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Old 04-30-2020, 07:16 PM   #1
Sons to Glory!
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Default Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

The last couple days on the index page of this forum, a couple authors (Gordon Furguson is one) have been highlighted who have written things about Watchman Nee and Witness Lee's teachings. I've read just a little of the things linked to, and one main subject seems to be the authors' disagreement with the teaching of man being a tripartite being - spirit, soul and body. From what I've read, the augment is made that this view is not supported in the word, and therefore lends itself to an overly mystical approach in Christians. The authors appear to support the idea that man is in fact dichotomous - soul and spirit are synonymous with each other in the Bible.

Personally, I believe man has been made with three main parts, as is said in 1st Thessalonians 5:3, "your whole spirit and soul and body . . ." (the Greek has the article "and" between each). Admittedly I first heard this teaching in the LC, when I arrived in 1974. Everything I read in scripture seems to support this. But I'm curious, do others see man's makeup the same way, or is this another LC Kool-Aid drink I've swallowed and need to reconsider?
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Old 04-30-2020, 08:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - same or different?

To provide some more granularity regarding the tripartite man teaching, according to Nee/Lee, the three parts of man are further divided up thus:

body - physical body
soul - mind, emotion, will
spirit - conscience, fellowship, intuition
(heart = soul plus conscience)

I did note with interest one of the verses that was referenced in one of the articles you mentioned, Mark 12:30:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Heart, soul, mind, and strength. This would mean that, according to the LC teaching, in that verse Jesus is telling us to love God with:

-our whole soul plus 1/3 of our spirit (heart)
-our whole soul (soul)
-1/3 of our soul (mind)
-some % of our body (strength)

It would make no sense for Jesus to tell us to love God but leave 2/3 of our spirit (the main organ to contact God according to the LC, remember) out of it.

I personally doubt Nee/Lee got this teaching right, but look forward to reading others' thoughts.
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Old 04-30-2020, 08:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - same or different?

Definitely our soul and our spirit are not the same. But I'm not sure we can say that our spirit and soul are different "parts." Describing man is almost as complicated as describing God. Consider all the nuanced descriptions: heart, conscience, will, inner man, hidden man, mind, personality, disposition, self, emotions, etc.
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Old 04-30-2020, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - same or different?

WL's teaching was very formulaic. Breaking man down into three part, diagram and all, and somehow that was supposed to represent something that nobody else had ever seen before. I would agree that it's much more complicated than that.

There is a statement in the Ferguson article that I think does a good job summarizing the issue with what Nee/Lee taught: "Building a theological system on passages intended to provide practical motivations is highly suspect, to say the least. However, Nee has not only chosen a suspect approach, he has deemed it absolutely essential to our understanding of the Bible."
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

It is difficult to explain the difference between the spirit and soul but I do believe there is a difference. I do adhere to 1st Thessalonians 5:3.

The only way I can explain it is growing up Catholic and going to mass regularly, the prayers were dead. I did not know any better back then. But being at mass did not draw to Jesus. Some or even many Catholics may disagree with me and that is their prerogative. Yet, I am sure there are many Catholics that do pray to the LORD from the depth of their being and do not know they are doing so. ( I am leaving praying to Mary or the saints out of this). After I got saved, I learned to pray even to call on the Lord from the depth of my being.

I often here people use the Lord Jesus Name in vain. They are not calling on Him from a pure heart, a loving heart or even a contrite heart. They are using their soulish flesh to release their frustration and anger but in doing so they are degrading His Precious and Holy Name. They are not calling on Him to help them out of their situation.

Using these examples it is easy for me to then distinguish the soul from the spirit. It is the only way I know how to explain it.




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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
The last couple days on the index page of this forum, a couple authors (Gordon Furguson is one) have been highlighted who have written things about Watchman Nee and Witness Lee's teachings. I've read just a little of the things linked to, and one main subject seems to be the authors' disagreement with the teaching of man being a tripartite being - spirit, soul and body. From what I've read, the augment is made that this view is not supported in the word, and therefore lends itself to an overly mystical approach in Christians. The authors appear to support the idea that man is in fact dichotomous - soul and spirit are synonymous with each other in the Bible.

Personally, I believe man has been made with three main parts, as is said in 1st Thessalonians 5:3, "your whole spirit and soul and body . . ." (the Greek has the article "and" between each). Admittedly I first heard this teaching in the LC, when I arrived in 1974. Everything I read in scripture seems to support this. But I'm curious, do others see man's makeup the same way, or is this another LC Kool-Aid drink I've swallowed and need to reconsider?
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Old 05-01-2020, 12:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

Gordon Ferguson, in his article, has refferenced this excerpt from something called The College Press Commentary

"That idea is further underlined with the combination “spirit, soul and body.” Much discussion of this phrase has concerned whether it indicates that human beings are trichotomous, consisting of three distinct aspects described by these terms, or dichotomous, really consisting of two aspects, body and spirit. In favor of the former interpretation is the fact that all three terms are used here; in favor of the latter is the difficulty in distinguishing clearly between the meaning of “spirit” (pneuma) and “soul” (psychē). However, it must be conceded that Paul is not discussing the precise nature of humanity but is offering assurance of God’s protection. The combination of three terms here is probably only intended as a means of underlining the comprehensive nature of that protection; it is no more a systematic presentation of human nature than is the combination “heart, soul, mind and strength” in Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27. Paul, like the other New Testament writers, repeatedly indicates that God’s purpose is to save the whole person, not just some part."
-
I think this is a pretty fair representation of what is taught by most orthodox, evangelical protestant teachers, scholars and apologists. To be sure, what Nee originally brought forth back in the day in mainland China in the middle of the 20th century, Witness Lee took and ran with until it reached all new heights of exaggeration and absurdity, until we ended up with "Get out of your mind get your spirit in gear!"
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Old 05-02-2020, 08:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Gordon Ferguson, in his article, has refferenced this excerpt from something called The College Press Commentary

"That idea is further underlined with the combination “spirit, soul and body.” Much discussion of this phrase has concerned whether it indicates that human beings are trichotomous, consisting of three distinct aspects described by these terms, or dichotomous, really consisting of two aspects, body and spirit. In favor of the former interpretation is the fact that all three terms are used here; in favor of the latter is the difficulty in distinguishing clearly between the meaning of “spirit” (pneuma) and “soul” (psychē). However, it must be conceded that Paul is not discussing the precise nature of humanity but is offering assurance of God’s protection. The combination of three terms here is PROBABLY only intended as a means of underlining the comprehensive nature of that protection; it is no more a systematic presentation of human nature than is the combination “heart, soul, mind and strength” in Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27. Paul, like the other New Testament writers, repeatedly indicates that God’s purpose is to save the whole person, not just some part."
-
I think this is a pretty fair representation of what is taught by most orthodox, evangelical protestant teachers, scholars and apologists. To be sure, what Nee originally brought forth back in the day in mainland China in the middle of the 20th century, Witness Lee took and ran with until it reached all new heights of exaggeration and absurdity, until we ended up with "Get out of your mind get your spirit in gear!"
-
Really!? Ferguson said above: "probably," therefore he admits it's just his take on it. And everyone I read interprets scripture to say we have three parts (in the image and likeness of the triune God who created us). And I don't think I'm just reading those who are considered on the fringe. But even if these authors are on the fringe, I see the aspect of three all over creation, in scripture, and yes, in man too.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:32 AM   #8
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Default Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

https://biblearchive.com/blog/man-as...or-trichotomy/
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

I found a dichotomy view

https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-is-the-soul

the bible did not support trichotomy at all, I hold scriptures above men's teaching.
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - same or different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
To provide some more granularity regarding the tripartite man teaching, according to Nee/Lee, the three parts of man are further divided up thus:

body - physical body
soul - mind, emotion, will
spirit - conscience, fellowship, intuition
(heart = soul plus conscience)

I did note with interest one of the verses that was referenced in one of the articles you mentioned, Mark 12:30:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Heart, soul, mind, and strength. This would mean that, according to the LC teaching, in that verse Jesus is telling us to love God with:

-our whole soul plus 1/3 of our spirit (heart)
-our whole soul (soul)
-1/3 of our soul (mind)
-some % of our body (strength)

It would make no sense for Jesus to tell us to love God but leave 2/3 of our spirit (the main organ to contact God according to the LC, remember) out of it.

I personally doubt Nee/Lee got this teaching right, but look forward to reading others' thoughts.
please stop guessing and stick to the scripture

https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-is-the-soul

the spirit have the mind, how does it mind is only within the soul? if it can't be separated, don't do it.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
Really!? Ferguson said above: "probably," therefore he admits it's just his take on it. And everyone I read interprets scripture to say we have three parts (in the image and likeness of the triune God who created us). And I don't think I'm just reading those who are considered on the fringe. But even if these authors are on the fringe, I see the aspect of three all over creation, in scripture, and yes, in man too.
Sons to Glory! Could you please tell us of what practical application and benefit it is to know the difference between our soul and our spirit? I think we're all familiar with the verses used by Nee and Lee to support the tripartite view, so please don't just quote those verses as "proof". Now I happened to think that scripture does make a distinction, although I'm not sure it is not a distinction without a difference, and more importantly, what is the real practical application and benefit of knowing about the difference between our soul and our human spirit.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - same or different?

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Originally Posted by jesusislord View Post
please stop guessing and stick to the scripture

https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-is-the-soul
Who's guessing? Who's not sticking to scripture?

The discussion was about the soul and spirit in the context of Nee and Lee's teaching. I just provided some information on what Nee and Lee taught and showed it didn't make sense.

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the spirit have the mind, how does it mind is only within the soul? if it can't be separated, don't do it.
Can you clarify what you mean?
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Old 05-05-2020, 10:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
Ferguson said above: "probably," therefore he admits it's just his take on it. And everyone I read interprets scripture to say we have three parts (in the image and likeness of the triune God who created us).... even if these authors are on the fringe, I see the aspect of three all over creation, in scripture, and yes, in man too.
If everyone you read interprets scripture in only one way, then perhaps you should broaden your reading list. Read people that you don't agree with, read people that challenge your thinking. Then read people who challenge them! If you only read people who say exactly what you're thinking, how can you learn, grow, change?

And you say, "I see the aspect of three all over creation, in scripture, and yes, in man too." But others see other aspects - for example, I see the aspect of seven in Revelation chapter 1. John looks up from prayer, sees "the one on the throne", then "the seven before the throne", then "the one walking in between the seven in front of the throne". Doesn't look like a trinity to me.

Or, consider the verse cited by Trapped. Mark 12:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
To provide some more granularity regarding the tripartite man teaching, according to Nee/Lee, the three parts of man are further divided up thus:

body - physical body
soul - mind, emotion, will
spirit - conscience, fellowship, intuition
(heart = soul plus conscience)

I did note with interest one of the verses that was referenced in one of the articles you mentioned, Mark 12:30:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Heart, soul, mind, and strength. This would mean that, according to the LC teaching, in that verse Jesus is telling us to love God with:

-our whole soul plus 1/3 of our spirit (heart)
-our whole soul (soul)
-1/3 of our soul (mind)
-some % of our body (strength)

It would make no sense for Jesus to tell us to love God but leave 2/3 of our spirit (the main organ to contact God according to the LC, remember) out of it.
So, what 'aspect' did Jesus see? That's the real question. I'm not aware that he presented systematic theology. I don't see the "three parts of man" in "Love the LORD your God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength."

And I don't see the 'trinity' in "the One on the throne, the Seven Spirits burning before the throne, and the One walking in the midst of the Seven Lampstands". Yet that is what I am reading in Scripture.

We all see what we're conditioned to see. Or, we see what we see after we reject our conditioning. Imagine a young boy growing up in the Gaza Strip. He's probably conditioned to see the Jews one way, as how they relate to his immediate and extended family, his tribe, his nation and people. History will be fabricated in order to create a view, which he will be expected to share, and pass on to the next generation. That's his 'aspect' of reality, or view of the world around him.

But suppose he decides that whatever path this leads him to is wrong (creating IEDs, bombing civilians, participating in rock-throwing or more organized violence). Suppose he rejects antagonism. That doesn't mean that he becomes a Christian. He might become agnostic, or pacifistic Islamist, or atheist or Buddhist. So, he rejects one 'aspect' and creates another, but is he nearer objective 'truth' as we're trying to collectively define it here? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Rejecting views, and holding others, is not perforce truth.

But Soul & Spirit - different or same or unknown isn't getting me, personally, closer to Jesus. It just presents me with someone's aspect, or view. But I want to know Jesus' view. I want to know the view of Paul (might lend to tripartite interpretation) and John (might not).

We all know where the 'tripartite' view brought us once - deeper into Witness Lee's lair. Now, someone can show me how it brings us closer to Jesus' view, his living, his walk, his glory? Certainly he didn't teach it.

(btw, some of my favourite authors taught the tripartite view, long before Watchman Nee [think Desiderius Erasmus, the "Enchiridion"]. But I'm willing to hold it at arms length, anyhow. Jesus taught, you must be willing to lose your soul, lose your favorite authors best writings)
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Old 05-05-2020, 12:41 PM   #14
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If everyone you read interprets scripture in only one way, then perhaps you should broaden your reading list. Read people that you don't agree with, read people that challenge your thinking. Then read people who challenge them! If you only read people who say exactly what you're thinking, how can you learn, grow, change?

But Soul & Spirit - different or same or unknown isn't getting me, personally, closer to Jesus. It just presents me with someone's aspect, or view. But I want to know Jesus' view. I want to know the view of Paul (might lend to tripartite interpretation) and John (might not).

We all know where the 'tripartite' view brought us once - deeper into Witness Lee's lair. Now, someone can show me how it brings us closer to Jesus' view, his living, his walk, his glory? Certainly he didn't teach it.

(btw, some of my favourite authors taught the tripartite view, long before Watchman Nee [think Desiderius Erasmus, the "Enchiridion"]. But I'm willing to hold it at arms length, anyhow. Jesus taught, you must be willing to lose your soul, lose your favorite authors best writings)
Well said and thanks for jumping in! So I don't go about looking for authors who only have a tripartite view, by any means. And I couldn't say for sure that everyone I read believes that. I will say that I don't think anyone I read regularly has seemed to indicate that soul & spirit are synonymous - I would notice that as it's not according to my tripartite filter.

I've read a good deal of stuff about the dichotomy idea, but the light I believe I've received shows me man has a soul that can be divided from spirit. If one person thinks they're the same and another doesn't, no big whoops! It's certainly not an essential article of the faith. Could we go round and round with verses ad nauseam? Sure. But to what end - people get set in their thinking, and only the Lord can illuminate them otherwise.

And your last paragraphs were spot on in the respect that all this stuff has to be measured by, "Does it bring me into a better walk with Jesus and help me see Him more?"

