

True story: one of my younger brothers actually went on TV for his hobby raising rats in our basement. (Oh the stories to tell about that!) You thought your family was strange. Anyways, he went to NYC to film the game show "To Tell The Truth." At the end of the show, they always ask, "Will the real so-n-so please stand up."

Often, during the CB vs. BB debates, I also wondered, "Will the real WL please stand up."
Hello dear brother Ohio,

Ah yes, it is very nice to see dear brother OBW again.

If you will allow me to "muddy the waters" a little, I can see three distinct periods in the "Lord's Recovery" in the 1900's. First there was "early Nee" in the 1920's, 1930's, and the early 1940's. Then there was "later Nee/early Lee", a period which covers from the resumption of WN's ministry in the late 1940's all the way to the mid-1980's. Lastly, there was "later Lee/BB's" which began in the mid-1980's and is still with us today.

You all will undoubtedly remember our time with brother "cuttingstraight" over at "that other forum". It was while I was investigating some issues during debate with "cuttingstraight" that I saw a small, but definitely noticable, difference between WN's speaking in the famous "What Are We?" message and in his book The Normal Christian Church Life, compared to WN's speaking after the resumption of his ministry in 1948, especially in his book Church Affairs. While there is a noticeable hardening toward other Christian groups and toward those who would not completely toe the line in the "Lord's Recovery" in "later Nee", there was a good amount of WN's characteristic big heartedness still in evidence.

Concerning "early Lee" and "later Lee": comparing WL's speaking in the Life Study of James with his Crystallization Study of James, and comparing his speaking on the seven-fold intensified Spirit in the Life Studies of Revelation and Zechariah with his speaking on the same subject during the "high peak" years, while not reflecting directly on the "ground of locality", provides good examples of the noticeable hardening of WL's stances from "early Lee" to "later Lee".

Of course, we can disagree on when exactly "early Lee" became "later Lee" and some could argue that the BB's represent a fourth phase that is even more rigid than "later Lee", but I simply wanted to present what I have found from my own reading of LSM's material.

Grace and peace to you, dear brother.
10-30-2008 09:36 AM
Cal
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Yes, good to see you again OBW.

The odd thing about the local ground is that as soon as you begin to teach it as a required practice the onus immediately goes to the other guy. So I didn't understand Toledo's point at all.

If you are talking about basic spiritual oneness then, yes, the onus is on you in a healthy way. But if you are talking about the local ground teaching then as soon as a group "takes" the ground, they are putting the onus on everyone else to meet with them.

I don't see how you can claim it is any other way. But I'd be open to hearing about it.

So, while I see Ohio's point, I disagree that Nee's version would have resulted in anything different, because once you require the local ground, escalation of the teaching to current intolerance levels is only natural. It's another systemic flaw.
10-30-2008 09:01 AM
Ohio
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I find Toledo’s apparent defense of the LC “ground” ─ whether of locality or oneness ─ interesting. Following are some quotes from a couple of his posts (in green).

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me. It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

But the practice was exactly the opposite. The onus was always on the other guy. He had to come to you or there was no fellowship. We testified about our efforts to avoid going to someone else’s assembly, even those of our relatives. If we had to go, we told horror stories about the deadness of the service. The sermon had to be picked apart; the music decried as worldly or dead.

If you fail to toe the line on the primary LC teachings, you might not be a real “local church.” If you individually weren’t on the same page, your testimony received silence, or groans. You might be counseled about the “flow.”
Hey OBW, nice to see you again!

This little excerpt displays some of the the difficulty of understanding the LC's. Two totally conflicting views of the "ground of oneness." I read Toledo's account, and I agreed. I read OBW's account, and I also agreed. How ironical. The two contradict, yet both are true. How can this be?

This is why I came up with the concept of "early Lee / later Lee." Toledo's post reflects the teachings of WN which impacted the ministry of "early Lee," and which many have espoused, but which have sadly contributed to their also being quarantined over the years. OBW's account reflects the ministry of "later Lee" so staunchly held today by the "beloved blendeds" at LSM.

This highlights the striking differences that exist today between our foundational teachings and our current practices. The extensive writings between the BB's and the CB's, before and after the Whistler quarantine, all too often illustrated this.

True story: one of my younger brothers actually went on TV for his hobby raising rats in our basement. (Oh the stories to tell about that!) You thought your family was strange. Anyways, he went to NYC to film the game show "To Tell The Truth." At the end of the show, they always ask, "Will the real so-n-so please stand up."

