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Old 05-03-2009, 07:14 AM   #1
YP0534
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Default Various by YP0534

I've started twice before now to open this thread and I hit the "What Was I Thinking?" button on both occasions.

Two main problems:

1) The vanity that I should even suppose someone would care to read my musings as things occur to me. Alan just helped me out with that by saying he got something out of my previous posts on ekklesia around here.

2) Where to begin? Some of my poorly organized thinking is already on display here and there around this site and the other but I've continued to move on a bit from those end points and it seems like just starting in the middle to post something here.

Just this week I've dipped a toe into the so-called "New Perspectives on Paul" debates between Wright and Carson (at the suggestion of some others) and I've got huge issues with both of those camps (as represented by those individuals - if that's a fair characterization) but I think my musings aren't really in alignment with either side of the thing. (Carson makes some good points about Wright but he doesn't do as good a job as he pretends. Meantime, Wright himself seems to have a deep interest in issues of social justice, apparently even to the exclusion of the spiritual realities of the Christian life.)

So, I've got those old musings on ekklesia plus more recent considerations of so-called "church offices" plus my current considerations of Paul's potential religious influences.

And I was just about to hit the "What Was I Thinking?" button yet again but decided to just post this and therefore have a convenient place to post the next time something is on my mind and heart.

I guess a monologue format can eliminate the problem of my posts stifling the on-going conversation, as they do everywhere else.

I only hope something worthwhile will come about.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:12 AM   #2
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As a former LC member I appreciate hearing from everybody who will speak their mind. Thanks to the owners for providing this venue
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I guess a monologue format can eliminate the problem of my posts stifling the on-going conversation, as they do everywhere else.

I only hope something worthwhile will come about.
I think a fair percentage of the time we have overlapping monologues on these threads, not true conversations (i.e. mutual exploration). Occasionally, however, things connect and there is a transmission. For that we can only say, "Praise God!"

The above, of course, is merely my observation, and may in no way reflect the true state of reality.

"aron" (still learning how to log in)

Last edited by Unregistered; 05-03-2009 at 02:16 PM. Reason: a lesson to us all
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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As a former LC member I appreciate hearing from everybody who will speak their mind. Thanks to the owners for providing this venue
I personally love the idea of allowing people to log on as unregistered guests. Forget the avatars and personal histories and just let your ideas float, or sink, in the collective discussion. Leave the personal stuff out, as much as we can.

Of course, the downside is anonymous flamers but still it's good to not focus on personalities but rather on ideas.

"Jesus" is somehow an idea for me, an ideal, a representation, that I hope will never be crushed, let go, or contaminated, or bypassed. What He represents is the best hope for both me and all of humanity, all of creation, even. I have never seen an idea like Jesus Christ the Nazarene.

You may say, But He's a Person, not an idea. Yes, well even if he were an idea, I would believe. Because this universe has never, and will never, offer me anything as good as what He represents.

"God loved us and sent His Son." Somebody top that idea, please.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Various by YP0534

Alrighty guys, I hope that the forum permissions have been adjusted properly.

I think it is now set so that an unregistered user can only "reply" to a blog entry, but not do anything else. Let me know if you find any other quirks in the system

Oh and don't worry about "guests" becoming a problem. They will be held to the same standards as everybody else.

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Old 05-03-2009, 03:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Various by YP0534

It would be nice if "unregistered guests" could be identified some way, otherwise I could never "recognize" who is talking to me.

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Old 05-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
"Jesus" is somehow an idea for me, an ideal, a representation,
HUH? Ok Aron/alan/unregistered user....'splain your thought process a little more please. (You can bet I'll be adding my.02 worth shortly!

Quote:
that I hope will never be crushed, let go, or contaminated, or bypassed.
Don't you believe JESUS is GOD? There is no contamination in Him. You know that! Are you pulling our legs and just funnin' with us ?

Quote:
What He represents is the best hope for both me and all of humanity, all of creation, even. I have never seen an idea like Jesus Christ the Nazarene.
You know I'm getting ready to bonk you over the head ! I'm going to find out what kool aid you've been drinking from and I'm going to personally go and take it away from you..and de-tox you with some LIVING WATER from the River of LIFE. On second thought, I think I'll just DUNK you into the RIVER of LIFE...looks like you could use a good washing! Then I'll snatch some fruit off the TREE of LIFE for you to munch on and pour you a glass of that LIVING WATER for you to drink with as you eat the fruit.

Quote:
You may say, But He's a Person, not an idea. Yes, well even if he were an idea, I would believe. Because this universe has never, and will never, offer me anything as good as what He represents.
What are you babbling about ? First you say He's an idea to you and then you say IF He were an idea, you would believe ??
NEVER MIND. DON'T answer that ! Just stop drinking that kool aid will ya!

Quote:
"God loved us and sent His Son." Somebody top that idea, please.
GOD STILL loves us...and always will. Now STOP drinking that koolaid !! Don't go making JESUS something He's NOT. You know very well HE is not an idea! He is the WORD of God but not an idea! I don't know about you but I ain't marrying no idea! And if you come back and say "you're marrying the WORD of God?? I will reply and say YES because the WORD BECAME FLESH ! He is going to be our Bridegroom very soon....maybe not YOUR Bridegroom if you keep talkin' like that!
Sheesh!

Ok...I don't know why you are pulling our chains here...but hopefully you are simply jesting with us...to get us riled up. 'Cause if you're NOT, you are grieving the Holy Spirit and you do not want to do that. Neither do you want the Lord Jesus to REBUKE you as He rebuked the Pharasees and the way He rebuked Peter. You don't want to be like John the apostle when he was in Patmos writing the Revelation of Jesus Christ God (the FATHER) was giving him to write....that when he saw JESUS, John fell at HIS feet as if he was dead.

I'll stop here. I have more...but it's Your turn...IF you dare!
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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I've started twice before now to open this thread and I hit the "What Was I Thinking?" button on both occasions.

"What was I Thinking" is exactly why I opened the blog forum! Far as I know, this is what blogs are all about. I really love to know what is REALLY on peoples minds and hearts (especially us LCers - current and ex and anything in between), and I want them to be able to do so without being tied to any particular subject. Let's all keep in mind that this is YP's little domain. I want to see HIM make the lion's share of posts here. He is to be the one to set the mood and tempo and direction.

I'm going to address the "guest" posting situation somewhere else.