Any way, I'm kinda done - not interested in the ad nauseam (sorry UntoHim if you think I'm taking my ball home). I just wanted to see what others on here think about the subject, and I've heard that.
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Old 05-05-2020, 12:42 PM   #15
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Sons to Glory! Could you please tell us of what practical application and benefit it is to know the difference between our soul and our spirit? I think we're all familiar with the verses used by Nee and Lee to support the tripartite view, so please don't just quote those verses as "proof". Now I happened to think that scripture does make a distinction, although I'm not sure it is not a distinction without a difference, and more importantly, what is the real practical application and benefit of knowing about the difference between our soul and our human spirit.
-
If Christ is joined to our spirit (He is), then to know our spirit is to know Him, and therefore to know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ. Hope that's not too simplistic an answer.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:58 PM   #16
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I've read a good deal of stuff about the dichotomy idea, but the light I believe I've received shows me man has a soul that can be divided from spirit...
Now you're into an either/or which may be entirely fabricated. Is there any assurance at all that Jesus leaned on either for his world-view? This is what I mean about being born again - shatter your paradigms.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:10 AM   #17
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Any way, I'm kinda done - not interested in the ad nauseam... just wanted to see what others on here think about the subject, and I've heard that.
How much time did Jesus spend discussing the trichotomous vs dichotomous views? I'd say that we should spend the same amount of time and attention as he did.

Here is Paul before Agrippa in Acts 26:
"The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?"

Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Over and over the gospel message in Acts homes in on this. This was the foundation on which all the epistles were written.

Instead we get fascination with extraneous matters, like giphy-loops that cycle over and over. I'm not picking on StG who may be a better Christian than I (seriously) but the discussion, to be profitable, should be rooted and grounded in the man, his obedience and piety, suffering, shameful death (on our behalf, from the Father's love), his resurrection to glory, and his rule over every name which is named, both in this age and to come.

There's only one thing that matters, really - one thing that is the nexus of our faith, our hope, our joy, our life. Everything else, conceptually, is sourced from this, looks to this. The rest is fluff.

https://giphy.com/explore/loop
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:22 AM   #18
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How much time did Jesus spend discussing the trichotomous vs dichotomous views? I'd say that we should spend the same amount of time and attention as he did.

Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Over and over the gospel message in Acts homes in on this. This was the foundation on which all the epistles were written.

Instead we get fascination with extraneous matters, like giphy-loops that cycle over and over. I'm not picking on StG who may be a better Christian than I (seriously) but the discussion, to be profitable, should be rooted and grounded in the man, his obedience and piety, suffering, shameful death (on our behalf, from the Father's love), his resurrection to glory, and his rule over every name which is named, both in this age and to come.

There's only one thing that matters, really - one thing that is the nexus of our faith, our hope, our joy, our life. Everything else, conceptually, is sourced from this, looks to this. The rest is fluff.
Well put! And I think you will be before me in the kingdom! (yes, I am so very humble )

This resonates with me as it sounds much like exhortations I've given others on here before, when going at something ad nauseam (I've perhaps used that phrase too much lately). We haven't reached that point . . . and maybe we shouldn't try. I actually thought someone in particular would want to jump on this topic, but they didn't. So much for my little fishing expedition!
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:06 PM   #19
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Well, I think I will add a comment here just to confuse this issue a little more for everyone!!

Where I ‘trained’ in matters of faith and practice, the belief was very clearly that the body, soul, spirit makes up the man. There was only one difference in detail: the spirit part of us, in the LSM is broken down into ‘conscience, communication with God, and intuition’. The teaching I got fed was, instead of ‘intuition’, the third part of the spirit of a human is ‘creativity’. (intuition being part of communication, I would assume). The logic behind it was probably that God’s creative energy with which He made the universe comes from His Spirit and so our reflection of that is likewise from ours.

Further, the teaching was that we are equally fallen in each area, our body, soul, and spirit are damaged, compromised and subject to death prior to salvation. We are spiritually dead before salvation, but the idea was confusing, as it is the breath of God, (His Spirit), which is the life source within our body and soul also, in this system of thought.

The practical outworking of this belief was that to help nurture and heal our human spirit, we need to GET CREATIVE….rather than it being…..harmful, the person gets…..armfuls of projects to enjoy….screen printing, scrap-booking, watercolour painting, home made pottery, you name it!!

The only downside I can think of for this was, maybe a person gets so immersed in this that it detracts from them going out and prosthelizing the great unwashed, but is otherwise a self-nurturing and confidence-building exercise, especially as they sought to meet the skill level of people where they were at, and keep the focus on the exercise of creating more than the quality of the end result.

I’m just adding this to the discussion, not to convince anyone against their convictions as I agree it is not an essential doctrine at all. But just to say, that the outworking and purpose an idea, even a perhaps quasi-scriptural notion, is put to, has a lot to do with the intention or goal that the people are using it for. WL used the idea to suppress and control. With one alteration in detail, another ministry uses the same breakdown to help people connect with their creative potential, and grow. the separation of the two, soul and spirit, as a theological proposition has been used by WL and co. in a bad way, but they are not the only ones to have this idea and it can and has been use for much better outcomes, weather correct or errant in essence.
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Where I ‘trained’ in matters of faith and practice, the belief was very clearly that the body, soul, spirit makes up the man. There was only one difference in detail: the spirit part of us, in the LSM is broken down into ‘conscience, communication with God, and intuition’. The teaching I got fed was, instead of ‘intuition’, the third part of the spirit of a human is ‘creativity’. (intuition being part of communication, I would assume). The logic behind it was probably that God’s creative energy with which He made the universe comes from His Spirit and so our reflection of that is likewise from ours.
Interesting post. In commenting on the bolded part above, I never really got the additional subdivisions of exactly what makes up our conscience, intuition, heart, etc. from WN/WL teachings. I've read different things about these further supposed subdivisions of our being, but it all seems something of a stretch and nothing really clicks. Besides, it seems to make little difference . . . at least to me.

And regarding creativity, I heard someone say recently that man is the only earthly creature that has a intently creative quality, and this is because we are made in the image of the Creator. Different animals can be fairly imaginative when need be for acquiring food, survival or a mate, but man seems to be the only one who has a vast amount of this creativity installed into our programming. We don't even have to have a pressing reason to be creative - we just create interesting things for the fun of it!
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:23 AM   #21
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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I never really got the additional subdivisions of exactly what makes up our conscience, intuition, heart, etc. from WN/WL teachings. I've read different things about these further supposed subdivisions of our being, but it all seems something of a stretch and nothing really clicks. Besides, it seems to make little difference . . . at least to me.
This is exactly how many Christians throughout history have viewed the supposed uber significant biblical "truth" that there is a practical difference between our human spirit and our soul. Earlier I queried StG
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of what practical application and benefit is it to know the difference between our soul and our spirit?
and I missed his reply. I want to repost it here because it is a very good reply, and deserves a response:

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If Christ is joined to our spirit (He is), then to know our spirit is to know Him, and therefore to know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ. Hope that's not too simplistic an answer.
Great response StG! (So great I have made it a Featured Post!) Now before you categorize my counter-response as "this guy is against any teachings just because Nee/Lee taught it", please hear me out.

I was saved in my pre-teens and was a professing (though really nominal) Christian for a number of years before encountering the Lord in a very real and powerful way during the "Jesus People" movement/revival in the early-mid 1970s. (I grew up within walking distance of the original Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa Calif.) I encountered the Lord in a very real and powerful way because the Lord was indeed moving in a very real and powerful way among the young people in So. California. There were many changed lives. There were many genuine healings, (and I know this for a fact because I was healed of a very serious condition that I suffered from the age of 5) And there was some very good teachings of the genuine Gospel, and also many young people were exposed for the first time to some relatively orthodox biblical teachings. So. Calif became the birthplace of what became known as "contemporary Christian music".

All this happened without any of these crazy, inexperienced and naive, but sincere, baby-Christians having any knowledge or awareness that there was a difference between our spirit and our soul. I was pretty clueless that we even had "a human spirit". Can you imagine that ...I went around preaching the Gospel to family and friends, read the Bible, praised and worshiped the Lord "in Spirit and in truth" and sought to know the Lord with all my heart and strength...all this without knowing the difference between my soul and my human spirit! Then I ran across some people who taught me that there actually was a difference between the spirit and the soul. Before I knew it, I was preaching a new gospel to my family and friends - "Get out of your mind and get your spirit in gear!" Of course I ended up "loosing" a lot of family and a lot of friends....but who cares, I have found out that I have a spirit! Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! I have a human spirit!

So, there it is. And I've done it again...I have poured cold water on yet another cherished teaching. I'm sorry my brother. I guess that's just my calling here - to challenge and debunk many of the precious "recovered truths" we discovered in the Lord's Recovery of Witness Lee. I'm the Debbie Downer of LocalChurchDiscussions So sue me! (juuuussst kiddding)
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:39 AM   #22
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Great response StG! (So great I have made it a Featured Post!) Now before you categorize my counter-response as "this guy is against any teachings just because Nee/Lee taught it", please hear me out.
Glad to be part of a "Featured Post" - whatever that is! (I now see where this is . . . my agent will contact you soon for the royalties.)

And I'm glad you caught my earlier response to your question, as I had been wondering . . . So now I think I know where you are coming from. I can see that you had great experiences of Christ before knowing anything about your soul and spirit. Me too! (In fact, your experience parallels mine significantly in both the time-frame and actual experiences.) Thanks for sharing that - very clarifying (à la D. Prager).

So one might put a whole lot of things into the "What exactly is the practical application?" camp, couldn't they? Of course, just because we might not see much practical application for something in scripture doesn't mean it's not true. I think that may have been a point you were making - that soul AND spirit (different things) is in scripture and you get that, but it's not an essential item of the faith and certainly not critical for the experience of Christ in one's life, right? If that's the case, then I wholeheartedly agree and thanks again for clarifying!

So with that understanding, does it invalidate this conversation thread or make it any less pertinent than other threads on here? Jus' askin'
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:56 AM   #23
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

Happy to see you're alive and well, StG. I didn't think you'd survive the night after that last exchange, j/k

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Well put! And I think you will be before me in the kingdom! (yes, I am so very humble )

This resonates with me as it sounds much like exhortations I've given others on here before, when going at something ad nauseam (I've perhaps used that phrase too much lately). We haven't reached that point . . . and maybe we shouldn't try. I actually thought someone in particular would want to jump on this topic, but they didn't. So much for my little fishing expedition!
Who's this you're referring to?
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Who's this you're referring to?
Got any idea? Now who could it be? Let's see . . . could it possibly be . . . . . . . . . Jo S!?

DING DING DING DING ----> Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!

But you knew that when you asked, didn't you? And why do you think I thought of you?
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:34 PM   #25
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Got any idea? Now who could it be? Could it be . . . . . . Jo S? DING DING DING DING Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!

But you knew that when you asked, didn't you? And why do you think I had you in mind?
Yes, I assumed so. I just wanted to be sure. I do not know why you thought of me for this topic. Maybe you can fill me in on that. BTW, I'll take a fish dinner if that's an option.

So in an attempt to engage in this topic, I share with you this theory that I have. The theory is that all claims or doctrines derived from New Testament writings (such as body, mind, and soul and their relation to man) should be able to be clearly vetted and validated by the Old Testament or Tanakh; after all Jesus and the apostles always supported their claims with Old Testament scripture.

As a challenge to you and to the forum, I'll pose these two questions:

1) Can you point to where in the Old Testament it speaks of a human spirit (or a human "ruach" in Hebrew)?

2) Intrinsically, what is the main difference between a faithful believer in the OT vs. a born-again believer in the NT?
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:15 PM   #26
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

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Yes, I assumed so. I just wanted to be sure. I do not know why you thought of me for this topic. Maybe you can fill me in on that.

So in an attempt to engage in this topic, I share with you this theory that I have. The theory is that all claims or doctrines derived from New Testament writings (such as body, mind, and soul and their relation to man) should to be able to be clearly vetted and validated by the Old Testament or Tanakh; after all Jesus and the apostles always supported their claims with Old Testament scripture.

As a challenge to you and to the forum, I'll pose these two questions:

1) Can you point to where in the Old Testament it speaks of a human spirit (or a human "ruach" in Hebrew)?

2) Intrinsically, what is the main difference between a faithful believer in the OT vs. a born-again believer in the NT?
See!? You didn't disappoint, but what took you so long?

Good questions and interesting theory. Let me approach it this way: The main event in all of history was the death & resurrection of Christ. Christ did this for two key reasons - First so God could pay for all man's sins and redeem mankind back to Himself; and secondly that Christ could then come to live inside His believers via the new birth to a living hope (Christ in them, the hope of glory).

The promise was given to those under the old covenant, and Christ fulfilled that promise. Something brand new that had never happened before took place through the cross. Something wonderful and marvelous and so far beyond us, and it begins in us with the new birth. This was not available to those before the cross. Romans 5:6 says that when the timing was right, Christ came and died for the ungodly. Therefore, this was something the ones prior to that could not partake of - "That which is born of Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His death, it says "He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Something brand new, never seen before had taken place and was being made available. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17)

So the new covenant is all wrapped-up in this Spirit begetting spirit. I don't think this new creation was available to the old testament saints.

One last verse to illustrate: "'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38-39)

So I think that should address your second question. If you accept that, then it might make the first question something of a moot point (but perhaps not).
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:29 PM   #27
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See!? You didn't disappoint, but what took you so long?

Good questions and interesting theory. Let me approach it this way: The main event in all of history was the death & resurrection of Christ. Christ did this for two key reasons - First so God could pay for all man's sins and redeem mankind back to Himself; and secondly that Christ could then come to live inside His believers via the new birth to a living hope (Christ in them, the hope of glory).

The promise was given to those under the old covenant, and Christ fulfilled that promise. Something brand new that had never happened before took place through the cross. Something wonderful and marvelous and so far beyond us, and it begins in us with the new birth. This was not available to those before the cross. Romans 5:6 says that when the timing was right, Christ came and died for the ungodly. Therefore, this was something the ones prior to that could not partake of - "That which is born of Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His death, it says "He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Something brand new, never seen before had taken place and was being made available. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17)

So the new covenant is all wrapped-up in this Spirit begetting spirit. I don't think this new creation was available to the old testament saints.

One last verse to illustrate: "'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38-39)

So I think that should address your second question. If you accept that, then it might make the first question something of a moot point (but perhaps not).
One topic at a time for me, I suppose.

So I'll start by saying that I agree, salvation by the indwelling Spirit in the Old Testament is an unfulfilled promise to the faithful. I'll throw this out there as well; for former LC members and current ones, it's important to differentiate between the spirit which the Local Churches preach (one that comes by works) and the one that scripture speaks of (one which comes by grace through faith alone).