Often, during the CB vs. BB debates, I also wondered, "Will the real WL please stand up."
10-29-2008 09:18 AM
OBW
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I find Toledo’s apparent defense of the LC “ground” ─ whether of locality or oneness ─ interesting. Following are some quotes from a couple of his posts (in green).

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

But the practice was exactly the opposite. The onus was always on the other guy. He had to come to you or there was no fellowship. We testified about our efforts to avoid going to someone else’s assembly, even those of our relatives. If we had to go, we told horror stories about the deadness of the service. The sermon had to be picked apart; the music decried as worldly or dead.

If you fail to toe the line on the primary LC teachings, you might not be a real “local church.” If you individually weren’t on the same page, your testimony received silence, or groans. You might be counseled about the “flow.”

I would deny that the ground of oneness can change simply because some group or another wants to define it differently. Our oneness is based upon the oneness of our God Himself. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc. The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

Yes our oneness is based on God himself. It is not based on locality. It is not based on Lee’s teachings. I submit that the oneness of my assembly is greater than that of any in the LC ─ even the entire LC put together. As long as oneness rises from the lips, but excommunication is the practice and separation and even derision of other Christians and their assemblies in your proximity continues, it will always be that way.

Pray for the gospel to go out in every place that God’s name is lifted up. Do it aloud together in your assembly on Sunday. Love your neighbor who is not in the LC, and may not even be Christian. Do justice to all who are oppressed.

The ground of locality makes our oneness practical. I am one with every believer in the place where I live. My claim of oneness with the saints in Moscow and the saints in Beijing rings hollow if I cannot be one with the saints in the city where I live.

Amen. But ground has nothing to do with that. You will find that there are many assemblies around you with affiliations, and no affiliation, whose only “ground” is the acreage their building sits upon. But they are one. They are often one across the “separators” of name that you decry, but cannot get across. They join in the gospel. They join in service. They pray for one another. When disaster befalls one group, others with no obvious link step up to help.

Yes, you can find examples of harsh sectarianism. There are preachers that demean every group that does not hold to their pet teaching, or follow their leader. Unfortunately, the LC has a history of the same. The oneness has been with itself and not with all Christians.

There are now exceptions. The movement away from the old LC ways in some of the GLA LCs has been encouraging. I pray for the day that many ─ even all ─ of the LCs drop their sectarianism, admit that they are another denomination, and join the rest (and much bigger part) of Christianity in a true act of oneness. That will be a true testimony of oneness.
10-26-2008 05:59 AM
aron
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Quote:
Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
Abraham means 'Father of many Nations'.
[And ABRAM fell on his face: God talked with him, saying, As for me, BEHOLD, MY covenant is with you and you shall be the Father of many Nations. Genesis 17:3

Translate Abraham into English....Abraham introduces himself as "Hello. My name is -Father of many Nations-. Everywhere he went, he SPOKE the Word..BELIEVING he was the father of many nations for that is what his name Abraham means.
Thus 3 months later, after God changed Abram's name to Abraham ( I think) He and Sarah conceived Isaac.

Word-Faith says..Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac because not only did Abraham believe God's promise but he spoke and confessed God's promise. He went around saying 'I AM the Father of many nations'. His confession of Faith then birthed Isaac.
I had NEVER seen that account in that light !!!! HONEST!!

WOW!! It was an AWESOME revelation for me!

I then took scriptures that were inscribed into my being and began to speak the Word of God with FAITH...not in a self-centered, shallow way but with DEPTH..with HEART..that changed everthing for me.
cmw,

Great story about Abram/Abraham. I loved it.

I myself also morphed from the sing-songy "pray-reading" to a more personal style of declaring God's word by faith.

Some LC readers might object to my using "personal" to categorize my practice, as if theirs was by comparison "impersonal". But I found the formulaic practices in the LCs to be just that. I was even taught a song: "Oh Lord, Amen, Hallelujah/ that's the way to let Him in". I did see personal variations in the practices of the believers as they prayed over the Scriptures, but these were by far exceptions to the rule. The rule, as I saw/practiced it, was pretty ironclad: "Oh Lord, life... Amen, life... Hallelujah, life...oh Lord, abundant... Amen, abundant life... Hallelujah, abundant life."

All of which, of course, was WONDERFUL for a newbie just coming out of the "silent pews". I had a mouth! I could speak! I could pray! Tremendous!