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Old 05-04-2009, 06:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Various by YP0534

"Jesus" is somehow an idea for me, an ideal, a representation, that I hope will never be crushed, let go, or contaminated, or bypassed.

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Originally Posted by countmeworthy View Post
Don't you believe JESUS is GOD? There is no contamination in Him. You know that! Are you pulling our legs and just funnin' with us ?
Jesus said that the kingdom would be like a woman with a measure of meal who put in some leaven and sifted it until the whole thing got leavened (Matt 13:33). I take that to be an idea (that Jesus the Nazarene is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the foretold Messiah) getting contaminated until you find yourself sitting in a large stone building with gargoyles and candles and stained glass windows and the guy up front in a red robe is waving a smoky censer through the air and chanting something which you guess is Latin, but you're not sure and you wonder how to be saved but the stained glass windows just look down on you silently and you stumble back out onto the street and rub your eyes and wonder what to do with your life.

Or, perhaps, you cut off fellowship with other believers simply because their 'way' is not 'New Testament-ish' enough for your liking.

No, Jesus is not contaminated, but our hearts and especially brains seem to get that way. That was my gist. You have reality (Jesus the Nazarene) and you have people's representations of reality floating in their brains. So I'm just trying to sift through the latter to find the former.

The Bible, by the way, is full of examples of this. For instance, the disciples had to be shed of many ideas, conceptions, and representations of reality, which did not conform to actuality as it was living and breathing before them in the person of Jesus Christ.

You have ideas. I have different ideas. Yet we all believe into the same Lord. I find that interesting, and I may add, rather heartening. There is, indeed, hope.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:45 AM   #10
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"What was I Thinking" is exactly why I opened the blog forum!
That's my "Oh... never mind!" function. I use it a lot. To me, it's the one's who are absolutely convinced that there is no leaven whatsoever in their service to God that are the most dangerous. They have no brake, no correction, no way to "restrain the madness of the prophet" (2 Pet 2:16). In my estimation, we are all at least a little bit batty. The only truly sane One I have come across is Jesus.

So my "Never Mind" button is quite useful. I believe in the NT it's listed under "Repentance".
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:36 AM   #11
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I'm still not 100% sure what to make of the so-called "New Perspectives on Paul" debate which apparently has been around for nearly 50 years according to Conrad.

The main point of contention between the two camps seems to be a conclusion drawn by some that because first-century Palestinian Judaism (sometimes also referred to as "Second Temple Judaism")was actually loosely based upon fundamental concepts of God's grace, Paul wasn't advocating such a radical departure in his epistles. The other side argues, essentially, that there is no such thing as a monolithic first-century Palestinian Judaism and even to the extent that you might argue that there is, Paul's writings represent a strong reaction to that very thing rather than a continuation of it.

From what I could tell, Conrad and Wright are both in the business of talking past each other.

Those two positions don't really seem inconsistent to me, other than in perhaps bragging rights of who is more correct than the other.

In any event, without going into what I see as the problems on both sides, I just have to say that so far the topic only vaguely interests me anyway. My curiosity about Pauline Jewish practices is not with a view to drawing connections or denying that such connections exist (which more or less seems like the focus of the NPP debate) but rather I am simply trying to identify if Paul's word, for instance, about head-covering is a cultural thing that can be ignored by modern students of Paul or if this is an issue for which the alleged Biblical infallibility principle of Paul's epistles should be applied.

If Paul was a practicing Jew and yet he protected his Gentile converts from being subjected to mandatory Jewish practices, what should we say when he himself instructs to participate in Jewish practices of one kind or another? (If that's what he does, of course!)

I guess the only point I might have in common with the NPP people is the realization that maybe Paul wasn't as thoroughly non-Jewish as Witness Lee and so many others have led me to be believe.

Maybe Paul was really the first "Jew for Jesus" who strongly wanted to give Christ a full way outside the Jewish community?

Anyways, this is sort of what I'm conisdering at the moment.

Re-reading Matthew recently, I was deeply struck with how very Jewish it is in its approach. For your consideration - first verse:

Quote:
Mat 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
It don't get much more Jewish than that.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:24 AM   #12
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Maybe Paul was really the first "Jew for Jesus" who strongly wanted to give Christ a full way outside the Jewish community?

Anyways, this is sort of what I'm conisdering at the moment.

Reece here...glad to see you bring up the NPP...your blog got me thinking and here are some random thoughts along those lines:

reconstructing Paul in his first century Jewish context is a must in understanding the tension we find in galatians and elsewhere between jews and gentiles...

As for wright...he takes things pretty far... E.P. Sanders and his "covenantal nomism" theory is interesting...

Basically, what I gather from the NPP is that unlike Luther's understanding that the "law" was a curse because it became a human effort to gain salvation, the NPP argues that the law was more of a covenant membership and that Jews by birth were born into grace as part of Abraham's family...Gentiles on the other hand...needed conversion which was only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So then "justification" is not how one "gets in" but a present and future declaration that one is just before God. Luther tended to use "justification" and "salvation" synonymously while the NPP sees justification by faith in a new light.

To Paul, Jews were God's people by grace and the law was a means to "stay in" and not "get in." The issues of food laws, sabbath, and circumcision were not so much human efforts to "get in" but rather cultural markers which the Jews saw as a means to stay in covenant and stay faithful to God.

The Gospel then that Paul preached was not "say this formulated prayer and be born again" but rather, "Jesus the risen Messiah has conquered death and everything which was promised to Israel has been fulfilled in the risen Christ! The promise given to Abraham that 'all nations on earth will be blessed through you' has been fulfilled in Christ by the salvation of the Gentiles." The Jews still needed to have faith in Christ but the "law" was more of an exclusive cultural marker of God's people than a legalistic curse as ML argued as he sought to reform a legalistic roman church.

Thus, NPP is claiming that exclusivism, not legalism, was Paul's beef with "those from James."
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Thus, NPP is claiming that exclusivism, not legalism, was Paul's beef with "those from James."
And I think that's mostly right.



I had an excellently composed reply, with three main points and several points under that, but I got logged out before I sumitted it and then it ate my reply completely.

So I won't be posting more than this for now.
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:33 PM   #14
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Default New Old Books

I just got my 1957 edition of Walter Martin's "Rise of the Cults".

I found the last chapter fascinating and repost it here for you.