My first question still stands regardless. Let me perhaps rephrase it:

Do you believe the Old Testament faithful had a human spirit? If so, can you clearly show this from OT text?
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:47 PM   #28
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One topic at a time for me, I suppose.

So I'll start by saying that I agree, salvation by the indwelling Spirit in the Old Testament is an unfulfilled promise to the faithful. I'll throw this out there as well; for former LC members and current ones, it's important to differentiate between the spirit which the Local Churches preach (one that comes by works) and the one that scripture speaks of (one which comes by grace through faith alone).

My first question still stands regardless. Let me perhaps rephrase it:

Do you believe the Old Testament faithful had a human spirit? If so, can you clearly show this from OT text?
I'm still thinking about the 1st question. But I have a question regarding something you said - What do you mean by a spirit "that comes by works"?
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:06 PM   #29
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I'm still thinking about the 1st question. But I have a question regarding something you said - What do you mean by a spirit "that comes by works"?
Spirit by works, as you'll find in the LC, it one that comes by imposing your own will onto the spiritual realm - aka the practices of "calling" and Lectio Divina (pray-reading).

Spirit by faith is one that comes as a result of Godly repentance, which is a work of God in your life, through faith alone.

These are two completely different spirits at work. The former is the spirit of the world, the latter is the Holy Spirit of God.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:25 PM   #30
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Spirit by works, as you'll find in the LC, it one that comes by imposing your own will onto the spiritual realm - aka the practices of "calling" and Lectio Divina (pray-reading).

Spirit by faith is one that comes as a result of Godly repentance, which is a work of God in your life, through faith alone.

These are two completely different spirits. The former is the spirit of the world, the latter is the Holy Spirit of God.
I didn't know what was meant by Lectio Divina, so I looked it up and found this video by evidently a Catholic preist (he calls himself "father"): Lactio Divina 4 explanation minute video

This is not too far from what I've practiced in my morning times with Jesus for some time now. I read the word; I thank the Lord for specific things I'm reading or ask Him to operate in my heart. Sometimes that leads into a song that comes up in me, so I sing that. But I use the scripture to meditate upon Him and His works and intentions towards me (and others), and thank/praise Him that He is faithful and true and able to do what He said He will do.

Do you see something wrong with that? (the one thing I probably don't do is Lectio Divina step #5 - go out and do something according to the meditation you just had - but not sure there's anything inherently wrong with that)

EDIT: Something to add - read this article on the perceived danger of Lectio divina:Danger of Lectio divina What this says is it may be a fine practice if we don't get too subjective and don't substitute it for good, careful study of scripture (exegesis). In other words, the author seems to say both is needed, and I agree.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:50 PM   #31
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I didn't know what was meant by Lectio Divina, so I looked it up and found this video by evidently a Catholic preist (he calls himself "father"): Lactio Divina 4 explanation minute video

This is not too far from what I've practiced in my morning times with Jesus for some time now. I read the word; I thank the Lord for specific things I'm reading or ask Him to operate in my heart. Sometimes that leads into a song that comes up in me, so I sing that. But I use the scripture to meditate upon Him and His works and intentions towards me (and others), and thank/praise Him that He is faithful and true and able to do what He said He will do. Do you see something wrong with that? (the one thing I don't do is Lectio Divina step #5 - go out and do something according to the meditation you just had - but not sure there's anything inherently wrong with that)
Lectio Divina is popular among Catholics and Gnostics. It actually predates Christianity but in the very early church it entered Christendom through the Gnostics and then later into the mainstream by monastic Catholicism.

It's a practice I discourage as it's a very similar to what you'll find in eastern mysticism where you take a verse and turn it into a mantra of sorts for the purpose of emptying the mind of thought. The idea of this is that God can only speak to you through a completely quiet and tranquil mind. It makes me wonder how the Holy Spirit spoke through those who were undergoing martyrdom...

The inherent danger in this is that by emptying the mind, there remains no buffer for differentiating or discerning between what is true and what is a lie. So those that benefit from Lectio Divina simply validate their experience by feelings rather than having a way to challenge their feelings through critical reasoning.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:57 PM   #32
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Lectio Divina is popular among Catholics and Gnostics. It actually predates Christianity but in the very early church it entered Christendom through the Gnostics and then later into the mainstream by monastic Catholicism.

It's a practice I discourage as it's a very similar to what you'll find in eastern mysticism where you take a verse and turn it into a mantra of sorts for the purpose of emptying the mind of thoughts. The idea of this is that God can only speak to you through a completely quiet and tranquil mind. It makes me wonder how the Holy Spirit spoke through those who were undergoing martyrdom...

The inherent danger in this is that by emptying the mind, there remains no buffer for differentiating or discerning between what is true and what is a lie. So those that benefit from Lectio Divina simply validate their experience by feelings rather than having a way to challenging their feelings through critical reasoning.
Gotcha, and that would be taking it to an extreme, and anything taken that far is . . . well . . . extreme! Please see the article and comment I posted after editing my last post (we're both quick to answer right now).
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Old 05-07-2020, 03:24 PM   #33
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Gotcha, and that would be taking it to an extreme, and anything taken that far is . . . well . . . extreme! Please see the article and comment I posted after editing my last post (we're both quick to answer right now).
I don't see anything in that article outlining a less extreme version of Lectio Divina. The author seems to flat out reject it altogether. I believe he's delineating between a subjective approach (LD) and an objective approach to scripture (Exegesis).

StG, perhaps you can outline your personal practice of pray-reading. What does it look like in detail? Does it look similar to the practice taught in the LC's where they single out a verse and declare it over and over again?
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:25 PM   #34
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I don't see anything in that article outlining a lesser extreme version of Lectio Divina. The author seems to flat out reject it altogether. I believe he's delineating between a subjective approach (LD) and an objective approach to scripture (Exegesis).

StG, perhaps you can outline your personal practice of pray-reading. What does it look like in detail? Does it look similar to the practice taught in the LC's where they single out a verse and declare it over and over again?
I don't view my morning time as pray-reading exactly, at least not in the LC sense perhaps. I outlined it two posts ago - did you see that? I usually read a couple devotionals. One is Daily Light, edited by Anne Graham Lotz, which is is just a page of topical scripture. I read those verse while talking to the Lord. I intersperse it with prayer for other things and people, as they come to mind. If I don't understand something in the scripture, I ask the Lord to show me. I thank Him for His shed blood and for loving me and all of us. I praise Him for what He's done, is doing and what He has planned. If a good song comes to mind, I'll sing that (from memory usually). Really nothing set. (BTW - I don't say certain words over and over, like I've heard LC folks do.)

If that helps towards your question, great. If not, I'm happy to tell you more.

Also, I don't agree with what you said about that article and will post a quote from it, when I get a chance later.
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:47 PM   #35
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I don't view my morning time as pray-reading exactly, at least not in the LC sense perhaps. I outlined it two posts ago - did you see that? I usually read a couple devotionals. One is Daily Light, edited by Anne Graham Lotz, which is is just a page of topical scripture. I read those verse while talking to the Lord. I intersperse it with prayer for other things and people, as they come to mind. If I don't understand something in the scripture, I ask the Lord to show me. I thank Him for His shed blood and for loving me and all of us. I praise Him for what He's done, is doing and what He has planned. If a good song comes to mind, I'll sing that (from memory usually). Really nothing set. (BTW - I don't say certain words over and over, like I've heard LC folks do.)

If that helps towards your question, great. If not, I'm happy to tell you more.

Also, I don't agree with what you said about that article and will post a quote from it, when I get a chance later.
Specifically, I was curious to know more detail on what you meant by this statement:

"But I use the scripture to meditate upon Him and His works and intentions towards me (and others)"

How exactly do you use scripture to meditate? What's involved in the meditating aspect of it? Are you simply referring to inward reflection or is it more involved than that?

Regardless it does look like you practice the 4 steps of traditional Lectio Divina (Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio). The LC's do, in fact, act out an "evolved" version of Lectio Divina. It's akin to the practice of calling. Calling in the LC's also began as a simpler personal practice then snowballed into a corporate chant. It's the same dilemma of the lesser of two evils.

I have to say a pattern I see here with yourself and other ex LC members who defend these practices is not necessarily a desire to return to the purity of scripture as much as a desire to return to an earlier and more pure version of the Lord's Recovery. Or perhaps it's a process of progression toward complete freedom from the Local Churches. I hope for the latter.

It's quite astonishing when you come to the realization that the LC's are almost an exact microcosm of the Catholic church. In it's early formative years the Roman church too laid down a foundation of works based spirituality (mysticism). It first went through a period of flourishing, then became weighed down by legalism, and finally fractured into factions looking to return back to their spiritual roots.

My hope is that those who seek freedom from the legalism of the Local Churches don't stop short at Witness Lee or even Watchman Nee but continue on through to Christ and the Apostles lest you find yourselves repeating history.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:09 PM   #36
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So here's a section of that article on I linked to before and which we both commented on. Found Here: A Danger of Lactio Divina

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The Holy Spirit is undoubtedly trustworthy and can, miraculously, implant his intent in us intuitively. But does this possibility absolve us from doing the hard work of exegesis? Why would he have bothered inspiring Scripture in the first place? Is it not possible that the Spirit works through both research and meditation? By pursuing such a subjective approach to interpretation as “inspired” preaching, are we not at risk of ignoring what God intended in his Word in favor of preaching our own? Are we not conforming ourselves to the spirit of the age (of which we are necessarily a part) rather than to the depth of his Word?

This, then, is a danger in Lectio Divina, that it may teach us to approach the text subjectively rather than objectively, and that in this way it leads to unstable, unsupportable conclusions. Though it appears to elevate piety, it may just train us to preach badly.
In the bolded above, the author is saying that both are needed. I read this to mean that we can go into two extremes. Exegesis (WL used to call this "exit Jesus") is good, but it can produce deadness and dead letter, devoid of Spirit. The other extreme, call it Lectio Divina or whatever, could produce something too subjective. Bros here in Scottsdale talk about this sometimes. The need is expressed to "dive deep" into the study of the word, to crack the books, the Greek, etc. to get some real riches. I've heard bros here say that the idea of "Get out of your mind" is not a good one, since God gave us a mind for a reason. But all mind is just that - all our mental (human) understanding and no Spirit. It's an extreme. An unturned cake. I think what the author here is saying is that there should be a balance of both. And they use the word "may," as in Lectio Divina "may teach us to approach the text subjectively rather than objectively, and that in this way it leads to unstable, unsupportable conclusions." Sure, suppose I can see that . . . it needs a balance with the solid scriptural study too.

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Specifically, I was curious to know more detail on what you meant by this statement:

"But I use the scripture to meditate upon Him and His works and intentions towards me (and others)"

How exactly do you use scripture to meditate? What's involved in the meditating aspect of it? Are you simply referring to inward reflection or is it more involved than that?

Regardless it does look like you practice the 4 steps of traditional Lectio Divina (Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio). The LC's do, in fact, act out an "evolved" version of Lectio Divina. It's akin to the practice of calling. Calling in the LC's also began as a simpler personal practice then snowballed into a corporate chant. It's the same dilemma of the lesser of two evils.

I have to say a pattern I see here with yourself and other ex LC members who defend these practices is not necessarily a desire to return to the purity of scripture as much as a desire to return to an earlier and more pure version of the Lord's Recovery. Or perhaps it's a process of progression toward complete freedom from the Local Churches. I hope for the latter.

It's quite astonishing when you come to the realization that the LC's are almost an exact microcosm of the Catholic church. In it's early formative years the Roman church too laid down a foundation of works based spirituality (mysticism). It first went through a period of flourishing, then became weighed down by legalism, and finally fractured into factions looking to return back to their spiritual roots.

My hope is that those who seek freedom from the legalism of the Local Churches don't stop short at Witness Lee or even Watchman Nee but continue on through to Christ and the Apostles lest you find yourselves repeating history. StG says YES! Amen to that!!!
I often see the parallels of the LC with the RCC. It's what happens when man's flesh takes control - it eventually wants a strong, centrally controlling authority. This is the natural route many Christian groups have taken. So by sight the church is a mess. But by faith the church is His glorious bride and is just fine - He's got this!

Concerning your bolded comment above, I surely don't see it as the former - no one thinks we should go back to those times, although there certainly was an undeniable move of the Spirit present back then - it's just something He did in the past. Jo, you see patterns of things people are supposedly trying to defend regarding LC practices, because you evidently tend to only see the dirty bathwater, and you view all things LC through that lens. Some on here may share your perspective and others on here don't. Perhaps you should try to refrain from categorizing everyone that doesn't automatically assume your viewpoint, as someone who is still totally mired in the LC clay.

Regarding your question about my morning time with the Lord, I'm not sure why you are asking for these details. Do you want to correct something with how I'm pursuing Jesus? Will it be a help to you if I record my morning time so you can see exactly? (not going to do that) I just don't know the profit in conveying any more than what I've already conveyed. I will say it's not a set, religious thing I do and any morning may go in differing directions. For instance, at the end of this morning's time, I wound-up in Ephesians chapter three, since we are going through that book now. I read the verses (can't remember if out loud or not) and considered their meaning. Any-a-ways, maybe I should ask you - what happens in your morning time with the Lord, bro?
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Old 05-09-2020, 12:55 PM   #37
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Sorry for the delay, StG, there was just so much to unpack in your post that I couldn't find the time yesterday.

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Regarding your question about my morning time with the Lord, I'm not sure why you are asking for these details. Do you want to correct something with how I'm pursuing Jesus? Will it be a help to you if I record my morning time so you can see exactly? (not going to do that) I just don't know the profit in conveying any more than what I've already conveyed. I will say it's not a set, religious thing I do and any morning may go in differing directions. For instance, at the end of this morning's time, I wound-up in Ephesians chapter three, since we are going through that book now. I read the verses (can't remember if out loud or not) and considered their meaning. Any-a-ways, maybe I should ask you - what happens in your morning time with the Lord, bro?
One thing I realize when speaking to current and former local church members it that you find the terminology is very similar to that of orthodox Christianity but the meaning behind the words can be totally different. That’s why I asked what you meant by “meditation” in regards to your morning practice. It was an attempt at getting terms straight as to avoid making any unnecessary presumptions. I understand it’s a private time to oneself, but to be fair you did welcome further inquiry in a previous post. Now I see you took offense…

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So here's a section of that article on I linked to before and which we both commented on. Found Here: A Danger of Lactio Divina

In the bolded above, the author is saying that both are needed. I read this to mean that we can go into two extremes. Exegesis (WL used to call this "exit Jesus") is good, but it can produce deadness and dead letter, devoid of Spirit. The other extreme, call it Lectio Divina or whatever, could produce something too subjective. Bros here in Scottsdale talk about this sometimes. The need is expressed to "dive deep" into the study of the word, to crack the books, the Greek, etc. to get some real riches. I've heard bros here say that the idea of "Get out of your mind" is not a good one, since God gave us a mind for a reason. But all mind is just that - all our mental (human) understanding and no Spirit. It's an extreme. An unturned cake. I think what the author here is saying is that there should be a balance of both. And they use the word "may," as in Lectio Divina "may teach us to approach the text subjectively rather than objectively, and that in this way it leads to unstable, unsupportable conclusions." Sure, suppose I can see that . . . it needs a balance with the solid scriptural study too..
StG, it’s important to note the context in which the author is using the term “meditation”. He refers to meditation as reflecting on what’s being studied in scripture. In the Local Churches and all others who incorporate Lectio Divina, meditation however is something much more than being a mere pondering or mental inquiry. It becomes a means to attaining a certain state of consciousness.