The practice of praying out loud God's word, of hearing my voice declare God's holy breath into being, instead of the curses and threats and idle boasts of my earlier days, was a phenomenal experience for me. But like many things in the LSM program, this seeming "advance" soon became a cage. The LSM-promulgated practice, in this case praying God's word, became the "recovered" truth/experience/practice, and any different experience or practice or interpretation was considered deviant.

So I guess I'm partly with the LSM program, and partly not. Countmeworthy, thanks bunches for the "Father of many nations" story. Like with "pray-reading", or what I usually term "declaring God's word", sometimes you have to speak something into being. Sometimes you have to lead with your mouth, and your brain and heart can catch up later!!
10-25-2008 04:10 PM
aron
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

However, there remains in the ground of locality alone the potential for divisiveness based upon a randomly drawn up city boundary line. The ground of locality by itself would allow the brothers in Livonia to refuse to meet with the brothers in Detroit. The brothers in DC could refuse to meet with the brothers in Silver Springs. The saints in Huntington Beach could refuse to meet with the saints in Anaheim. Watchman Nee warned against the dangers of "localism" which are inherent in the term "ground of locality".
My Bible seems to "amen" these sentiments. "Therefore I judge that we do not harass those from the Gentiles [or from Detroit, or Silver Springs, or Anaheim] who are turning to God, but that we write [fellowship] to them to abstain from the contaminations of idols and fornication and what is strangled in blood." ~Acts 15:19,20.

That word is from James, no less, who seems to be the most "legal" of the bunch. So why should we come along and add rules beyond abstaining from sin?

You either believe or you don't. If you don't, you are "not of us". If you believe, you are "of us". Any demarcations beyond that cause division and loss.
10-25-2008 01:51 PM
Toledo
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.
I would deny that the ground of oneness can change simply because some group or another wants to define it differently. Our oneness is based upon the oneness of our God Himself. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc. The ground of oneness means that we are one with every believer everywhere at any time. There is never any excuse for division except for open sin.

The ground of locality makes our oneness practical. I am one with every believer in the place where I live. My claim of oneness with the saints in Moscow and the saints in Beijing rings hollow if I cannot be one with the saints in the city where I live.

However, there remains in the ground of locality alone the potential for divisiveness based upon a randomly drawn up city boundary line. The ground of locality by itself would allow the brothers in Livonia to refuse to meet with the brothers in Detroit. The brothers in DC could refuse to meet with the brothers in Silver Springs. The saints in Huntington Beach could refuse to meet with the saints in Anaheim. Watchman Nee warned against the dangers of "localism" which are inherent in the term "ground of locality".

If I am pressed to make a definition, I refer to the ground of oneness expressed in locality. We are in fact one in the triune God. That oneness needs to start in our own locality, but it does not stop there.

As far as a self-selected group of brothers redefining the ground of oneness, there is no such thing. Our oneness is based on Christ alone. Anyone who would add any issue ("one with the ministry"...?) or add any sort of requirement is no longer on the ground of oneness. That's just another name for denomination (e.g. LSM , Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. ).
10-25-2008 01:20 PM
kisstheson
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.

Terry
Amen, dear brother Terry and all you dear brothers and sisters. I am very thankful to Bill W for starting this thread and for all the fellowship thus far in this thread.

The "ground of locality" really is so simple and so beautiful! How precious it is: Focus and center on Christ, be open to receive all genuine believers, be open to receive help from all genuine believers, do not participate in any divisions, and do not become a division. This view of "the ground" was taught and practiced (at great cost) by dear ones in the 20th century like Simon Meek, Faithful Luke, and Stephen Kaung (co-workers of Watchman Nee), along with dear ones like TAS and Bakht Singh.

This view of the "ground of locality" is very healthy and serves as a real safeguard, since violating any one of the above points means forfeiting the ground of locality. The version of "the ground" taught in the LC, sad to say, has not kept the LC from becoming narrow and exclusive, just as it did not keep the various branches of the Closed Brethren who taught a similar version of "the ground" from becoming narrow and exclusive.

May our dear Lord keep our eyes focused on Him alone and may He keep our hearts enlarged to receive all those whom He has received.
10-25-2008 08:27 AM
Terry
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.