Quote:
CHAPTER X

THE SLEEPING GIANT OF ORTHODOXY

The universal cry in our era, which appears to be stirring
the sleeping giant of Orthodoxy, is: "Where did the cults
come from?" and "What can be done to combat them
effectively?"
As has been amply shown, the major cults out-propa-
gandize and out-"give" evangelical Christianity in the support
of their beliefs, and they threaten in no small way to en-
danger every mission field on the globe which until recently
was largely free from concentrated cult activities. Unfortun-
ately, some Christians take the attitude of a gentleman I spoke
with five years ago, who has still not changed his views, to
my knowledge, and who enjoys the distinction of being one
of the leading publishers of Christian books on the Eastern
Seaboard.
I approached this distinguished gentleman at the time,
hoping he would accept and publish a manuscript I had
written which was an expose of Jehovah's Witnesses, or the
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Brooklyn, New
York. The co-author and I offered the manuscript for publi-
cation at no profit to ourselves, and we even offered to let
him remove our names from it, as we were then unknown in
the writing field.
Mr. X, as we shall call him, thoroughly read the man
uscript, which we left with him. 'When we returned On the
morrow, he had nothing but good things to say for it.
"The Christian public needs books like this," he said
emphatically. "I have never seen a more thorough job of
documentation than you have done on this subject - it should
be a best seller in its field. I personally wish every Christian
who meets a Jehovah's Witness could have a copy of this,"
he continued. "I think you have done a fine job and I wish
you success."
Upon hearing such lavish praise as this we fully expected
to see the book printed in a very short time, but we were
doomed to quick disappointment, for we did not then know
that a glib tongue often camouflages a quaking heart.
Feeling that at last we could speak of publication, we
pressed Mr. X for details and received the following comment.
"Please do not misunderstand me, gentlemen. Though I
like the book I cannot publish it. You see I believe that we
ought to let the Lord rebuke the devil, and these cults are
devilish, so I take the position of the Archangel Michael
when he contended with the devil (Jude 9) and I just say,
'The Lord rebuke thee,' for I have no desire to be involved
with Jehovah's Witnesses."
We explained to Mr. X that there was no legal risk in
printing the book as three lawyers had already passed favorably'
on its contents, and that he would make a reasonable profit on
it because it was the only book ever written on the subject and
hence a primary source for pastors and interested laymen."
However, all our protestations were to no avail. Mr. X
continued in his "let alone" theory despite Jude 3 and our
pointing out to him that his use of Jude 9 was completely
at variance with the contextual meaning.
Finally, in desperation, we attempted to find out if what
we had suspected all along was true, and we pointedly asked
Mr. X the following question:
"Are you afraid to print this book because you fear the
reprisals of the Watch Tower?"
Mr. X colored noticeably, and raising his voice stammered:
"I - I do not wish to become involved in litigation with any
organization as big as the Watch Tower, so I say again regard-
ing the cults: 'The Lord rebuke thee,' and that is my decision."
We left the presence of Mr. X with heaviness in our
hearts, but as we passed out of his office we saw a sign over
the door which added that touch of humor so often needed
in dark situations. The sign read in large bold type: "If
God is your partner make your plans big."
Here was a man who ignored the commands of Scripture
without blinking, and yet expressed as his motto complete
trust in the promises of God .. This was indeed both humorous
and paradoxical, but it gave us an unforgettable glimpse of
a type of thinking all too prevalent in our day. Pious temer-
ity, we believe, has no place on the battlefield of the heaven lies
(Eph. 6: 12).
In regard to an answer to the foregoing questions, then,
we feel there is a definite solution to the problem of cults,
and we also believe that it can be aided by any and all
Christians willing to cooperate. Here, then, are the facts,
understanding of which can greatly facilitate grasping the
significance of cult problems:
1. The cults came from dissatisfied souls who, because
they could not understand Biblical Christianity, or having
understood it, rejected it, preferred instead the religious
opinions of kindred souls.
2. They grew to their present proportions became per-
sons of similar persuasions sided with the "underdog," and the
Christian Church as a whole failed to meet the challenge
in a positive and unified way.
3. The challenge of cultism can be met only with a
systematic program dedicated to a thorough education of all
Christians, clergy and laity, in the basic tenets, approaches
and propaganda activities of the major non-Christian cults.
Clarifying this third step, we should like to outline a
concrete solution to this growing problem, a problem long
ignored, half-heartedly considered, and thus today potentially
the greatest threat to evangelical missionary efforts known.
We have proposed, therefore, that an inter-denominational
Bureau of Information be formed, supported by all the major
evangelical denominations and groups, or as many as agree
upon its usefulness, with the purpose of supplying primary
data on all cults and non-Christian missionary activities, both
at home and on the mission fields. It will be the duty of this
Bureau to index the major cults, supply resumes of their
origin, history and doctrines with bibliographical material
aimed at specifically refuting their respective teachings.
This Bureau of Information has recently been realized
with the inauguration of a special division of Zondervan Pub-
lishing Company entitled The Division of Cult Apologetics.
This Division will also publish a Cult Digest, supplying up-to-
the-"deadline" news briefs on cult activities and missionary
programs. In this way it will be possible to supply all inter-
ested Christians, ministers and laymen, with first-hand data
on all cults bearing directly or indirectly on Christian mission-
ary programs. Through the function of this Division a large
library on cultism will be amassed and a central information
hub established. The value of such a Division will be im-
mense, and such an information center will soon be a living
reality.
To Christian colleges and seminaries this Division will
prove most valuable and also fill a great need. Strong cult
curricula are offered in some colleges and seminaries, but
not nearly enough proportionately, since confusion on what
cultists believe, and a general inability to cope with them
effectively in the pastorate, is unfortunately much in evidence.
To refute cultism, the Christian public must know what cult-
ists believe, and why they believe it. But more important,
Christians must know why they believe in orthodox theology,
since it is mainly through the contrast of sound doctrine with
heresy that error is exposed and refuted.
The Christian Church today must face up to the fact
that unless unified action is taken against the tremendous
upsurge of cultism in both the United States and numerous
foreign mission fields, the Church shall, in the next decade,
be fighting for its apologetic life against an enemy whose
growth is directly proportional to the Church's Failure to
educate its members to the insidious doctrines of the cults.
God grant that many will see this grave danger and rise up
to the defense of the Eternal Word.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:10 AM   #15
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I also purchased a copy of the 1977 edition of Walter Martin's book and the revisions to the story above are minor but interesting. Perhaps I'll discuss that here later.