In Catholic mysticism scripture is viewed as a living sacrament similar to that of the Eucharist. The goal for a practitioner is to “work” themselves into a certain frame of mind before approaching scripture in order that the text can actively speak to them. This mental state can be accomplished through things like singing, prayer, or like you mentioned reading extra-biblical material. However you don’t find any of these prerequisites prescribed or even described in scripture itself. That’s not to say prayer or song is vain, it’s in the manner which they are used that makes them vain. If it’s for the purpose of influencing or altering your consciousness in any way, it’s vanity.

A Christian prays and sings as a result of the outflow of God’s spirit in them because they are already connected to God and by that already in the mind of Christ. The mystic however approaches spirituality in a way that they believe God can be found within prayer, song, or scripture. This is also what the Pharisees believed and the Lord rebuked them for it (John 5:39)

The danger in this approach to scripture is that because text is being viewed through the lens of a manufactured emotional state, it’s now impossible to simultaneously practice critical analysis while reading the text. In other words the apprehension of knowledge in scripture through Lectio Divina is centered on you, your feelings, and how the text can apply to you in the moment in the way you want it to rather than attempting to view the text in its proper historical context. At this point, you will only see what you want to see in the text (eisegesis).

So really in the article the implication is that for a born again Christian the Holy Spirit should be at work simultaneously in them alongside critical study. It’s not so much a “balanced” approach by combining two separate faculties, as it is a holistic approach of mind and spirit working in concert with one another.

Because you’re of the LC bent in that the mind and spirit can be separated, the implication is that you have both mind and a human spirit. First, it’s important to confirm through scripture that all men have a human spirit but because we went down a rabbit hole we weren’t able to flush that out. In summary, I personally believe in both the unregenerate dichotomous (soul, body) and regenerate trichotomous (soul, body, spirit) man.

Now in the case that not all people have an individual human spirit then you’re in danger of falsely identifying your own emotions as “spirit”. This is the mistake Watchman Nee made. While he condemned emotions in one breath, he exalted them in another. He just ended up cherry picking which emotions were useless and which ones were deemed “spirit”. With Lectio Divina and “calling” you’re not getting out of your mind, because it’s not possible to be out of your mind, you’re just giving your mind over to fleeting passions.

You asked what my morning devotional practice looks like. Well, I don’t have one. I don’t view devotional reading as a routine. Rather I approach scripture when the Lord allows me to. Sometimes I go long periods without reading scripture. Other times I’m deeply lost in it. I trust the Lord to decide when the time is right to learn scripture. In personal devotion, scripture should be viewed as the road to Emmaus where the Lord decides when to open the scriptures to you. If scripture is viewed as a means to connect to God at your own will you risk turning scripture into an idol; this is because you’re not doing so by God’s needs and His leading, you’re doing so by the leading of your emotional neediness or your intellectual ambitions. So you see exegesis (“Exit Jesus”, lol) isn’t the problem, it’s our selfish motives that cause the “deadness of the letter”. This is true for the mystic and for the intellectual alike.

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I often see the parallels of the LC with the RCC. It's what happens when man's flesh takes control - it eventually wants a strong, centrally controlling authority. This is the natural route many Christian groups have taken. So by sight the church is a mess. But by faith the church is His glorious bride and is just fine - He's got this!
Christ is the model for his church. At what point in his 3 ½ year ministry on earth did Christ become compromised? Our flesh on the other hand has been compromised from birth.

The fruit of the LC and the RCC is rotten because the roots were planted in bad soil. The flesh didn’t take control of these ecumenical movements. The flesh is what began them. Christ’s church however began at Pentecost and it hasn’t stopped until this day and neither will it be usurped by flesh. Jesus himself affirmed this in Matthew 16:18. So whatever you may have thought was Christ’s church at some point, never really was. Christ’s church is the fellowship between the individual and God and then between those that are in agreement; it’s not one centered around another man’s ideology.

As I’ve said, people mistake fleeting emotions for God’s spirit and so when people see miraculous signs and wonders (such as rapid church growth and strong community centered around ideology) it’s automatically assumed a move of God as that's where our natural feelings lead us. But like Gamaliel said in Acts 5:39: if it’s from God you won’t be able to stop it; if it’s not then it will fail. It’s quite evident Nee’s recovery has failed. So what’s left of these movements and so many other failed Charismatic movements are rotting tree stumps where vultures lay their eggs.

As far as controlling authority, scripture is clear; God establishes all authorities and power on earth (Romans 13:1). This includes offices of clergy as we see established in the NT. Clerical roles within Christianity aren’t inherently evil. It’s a measure God uses, not only to establish and maintain order; He also uses authority as discipline and a sign to persuade His people toward repentance. Just as harsher rule was imposed over Israel the further they drifted from God so it is within Christendom. It wasn't the rules or leadership that separated the Israelites from God, it was their own spiritual adultery through the worshipping of false gods and false idols. In the same way, legalism wasn’t the cause of division in the LC, it was the false vision and false doctrine that people gave themselves over to that caused them to follow a false Jesus and an idol gospel.

As all the prophets in scripture made clear, the only way to truly be free from oppressive rule is to humbly turn to God in faith and repentance. Unfortunately, this biblical mandate is usually disregarded in favor of social reform. Many people leave these kinds of groups based on relative truths rather than the Truth, Jesus. It’s no wonder that even decades removed they continue to struggle with their past. Through the lack of repentance and the self-justification in one's heart, what you then see in attempts to manage the pain is the propping up of legalism as a scapegoat. This then works to trap you in a perpetual cycle of resentment and blame shifting. Short term, it's easier to go that route rather than accepting personal accountability before God. Whether or not the clergy is in the wrong, God will be the judge. It's our responsibility to first check our own hearts before judging others. That way when you do expose darkness in light, it'll be in a spirit of exhortation rather than one of condemnation. The goal is to love and pray even for our enemies so that they may be reconciled to God.

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Concerning your bolded comment above, I surely don't see it as the former - no one thinks we should go back to those times, although there certainly was an undeniable move of the Spirit present back then - it's just something He did in the past. Jo, you see patterns of things people are supposedly trying to defend regarding LC practices, because you evidently tend to only see the dirty bathwater, and you view all things LC through that lens. Some on here may share your perspective and others on here don't. Perhaps you should try to refrain from categorizing everyone that doesn't automatically assume your viewpoint, as someone who is still totally mired in the LC clay.
You may not see it as the former because, like all other living members (past and current), you’ve not seen what the Lord’s Recovery looked like prior to Witness Lee.

Judging from his own writings, in Watchman Nee’s time, practices like calling and pray-reading were much closer to their more traditional mystical roots. However as I’ve mentioned previously a lesser version of evil is still evil. So if you find yourself on the same ground that Nee built off of, you’ll only work to return to the very same end you sought to escape from.

Unlike the people that spend most of their time attacking those whom they felt hurt them and baiting others to do the same, you spend your effort in trying to bring a positive atmosphere to the forum. For that I commend you. However, because of your middle-road approach in viewing the LC’s, you inadvertently impose on others the very burdens they seek to escape from similar to what we see in Acts 15. You’re advertising compromise as positivity and unity. What fellowship can light have with darkness?

The Christian faith is an extreme. There is no middle ground between truth and lies. There is no straddling the wide and narrow gates. There is no balancing of the Ying and the Yang. It’s either all in or all out. Lukewarm is spit out. That is the message of the bible.

Christian groups have warts, I understand that, but when a movement is built on mysticism, false visions, and a false gospel then like cancer it needs to be removed from the body in it's entirety. As with any tumor some good tissue will be removed along with the cancerous tissue, but that’s always better than risking relapse.
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:30 PM   #38
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That was quite the post, Jo! Thanks for the detailed response and for the kind things you said in a couple places.

So I think we've come to a moment of clarity between us. We don't agree and that is fine. (I don't agree much of the time with anyone - even those I meet with!) Concerning your stance, let me suggest that often those who take an extreme view even see balance as an extreme . . . or as a compromise. In looking at that article on "The Dangers of Lactio Divina" I differ in my opinion of it, because I believe that the bottom-line is we need both exegesis and fresh/ongoing enjoyment of the Spirit. And they are not mutually exclusive. Many in my local gathering, including me, testify that deep scriptural study is very enjoyable and God provides needed light through this. It is certainly an aspect of the rich enjoyment of Christ, but so is meditating on the word and pursuing the Lord daily in prayer, song and His word. It's most scriptural, right? Of course, right! We need both ways to pursue the Lord. Does the LC go too far in their way - perhaps, but so what! (I have my life to live and they have theirs)

Humans tend to go to extreme, but only the Lord really knows folks' hearts and whether He will honor such practices - whether on the studious exegesis side or on the Lactio Divina side. Either can be devoid of Christ and either can be rich. Again, I think we need both. (reminds me of an ongoing discussion I've had for years about speaking in tongues with one brother. He is a big tongues advocate. I believe it can be a real thing, and though I've prayed for it, God has not yet given this gift to me. The bro still tries sometimes to convince me how good tongues is and that I should too, but I know that not all speak in tongues. However our views differ, we still don't separate ourselves over this . . .)

You have posted your personal approach and practice (quoted below) - thank you for sharing this, because I think it really does help provide some clarity! However, and sorry to say, it is completely different than what I believe is edifying and healthy.
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You asked what my morning devotional practice looks like. Well, I don’t have one. I don’t view devotional reading as a routine. Rather I approach scripture when the Lord allows me to. Sometimes I go long periods without reading scripture. Other times I’m deeply lost in it. I trust the Lord to decide when the time is right to learn scripture. In personal devotion, scripture should be viewed as the road to Emmaus where the Lord decides when to open the scriptures to you. If scripture is viewed as a means to connect to God at your own will you risk turning scripture into an idol; this is because you’re not doing so by God’s needs and His leading, you’re doing so by the leading of your emotional neediness or your intellectual ambitions. So you see exegesis (“Exit Jesus”, lol) isn’t the problem, it’s our selfish motives that cause the “deadness of the letter”. This is true for the mystic and for the intellectual alike.
This differs from my belief, in that I see the bible clearly exhorting us to be proactive and take the initiative. I just posed something over on an older thread (we were both quite involved with) from last year. SEE HERE: Eating & Drinking Jesus Daily . . . Here are some verses from the post I made yesterday on that thread, which illustrates how the bible says we can and should take the initiative to contact the Lord and pursue Him:

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you . . ." 2 Tim 1:6

"work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose . . . " Phil 2:12-13

"exercise thyself rather unto godliness." 1 Tim 4:7

"whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev 22:17

"The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets." 1 Cor 14:32

ADD: "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest." Hebrews
4:11


You might read the entire last post of mine on that thread, to get a fuller picture of how the Lord certainly allows and wants us to take the initiative. I practice this kind proactive pursuit, along with (I think safe to say) millions of other Christians. Morning meditations in His word are just one way to facilitate this pursuit. (again, not talking about the extreme rote practice many in the LC do)

Jo, I'm not so much trying to convince you as to share with you how I think we've arrived at clarity between us (at least as far as I'm concerned). You seem to discern such practices as mine as outright mysticism, and tend to be quick to label anyone who practices such things as a mystic. (personally, I don't even see that as a bad thing to be called!) Please forgive me, but I tend to think that what you practice is being pretty dead and fruitless. Again, I think we need both sides of this flapjack, not an unturned cake!

So with that clarity - if indeed it is clarity - what shall we do? Hopefully just love each other bro!
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:25 PM   #39
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Jo, I'm not so much trying to convince you as to share with you how I think we've arrived at clarity between us (at least as far as I'm concerned). You seem to discern such practices as mine as outright mysticism, and tend to be quick to label anyone who practices such things as a mystic. (personally, I don't even see that as a bad thing to be called!) Please forgive me, but I tend to think that what you practice is being pretty dead and fruitless. Again, I think we need both sides of this flapjack, not an unturned cake!
StG, why is it that in one sentence you act offended at your practices being labeled mysticism yet in the next say you don't view it as such a bad thing to be called a mystic?

Also, I'm confused as to why you would so hastly label my personal practice as "dead and fruitless" without thorough inquiry nor a reasoned argument, however when I provide a reasoned argument alongside your own admission to practicing mysticism (Lectio Divina) you accuse me of being quick to label your practice.

It's not the first time on here that my faith has so quickly been labeled "dead". I'll chalk it up to frustration.

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Here are some verses from the post I made yesterday on that thread, which illustrates how the bible says we can and should take the initiative to contact the Lord and pursue Him:...
Those verses don't actually speak about "contacting" God. You only need to look to the second half of the Philippians verse you posted to invalidate that premise.

"work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose . . . " Phil 2:12-13

First, salvation is already implied and by that a relationship with God; so if God is already with you and working in you, why would you have to contact or pursue Him?

Regardless, in an attempt to avoid endless back and forth on differentiating between mysticism and biblical Christianity let me try to get to the real root of our disagreement.

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So with that clarity - if indeed it is clarity - what shall we do? Hopefully just love each other bro!
The central message of Jesus to his church is to "love one another that men may know you are my disciples". To that I say, amen. The question is, StG, by what love shall we reach this goal and how can we discern the fruits of real love?

Here's a recent post you made concerning the love found in the Local Churches:

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Yes, it was justified as "tough love." Problem is, there was little love being experienced (so it was just tough)! In the absence of love, Christianity - and especially the LC - just becomes a minister of law.

It's simply a natural gravitation of the flesh. Genuine love, God's love, really is the one thing that can't be faked, and will be present if Christ is.
My concern is this; God's love can be faked.

God's love cannot exist in a place where the gospel is absent otherwise His love would only work to unite people in a lie rather than in the truth, and God would not compromise on His truth.