I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches). Thus, in my locality we are beholden to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself personally. We do not receive (nor have we ever received) marching orders from any other locality or headquarters. We are free to receive spiritual help through the speaking or writings of any believer, and though we may fellowship and commiserate with other local churches, we are free to follow the Lord and to seek out fellowship with any Christian we may meet.
Toldeo, I see a vast difference between "ground of locality" versus "ground of oneness".
Through the ground of locality there are no barriers in following the Lord and whom we recieve through the Lord.
Through the ground of oneness, it is defined by a select group and subject to change at any given moment. Consider the history of the local churches. The 'ground of oneness" changed through the decades.
Problem is when you endorse both teachings, there is an inherrent conflict of interest.

Terry
10-22-2008 06:53 AM
aron
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.
Toledo,

I like your writing. This is the kind of speaking I love to "meet on the street" where I live. May God grace you on your journey, with your fellows, in your "locality".

Peace to you, and thanks for sharing.
10-22-2008 06:44 AM
YP0534
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I follow you but all denominations tend to cause some confusion in such ways, don't they?

I mean, the Baptists don't really own baptism, do they? Aren't we all "baptists" from a certain perspective? The Church of Christ isn't really THE Church of Christ, right? The Catholic Church isn't really the catholic Church.

Anyways, I was just noticing the tendancy here to avoid the "Capital L Captial C" name that our brothers and sisters in Christianity have generally known this group by for going on 30 years now.

I thought it was kind of odd is all.
10-22-2008 06:20 AM
countmeworthy
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
A trend I've noticed:

....around here they avoid use of the common denominational name "Local Church" that has been used in Christianity for decades. I've noticed this most commonly among those who are most strongly antagonistic to the group. Instead, they prefer to add other words as descriptors such as "system" or "movement" or to make express reference to the denomination's LSM connection, e.g. "LSM-affiliated local churches."

A couple of observations using my perspective.

Often times preachers/teachers/evangelists who have never been under Witness Lee or even heard of him use the term local church to refer to congregations who assemble under a particular pastor.

The first time I heard a pastor speak about the local church, many years ago, my ears perked up wondering if he/she was referring to 'THE' local church.

The pastor wasn't.

Then when I came to this board, I had to figure out what LSM was. It took some time to figure out the local church as I knew it had splintered and those who followed and parroted Witness Lee's teachings to a Teeeee were the LSMrs..

I think this is why there is such a strong application differentiating the LSM local church from 'THE local church'.

One more caveat....there are probably lurkers who have never been under Witness Lee's ministry but have 'touched' it or have friends/relatives who are in it and to distinguish the different groups is helpful to them.

Have a good and BLESSED day.
10-22-2008 03:36 AM
YP0534
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

A trend I've noticed:

It also occurs to me that there is perhaps a desire to deny that the word "church" is even properly applicable to the group due to grave allegations of abuse and error. Or perhaps it's because of a desire to preserve the phrase "local church" for general use. But around here they avoid use of the common denominational name "Local Church" that has been used in Christianity for decades. I've noticed this most commonly among those who are most strongly antagonistic to the group. Instead, they prefer to add other words as descriptors such as "system" or "movement" or to make express reference to the denomination's LSM connection, e.g. "LSM-affiliated local churches."

I find that I'm completely comfortable utilizing the denominational name that Christianity Today used in print from at least the early 1980s and that the group itself used in its recent pleadings to the United States Supreme Court, capital letters and singular to boot. This is "The Local Church of Witness Lee" or, more concisely, "The Local Church."

The Local Church is a denomination that got its name on account of their peculiar doctrine of localism which began as a truth concerning the oneness of all believers but eventually became a point of division, as has happened with so many good teachings in so many groups throughout history.
10-20-2008 01:19 PM
countmeworthy
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?
Somewhere between the LC pray-reading practice and the Word-Faith practice, the LIGHT came on!

I don't know if you have ever heard about Abraham's FAITH..and how it was 'birthed'. So I'll tell it as I heard it in the Word-Faith movement 'cause I never heard it in the LC.
We know Abraham's name was Abram before God changed it.
While he was Abram, God told him, to look toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them....so shall your descendants be." Genesis 15:5

But nothing happened for 25 plus years. He and Sarai were childless..even though GOD promised them an heir & then some.
So why were they childless for so long? Word-Faith teaches says it's because Abram didn't speak what God promised him. He merely believed. He didn't take 'action'.