I wanted to report that I now own a copy of the Harvest House book and while I can still agree with the courts regarding the outcome, as a careful and critical reader, I'm just not at all impressed and I'm quite disappointed. Most of the introduction, that the Local Church took specific exception to, is just of very poor quality and above the copyright notice it contains an apology/excuse for inadequate references that's akin to "the dog ate my homework." I've never in my life seen such a thing in any book, certainly not with regard to anything based in serious scholarship and particularly not for something called an "encyclopedia." The rambling introduction, while making a good point now and then, is on the whole a literary disaster that eventually descends into a peculiar defense of Christianity in general against secular attacks of every stripe. Essentially, "WE'RE not a CULT! THEY ARE!"

Alternately weak, bizzare and nearly unintelligible, the introduction, to the extent that it sets the stage for appreciating the individual articles that follow, really undercuts the utility of the whole volume. Aside from the silly little LC page, I haven't reviewed any of the other substantive entries yet to see if they have any significant value in the field, but at this point I'm bracing myself for further disappointment.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
The rambling introduction, while making a good point now and then, is on the whole a literary disaster that eventually descends into a peculiar defense of Christianity in general against secular attacks of every stripe. Essentially, "WE'RE not a CULT! THEY ARE!"

Alternately weak, bizzare and nearly unintelligible, the introduction, to the extent that it sets the stage for appreciating the individual articles that follow, really undercuts the utility of the whole volume.
Welcome to the subjective world of the Cult Busters. "THEY are a CULT because...." some grave error is then discussed.

Everyone has some error; some folks probably have lots. There is a continuum from slightly tinged to fully freighted. But the cult buster has a line drawn in the sand, which has "cult" on one side and "sect" on the other. And each cult buster has their own subjective line.

Which is to some degree fine. We all have to set boundaries for what is acceptable, what not. What is repairable, what not. What has some basis for fellowship, even harsh ("foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?"), and where there's no common fellowship.

But beyond that, I don't know. I tried to get a group consensus once on what was a "pseudo-christian group" versus the real thing, and it went nowhere, and deservedly so.

Today I have only my heart, and the person next to me. That's it.

Good hunting, YP. I hope you don't get vertigo in there!
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:33 PM   #17
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Welcome to the subjective world of the Cult Busters. "THEY are a CULT because...." some grave error is then discussed.

Everyone has some error; some folks probably have lots. There is a continuum from slightly tinged to fully freighted. But the cult buster has a line drawn in the sand, which has "cult" on one side and "sect" on the other. And each cult buster has their own subjective line.

Hear me out on this:
I think Walter Martin's bit is some of the best work out there from the evangelical perspective. He and his organization really had the idea to protect the sheep from the wolves.

But it's just so naive!

What would make you think that you aren't yourself caught up in your own set of Satan-sponsored religious delusions that color your every thought?

I can't tell you how many sermons I've heard where a proof-text type verse is given in the context of a lovely message but the verse is just turned on its head from its clear meaning. I don't know if anyone else has this experience but then that works as a check upon me. I'm reminded that I'm frequently motivated by sin to do things that again prove how much I need a savior. I might even quote a verse for a point that it is in no way supportive of.

My point is, we all tend to think we're right and have clear vision and it's just natural that we believe so but once you're past the big-time consensus items found in the creeds, you're on really thin ice in believing that you yourself aren't blinded by your own veils when you criticize the veils of another.
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:42 PM   #18
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Hear me out on this:
I think Walter Martin's bit is some of the best work out there from the evangelical perspective. He and his organization really had the idea to protect the sheep from the wolves.

But it's just so naive!

What would make you think that you aren't yourself caught up in your own set of Satan-sponsored religious delusions that color your every thought?
I hear what you are saying, dear brother YP0534.

Dear brother Walter Martin was definitely very sincere in his motives, but I agree that he and his organization were naive.

I have recently been learning a lot about the "Jesus People" group that had such a bitter relationship with the LC back in the 1970's. There was a lot of animosity on both sides. It seems that ol' brother Walter Martin was used as a pawn in that conflict.
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:53 PM   #19
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I hear what you are saying, dear brother YP0534.

Dear brother Walter Martin was definitely very sincere in his motives, but I agree that he and his organization were naive.
Part of the reason I don't have any concerns about the recent about-face of some of those researchers. I can still disagree with them about some issues, realizing they are always speaking from an outsider's perspective, but still acknowledge that they now realize they did not understand enough of the story back when they held their former opinions. And I think they were more wrong back then, so it's an improvement in that respect.

That whole Christian scene out in California in that era is a story that hasn't been well told yet, that I'm aware of...
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:57 PM   #20
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That whole Christian scene out in California in that era is a story that hasn't been well told yet, that I'm aware of...
I think you’re right YP. The problem is it depends on who tells it. Having been raised in So. California and participating in the LC during the time in question, I do have a relevant perspective I think. I was one of the young Local Churchers assigned to call Walter Martin’s talk show and give him a bad time over his criticisms of the teachings and practices of the LC. Though I had a nicely prepared, canned statement that was given to me in advance, it didn’t work out too well for me. To say that I was over-matched would have been an insult to those who have been over-matched. Witness Lee should have stood up for himself and fought his own battles, and not send some punk, smart alec teenagers to do his work for him. I think we all know why he wouldn’t debate Dr. Martin straight up. (and the reasons are not all negatively towards Lee) Also, it was a huge mistake to spend lots of time and money buying full-page, hysterical attack ads in the Orange County Register. It only turned the Christian (and general) public against the LC more then they already were.

Anyway, I just remembered that I’m posting here in your blog and you do have a wider question/issue here and I thinks it’s a real good one. Actually it’s fascinating for me because I was in California at the time.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:18 AM   #21
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I think you’re right YP. The problem is it depends on who tells it. Having been raised in So. California and participating in the LC during the time in question, I do have a relevant perspective I think. I was one of the young Local Churchers assigned to call Walter Martin’s talk show and give him a bad time over his criticisms of the teachings and practices of the LC. Though I had a nicely prepared, canned statement that was given to me in advance, it didn’t work out too well for me. To say that I was over-matched would have been an insult to those who have been over-matched. Witness Lee should have stood up for himself and fought his own battles, and not send some punk, smart alec teenagers to do his work for him. I think we all know why he wouldn’t debate Dr. Martin straight up. (and the reasons are not all negatively towards Lee) Also, it was a huge mistake to spend lots of time and money buying full-page, hysterical attack ads in the Orange County Register. It only turned the Christian (and general) public against the LC more then they already were.