The issue wasn't an absence of love. Love has always been present in the Local Churches. However it wasn't the love of God, it was the love of man. "Love bombing" is the term you hear when it comes to aberrant religious groups. This love is not conditioned upon truth, but conditioned upon man's ideology. It looks and feels like true love, it has to in order to gain converts, but eventually the mask falls off and this love's true colors are revealed. Unfortunately by the time you realize it, you're already deep in its clutches. All that's left for you at this point is this "tough love" that you speak of because through the testing of time it was shown that it was never really God's love to begin with. God's love on the other hand never fails.

If God's love was ever present in the LC's, it was because baby Christians who heard the true gospel and received it with joy had entered into the LC's with a measure of light. Because of their lack of discernment, as time went on, the gospel seeded in their hearts was usurped and supplanted by another and so that light eventually left. By this new gospel they soon found themselves having to work toward their salvation. Finally as a result they incrementally fell away from Christ and were joined to the body of Watchman Nee without ever really realizing what had taken place.

God always presents us with the choice, yet so many of us are choked off by the concerns of this world and choose the validation of man and community over the truth. In the end, there is no one to blame except ourselves.

Again, God's love is only present where the true gospel is being preached. How can you discern between God's love and man's? Man is willing to compromise on the truth as a means to whatever end they are trying to achieve. God's love will never compromise on truth, because to do so would be going against His very nature.

Which type of love do you see working in you? Is it one that's willing to compromise on the truth for the sake of unity? Or is it one that seeks to unite other's in the truth at the risk of being rejected?

As the adage goes;

"It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills.”

We have a different idea of what love is, StG.

God bless you
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:30 AM   #40
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SoG,

I recall there being at least one significant review of the writings of Nee (Lee hasn't really provided anything beyond what Nee wrote). It may have been on the Berean forum, so no longer available, though I have not looked to see.

What I recall is that there was a view that Nee's lists of "characteristics" or "qualities" (don't remember the terms he used at the moment) were not so demonstrative of something clearly separate or different. Instead, we started to see that what was of the soul was often pretty much the same as what was of the spirit. It was almost as if the difference was more a matter of depth than of what characteristics belonged under either category.

It is the spirit that allows for fellowship with God, yet that fellowship is not divorced from our soul. Since there was often a similarity in characteristics, it was more like the spirit was an extension of the soul that went beyond our mere existence as a "living soul."

The other difficulty with "spirit" is that it is often used in a manner that is difficult to declare to be like an "organ' of humans. Instead, in these particular passages, it is more like a state of being or a sense. Phrases like "spirit of sonship" (or adoption if you prefer) do not appear to be references to a thing but to a state of being or state of mind. This is like saying a "spirit of camaraderie" which refers to how a person or persons are acting or reacting, not to what part of their being (whether physical or spiritual) is engaged in the action.

This kind of understanding does not fail to differentiate soul and spirit, but at the same time finds them too intertwined to separate. They clearly are not identical, yet they are also not clearly separate from each other.

Then we come to the reference in Hebrews to the Word being living and operative. And to give some idea how operative, it says that it is able even to differentiate between soul and spirit. But what "word" is being referenced? While the passage does mention, without specific reference, some of the writings of scripture, there is nothing in the greater context indicating that the writer is dealing with the written word, but in the veracity of the promises of God. As revealed in John 1, the word of God is God himself in Jesus Christ. This is what is active. Not the words written in a book. Yet it is to the book that Nee turned to find every reference to "spirit" and "soul," and see if the cold words of a book could define a difference. And he was convinced that he succeeded. But from what I could find, he failed.

Both the soul and spirit know, feel, emote, etc. The difference would seem to be more of where the input for knowing, feeling, acting, etc., arises. If it is merely from my surroundings, from human learning, and so on, then it is merely soul. But where there is any kind of interaction with/from God, the spirit is engaged. Yet even saying this does not separate the two sufficiently to draw a line. It does not appear that if there is a "spiritual" aspect then it is the spirit and not the soul. Rather, it is more of what is the input that causes this otherwise indistinguishable thing (soul/spirit) to act or react.

As a poor example, my car runs on regular unleaded gasoline. But if I put the fuel they use for NASCAR races in the tank, it will run differently. And if I put the stuff they use for top-fuel drag racers, it will really react differently — likely being unable to withstand the forces of the stronger explosions and ultimately coming apart. The car is the same. The engine is the same. The driver is the same. The fuel is even a petroleum product in both cases. But there is a difference in the fuel.

As I said, a poor example. If we try to take it as a perfect example we would conclude that there is no real difference between the soul and spirit, just different inputs. But that would mean that it does not take the living word of God to differentiate — just a pathetic metaphor. But the passage also does not say that the scripture is able to divide soul and spirit. It was not a challenge for someone (Watchman Nee, or someone before him that he somewhat plagiarized) to dig through the words of written texts to find the dividing line. I think I see a difference, but it is not enough to say it is a dividing line between soul and spirit. Instead, it reveals that I still can't figure out the difference.

So, while there is a love of numerology to some, and a desire to find that man is "tripartite" vaguely similar to how God is Triune (or Trinity), I find myself unable to declare that there is a "part" of man that is both different and separate from the soul such that man has this tripartite being of body, soul and spirit. Yes, there is something in me that responds to the living word of God in Jesus Christ, but when it responds, so does the soul. The ways that the spirit would seem to be responding are not actually different from how the soul would respond. Yet if it was simply the soul, it would not respond in that manner. The soul without the Spirit will behave in "normal" ways. But with the Spirit, it can behave according to the design of the Creator.

Maybe it is more like a "back door" in a software security system. A part of what is already there, but accessed differently than "normal" channels. The police cannot simply go through the "front door" of a smartphone. It does not respond to anything they do. But if someone knows the key to the "back door," every smartphone of a particular type is accessible in the same way no matter how different the front-door passwords and other security features (fingerprint, etc.) may be. But once inside, it is just a phone with data and functionality. Again, probably can't begin to apply too much of any metaphor. It is nothing more than a possible window of insight into the complexity of how much we cannot divide soul and spirit.

So my answer is that soul and spirit are the same yet different. Different yet the same. The difference is that one responds to the living word of God (not just the letter of the scripture) when the other would not. Yet when that one responds, so does the other. And I find no benefit in discovering the difference other than to know that it is the living word of God that reaches the dividing line. Anything beyond that is nothing more than useless knowledge. Something to add to a list of things to declare that you know.

I mean, that one sentence in Hebrews is all there is. And it would seem to be talking about what God knows and sees. Nothing is hidden. All is laid bare. It is a passage about promise, obedience, and consequence. Nothing is hidden. The reference to soul and spirit is not to challenge us to figure it out, but to realize how finely God sees and knows. Far beyond what we see and know.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:56 AM   #41
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The other difficulty with "spirit" is that it is often used in a manner that is difficult to declare to be like an "organ' of humans. Instead, in these particular passages, it is more like a state of being or a sense. Phrases like "spirit of sonship" (or adoption if you prefer) do not appear to be references to a thing but to a state of being or state of mind. This is like saying a "spirit of camaraderie" which refers to how a person or persons are acting or reacting, not to what part of their being (whether physical or spiritual) is engaged in the action.
Isn't the spirit of sonship the same as is declared in Galatians 4:6, "And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'"? And then the sister verses in Romans 8:15-16 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." And isn't sonship the same as in Galatians 4:9, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you . . ."? And also in Galatians 1:15-16 , "But when God . . . was pleased to reveal His Son in me"? And where is the unseen Spirit of sonship? First Corinthians 6:17 tells us it is joined to our spirit.

So this is a real spirit bro, not just a turn of a phrase!
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:03 AM   #42
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God bless you
All good bro - peace. "The Lord be with your spirit, grace be with you."
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:50 AM   #43
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Isn't the spirit of sonship the same as is declared in Galatians 4:6, "And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'"? And then the sister verses in Romans 8:15-16 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." And isn't sonship the same as in Galatians 4:9, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you . . ."? And also in Galatians 1:15-16 , "But when God . . . was pleased to reveal His Son in me"? And where is the unseen Spirit of sonship? First Corinthians 6:17 tells us it is joined to our spirit.

So this is a real spirit bro, not just a turn of a phrase!
STG, speak your heart! Speak truth from the scriptures! Speak from the anointing! Speak to the lurking readers!

But never think you will change the minds of certain posters.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:56 AM   #44
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STG, speak your heart! Speak truth from the scriptures! Speak from the anointing! Speak to the lurking readers!

But never think you will change the minds of certain posters.
Nope - only He can do that!
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:43 PM   #45
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Isn't the spirit of sonship the same as is declared in Galatians 4:6, "And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'"? And then the sister verses in Romans 8:15-16 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." And isn't sonship the same as in Galatians 4:9, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you . . ."? And also in Galatians 1:15-16 , "But when God . . . was pleased to reveal His Son in me"? And where is the unseen Spirit of sonship? First Corinthians 6:17 tells us it is joined to our spirit.

So this is a real spirit bro, not just a turn of a phrase!
I don't think OBW said it wasn't real, just that it mightn't be parsed as neatly as some wish it were. A "spirit of camaraderie" might be as real as you are, more real, even (if 'you' includes temporary bone and flesh). Reducing reality via axioms to a manipulatable objective "thing" is the problem. Watchman Nee may have reduced the human being to a set of concentric rings, which made him BMOC in some Christian gatherings. But I doubt he added anything of value, beyond elevating himself above the flock. Rather, by giving us the-Spirit-in-a-box he tricked us into thinking we could control the Spirit, like Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four, saying "Flame on".

Now, I know that the Bible says to fan into flame our human spirit, but are we always so sure what we're fanning? Nee and Lee the (supposedly) Great Men died, and their graves are with us today. So how sure are you that they sussed the very contents of reality? I'm not, at all. When one sees the fruit of their human living, it's doubtful they knew the 'real' human spirit at all. So what were they fanning, there?

Another point: if you "know your human spirit" do you likewise "know your angel" as well? The people said, "It is his angel" to Rhoda in Acts 12, regarding Peter - how much do we know of Peter's angel, versus his spirit, especially since an angel's called a ministering spirit? I sense that people usually ignore verses that don't help them make neat Venn diagrams. And Jesus talked about "their angels" in Matthew 18, referencing the angels of small children. But do you think 2 brief verses allow us to understand, fully, what was meant? And if we don't understand, then why all the confident assertions as though we did?

I personally don't know "my angel" so I don't really know "my spirit" either, even if it is joined to the Holy Spirit, which it may well be. But I do know that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son. I know that Jesus died for my sins, and rose to glory. I do know that love shown is real love, and love contemplated is merely a ruse, or an abstraction at best.

So I don't really know much at all, since I struggle to show love. But it's good to realize that you don't know much... that's a good place to start. (and I referenced "his angel" randomly; I could have referenced 20 different things in NT to show how little we really understand the sacred writings. But I notice that we ignore a lot in the NT, in a vain attempt to prove to ourselves that we understand it. That was Lee's error [among others])
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:05 PM   #46
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If Christ is joined to our spirit (He is), then to know our spirit is to know Him, and therefore to know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ.
I wanted to bring this quote forward because I think it reiterates in the most basic terms what was taught by Nee and Lee, and now by the latter day co-workers in the Local Church.

Now, while I concur with StG and others here who have argued for a "tripartite" man, I cannot see in scripture the notion of "to know our spirit is to know him". Nor can I agree that merely knowing the difference between our human spirit and our soul gives us the ability to "know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ". While I agree there is a degree of needed subjectivity here, I would submit that there is also a more reliable, objective way for us to know the difference - namely the Holy Scriptures. It's right there for us in black and white. The Scriptures "operate" regardless of our subjective feelings or sensibilities. Trust me, the Scriptures always know what's the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ, and as the author of Hebrews so clearly points out, the Scriptures are able to discern between our spirit and our soul.

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Old 05-11-2020, 01:16 PM   #47
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Now, while I concur with StG and others here who have argued for a "tripartite" man, I cannot see in scripture the notion of "to know our spirit is to know him". Nor can I agree that merely knowing the difference between our human spirit and our soul gives us the ability to "know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ". While I agree there is a degree of needed subjectivity here, I would submit that there is also a more reliable, objective way for us to know the difference - namely the Holy Scriptures. It's right there for us in black and white. The Scriptures "operate" regardless of our subjective feelings or sensibilities. Trust me, the Scriptures always know what's the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ, and as the author of Hebrews so clearly points out, the Scriptures are able to discern between our spirit and our soul.

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This is every bit as extreme as those who clamor only about knowing "my spirit." During my long journey as a Christian, I always found that the ones who only spouted verses, professing know-it-alls, out to correct us all, denying any subjective feelings, to be the most dogmatic and void of all love. Since they appeared to be void of all feeling, their level of arrogance was off the charts. Sadly, I've seen a few on these boards.

Of course, the scripture exhorts us to study to be approved, but Paul also exhorted us to have our own faculties exercised to discern. John speaks of the anointing teaching us all things. The Bible also speaks of the character of ministers, and to repent and examine ourselves, etc. etc. and etc.

If spiritual things were as simple as "looking up things in the Bible, right there for us in black and white," then we don't need the Lord, the Spirit, growth in life, renewing of the mind, sanctification, and a whole host of items mentioned in the Bible. All we need is your own preferred choice of Bible apps for your smart phone. Just look it up and get all the answers.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:28 PM   #48
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Isn't the spirit of sonship the same as is declared in Galatians 4:6, . . . .

So this is a real spirit bro, not just a turn of a phrase!
I never said that it was simply a turn of phrase. It has meaning or it wouldn't have been said. But whether it is simply the same as other declarations is not clear. Surely there is some relationship. But in each case, Paul was speaking to specific issues, questions, etc. But other than the reference to the spirit bearing witness with our spirit, the verses you mention are not talking about a thing, but what might best be described as a state of being. Same word but different uses. Don't get caught up in the notion that any particular word only has one meaning, whether in total or even just within the scripture. It just isn't so.

And while the "spirit of sonship" is a real spirit, it is a real spirit in the sense of a feeling,m attitude, etc. It is not a spirit in the sense that is meant in the verse about bearing witness with our spirit. That verse speaks about a thing (whether clearly separate from the soul or not) and not a sense or feeling. Same word — different meanings. Stick to one or the other. Otherwise there is no answer because you are not taling about a single thing, but two or more different things.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:41 PM   #49
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And adding on to what aron posted, if you think I am dismissing anything about a "human spirit," then you didn't really try to read me well. I did say that when we look at the verses referenced by those trying to establish something about that spirit that is well-defined enough to claim to be a third part of man, then there is a question as to how well we are able to make such a definition or declaration.