Now watch what happened when God changed Abram's name to Abraham:


Abraham means 'Father of many Nations'.
[And ABRAM fell on his face: God talked with him, saying, As for me, BEHOLD, MY covenant is with you and you shall be the Father of many Nations. Genesis 17:3

Translate Abraham into English....Abraham introduces himself as "Hello. My name is -Father of many Nations-. Everywhere he went, he SPOKE the Word..BELIEVING he was the father of many nations for that is what his name Abraham means.
Thus 3 months later, after God changed Abram's name to Abraham ( I think) He and Sarah conceived Isaac.

Word-Faith says..Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac because not only did Abraham believe God's promise but he spoke and confessed God's promise. He went around saying 'I AM the Father of many nations'. His confession of Faith then birthed Isaac.
I had NEVER seen that account in that light !!!! HONEST!!

WOW!! It was an AWESOME revelation for me!

I then took scriptures that were inscribed into my being and began to speak the Word of God with FAITH...not in a self-centered, shallow way but with DEPTH..with HEART..that changed everthing for me.

Remember..in the LC we 'knew' the WORD of God. We could pray read it backwards and forwards. WE/I did not know how to apply it practically because everything was focused on the 'ministry' of the church, for the church. It was for the 'building up of the body of Christ'...only we didn't really know how to BUILD UP the Body of CHRIST! That's why so many LC'rs and ex LCr's are screwed up in the head!

Then you have the WORD-FAITH people who 'see' something but it's all too shallow and self centered.. "JESUS came that I would have life and that means, I am to be WEALTHY and HEALTHY. -MEEEE-...Healthy and WEALTHY-- THAT's RIGHT... MEEEEEEEEEEE!!! :rollingeyes2:

WRONGO-PONGO!!!!

Of Course God doesn't want us to live like paupers..and be sickly people..but that's where Word-Faith has failed. Very few Word-Faith people really know how to take hold of the DEPTH of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of GOD!! [Romans 11:33a]

Then..back in the day..and probably still today..the LSM/LC takes the Word of God..pray reads it..chews it, digests it..and they don't know what to do with it! Because they don't know how to have a genuine, true, deep relationship with the LORD GOD JEHOVA and His Son, JESUS and HIS Holy Spirit!

I hope I made some sense. Thanks for reading my posts.
10-20-2008 12:38 PM
countmeworthy
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?

Did you find any overlap in the two practices? It seems by your description that they are similar.

I always like the enthusiasm I see infused in your posts.
Hey Aron... THANKS for your heartfelt observation of my posts. I not only write 'enthusiasaticly'... I pretty much live 'enthusiasticly' too. That's because the WORD is really Alive to me... The Word is TRUTH..and it IS living and operative...sharper than any two edged sword!

So...going to the question..GREAT question btw!! For I've been very conscientious in my observations of both practices!

I will do my best to explain. In a peculiar way, there are similarites..

I'm going to take an example of a familiar scripture we all learned in the LC and one that Word-Faith uses. Both ministries use the scripture but use it differently.

The scripture is John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

As you might know, I got saved in the LC...not having any real bible teaching background. In the 70's, when I got saved and would read/pray read that scripture what was impressed to me was that this LIFE was Eternal..but also 'life giving'. It took me a long time to figure out what was meant by 'life giving'. You remember the song...Life, life the issue is life..

Our meetings and 'speaking' and pray-reading was always done 'differently' than 'Christianity'. We pray-read in a *sing-song* way.
The reason we pray-read with that enthusiasitc sing-song way was to get our 'spirit in gear'. That's what we were led to believe. You might say to 'Birth' the scriptures into us that they would become living & operative in our being.

So we prayed & pray/read...OH! I CAME...Oh I came that You..Oh YOU would have LIFE...Oh THAT I..that IIIIIIIIIII...Oh that IIIIIIIIIIIIII would have LIFE. You get the picture.

Truth be told...we pray read 'enthusiastically' and 'from our spirit'...in that all too familiar LC tone. But how many people really understood what in the world were they really saying !!!! WHAT does it really MEAN that Jesus came that we would have life and have it more abundantly?

Did does that scripture mean (in the LC) that He came we would have eternal life and to pray-read that scripture and every scripture 'enthusiastically' and in a song-song way, 'chewing' on every word or every two words until we knew that scripture or scriptures by heart?

For me... I did not know what the scripture really meant..other than Jesus came that I would have eternal life and that I would learn to speak from 'my spirit', which came by way of emphasizing the words of a scripture, reading scriptures in that strong/song-song way.

For me..That is what I thought John 10:10b was all about. Honest. I can't speak for anyone else in the LC though.