Anyway, I just remembered that I’m posting here in your blog and you do have a wider question/issue here and I thinks it’s a real good one. Actually it’s fascinating for me because I was in California at the time.
My larger issue is about the "cult-scholarship" in general but I am aware that this is not a mere side-issue. The personalities in play have perhaps EVERYTHING to do with that field. At least, that's the general impression I've been getting.

But I love the fact that these details about refuting the accusations came out! All I knew about was the retraction of their cult-book entry that Thomas Nelson published in the Wall Street Journal at their expense. That a coordinated effort of the kind you describe was attempted is really kind of absurd.

One has to have a broader context than we generally do around here for discussion of some of the bigger-picture items. Whatever your view of Witness Lee and the Local Church, the "cult-researchers" don't come to their task free of their own baggage and if you want to discover "the truth" about what they say, you have to also appreciate why they might be motivated to say the things they do.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:49 AM   #22
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I was one of the young Local Churchers assigned to call Walter Martin’s talk show and give him a bad time over his criticisms of the teachings and practices of the LC. Though I had a nicely prepared, canned statement that was given to me in advance, it didn’t work out too well for me. To say that I was over-matched would have been an insult to those who have been over-matched.
Not only are they sending young naifs out to do battle instead of themselves standing in the breach, but they give you prepared statements, as if it were really you doing the speaking. What about Jesus' "Do not take thought beforehand, what you shall say, because the Spirit will give you in that hour what you should speak"?

I guess they trusted neither you nor the leading of the Holy Spirit, and had to create the pretense of it instead. How typical.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:08 AM   #23
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they trusted neither you nor the leading of the Holy Spirit

It seemed like such a little thing at the time and it's probably not fair to be too superstitious about what it reveals, but, it definitely opens just a little window into the real spiritual condition of the organization, doesn't it?

Although I felt pretty good about every point contained in the "Beliefs and Practices" pamphlet, I didn't feel so great about there BEING a "Beliefs and Practices" pamphlet.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:48 AM   #24
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Default An interesting word.

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1Cr 14:23 If, therefore, the whole assembly comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
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14:23 ἐὰν οὖν συνέλθῃ ἡ ἐκκλησία ὅλη ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ πάντες λαλῶσιν γλώσσαις εἰσέλθωσιν δὲ ἰδιῶται ἢ ἄπιστοι οὐκ ἐροῦσιν ὅτι μαίνεσθε
I've been interested in this verse for a few days now and thought to post it here.

I recently read something that took a strong position that "scattered saints" who met informally everywhere does not satisfy the New Testament definition of "ekklesia" and that, along the lines of Lee's doctrine derived from Matthew 18, the assembly must be a practical reality with a definite and focused embodiment.

The argument essentially went that Paul must have a place to send an epistle, that if you were to visit a city, there must be a way for you to hook up with the assembly, and that since after you discussed your brother's sin with two or three you then brought the problem before the assembly, the two or three were not legitimately to be considered the assembly but something else must be. The author of this piece actually went further and said some things about God's eternal purpose involving a corporate expression. (For clarity, this author is not and to my knowledge has never been associated with LSM or the Local Church.)

In any event, the verse above immediately came to mind. I thought the formulation "whole assembly" also occurred in Ephesians somewhere but I was apparently mistaken. This one is good enough for my purposes at present.

Here is the question I pose:
If the assembly is all the believers in a place, isn't it redundant to use the phrase "whole assembly"? The fact that Paul uses the word "whole" here implies that the assembly is also found where there is less than the "whole" in one place.

(As an aside in passing, I also note that in Jerusalem the assembly met from house to house, making it very difficult for Paul to have the post office deliver his epistle or for traveling saints to show up at the meeting hall.)

Good enough on that point I think for now. There is at least some evidence that something less than the "whole assembly" might be scripturally recognized as being "the assembly," for whatever that's worth.

But my interest has turned now to this interesting phrase "comes together."

G4905 συνέρχομαι synerchomai

Anyone have any thoughts on this term as I begin to dig into it further?
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:31 AM   #25
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Default Re: An interesting word.

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I recently read something that took a strong position that "scattered saints" who met informally everywhere does not satisfy the New Testament definition of "ekklesia" and that, along the lines of Lee's doctrine derived from Matthew 18, the assembly must be a practical reality with a definite and focused embodiment.

The argument essentially went that Paul must have a place to send an epistle, that if you were to visit a city, there must be a way for you to hook up with the assembly, and that since after you discussed your brother's sin with two or three you then brought the problem before the assembly, the two or three were not legitimately to be considered the assembly but something else must be.

Here is the question I pose:
If the assembly is all the believers in a place, isn't it redundant to use the phrase "whole assembly"? The fact that Paul uses the word "whole" here implies that the assembly is also found where there is less than the "whole" in one place.

Good enough on that point I think for now. There is at least some evidence that something less than the "whole assembly" might be scripturally recognized as being "the assembly," for whatever that's worth.
I studied tort law, briefly, and was surprised that to learn that if I send an email bashing someone, it is still considered private if it goes to 2 people. But if it goes to 3 or more it is then "public" and potentially libelous. So maybe Roman law held that 3 people was a "private" gathering, I dunno.

And when Jesus took 3 disciples with him onto the mountain, that was still a "private" gathering, as opposed to the 12.

I think it may depend on the context. If you are 4 people on an island, and you gather, then you are the "whole assembly". But if there are many in a city, then 4 gathering together is not considered the whole assembly.

But on the other hand, as christianity grew, it would quickly become impractical to have the "whole assembly" come together in any place. And today, the whole assembly of believers in a place like Pittsburgh coming together seems to be logistically impossible.

I have decided that 3 or 4 gathering is perhaps not really "ekklesia" in the sense of the word as (mostly) used in the NT, but it is still legitimately representative. The Lord promised us His presence if we gather in His name, and I believe His quorum requirements were small. I am so leery of organization at this point that "private" gatherings are sufficient for me.

===================================

Interestingly, and perhaps unrelated, is the question of "who would Paul send a letter to" in such-and-such city. Interesting to me because you usually don't send a letter to a group, but rather to a person, a designated representative, who then transmits the message to the others, until all are informed. Messages must have "points of entry" -- you don't just give a message to a group unless you are there in person. And even then if you want anything done you'd better be specific. My boss told our group to do something yesterday and nobody did it because he didn't specify who to do it; he just said "someone needs to...". Nobody did it.