To me, that means that there is such a thing because the written scripture does reference it, but not in sufficient detail to define it in the manner required to answer your question. So rather than trying to establish yet one more extrapolated doctrine, let's read the relevant verses to see what it was that the writers were speaking about. Something more than knowledge in our heads. A God who can see enough to know the very unstated reason that we do what we do. And so on. I don't think that the verses that seem to reference "spirit" as a thing (as opposed to a feeling or intent, etc.) require that we understand precisely what a "spirit" is to appreciate what the writer is saying. They surely weren't trying to provide more hidden clues to a doctrine of the human spirit. So why do we need one?
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:04 AM   #50
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So I don't really know much at all, since I struggle to show love. But it's good to realize that you don't know much... that's a good place to start. (and I referenced "his angel" randomly; I could have referenced 20 different things in NT to show how little we really understand the sacred writings. But I notice that we ignore a lot in the NT, in a vain attempt to prove to ourselves that we understand it. That was Lee's error [among others])
Yes, agreed. I remember a conversation with a brother about how we think we know something about subatomic things. He said, "God and the heavenly host are probably sitting up there saying, 'Oh look, isn't that cute - man has learned how to split the atom and blow things up!'"

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Now, while I concur with StG and others here who have argued for a "tripartite" man, I cannot see in scripture the notion of "to know our spirit is to know him". Nor can I agree that merely knowing the difference between our human spirit and our soul gives us the ability to "know the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ". While I agree there is a degree of needed subjectivity here, I would submit that there is also a more reliable, objective way for us to know the difference - namely the Holy Scriptures. It's right there for us in black and white. The Scriptures "operate" regardless of our subjective feelings or sensibilities. Trust me, the Scriptures always know what's the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ, and as the author of Hebrews so clearly points out, the Scriptures are able to discern between our spirit and our soul.
-
As Ohio pointed out - Isn't the point that we need both, lest we be an unturned cake?
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:06 AM   #51
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And adding on to what aron posted, if you think I am dismissing anything about a "human spirit," then you didn't really try to read me well. I did say that when we look at the verses referenced by those trying to establish something about that spirit that is well-defined enough to claim to be a third part of man, then there is a question as to how well we are able to make such a definition or declaration.

To me, that means that there is such a thing because the written scripture does reference it, but not in sufficient detail to define it in the manner required to answer your question. So rather than trying to establish yet one more extrapolated doctrine, let's read the relevant verses to see what it was that the writers were speaking about. Something more than knowledge in our heads. A God who can see enough to know the very unstated reason that we do what we do. And so on. I don't think that the verses that seem to reference "spirit" as a thing (as opposed to a feeling or intent, etc.) require that we understand precisely what a "spirit" is to appreciate what the writer is saying. They surely weren't trying to provide more hidden clues to a doctrine of the human spirit. So why do we need one?
I've read this three times and I'm still not sure what you are saying exactly . . . can you state this another way in no more than a couple sentences perhaps (yes, I went to public schools)?
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:56 AM   #52
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I went to public schools as well. And I had to learn some things much later in life.

One short comment: For the verses that mention something (as opposed to a feeling, etc.) that is called "spirit" (presumably something to do with us, therefore legitimately a "human spirit") determine what the writer is getting at.

Example 1: In Hebrews (where it speaks of the two-edged sword), it is speaking about the fact that God sees more than we can. Even sees the separation of joints and marrow (something 1st-century man didn't really see or understand), and of soul and spirit. But the point wasn't to figure out what the difference in soul and spirit is, but rather to admit we don't know what the difference is and understand that God does. He can judge the attitudes and thoughts of the heart — something that would be required if he is to then grant a "sabbath rest," which is what the passage is discussing.

Example 2: "The Lord be with your spirit." Is the need to understand how it is that the Lord is with us, or to understand that he is with us. Said another way, the verse declares that the Lord is with us. That is a fact. Even if the reference to "spirit" was not made, it would be true. That fact is not diminished by the lack of the reference. Nor is it increased if we think we have all the understanding of what the "spirit" is.

So, this raises a question. Does the use of the term "spirit" in any verse that appears to be referencing some aspect of the human being need an explanation of what "spirit" is for us to appreciate the intent of the verse or passage? If not, then unless it seems to be spelled out somewhere, maybe we don't need to dwell on it.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:00 PM   #53
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One more comment. I have found that not needing to have everything answered or explained — especially where it is not required for an understanding of other things — has been liberating. I am free to focus on what matters and leave the bloated lexicon to someone else.

And when I find myself with people who are stuck on adding to the lexicon for reasons other than to add to it, I tend to back away. In this context (the forum) I remain solely for the purpose of pointing out what might be unnecessary.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:27 PM   #54
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Now I think I got it. Thanks. I guess then it's a matter of what we think is unnecessary. I do agree, that even this conversation is perhaps along those lines. And for that matter, 90% or more of the discussions on this forum could be viewed that way, right? What justifies it is in the eyes of the justifier, or what glasses a person is looking through.

And you are right about Hebrews 4:12 - this verse is showing that we can't do it, and that it must be something of God beyond us that can do that dividing, namely His word. Without Him, we can't hope to divide our soul from our spirit on our own!
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:42 PM   #55
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Amen OBW!

Astute and uncomplicates everything!
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:33 AM   #56
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The Scriptures "operate" regardless of our subjective feelings or sensibilities. Trust me, the Scriptures always know "what's the difference between what's just ourselves and what's actually Christ", and as the author of Hebrews so clearly points out, the Scriptures are able to discern between our spirit and our soul.
My goodness, what have we all come to when the mere mentioning that "the Scriptures operate regardless of our subjective feelings" are considered fightin words! It seems to me that some of us care more for our lexicon than for the unvarnished truth in the Word of God. I know I'm guilty of this from time to time, but this is part of what this forum is all about - "Iron sharpens iron". We may all do well to take to heart the words of Karl Barth (today's quote) "When we speak of our virtues we are competitors. When we confess our sins we become brothers." I think that part of our "recovery from the Recovery" might be to seriously consider loosening the tight grip we hold on the "virtues" of some of the cherished terms and concepts...even the ones that are seemingly based upon the Scriptures. I guess it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for us Christians to beat the plowshares of the living and abiding Word of God into swords of dogmatism to sway against our brothers. May God have mercy on us all!

And so it goes with this matter of the difference (or lack thereof) between the soul and the human spirit. Some of us will insist that this is an essential item of the Christian faith (a la Watchman Nee) while others hold to the notion that there is no discernible difference. Maybe most of us fall somewhere in between the two of these "extremes"? In any event, I would still ask my brothers who hold that there is a crucial difference to please give us some simple, plain and practical examples. After all, if we cannot give such practical examples that confirm the validity, if not the value, of any teaching or practice, that should be telling us that maybe, just maybe, we are making more of something than God and his Word can confirm. Just sayin...

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Old 05-14-2020, 09:43 AM   #57
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It seems like you are asking for empirical proof here. Kinda like asking, "Can you give me a practical example of God?" I can provide various evidences, but don't know it would rise to the level of proof you seem to be seeking.

And actually, even though I started this thread, I do not really consider this as anything like an essential article of the faith. It was more a curiosity as I wondered if those who don't see any difference between soul & spirit might tend to think of those who do as somewhat mystical.
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Old 05-14-2020, 12:45 PM   #58
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It was more a curiosity as I wondered if those who don't see any difference between soul & spirit...
You have your curiosity, I have mine, others have theirs. It's perfectly reasonable to have interests, views, experiences, that are not identical to the great mass of humanity. It's part of what makes us who we are, and I think such idiosyncrasies are as much "ordered by our Creator" as are our circumstances.

The problem is, we're trying to have such conversations in the long shadow of one whose curiosity was deemed truth, whilst everyone else's views and/or interests were suppressed, being deemed "opinions" and of Satan. What a soul-warping and spirit-quenching system that was.

Anyway, a considerable portion of the push-back you've gotten is probably a residual from that, a kind of rebound effect, and not at you proper, or your thoughts or experiences. Please keep that in mind.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:53 PM   #59
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Oh yeah, well aware, as that's sort of the purpose of this forum! Thanks for the kind words!
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Old 05-16-2020, 02:37 AM   #60
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In considering this discussion on the soul and the spirit, I am forming the following impression:

WL and WN taught the idea that there is a key to living the Christian life, hidden in the scripture that suggests there can be a separation between the human soul and spirit. They developed an idea that we can envoke that separation ourselves, by thinking and declaring that we are ‘turning to our spirit’, and that is all that is needed to do so.

In this paradigm, the human spirit is unfallen, it communicates (specifically receives) a supply of ‘life’, from God’s Spirit, and therefore does not need the LAW of God. To invoke the LAW of God is in fact religious in a very negative sense. The subjective experience has surpassed the pesky, restrictive and inconvenient law, and needs to be uncoupled from it.

This teaching instructs the follower to believe thereby, that the will and whims they experience are the manifest will of God, reaching their heart through their reliable human spirit. However, it is in fact only their own carnal will, directing him or her towards their own desires or programming. So, what we actually have is subjective experience and therefore the human will, guided without the blueprint of moral guidance, as the central guide to the life of the follower. The will of the soul, unfettered by a concern to submit to the law, masquerading as the spirit of God, is at the helm of the life of the ‘follower’ of WL et al.

Weather or not the posters on this forum agree that we have a soul and spirit as two seperatable parts or not, we mostly agree that to believe you are able to separate them yourself to get ‘out of your mind’ where you can be manipulated and controlled by WL is a bad use of the concept of soul and spirit, that replaces sound Christian teaching and ultimately does a great deal of harm, not good. A doorway to exploitation in a typically cultic sense.

‘Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law’….‘there is no law beyond do as thou wilt’, Aleister Crowley, Satanist. In modern words this says: be led by your will alone, whatever you want to and desire to do, do it, there is no other rule than that'. The teaching of the LC amounts to no different from this defining 'law' of Satanism, only that in the LC there is the lie attached that your will is actually God's will coming from your spirit not your own mind. Does that make it actually worse than Aleister Crowley? At least he is straightforward and clear that he is preaching unabashed selfishness on behalf of the devil.

My conclusion is this directive in the LC adds up to a very dangerous and anti-Christian doctrine and practise. It exposes the individual to personal lawlessness and confusion, as well as exploitation and bondage. Underlining further this discussion point that the LC is a tool of satan….and I watched this confusion of lawlessness happening to LC members first hand, thinking something must be God's will for them because they wanted it. You can justify anything that way, and get into all kinds of problems.
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Old 05-16-2020, 05:29 AM   #61
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...what we actually have is subjective experience and therefore the human will, guided without the blueprint of moral guidance, as the central guide to the life of the follower. The will of the soul, unfettered by a concern to submit to the law, masquerading as the spirit of God, is at the helm of the life of the ‘follower’ of WL et al.

Weather or not the posters on this forum agree that we have a soul and spirit as two seperatable parts or not, we mostly agree that to believe you are able to separate them yourself to get ‘out of your mind’ where you can be manipulated and controlled by WL is a bad use of the concept of soul and spirit, that replaces sound Christian teaching and ultimately does a great deal of harm, not good. A doorway to exploitation in a typically cultic sense.
I also see this: in the LC we got this vague "sense of life" that was supposed to guide us, whilst plain biblical text was being overturned or ignored, and historical Christian interpretation either waved away or trumpeted depending on the perceived need.

Watchman Nee did a 180° turn from localism to centralized control and they followed him en masse. Why? Because they were led by the spirit. Witness Lee became a channel for his unspiritual sons' fleshly desires, violating clear NT directives on church leadership. Yet he remained in charge, and the church allowed this. Why? They were led by the spirit.

This is the human will, seduced by evil spirits, thinking that it is following God. And that subjective, sensory-overload "enjoyment" is probably the opening.

Not saying that we shouldn't cry out and shout, but also to test all things, and repent when necessary. That's the road we're on. Jesus is the Way, and he wants us to be clear-eyed, not glassy-eyed and stupefied.

Pilgrim's progress, indeed. This should be taught to new believers on Week 1.
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Old 05-16-2020, 05:51 AM   #62
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I also see this: in the LC we got this vague "sense of life" that was supposed to guide us, whilst plain biblical text was being overturned or ignored, and historical Christian interpretation either waved away or trumpeted depending on the perceived need.
On point! Scripture is the final authority, through it we know the "all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence...." The Holy Spirit will also never contradict Scripture.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:08 AM   #63
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The Holy Spirit will also never contradict Scripture.
And yet in the LC whole swaths of text running to the dozens of chapters were deemed "fallen human concepts" because they couldn't be lined up with WL's interpretive matrix. And this interpretive grid came from where? WL called it 'revelation' but I strongly suspect the partly-ignorant human imagination, coloured(driven) by the human will. Such irony that WL, so good at manipulating others, was himself run by his sons, who by all accounts could care less about God.
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Old 05-16-2020, 07:50 AM   #64
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In the unturned cake department . . . let us remember that the Anointing within is real too, and is a foundation of the New Covenant: "'This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" (Jer 31:33) The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus -His Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God! (Romans 8)

So to say scripture is the final authority, I understand that sentiment. But there needs to be both witnesses - the word and spirit!

I agree that WL went too far and went way off the mark, essentially becoming the word/scripture to followers. But scripture alone can be just dead letter, and therefore also off the mark. ("Ye search the scriptures, but will not come to Me that ye might have life . . .")
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:10 AM   #65
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So to say scripture is the final authority, I understand that sentiment. But there needs to be both witnesses - the word and spirit!

I agree that WL went too far and went way off the mark, essentially becoming the word/scripture to followers. But scripture alone can be just dead letter,
If we've learned anything from Nee and Lee is that scripture + spirit can also be dead letter.

It depends on the anointing within as there are more than one (1 Jn 4:1). Satan is a spirit and even he knows scripture. So to be sure we need to thoroughly test all things, including our own "anointing" in prayer and against scripture.

Even a turned cake can be burned if left unchecked.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:22 AM   #66
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If we've learned anything from Nee and Lee is that scripture + spirit can also be dead letter.

It depends on the anointing within as there are more than one (1 Jn 4:1). Satan is a spirit and even he knows scripture. So to be sure we need to thoroughly test all things, including our own "anointing" in prayer and against scripture.

Even a turned cake can be burned if unchecked.
Really Jo!? Satan's spirit is also called the anointing? Please show us this specifically in scripture (and 1st John 4:1 sure doesn't say that).
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:44 AM   #67
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Really Jo!? Satan's spirit is also called the anointing? Please show us this specifically in scripture (and 1st John 4:1 sure doesn't say that).
You got me there, StG. However, John is the only author of the New Testament to refer to a Christian's "anointing" (Greek Chrisma). Does this mean that Paul or Peter did not have knowledge of this so called anointing? Of course not, they simply used different terminology to describe what John was alluding to.