--------------

Now..30 yrs later..after having a private walk with the LORD..WHEN I walked with Him..I repented deeply for having put the LORD in the back-burner all those years, I stumbled into the Word-Faith movement.
Here, the people are confessing the Word of God positively.

So..they take John 10:10b and they're take on it..is that God doesn't want us to be physically sick. He doesn't want us to be poor. He doesn't want us to walk in ignorance. Jesus came that we would have LIFE! Is being sick the LIFE we ought to have? What kind of LIFE is being poor?

NO ! JESUS came that we would be PHYSICALLY Healthy and Financially WEALTHY..and to be happy.

Now...let me also add...that some Word Faith churches do acknowledge there is tribulation in this world..and we will suffer. But by and large...God's promise to us is that we would be WEALTHY..for we are the seed of Abraham.
We (I) learned to take that scripture for instance and speak it positively over my life.

I learned to make my request be made known unto God..make 'sure' it was in alignment with the WORD of GOD & believe that as I delight in the LORD, He would grant me the desires of our/my heart(s), according to Psalm 37:4.

-------------

So when it came to John 10:10b, I learned to take the BEST of both worlds!

I have to believe that Watchman Nee in particular and I suppose Brother Lee perhaps, truly wanted the church to know the LORD JESUS in a deep, profound way..to have a genuine relationship with HIM and with one another. But something was amiss. I think -brother Lee- had a LOT of chinese/catholic/socialist/communist influences mold his idea of the church life...which is why the saints for the most part never truly GREW strong in the LORD and in His Ways.

Then...Word-Faith..takes the scriptures and speak/confess the Word positively...we are speaking FAITH and LIFE into us...but the speaking is incomplete too! The LC's speaking/pray-reading was in complete and the Word-Faith speaking is incomplete too!

I don't know if that makes sense to you or not. I PRAY it does.

To be continued........
10-20-2008 06:38 AM
aron
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Quote:
Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
Word-Faith takes scriptures and 'faiths' them into their/our being. Of course it makes sense ! After all FAITH is the Substance of things HOPED for..it is the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Faith comes by speaking the WORD of GOD until it is birthed in our being.

It WORKS too
cmw,

What is the difference between the Word-Faith "speaking the word of God until it is birthed in our being" and the LSM practice of pray-reading the Word?

Did you find any overlap in the two practices? It seems by your description that they are similar.

I always like the enthusiasm I see infused in your posts.
10-20-2008 06:30 AM
aron
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post

I received a burned-in vision of the oneness of the believers where I was but it seems pretty clear that the denominational practices in many other places left a large number without the benefit of ever having seen that.
I had a burned-in vision of the oneness even before I ever heard of these folks. I got it from the Bible. One God, one Lord and Savior, one faith... etc. It was pretty clear to me. I thought it admirable that someone was willing to take a stand on the ground of oneness, and it was a big reason I threw my lot in with this crew.

To use Toledo's parlance, I also found a lot of sudsy, dirty bathwater in the tub, and it surely needed draining! But the 'baby' of oneness is clearly in God's word, and I keep it. We are one not because we follow Lee's teachings nor because we're united in opposition. We are one because one day we believed, and the light came, the true light which shined into the world.
10-20-2008 05:09 AM
YP0534
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toledo View Post
I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.
[snip]
I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches).
Toledo:

My observation is that among those you speak of there is less of a desire to move beyond the Local Church and more of a mere rebellion against it.

In saying so, I think you have implicitly hit the nail on the head of why that might be. So many have not really recognized the LSM denominationalism for what it is and still internally and habitually assent to the claim that the Local Church is the unique expression of the "genuine local church" in every place where it might be found.

Thus, the method of separation is more likely to be based upon exaggerated horrors of doctrine and practice rather than a somewhat disinterested or reluctant distancing on the painfully ironic fact of the Local Church's denominational stands on any number of items.

I received a burned-in vision of the oneness of the believers where I was but it seems pretty clear that the denominational practices in many other places left a large number without the benefit of ever having seen that.
10-19-2008 03:27 PM
Toledo
Re: Food For Thought Regarding The Ground Of The Church

I always find the derogatory comments on this site regarding the ground of oneness or the ground of locality to be strange. It is as though none of you ever met with a local church, or ever understood the meaning of the oneness there.