I say this because I was recently struck by the fact that John sent his epistles not to the seven assemblies in Asia, but to the "angelos" -- messengers or angels, i.e. designated responsible representatives -- of the assemblies in Asia. Seems pretty practical to me. John sent the letters to specific persons who he trusted would get the word out to the rest.

Anyway, this further example reinforced my "thinking small" rather than "thinking big". But my ruminations may not be very applicable to your inquiry.
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:48 AM   #26
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Default Re: An interesting word.

And a further thought from a religious refugee: anyone today who attempts, as a practical matter, to have the "whole assembly" come together today is courting disaster. Any group that claims to be the sole legitimate collective expression of the faith is going beyond its measure.

It is natural that in the early days and years that there would be a desire to gather all who believe under one roof. But eventually "one roof" was usurped into an RCC cathedral, and we can see the other attempts to recreate the first-century "church life", such as the LCs, as doomed from the start.

If I ever get back to the "whole assembly", I'll rejoice. But I want to do it based on God's assembling, not man's.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:54 PM   #27
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Default Re: An interesting word.

Mat 26:59 And the chief priests and the Elders and the whole assembly sought for witnesses against Jesus, that they might put him to death;

Act 15:12 And the whole assembly were silent, and listened to Paul and Barnabas, who related how God by their hands had wrought signs and prodigies among the Gentiles.


YP:

I found that only two verses are ever used in that way. Are you using the Recovery Version?

In any case it seems clear to me that the words "whole assembly" could just mean "everyone assembled" there that day or night.

It doesn't mean the whole church in that locality, just everyone assembled there, then at that time.

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Don Jr.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:51 PM   #28
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Default Re: An interesting word.

Interesting how you analyzed that. I'm not sure I completely follow your particular logic, but that's OK. Thank you.


Regardless, I'm not really pursuing that particular issue at present.

Like I said in my original post,

Quote:
my interest has turned now to this interesting phrase "comes together."

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Old 09-11-2009, 01:20 PM   #29
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Default Re: Various by YP0534

If the “whole assembly” is intended to mean, in a somewhat prescriptive manner, the presumed collection of all the believers within some artificial boundary, like a city, then aron is right to suggest that it would be a disaster. He mentions Pittsburg as an example. In Dallas alone, there are enough believers in just a few large congregations to fill the largest single meeting place in the metroplex, the new Cowboys stadium at about 100,000. There would be a lot left out. Even using the floor would probably not do the trick. And forget about anything approaching speaking in tongues or having popcorn testimonies, or even opening the microphone for just a few who would make the trek to the designated place.

No, I’ve got to believe that when Paul referred to the “whole assembly” with respect to the Corinthians, he was simply noting that sometimes they met in smaller groups and sometimes they all got together. But who is “all”? Is it that the practicalities of one actual assembly was large enough that the existing number of believers could meet practically in one place (and at that time they actually did so), or was it spoken as a net to capture some artificial set of people? Lee and the LC presume the latter. I’m more inclined to believe the former. I think that YP is trying to get at something that puts meat on something or establishes it is an undefined.

To me, the question really is: Is it more important with whom you actually meet, or that you meet? I think the most important thing is to meet. And I think it is relevant that if 2 or 3 was not considered to be the church, then it is possible that while 2 or 3 does have Christ’s presence, it is not “church.” That would suggest that the wandering few who meet with their spouse every Sunday morning might actually be avoiding meeting together (as is the habit of some). If I am right or wrong is irrelevant. How is the conscience with God — that is the key. If it is good, I have nothing to say against it.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:10 PM   #30
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No, I’ve got to believe that when Paul referred to the “whole assembly” with respect to the Corinthians, he was simply noting that sometimes they met in smaller groups and sometimes they all got together.
Right. But my point was that the use of the modifier, in this context, strongly implies to me that the smaller groups were ALSO recognized and legitimately described as "the assembly". At worst, it seems "part of the assembly" would apply, but, I'm not aware of THAT formulation anywhere.

I just think that this other author as well as Lee, by reserving their use of their word "church" to necessarily mean more than just 2 or 3 gathering, are being far too slavish to a prescriptive and limited definition. I've seen God's glory in small groups that were less than "the whole assembly" and I'm clear that that was "the assembly", at least to the extent that we need that defined in the first place. If the glory of the Living God is seen in the meeting, that's "the assembly" because "the assembly" is the house of the Living God.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:37 PM   #31
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Default Re: Assembling together

Brothers,

A most excellent topic for fellowship.

Consider two passages, both from 1 Corinthians.

1 Cor 11:17-20, 17 But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you. NASB

1 Cor 14:23-26, 23 If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.
26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has …NASB

First of all in 11:18 the literal Greek is not “as a church” but “in church.”

While we are urged in Hebrews not to forsake assembling together we may assemble for the worse.

We lose a lot with the English word “church.” I much prefer the word “Assembly.” In Greek it referred to the official gathering of the citizens of a city state for the purpose of conducting the business of and caring for the welfare of the citizens and for that of the city. It was an administrative unit. The so called Universal Church is never referred to in the New Testament as something of an administrative unit. Thus it is hard to say the Universal Church is anything tangible or anything other than the sum of all genuine believers in Christ across time and space.

From the above passages we can pick up a few things for our practice today. On the one hand, if we come together as a division within the church, a party, then it is actually a loss. Those in chapter one of 1 Corinthians, would be examples of assembling in a damaging way. On the other hand, in chapter 14 we see members taking responsibility to participate and contribute. Note the passage declares “each one has.” Today many assemble with the goal for each one to get, receive.

It is important how we assemble. To assemble may or may not be profitable.

I doubt if many of the practices in the New Testament were meant to be templates to overlay our practice today. Nor do I believe we are free to do whatever is right in our own eyes. God does have His administration. Violate it regarding marriage or the family and you will suffer a great loss and God’s plan for you and the good works He has prepared for you to walk in could be damaged.

God has His administration regarding the manifestation of the Headship of Christ. Violate it and you will suffer a loss.

Whole church is obviously a larger group. Would it mean every single solitary believer in a city like Dallas? If so it would hardly fit the rest of the passage. According to James, the Lord’s brother, Jerusalem had tens of thousands of believers. They did not have a facility where all could assemble at the same time.

