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Old 06-27-2018, 10:43 AM   #4
Sons to Glory!
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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Default Re: Was Witness Lee a Calvinist?

Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post

Lee believed in somewhere between Calvinism and Arminianism, in what he called the "dispensational punishment of the kingdom". It is not an attempt to merge both views together, but to take a middle line, where both views are valid. It is based on treating all the bible verses that Calvinists and Arminians use as equally valid. It is not an either/or situation.

When Protestantism rejected the idea of purgatory, and mostly because of its relationship to Catholic indulgences and greed, with it, they also took away the idea of temporal punishment for the Christian.
This has been the cause of much debate and disagreement regarding the security of salvation between Calvinism and Arminiamism. "dispensation punishment", is a way to reconcile both Calvinist and Arminian views. In other words, Lee believed that a believer is saved forever, yet unlike an Ultra-Calvinist, would not believe that a Christian can live however they like without any consequences which is a common objection to Calvinism.

Lee also believed in God's sovereignty and in man's free will at the same time. So we cannot say that he was a strict "5 point Calvinist". He seemed to accept both sides of the argument but tended towards the Calvinist side if one wanted to "pick a side". But I agree with Lee that the truth is not one to the exclusion of the other .

I believe the people associated with these views that Lee picked up on are GH Lang, R. Govett, D.M. Panton.
I think that is pretty well put! Thanks for pointing out that when the church rebelled against papal Rome and all those messed-up ideas, they seemed to pretty much throw out any idea of accountability. So these days we still have 95% of Christians going too far to the other extreme, i.e., all grace and no accountability. (Which is interesting since so much of Christendom practices the New Covenant much like we were still in the old, which all its legalism.) There are a few in Christendom that point out accountability and the Bema, but not many.

I appreciate WL not cutting certain verses out that don't line up well (like Calvinist & Armenians tend to do with the other's view). But I wonder if perhaps he stressed the accountability side too much, trying to counter the popular view in Christianity? What I got out of WL's teaching on this was, "God is a steamroller and if you get in the way of His purpose He will crush you flat in an instant!" Now it may have been immaturity on my part - that I took it that way - but it produced a HUGE fear in me that I am still recovering from. That is, I long held a fear-based idea of God ("I knew that you were a hard man . . ."), which was not very conducive to my walk with Him, and tended to put me in a performance realm where I couldn't measure up.

In our business we teach people that there are two sides to the benefits of achieving any goal. One is what is gained by reaching the goal; the other is the loss to be avoided. We teach that both are good to keep in mind. However, focusing on the downside all the time is certainly not the way to go. For instance, a good coach doesn't harangue his players constantly about stepping out of bounds, but rather the main focus is encouraging them in reaching the goal. (yes they must know what the possible infractions are, but . . .)

Again, it may have been my relative immaturity back then that caused me to pick up a fear/performance based view of God from WL's teachings, but I've talked with many who were in this same boat as me.
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