My understanding of the ground of locality is simple enough: we are one with every born again believer in our locality. Actually, we are one with every born again believer throughout all time and space -- from Pentecost to the Rapture, and all across the earth. We are just as one with the Apostle Paul as we are with our own spiritual companion. However, the ground of locality makes this oneness practical: we are able to fellowship with any believer we meet, whether or not they agree with us or meet with us, and we are to start right in the city where we live.

The ground of locality takes the onus off the other guy (he doesn't agree with me...!), and puts it squarely on our own shoulders: "As much as lieth with you, be at peace with all men" ~Romans 12:18. It also give me a way to open up my heart to every believer everywhere, whether he prays like me, or looks like me, or reads the Bible the same as me.

It is not (and was never) a matter of agreement in doctrine, practice, vocabulary, or terms. It is (and always has been) a simple matter of the divine life: God is our father and we are all brothers.

I have many children, both sons and daughters. When they were growing up in my house it was not unusual for them to have disagreements, arguments (and even the occasional fist fight). However, despite any disagreement, argument (or fist fight) they were (and still are) all my children, and they were (and still are) brothers and sisters, related in the life received from their parents.

You may, of course, feel free to mock the ground of oneness, or the ground of locality (or whatever term you may choose to use). I think the LSM has given God's enemy ample ground to accuse them (and us by association with them). However, all your mocking and accusations do not take away one whit from the very life of God Himself that has given new birth to every believer, and has made us all wholly one in Him.

Much of our struggle in these days has to do with baby and bathwater decisions. What do we keep? What do we throw away? I do not believe that every experience of Christ for the past 35 years has gone for naught. That doesn't seem like the sort of Christ I have come to know.

However, if there is a profit to be found out of the years of struggle, where do we begin to look? Do we really want to throw out EVERY teaching of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee? What about their teachings on the blood of Christ, or on the divinity of Christ? Where do you want to draw the line?

I have found that the matter of locality has set me utterly free from denominational Christianity (including that of the LSM churches). Thus, in my locality we are beholden to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself personally. We do not receive (nor have we ever received) marching orders from any other locality or headquarters. We are free to receive spiritual help through the speaking or writings of any believer, and though we may fellowship and commiserate with other local churches, we are free to follow the Lord and to seek out fellowship with any Christian we may meet.
10-18-2008 10:30 AM
countmeworthy
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

I never understood 'spiritually' the ground of oneness or locality. Notice I wrote SPIRITUALLY!

On the outward..on the surface.....the fact we all...most of us anyway..talked the same..used the same lingo, the same hand expressions, the same body expressions...(very evident in the men in particular)..same dress styles, same hair styles...that we could go 'churching' from one locality to another, take in hospitality, go to a meeting and feel right at 'home'..pray read with the best of 'em...get up and share a testimony or re-enforce the message...sing the same hymns/songs....

THAT my friends was 'ONENESS'....
But...that said, I'm not going to be quick and criticize Lee's vision of that type of ministy.

Look. A Catholic person can go to mass anywhere in the world..even have a mass held in his/her home...and all catholics will feel right at 'home'.

Same goes for those who are die-hard Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc... In more recent years, I found myself connecting with the Word-Faith people.

For a time, I got a lot out of it...but I got a LOT out of it because of the foundation I received in reading and studying the Word in my church home in San Diego...back in the 70's. Yes...we were under Lee's ministry but my LORD was/is Christ Jesus. I was 'built' with the saints in San Diego...not with those in Anaheim, Boston or Taipai. When I went to the conferences/trainings in Anaheim & took hospitality, meeting saints from other cities, states and countries, it was awesome. Perhaps I was blessed to be around LIVING SAINTS. Yes, we called on the LORD and Praised the LORD to a fault& pray-read the Word, it seemed...but it was my training GROUND.

It prepared me for what was to lie ahead in the future..which is NOW.
When I connected with the Word-Faith people, the emphasis is confessing the WORD of God...but very few confess the Word of God believing it will transform their way of thinking..from the natural to the spiritual...I mean true spirituality...Explaining true spirituality is a totally different topic I'm not going to discuss here.

Word-Faith takes scriptures and 'faiths' them into their/our being. Of course it makes sense ! After all FAITH is the Substance of things HOPED for..it is the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Faith comes by speaking the WORD of GOD until it is birthed in our being.

It WORKS too
!!


Where Word-Faith preachers/teachers are screwing up is they are mainly focusing on speaking FAITH over physical healing and $$$ prosperity $$$.