As the number of disciples grew in the Roman Empire, there was a nearly universal desire to have a united front regarding orthodoxy and unity. They did use the title, church in so and so city. You will not find “the church in Italy,” or “the churches in Athens,” etc.

But there were an ever growing number of believers in Christ. How to maintain their practical unity? This forum has had a lot of discussion around one set of elders being essential for the practice of one church, one city. Prominent early church fathers took this route. Eventually they decided that a bishop was different from an elder. Each church had one bishop and many elders. Oneness with the bishop was oneness with the church. Thus in their reasoning, Christians could meet spread out to wherever in a city and there was still only one church in that city because all recognized the one bishop of that city. Eventually strong brothers who served as bishops would oversee surrounding city churches and became regional bishops. Ultimately the Bishop of Rome became the bishop of the world.

So brothers and sister what shall we do? We surely need the leading of the Lord, the supply of the Spirit, the Word of God, and much prayer and fellowship. May we always assemble for better and not for the worse. May God be known in our midst even by unbelievers and unlearned.

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Old 09-12-2009, 09:59 AM   #32
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Great post Hope. I see you've done your homework. Your words about ecclesia being in common currency as a political assembly (in Athens) is right on. Of course the writers of the NT used words in common currency back in those days. We could say we owe a lot to those damn pagans back then. Even the name for God in the NT came from those pagans (as does all the names of God in the Bible.) Gratitude is in order : "Lord, thanks for the pagans."

Quote:
Hope:
I doubt if many of the practices in the New Testament were meant to be templates to overlay our practice today.
When you think about this, how could it? Calculating known population numbers backwards there were less than 200 million on the earth back then. And that includes lands that weren't even known to exist back then, to those in the Bible area, like the Americas. So world population back then was 2/3rds of the population of just America today, which is only 4 percent of today's world population.

And everyone wasn't Christian back then. It's doubtful that the number of Christians back then would even warrant an entry into world statistics today.

Quote:
Hope:
According to James, the Lord’s brother, Jerusalem had tens of thousands of believers. They did not have a facility where all could assemble at the same time.
So today it's actually impossible for all Christians in one city to all assemble together in one place.

Quote:
Hope:
So brothers and sister what shall we do? We surely need the leading of the Lord, the supply of the Spirit, the Word of God, and much prayer and fellowship. May we always assemble for better and not for the worse.
I don't even know if assembling is as required as it was back then. Communication was so primitive back then compared to today that fellowship required assembling. But today we can communicate in many ways. I have to admit that today my best fellowship is over the phone, or Skype, or some such. I assemble with Christians to be a part of a group, but my best fellowship is over the phone or something like it.

I doubt that the writers of the NT were even able to imagine that believers would be using their books as a standard 2000 years later.

Brother Hope, you ask "what shall we do?" Thankfully Christianity is not a fixed religion like Judaism. Christianity is not based upon fixed law. It's based upon the outpoured living Spirit. So we have everything we need to go on from here. The Lord gave it to us. Follow the Spirit is your answer brother Hope.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:30 AM   #33
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Christianity is not based upon fixed law. It's based upon the outpoured living Spirit. So we have everything we need to go on from here. The Lord gave it to us. Follow the Spirit is your answer...
Brother awareness,

I hope you'd permit an addendum from a fellow flake, er, mystic. Christianity is also based on the Bible. The Bible is our book of rules, of laws, of proper conduct. It is our "what to do" book.

And I would sum up the rules given to us as these: first, believe in God. Second, love one another. Third, try not to sin.

If we are faithful to follow these commandments given to us by our dear Chief Shepherd and Captain of our salvation, then I think the promise of the Spirit will be fulfilled and the Comforter will indeed arrive, and lead us into all the reality & truth.

And this leading may bring us into various assemblies, both wonderful and strange...
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:34 AM   #34
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Right. But my point was that the use of the modifier, in this context, strongly implies to me that the smaller groups were ALSO recognized and legitimately described as "the assembly".

... I've seen God's glory in small groups that were less than "the whole assembly" and I'm clear that that was "the assembly", at least to the extent that we need that defined in the first place. If the glory of the Living God is seen in the meeting, that's "the assembly" because "the assembly" is the house of the Living God.
Now I think I catch your logic. Thanks for having the patience to restate it. I think I completely missed your point the first time through -- in fact, I had it reversed!
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:05 PM   #35
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Now I think I catch your logic. Thanks for having the patience to restate it. I think I completely missed your point the first time through -- in fact, I had it reversed!
So, you see what I'm getting at here?

Not that every group less than the "whole assembly" is "AN assembly", as is so commonly and widely held, but rather, that there is at least some implicit authority in scripture indicating that a group of less than the "whole assembly" meeting together is "THE assembly" regardless of the particulars.

This doesn't give approval to divisiveness but instead requires us to look beyond the divisions and see the oneness in Christ.

Thus, for instance, the First Baptist Church could be legitimately recognized as "the assembly" meeting as "the First Baptist Church" and we could be done with the harmful effects of the exclusive doctrine of localism.

Without endorsing a name or their practices, we return to the true ground of oneness, namely, that all the believers in a place are "the assembly" in that place and we don't have to condemn others implicitly or explicitly for their denominational affiliations.

It's not that we're the great ones standing on the "local ground" and all others are in error and the flesh for not joining us. It's just that we have grace and light to assemble this way while they have grace and light to assemble that way and, should the Lord sound the trumpet, we would all gather as "the whole assembly".

And I think it's a very good point awareness made concerning numerosity in modern urban settings. It is a practical impossibility that "the whole assembly" should meet in this day and age. Has God set before the saints in a locality the requirement that they accomplish an impossible task?

It's a rigid and legalistic conception of the assembly that compels that interpretation, not the life and glory of God.



But I'd really like additional confirmation of this before I concluded that this notion of mine truly has any merit. Scripture confirms scripture and I do not trust myself to see so clearly as I think I might.

And my first thought, which I admittedly haven't given much time to since I posted this, was that verses containing this word
"comes together."
G4905 συνέρχομαι synerchomai

might be an area of study which may bear fruit.

I've never heard this word before and yet it appears a number of times in the New Testament.