I'm sure we can agree that Jesus preformed miracles through the anointing he received from God. With this understanding we can conclude John is speaking of the Holy Spirit's work in a believer's life.

Now if Christ preformed miracles by God's anointing, what do you suppose the false converts, false prophets, and false Christ's speak their prophesies and perform their miracles by? Is it a far stretch to say from a false anointing?

The issue isn't that scripture lacks specific reference to a "false anointing", it's that people mistake demonic influence for God's true anointing.
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Old 05-16-2020, 11:27 AM   #68
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The issue isn't that scripture lacks specific reference to a "false anointing", it's that people mistake demonic influence for God's true anointing.
Agreed. So Spirit AND the word, right?
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:06 PM   #69
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StG, here is the issue with your "unturned cake" argument, meaning scriptural knowledge in addition to a spiritual life equates to a healthy Christian life.

If you are operating under a compromised spiritual worldview through a counterfeit "anointing" all the knowledge that you gain from scripture through the lens of that anointing will be tainted as well.

So no, scripture + spirit is not enough. Scripture in agreement with a repentant and Holy Spirit filled life is the aim.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:26 PM   #70
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We differ. Sounds complicated. Okay . . . at least we have clarity again.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:43 AM   #71
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In considering this discussion on the soul and the spirit, I am forming the following impression:

WL and WN taught the idea that there is a key to living the Christian life, hidden in the scripture that suggests there can be a separation between the human soul and spirit. They developed an idea that we can envoke that separation ourselves, by thinking and declaring that we are ‘turning to our spirit’, and that is all that is needed to do so.

In this paradigm, the human spirit is unfallen, it communicates (specifically receives) a supply of ‘life’, from God’s Spirit, and therefore does not need the LAW of God. To invoke the LAW of God is in fact religious in a very negative sense. The subjective experience has surpassed the pesky, restrictive and inconvenient law, and needs to be uncoupled from it.

This teaching instructs the follower to believe thereby, that the will and whims they experience are the manifest will of God, reaching their heart through their reliable human spirit. However, it is in fact only their own carnal will, directing him or her towards their own desires or programming. So, what we actually have is subjective experience and therefore the human will, guided without the blueprint of moral guidance, as the central guide to the life of the follower. The will of the soul, unfettered by a concern to submit to the law, masquerading as the spirit of God, is at the helm of the life of the ‘follower’ of WL et al.

Weather or not the posters on this forum agree that we have a soul and spirit as two seperatable parts or not, we mostly agree that to believe you are able to separate them yourself to get ‘out of your mind’ where you can be manipulated and controlled by WL is a bad use of the concept of soul and spirit, that replaces sound Christian teaching and ultimately does a great deal of harm, not good. A doorway to exploitation in a typically cultic sense.

‘Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law’….‘there is no law beyond do as thou wilt’, Aleister Crowley, Satanist. In modern words this says: be led by your will alone, whatever you want to and desire to do, do it, there is no other rule than that'. The teaching of the LC amounts to no different from this defining 'law' of Satanism, only that in the LC there is the lie attached that your will is actually God's will coming from your spirit not your own mind. Does that make it actually worse than Aleister Crowley? At least he is straightforward and clear that he is preaching unabashed selfishness on behalf of the devil.

My conclusion is this directive in the LC adds up to a very dangerous and anti-Christian doctrine and practise. It exposes the individual to personal lawlessness and confusion, as well as exploitation and bondage. Underlining further this discussion point that the LC is a tool of satan….and I watched this confusion of lawlessness happening to LC members first hand, thinking something must be God's will for them because they wanted it. You can justify anything that way, and get into all kinds of problems.
This is one of the top ten posts I've seen, explaining to me what happened. I grew up in a broken home, largely ignored save the occasional beating. Nobody really cared about me. In the cult, it was all about me.

YOU have a human spirit. YOU can exercise your human spirit. "Oh, I'm a man, I'm the center and the meaning of the universe." Suddenly I was the star, the VIP.

All this was overwhelmingly delightful, and I spent years there after the 'glory' faded, because in the meantime I'd been so thoroughly programmed not to think or consider. "Just turn to your spirit, brother".

They seduce your will and pickle your mind, rob you of what Steve Hassan calls your authentic self. Who God really wants you to be.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:59 AM   #72
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Actually, StG, it's not complicated at all. The Holy Spirit, or even our human spirit in conjunction with God's Spirit, would never, ever cause us to believe, think or act in a manner which is contrary to Holy Scripture. And if that's what happens when your "cake" is turned, than we can know for sure that it is not something accepted, much less directed by God.

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Weather or not the posters on this forum agree that we have a soul and spirit as two separable parts or not, we mostly agree that to believe you are able to separate them yourself to get ‘out of your mind’ where you can be manipulated and controlled by WL is a bad use of the concept of soul and spirit, that replaces sound Christian teaching and ultimately does a great deal of harm, not good. A doorway to exploitation in a typically cultic sense.
You can pretty much ignore everything else that has been posted if you will just get this point that Curious is bringing forth. Is there any doubt whatsoever that "a doorway to exploitation" was opened in the Local Church of Witness Lee? I think what Jo, aron, Curious and moi are trying to get across to you (each in our own, flawed and fallible way) is that there is a grave and present danger in going through that doorway again, especially when we know that God has provided so many other alternatives. I do hear and appreciate your understanding that there are other dangers and extremes out in poor, poor, Christianity, but I think you are really selling God's people, and by extension God himself, short. There are right now, and always has been, more biblical and healthy teachings and practices than those of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:46 AM   #73
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Quote Originally Posted by Curious:
Weather or not the posters on this forum agree that we have a soul and spirit as two separable parts or not, we mostly agree that to believe you are able to separate them yourself to get ‘out of your mind’ where you can be manipulated and controlled by WL is a bad use of the concept of soul and spirit, that replaces sound Christian teaching and ultimately does a great deal of harm, not good. A doorway to exploitation in a typically cultic sense.
I do agree with what Curious posted, and also essentially what you said too! So here's my knee-jerk reaction: UntoHim, you always seem to want to paint me in a light that I am somehow defending the practices of the LC to the nth degree! I am not. There was/is abuse and things gone sideways there. Period. I said it once again. Need I repeat myself over and over on this in order that people here understand that I am not trying to champion all things WL/LC!? Not by a long shot!!!

I think it's like bro Ohio said; in the "food fights" we get into here, the one trying to be even a little moderate (aka "middle of the road") gets hit with pie from both sides. However, since almost no one who is pro-LC seems to want to post on here anymore, I'm the one that gets it.

So I get it -->This forum exists to attack (I mean "bring to light") the bad practices and abuses of the LC. And since no LC members seem to have the stones any more to come on here and stand up to the onslaught they will surely receive, then I get to take it. Ain't I the privileged one!? (actually yes!)

So one thing I may be guilty of is starting a thread with the intention of just having some back & forth about a topic. But my error may be in thinking we can do that without always dragging WL or the LC into it. Let me use this admittedly poor illustration to hopefully illustrate what I'm talking about. If I started a thread asking if Cheerios was a better cereal than Cocoa Puffs, I'm hoping to have some simple dialogue around that. But I guess I forget that we're on a forum to disparage (sorry, I mean "bring to light) the evil practices of all things WN/WL/LSM/LC/TLR, and before long someone is bound to say something like, "Well yeah, but what about WL never allowing us to eat Cheerios, and forcing us to only eat Cocoa Puffs!? In fact, he wouldn't even permit us to acknowledge Cheerios ever existed." So again, my bad for thinking we could have a discussion on here without ALWAYS taking a hard turn into all-things-anti-LC-bashing. And then folks seem to want to try and paint me as being pro LC. (once again, I am not, and I ask that you please don't automatically assume that)

Thanks for listening to my little rant for today . . . at least I feel better. But that's my view, for what it's worth, from the middle . . . (don't you pity me now, at least a little? ) Otherwise, hit me with your best shot. (Christ in me still loves you . . . )
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:42 AM   #74
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I do agree with what Curious posted, and also essentially what you said too! So here's my knee-jerk reaction: UntoHim, you always seem to want to paint me in a light that I am somehow defending the practices of the LC to the nth degree! I am not. There was/is abuse and things gone sideways there. Period. I said it once again. Need I repeat myself over and over on this in order that people here understand that I am not trying to champion all things WL/LC!? Not by a long shot!!!

I think it's like bro Ohio said; in the "food fights" we get into here, the one trying to be even a little moderate (aka "middle of the road") gets hit with pie from both sides. However, since almost no one who is pro-LC seems to want to post on here anymore, I'm the one that gets it.

So I get it -->This forum exists to attack (I mean "bring to light") the bad practices and abuses of the LC. And since no LC members seem to have the stones any more to come on here and stand up to the onslaught they will surely receive, then I get to take it. Ain't I the privileged one!? (actually yes!)

So one thing I may be guilty of is starting a thread with the intention of just having some back & forth about a topic. But my error may be in thinking we can do that without always dragging WL or the LC into it. Let me use this admittedly poor illustration to hopefully illustrate what I'm talking about. If I started a thread asking if Cheerios was a better cereal than Cocoa Puffs, I'm hoping to have some simple dialogue around that. But I guess I forget that we're on a forum to disparage (sorry, I mean "bring to light) the evil practices of all things WN/WL/LSM/LC/TLR, and before long someone is bound to say something like, "Well yeah, but what about WL never allowing us to eat Cheerios, and forcing us to only eat Cocoa Puffs!? In fact, he wouldn't even permit us to acknowledge Cheerios ever existed." So again, my bad for thinking we could have a discussion on here without ALWAYS taking a hard turn into all-things-anti-LC-bashing. And then folks seem to want to try and paint me as being pro LC. (once again, I am not, and I ask that you please don't automatically assume that)

Thanks for listening to my little rant for today . . . at least I feel better. But that's my view, for what it's worth, from the middle . . . (don't you pity me now, at least a little? ) Otherwise, hit me with your best shot. (Christ in me still loves you . . . )
Ahhhh bro StG, I can feel your pain. Perhaps that pie that broadsided you was homemade and tasted good? Personally my wife likes the filling, but I prefer a good crust. Anyways . . .

Discussions here are kind of like the aftermath of a contentious divorce. Child comes home to Mom after an evening with Dad. She says hi, how are you. He says, I had a fun time with Dad. She explodes, I don't want to hear it. Let me tell you about your father. That pathetic, no good, !@#$ me, he %^&* my life. Don't you ever mention him again. Go to your room!

After seeing that, food fights are almost fun!

Such has been life on the LCD forum.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:01 AM   #75
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And then folks seem to want to try and paint me as being pro LC. (once again, I am not, and I ask that you please don't automatically assume that)
StG, you're an adherent to the Local Church trinity (calling, pray-reading, OCOC). For this reason I know I've tried patiently explaining to you and others alike that for this reason you are still very much indeed Local Church members albeit not part of LSM.

This is obvious to those that completely renounce those doctrines, so by saying that you're not the LC and everyone else is imagining things is essentially gaslighting. You may be in denial but just so you know that's why people may get frustrated with you. Many here are trying to move past all things LC.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:14 AM   #76
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StG, you're an adherent to the Local Church trinity (calling, pray-reading, OCOC). For this reason I know I've tried patiently explaining to you and others alike that for this reason you are still very much indeed Local Church members albeit not part of LSM.

This is obvious to those that completely renounce those doctrines, so by saying that you're not the LC and everyone else is imagining things is essentially gaslighting. You may be in denial but just so you know that's why people may get frustrated with you.
Give it a break, Jo. Take the day off - you need it!

BTW - Are you ready to answer THE question of the one main test of the faith: "Know you not that Christ is in you?" (unless you fail THE test; 2 Cor 13:5)
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:19 AM   #77
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Ahhhh bro StG, I can feel your pain. Perhaps that pie that broadsided you was homemade and tasted good? Personally my wife likes the filling, but I prefer a good crust. Anyways . . .

Discussions here are kind of like the aftermath of a contentious divorce. Child comes home to Mom after an evening with Dad. She says hi, how are you. He says, I had a fun time with Dad. She explodes, I don't want to hear it. Let me tell you about your father. That pathetic, no good, !@#$ me, he %^&* my life. Don't you ever mention him again. Go to your room!

After seeing that, food fights are almost fun!

Such has been life on the LCD forum.
I love that analogy - PERFECT - thanks for sharing it!!!
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:19 AM   #78
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Give it a break, Jo. Take the day off - you need it!

BTW - Are you ready to answer THE question of the one main test of the faith: "Know you not that Christ is in you?" (unless you fail THE test)
Do you want me to take a break or to answer your question?

Regardless, I've already answered it.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:26 AM   #79
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Do you want me to take a break or to answer your question?

Regardless, I've already answered it.
No, you indeed did not answer that all important question of whether Christ lives in you - you dodged it. But if anyone needs my answer to THE test, here it is: Yes, Christ lives in me and I know that He does! I am washed, in the blood, in the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb! Christ in me is my only hope of glory! Hallelujah & Praise the Lord!

So perhaps I missed it - do you want to make a public declaration again, here and now?
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:36 AM   #80
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No, you indeed did not answer that all important question of whether Christ lives in you - you dodged it. But if anyone needs my answer to THE test, here it is: Yes, Christ lives in me and I know that He does! I am washed, in the blood, in the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb! Christ in me is my only hope of glory! Hallelujah & Praise the Lord!

So perhaps I missed it - do you want to make a public declaration again, here and now?
No, it's not necessary. I have twice already addressed your concern, StG. I however don't know why you felt the need to justify yourself. No one asked for your declaration but you're free to do so.

I've addressed this once in your Poll thread:

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If you are asking whether I know the Christ of scripture, then yes I do because I already know the counterfeit well enough.
and also in your Island thread:

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Does Christ live in you bro, and does He live through you?
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Yes, of course. However, I say that with a caveat. Figuratively, Christ lives in me by the indwelling spirit of God which lives in him also. Jesus himself is in heaven as a glorified human being. If you mean in terms of the LC teachings of the indwelling Christ where an individual needs to continually "feed" on Christ in order for him to live in you as a spirit, then no. So it really depends on the meaning of the terminology used.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:42 AM   #81
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My dear brother Sons to Glory! Just 17 days ago, in the opening post of this thread, you pondered aloud:

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But I'm curious, do others see man's makeup the same way, or is this another LC Kool-Aid drink I've swallowed and need to reconsider?
Ask and you shall receive!

If you want certain people to stop accusing you of defending the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, you may want to seriously consider to stop defending the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. There is a very good reason that very few Christian teachers, scholars and apologists emphasis the differences between the soul and the human spirit - it is because there is no such emphasis in the Scriptures. It just isn't there, at least not anything to the degree that is emphasized in the teachings of WN/WL.