So...here's my point on the ground of oneness and the ground of locality:
Every branch and every brand of Christianity has it's own 'ground of oneness'.

As for the ground of oneness/locality taught by Lee's ministry: As flaw filled as the ministry was...it gave ME the foundation in the WORD of GOD .."All GET OUT!" I don't necessarily credit Lee's ministry per sae..'cause I read the Word of God a LOT on my own. BUT in my tenure in San Diego, we got together a lot in homes to read the Word, pray the WORD, read messages, fellowship one with another..breaking bread from house to house...as well as going to the meetings.

Was it a perfect locality? NOOOOOO but it was one of the best imho. Those were good years. Did everyone have a good experience in San Diego? No...and obviously, by 1978/79, my season in San Diego and the local churches ended.
10-18-2008 08:08 AM
Timotheist
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Not only is the ground of oneness in expression a fallacy, it is doomed to fail.

As soon as there is the first dissent, then the testimony is lost, leaving the core only one option: to villify the dissenter. It does not matter if the dissenter was "right" or "wrong" in his questioning. To forsake the oneness is sin enough.
10-18-2008 07:56 AM
Terry
Re: Food FOR THOUGHT REGARDING GROUND OF CHURCH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill W View Post

Saints,when I was in the local churches from 1972-1990 I always wondered where in the world they conceived their doctrine "the ground of oneness." This doctrine was one the most distructive tools the enemy of God used to bring into captivity the minds of so many saints myself included.If we read the above verses,then you clearly see what the true "ground"of oneness is between "all" christians.It's the inward reality daily between us and our God,and not some objective doctrinal oneness.

You may have a doctrine of the ground of oneness with all saints,but what if you depart from Christ? Do you have the reality of such oneness as mentioned in John 17,or do you merely have a dead teaching with no reality.We need to be very careful to claim that we are on a ground of oneness because it can change although we have the doctrine.The point I am trying to make is that today I may proclaim to be something ,but tommorrow I may be something else.This is why our oneness with Christ is organic and fluctuates based on where we are today.
A question I have is at what point in time did the ground of locality become replaced by ground of oneness?
The application of ground of oneness being nothing more than a facade in presenting a visible united front.

In teaching the ground of oneness would be like trying to capture air in a bottle and market it as your unique product.
Christ is unique, but He is also so general and availalble. At any given moment, when there is the living reality of the oneness as mentioned in John 17:21, it doesn't matter whom our brethren in Christ fellowship with. All that matters is: "That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that You have sent Me."

Terry
10-17-2008 07:56 PM
Bill W
The Ground Of The Church

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Saints,when I was in the local churches from 1972-1990 I always wondered where in the world they conceived their doctrine "the ground of oneness." This doctrine was one the most distructive tools the enemy of God used to bring into captivity the minds of so many saints myself included.If we read the above verses,then you clearly see what the true "ground"of oneness is between "all" christians.It's the inward reality daily between us and our God,and not some objective doctrinal oneness.

You may have a doctrine of the ground of oneness with all saints,but what if you depart from Christ? Do you have the reality of such oneness as mentioned in John 17,or do you merely have a dead teaching with no reality.We need to be very careful to claim that we are on a ground of oneness because it can change although we have the doctrine.The point I am trying to make is that today I may proclaim to be something ,but tommorrow I may be something else.This is why our oneness with Christ is organic and fluctuates based on where we are today.

For any group of Christians to proclaim that they are on the unique 'ground of oneness"is absurb because it's a daily matter both individually and corporately.Saying something and convincing others that it's the truth doesn't make it true.What makes it true is when I subjectively abide in Christ with other saints based on John 17,then I am positioned to experience the true oneness of Christ.When I am dwelling in unity with all the saints in Him,then I am truly on the real sacred ground of oneness .

Don't let anyone deceive you with flattering words regarding how they alone are on the unique ground of oneness of the Church.Search the scriptures and examine for yourself what the truth in God's Word says about true oneness.Remember the Apostle Paul said that in the last days many shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.Rightly dividing the Word of God and searching the scriptures to measure man's doctrines can keep us and our families from much heartache and misery from those ones whose intentions for us are something other than Christ.This is our responsibility before the Lord,and it is our right to instruct, reproof,and correct saints based on His Word.If fear keeps us from doing this matter,then we become servants of man and his organization and not servants to God and His organic union.Chose today whom you will serve,but as for me and my family we will serve the Lord!Grace and Mercy be with you all amen!

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