It apparently has three defined meanings.
  1. to come together
  2. to travel together with
  3. to "have relations"

The odd thing is that Paul uses this term in 1 Cor. 7:5
Quote:
1Cr 7:5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
and then again in 1 Cor. 11:18
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1Cr 11:18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:47 PM   #36
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...we return to the true ground of oneness, namely, that all the believers in a place [irrespective of how they assemble] are "the assembly" in that place...
The ironic thing, to me, is that the LSM-ites would probably agree with you, in principle. But in our attempts to "implement" our doctrines, we get all turned around. Funny how that works with fallen mankind, isn't it?

I had a friend in the LCs who was catching up with me after a long absence between us. In our Greater Metropolitan Statistical Area (I think that's how they phrase it) there was one city without a LSM-approved "local church", and the dear saints recently "took the ground". My friend said to me, "There's a church in _________ ", with a triumphant look on his face. I just smiled. I didn't have the grace to say anything. There's been a church there for hundreds of years.

Neither John nor Paul would have tolerated such foolishness, I suspect, but they both had greater grace than I, and could have spoken "in Christ". The best I could do was just smile. Like, "I love ya, bro. Nice to see you. Have a good day."
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:10 PM   #37
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Aron:
I hope you'd permit an addendum from a fellow flake, er, mystic. Christianity is also based on the Bible. The Bible is our book of rules, of laws, of proper conduct. It is our "what to do" book.
And our jigsaw puzzle too. But bro Aron, as you likely well know, without the Spirit the Bible means jack. That's where the Bible came from. Without the Spirit nothing would even be here. There would no here here, nor there there, nor no when then, now now, nor anything else. And there would be no you and me.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:34 PM   #38
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But bro Aron without the Spirit the Bible means jack. That's where the Bible came from. Without the Spirit nothing would even be here. ... there would be no you and me.
True. Without the Spirit my addendum would be for naught. The Spirit is the Spirit of Reality. Without the Spirit there is no reality.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:48 PM   #39
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I had a friend in the LCs who was catching up with me after a long absence between us. In our Greater Metropolitan Statistical Area (I think that's how they phrase it) there was one city without a LSM-approved "local church", and the dear saints recently "took the ground".
This is not 19th century America where one can place a stake in the ground to claim as his own land!
Among some circles there is too much talking and not enough action. If a locality claims to be meeting on the ground of oneness, please show by your actions you are one in receiving fellow believers. Can a locality emphatically receive as Paul writes in Romans 15:7?

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Old 09-13-2009, 06:28 PM   #40
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Terry:
Can a locality emphatically receive as Paul writes in Romans 15:7?
Yes. All that's needed is for you to do it. You can't tell others what to do. But you can do it. Start today....
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:38 PM   #41
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That was easy!
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:07 AM   #42
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The ironic thing, to me, is that the LSM-ites would probably agree with you, in principle.
I used to think so but I'm not so sure any more.

There is a great deal of neglect of Lee's earliest writings and Nee's ministry and a verystrong focus on the later teachings, even the latest teachings.

When older material is referenced at all, it is very selectively cited.

Lee himself is most likely the root of this problem. By introduction of something called "new" ("The New Way") to some small minds he thereby implicitly designated everything else as "old" - including his own prior ministry.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:16 AM   #43
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There is a great deal of neglect of Lee's earliest writings and Nee's ministry and a verystrong focus on the later teachings, even the latest teachings.

When older material is referenced at all, it is very selectively cited.

Lee himself is most likely the root of this problem. By introduction of something called "new" ("The New Way") to some small minds he thereby implicitly designated everything else as "old" - including his own prior ministry.
Well, that's probably true. In order to make everything fit just right, certain unhelpful things from the past need to be ignored (or even re-written, or expunged from the record) and others get stressed, or promoted. It stands to reason.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:46 AM   #44
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I used to think so but I'm not so sure any more.

There is a great deal of neglect of Lee's earliest writings and Nee's ministry and a verystrong focus on the later teachings, even the latest teachings.

When older material is referenced at all, it is very selectively cited.

Lee himself is most likely the root of this problem. By introduction of something called "new" ("The New Way") to some small minds he thereby implicitly designated everything else as "old" - including his own prior ministry.
I know someone will take this the wrong way, but when I read your analysis of the transition in Lee's ministry, it reminds me of the "progression" of the Koran. It came in stages and says contradictory things with the proviso that the last one is always the right one.

Don't over-analyze it. Just a comment. Probably says more about the BBs than about Lee anyway.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:33 PM   #45
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I know someone will take this the wrong way, but when I read your analysis of the transition in Lee's ministry, it reminds me of the "progression" of the Koran. It came in stages and says contradictory things with the proviso that the last one is always the right one.

Don't over-analyze it. Just a comment. Probably says more about the BBs than about Lee anyway.
Not familiar with the origin story of that tome but it resembles a lot of things.

There's a reason I translate y'all's shorthand of "BB" into "Big Brothers" rather than the intended abbreviation.
I assume you've read 1984?
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:26 AM   #46
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So, it's taken me nearly a year but I've gotten back around to my review of Sunday/Sabbath School literature produced from around the middle of the 19th century through around WWI.

An interesting wrinkle I came across was how the temperance movement articulated with the Sunday/Sabbath School system.

But my main focus has been on proving up my theory that much of Lee's teaching actually originated from that body of work, in accordance with a previous discovery I wrote about where a note on "carob pods" was not lifted without attribution from the original author's primary work but rather from the secondary source of the Sunday School Lesson volume.

It's a large project the way I'm going about it and may or may not yield any results in the long run but just out of curiosity I reviewed several of the works I'm in the process of doing some indexing of and discovered that, gasp, Lee's reference to the very phrase "divine economy" in the very sense he meant it (on the over-arching side vs. the dispensing side) has precedent in these works. "Economy" was apparently a somewhat familiar term of art for Bible scholars of the era referring to a dispensation or the dispensations of the ages. Thus, "God's economy" in the sense of God's entire plan in His universal administration is simply not something that could be attributed to Lee as his invention.

Some have quibbled about the term "economy" being somewhat inadequate to communicate the thought in modern English, and rightly so. But the fault is not so much in Lee inventing something new but in clinging to something old. In other words, it's barely a step out of King James English to refer to "God's economy" even though some might feel that term is best capable of conveying the thought in its being somewhat emptied of meaning through the process of obsolescence. A matter of opinion, to be sure, and a matter for linguists rather than churchmen.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:32 AM   #47
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Notice to friends:


something has recently happened and I'm checking out as a result

feel free to keep in touch and fellowship via PM but I'm not going through all that again



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