My brother, I'm not accusing you of swallowing anything, but you may just want to take your own advise, and reconsider.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:23 AM   #82
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You are right - I did bring up the LC in the opening thread . . . there it is in black and white. Please throw me a Humble Pie to eat! Sorry, I did forget I said that in the very opening.

Nonetheless, I believe my comments in my "rant" post (#73) are still quite applicable, and hopefully that post clarifies my stance. That is, because I'm not always completely in the all things anti-LC tank, people often assume I'm all pro-LC. Nope, not the case at all.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:44 AM   #83
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No, it's not necessary. I have twice already addressed your concern, StG. I however don't know why you felt the need to justify yourself. No one asked for your declaration but you're free to do so. I did that to demonstrate what answering THE TEST might look like when it's clear & to the point - I know Christ lives in me! (And giving a frequent witness to that fact is a good thing!)

I've addressed this once in your Poll thread:

Quote Originally Posted by Jo S:
If you are asking whether I know the Christ of scripture, then yes I do because I already know the counterfeit well enough. What is this!? You say you know Christ simply because you know the counterfeit? I don't think so. You know Christ by accepting Him to come live in you!

and also in your Island thread:

Quote Originally Posted by Sons to Glory!:
Does Christ live in you bro, and does He live through you?

Quote Originally Posted by Jo S:
Yes, of course. However, I say that with a caveat. Figuratively, (where does scripture say Christ lives in His believers figuratively?) Christ lives in me by the indwelling spirit of God which lives in him also. Jesus himself is in heaven as a glorified human being. If you mean in terms of the LC teachings of the indwelling Christ where an individual needs to continually "feed" on Christ in order for him to live in you as a spirit, then no. So it really depends on the meaning of the terminology used.
Yes, I read where you answered in the affirmative, but you also placed these extra caveats on your answers! It seems just declaring that Christ is in you is not good enough for you. Paul's "test" was real simple: Is Christ in you or not? No extra hoopla or fanfare. And you don't know Christ by knowing how bad the LC was. Come on!
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:05 PM   #84
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Yes, I read where you answered in the affirmative, but you also placed these extra caveats on your answers! It seems just declaring that Christ is in you is not good enough for you. Paul's "test" was real simple: is Christ in you or not? No extra hoopla or fanfare. And you don't know Christ by knowing how bad the LC was. Come on!
Yeah, Jo S, I gotta say just as an observer, it is glaring that you would say "figuratively He lives in me".

I don't recall any verse in Scripture that talks about Christ in us "figuratively".
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:22 PM   #85
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Yeah, Jo S, I gotta say just as an observer, it is glaring that you would say "figuratively He lives in me".

I don't recall any verse in Scripture that talks about Christ in us "figuratively".
Neither do I recall a scripture verse stating that Jesus lives in us in his entirety.

The LC's taught the heresy of Modalism meaning that after ascension he became a spirit. Scripture, however, teaches us that Jesus remains in the same physical, albeit glorified, body that he resurrected in. Bodily ascension lies at the heart of the Gospel.

Which is it? Is Christ a spirit that lives in us? Or is he seated at the right hand of God in Heaven?

If he is a spirit within us, then is regenerate man 4 parts (body, soul, spirit, and Jesus)?

Or do Christians share the common link between us and Jesus in Heaven, the Holy Spirit?

So does Christ live in me as Paul understood it? Yes. Does Christ live in me as Nee and Lee understood it, no.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:59 PM   #86
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What is this!? You say you know Christ simply because you know the counterfeit? I don't think so. You know Christ by accepting Him to come live in you!
Paul makes it clear you can accept a different spirit at the preaching of a different Jesus. (2 Cor 11:4). That's why we are told to examine ourselves for this very reason. Testing and examining is not done by mere declarations. Testing is done by scripture, prayer, and by examining the fruit of a believer's faith. I'm sure the false converts in Matt 7:21-23 thought Christ was in them as well.

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Yes, I read where you answered in the affirmative, but you also placed these extra caveats on your answers! It seems just declaring that Christ is in you is not good enough for you. Paul's "test" was real simple: Is Christ in you or not? No extra hoopla or fanfare. And you don't know Christ by knowing how bad the LC was. Come on!
I knew the real from the moment I was saved. I then knew the counterfeit from my time spent practicing mysticism before encountering the LC's. After repenting and being reconciled to the first, now I have certainty as the real Christ does not contradict scripture. Having that contrast is what provides certainty.

It's the same "christ" between all branches of Mysticism and the LC's, that's why I recognized it soon enough but apparently you have not. As for my 3rd declaration see my answer to Trapped.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:05 PM   #87
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Brothers and Sisters,

As fascinating and controversial as the nature of the indwelling Christ/Holy Spirit is, I think we better steer clear of those issues lest we wonder too far off the beaten path. My goodness, isn't this matter of the soul and human spirit challenging enough for us?


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Please throw me a Humble Pie to eat!
No worries my brother, I'm been eating that pie for about 15 years now! It's practically my job description.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:47 AM   #88
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

Do you think this should be a separate discussion? I'm not sure - the topic about soul & spirit and the subsequent discussion regarding initial salvation (where in us does Christ come to dwell?) seems relevant to each other. Let us know what you think please
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:25 AM   #89
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Well I really think that this matter of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and Christ in us is only ancillary to the matter at hand, and may actually take us off the track. The recent back and forth between you and Jo here has been very interesting and "spirited", (pun intended) but I would really like to see us focus on the original premise of your opening post.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:22 PM   #90
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

Let me reboot this conversation by saying I believe the Bible presents a substantial number of verses
showing that both soul and spirit are present in man and are different.

(and let's also set aside the whole "what is the practicality of knowing this?" question aside for now.)
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:58 PM   #91
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Ok, while you're in the rebooting mode, are there any other questions you want to set aside? My brother, we already know what you believe, and what you think the Bible is showing, you made that perfectly clear in the opening post. So now the real question is: are you willing and able to defend your beliefs and contentions? A discussion is not much of a discussion if one of the parties is going to dig his heals in with the ole "The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!" That works on a bumper sticker on the back of a minivan, but in the real world of our little forum it is a super-frustrating non sequitur.

Nobody here is making the argument that the soul and the human spirit are the very same thing, at least not anyone that I've seen. The issue, as I see it, is what does the difference really mean to us mere mortals here on this third rock from the sun? I understand that you may still subscribe to the teaching that our human spirit is "the organ with which we contact God". This all sounds very exciting and enlightening, and even biblical, but I want to dig down a little deeper - let's get down to the brass tacks.

Maybe you can humor me for just a second: let me post a little excerpt from my post #21:

Quote:
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All this happened without any of these crazy, inexperienced and naive, but sincere, baby-Christians having any knowledge or awareness that there was a difference between our spirit and our soul. I was pretty clueless that we even had "a human spirit". Can you imagine that ...I went around preaching the Gospel to family and friends, read the Bible, praised and worshiped the Lord "in Spirit and in truth" and sought to know the Lord with all my heart and strength...all this without knowing the difference between my soul and my human spirit!
So let's pretend we can jump into Doc Emmett Brown's time-machine and go back to 1975 and speak with this crazy, inexperienced and naive, but sincere baby-Christian who we will call "UntoHim". Let's talk some sense into this silly kid! Do you really think this bright eyed and bushy tailed punk is going to go with your
"I believe the Bible presents a substantial number of verses showing that both soul and spirit are present in man and are different." and run with that?

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Old 05-20-2020, 04:00 PM   #92
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Default Re: Soul & Spirit - Same or Different?

I know you've asked about the practicality of knowing that the soul & spirit are different several times, but it is the other thing I'd suggest setting aside for now regarding this thread's direction. This was sort a result of you first asking that we set aside the question of the indwelling Christ, since you thought it would just get us further off track, right? So my suggestion to shelve the practicality issue was essentially like-minded, in order to better keep us on track and more narrowly focused.

What I did have in mind (in my attempt to reboot this thread) is presenting verses which demonstrate that we do have a spirit that is something different from our soul. But I'm getting mixed-messages here, because you said, "Nobody here is making the argument that the soul and the human spirit are the very same thing."

So is it a foregone conclusion that everyone here believes the soul and spirit are different? If that's the case, then presenting verses to support that conclusion is probably a wasted effort.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:39 PM   #93
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Excerpt from: The Parts of Man - by Witness Lee

Since Christ, as the life-giving Spirit, dwells in our spirit, we need to discern our spirit from our soul that we may contact and experience Him. We may know that man is composed of the spirit, soul, and body, but to discern the difference between the spirit and the soul is a real problem. To know the difference between the body and the soul is easy, but to discern the spirit from the soul is rather difficult. The following illustration is most helpful. Suppose we find something that we would like to purchase. The more we consider it, the more we feel that we would like to have it. Eventually, we make the decision to buy it. The emotion is exercised, since we like it; the mind is exercised, because we have considered it; and the will is exercised, because we have made the decision to buy it. Therefore, the whole soul is exercised. But when we proceed to buy it, something very deep within us protests. Our emotion likes it, our mind considers it, and our will chooses it; but something deeper than all these protests. This is the spirit. The spirit is the deepest part within us, the very inmost part of our whole being. It is absolutely different from our soul.

We must first realize that Christ is the Spirit in our spirit. Then we need to discern the difference between the spirit and the soul that we may deny the soul and live by the spirit. When we live by the spirit, Christ will have the first place in everything. Then we will experience Christ in the spirit, and we will learn how to apply Him in our daily life.


My experience and observation over the past 45 years tells me that what Witness Lee has quoted above is a bunch of spiritual sounding gobbledygook, and should be thoroughly rejected by all mature, sensible Christians. Look where this kind of "theology" has gotten our dear brothers and sisters in the Local Church of Witness Lee.

Also in my experience and observation is that when one makes too much out of the differences between our soul and our spirit, there is great danger to sink into the nonsense that is published here in "The Parts of Man" - especially when it comes to young people and new, inexperienced believers. **I do understand and appreciate that my brother StG is not intentionally implying, much less insisting, that what Lee is teaching here is good and healthy teaching, only that in my experience and observation it is the inevitable result of an over-emphasis of the difference(s) of the soul and spirit.**
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:48 PM   #94
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Excerpt from: The Parts of Man - by Witness Lee

Since Christ, as the life-giving Spirit, dwells in our spirit, we need to discern our spirit from our soul that we may contact and experience Him. We may know that man is composed of the spirit, soul, and body, but to discern the difference between the spirit and the soul is a real problem. To know the difference between the body and the soul is easy, but to discern the spirit from the soul is rather difficult. The following illustration is most helpful. Suppose we find something that we would like to purchase. The more we consider it, the more we feel that we would like to have it. Eventually, we make the decision to buy it. The emotion is exercised, since we like it; the mind is exercised, because we have considered it; and the will is exercised, because we have made the decision to buy it. Therefore, the whole soul is exercised. But when we proceed to buy it, something very deep within us protests. Our emotion likes it, our mind considers it, and our will chooses it; but something deeper than all these protests. This is the spirit. The spirit is the deepest part within us, the very inmost part of our whole being. It is absolutely different from our soul.

We must first realize that Christ is the Spirit in our spirit. Then we need to discern the difference between the spirit and the soul that we may deny the soul and live by the spirit. When we live by the spirit, Christ will have the first place in everything. Then we will experience Christ in the spirit, and we will learn how to apply Him in our daily life.
Don't see much wrong with that - what am I missing? Paul repeatedly exhorts us to "walk in spirit." How do we do that? I've had many experience where there was something deeper within that is just not lining up with something I want to do. When I go against it, the life and peace drains away, and when I listen and obey, the life and peace returns. The Lord speaks to us both through scripture and "The Spirit of Jesus Christ." For example, Paul experienced this and said, "The Holy Spirit prevented them . . . the Spirit of Jesus did not permit us to go . . ." (Acts 16:6-7) Did Paul find this in scripture? No. Did Jesus come in bodily form and tell them this? No, it was His Spirit, speaking within them.

Scripture tells us Spirit begets spirit. So how do the sheep hear His voice? It's not just the written word. (of course, many times His inner voice speaks using scripture)
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:41 PM   #95
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Hey StG! Don't look now, but you just gave me a little bit of the practical examples I was looking for! But before too many of your shirt buttons pop out, I must tell you that everything you described could be experienced and realized without knowing about, much less caring about, any difference between our soul and our human spirit. Life and peace can come and go, irregardless of any knowledge or appreciation of the difference. How do the sheep hear his voice? Good question! What I can tell you is I was hearing his voice long before I ever heard about the human spirit. And I was experiencing life and peace long before I ever heard about the human spirit.

Here's the bottom line for me...and you can take the last word after this because we've already reached the infamous point of agreeing to disagree (even though I would't agree with that!)... EVEN IF "The spirit is the deepest part within us, the very inmost part of our whole being", this fact would do nothing to bolster the strength of your case.

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Old 05-21-2020, 12:20 PM   #96
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Hey StG! Don't look now, but you just gave me a little bit of the practical examples I was looking for! But before too many of your shirt buttons pop out, I must tell you that everything you described could be experienced and realized without knowing about, much less caring about, any difference between our soul and our human spirit. Life and peace can come and go, irregardless of any knowledge or appreciation of the difference. How do the sheep hear his voice? Good question! What I can tell you is I was hearing his voice long before I ever heard about the human spirit. And I was experiencing life and peace long before I ever heard about the human spirit.

Here's the bottom line for me...and you can take the last word after this because we've already reached the infamous point of agreeing to disagree (even though I would't agree with that!)... EVEN IF "The spirit is the deepest part within us, the very inmost part of our whole being", this fact would do nothing to bolster the strength of your case.

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I think I get your point now . . . finally! (yes, I'm a little thick 73.215% of the time) That is, you were making the point that having the knowledge that one's soul and spirit are different, has little to no practical value in one's ability to experience the indwelling Christ, right? Yes, I can agree (at least mostly). And you repeatedly asked for practical examples of the Anointing/Indwelling Christ that demonstrate evidence of that difference. Glad I could provide a little something towards that. I could provide many more examples of His Spirit moving and speaking within, as I'm sure you and others on here could as well. But again, I think you've gotten your point across that knowing we have a soul AND spirit really makes little practical impact in a believer's actual knowing the person of Christ. So now it appears we have achieved the much coveted clarity! YEE HAW!!!

However, my "case" was not about the practical side of knowing soul as different from spirit - that is how YOU seemed to be trying to frame this discussion. No, rather it was just the question about whether folks on here believed there was a difference between man's soul & spirit. And it appears we have established that at least the lion's share of people's responses in this thread, show they do believe there is a difference between soul & spirit. (is that right everyone, or did I imagine that?)
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