Local Church Discussions  

Go Back   Local Church Discussions > The Local Church in the 21st Century

The Local Church in the 21st Century Observations and Discussions regarding the Local Church Movement in the Here and Now

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-13-2008, 08:27 PM   #1
Bill W
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Moreno Valley,California
Posts: 8
Default Law Suits and the Local Churches

1 Corinthians 6:1-8:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!

Saints,it seems that the local churches are beyond the Word of God in dealing with fellow saints in matters of conflict.Over the years,they have taken many christians to court before unbelievers in order to vindicate their movement.It is apparent that their mouths speak about standing upon the pure Word of God,but their practice is far from the reality of God's Word.The Word above is clear that christians should not take christians to court.There is no room for compromising this matter since we live in a dark world whereby the Enemy of God looks for every opportunity to oppose the work of God and shame His Name among unbelievers.

The local church claims to be on the unique ground of oneness among christians,and they claim to be the center of what God is doing on earth.Now if this declaration is true,then why is it that they need unbiblical practices to vindicate themselves?If God is uniquely one with their movement,then doesn't vengence belong to Him alone?Is He not the Head over all things to the Church?Or is their movement something that God has left,and they need fleshly means in order to maintain it? May the Lord be the True Judge concerning this matter.

I find it difficult for any christian group to declare one thing then practice another.Are we to believe that those saints in the local churches are beyond the Word of God?God forbid that any of us would think that we are so wonderful that the Word of God applies to others but not ourselves.The only true authority that we christians should stand on is the Word of God.If we think in our fallen mind that we are beyond being hearers and doers of the Word,then we deceive ourselves and may lead others down a new teaching or philosophy that brings destruction upon all who walk that road.Test the spirits saints and be sure that it is of God or not because God never does anything contrary to His Word!May all of us be faithful Bereans in these last days and test all things by His Holy and Precious Word.

Last edited by Bill W; 09-13-2008 at 08:44 PM.
Bill W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
Unregistered
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

The following is an incomplete? list of threats and lawsuits by Witness Lee and LSM.

1966: Members of the Little Flock Church at Shuman Reservoir, Taiwan.
Suit over Church property. In this rural church, the elders welcomed as Bible teachers persons previously excommunicated by Witness Lee in Taipei. A church split followed, and control of church property became an issue. Followers of Witness Lee from out of town staged a sit-in in the church building and threatened to "take the next step" if the keys to the building were not given to them. Approximately 90 church members reluctantly gave up the church property to approximately 10 of Lee's followers. [Note: Two out of the three persons listed on the title as owners of the building were sympathetic to Witness Lee].

1971: Believers in Church Assembly Hall, Hong Kong Ownership of church property on Observatory Road in Hong Kong. The church was split over this. Church members sympathetic to Witness Lee filed a lawsuit against other members. Out of court settlement. Property went to followers of Witness Lee.

1973: Christian Literature Crusade. Fort Washington, PA. Alleged inaccuracies in The Ecclesiology of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee by James Mo-oi Cheung. Threatened to sue Christian Literature Crusade. CLC recalled books, apologized to Witness Lee, agreed not to publish revised edition.

1977: Dr. Walter Martin, Founder and Director, Christian Research Institute. San Juan Capistrano, CA. Criticism of Witness Lee and The Local Church in public lectures. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Threat ignored. No legal action taken.

1977: Maranatha Village. Santa Ana, CA. Sale of The Mind Benders, a book critical of The Local Church. Requests made by men identifying themselves as Local Church members that Maranatha Village refrain from selling the book. Persons placed Local Church tracts in the books racks. Store continued to sell the book. Employees removed Local Church tracts from book racks.

1978: Believers in The Church in Denver. Denver, Colorado. Ownership of church property in Denver. The church was split over this. Church members sympathetic to Witness Lee filed a lawsuit against other members. Out of court settlement. Property went to Witness Lee's followers.

1978: Lighthouse Christian Store. Long Beach, CA Sale of The Mind Benders in the store. Local Church members requested that the book be removed from the bookshelves. Bookstore refused to remove the book from bookshelves.

1979: Christian Herald Books, publisher. Dr. Ronald Enroth, author. Mention of The Local Church in The Lure of the Cults by Dr. Ronald Enroth. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Without consulting the author, the publisher removed all references to The Local Church in a revised edition.

1979: Nelson Publishers. Nashville, TN; Dr. Jack Sparks, author. The Mind Benders, a book examining cults which included a chapter on The Local Church. Filed four separate lawsuits simultaneously in Anaheim, Dallas, Atlanta and Cleveland for $37 million. Settled out of court with the publisher issuing a retraction and ceasing distribution of the book - the author making no apology or retraction. Media reports that The Local Church received $150,000 in settlement. Estimates are that over one million dollars was expended in litigation costs before settlement.

1979: Daniel Smith, former missionary with China Inland Mission; pastor; Bible teacher. Vancouver, B.C., Canada Comments critical of The Local Church in Pilgrim of the Heavenly Way, Smith's self-published autobiography. The Local Church sent one of their leaders to Canada asking that the book be retracted - "half threatening me," according to Smith. Author rewrote 1 1/2 pages of the book, pasting pages of new text over the old. He was not contacted again.

1979: Schwengeler-Verlag, publishers. Switzerland. Neil T. Duddy and Spiritual Counterfeits Project, authors. Berkeley, CA Die Sonder Lehre Des Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde, a book examining The Local Church, published in the German language, written by SCP researchers. Filed lawsuit in a Swiss court to stop distribution of the book. Dismissed by Swiss court because improper plaintiff brought suit. Appealed by The Local Church but dismissal was upheld by higher court.

1979: Dr. James Bjornstad, author. Counterfeits at Your Door. Regal Books, publisher. Glendale, CA. Mention of The Local Church in Counterfeits at Your Door. Dr. Bjornstad was threatened with a lawsuit by Local Church elders who wanted the book taken off the market. Threat ignored. No legal action taken.

1980: Moody Press. Moody Bible Institute. George Sweeting, president and editor-in-chief. Chicago, IL The July/August 1979 issue of Moody Monthly magazine which briefly critiqued The Local Church in a feature article, "A Catalogue of cults: Where they stand on the Deity of Christ." Prior to this, Local Church members had come onto the Moody Bible Institute campus shouting "Babylon is falling, Moody is crumbling, Moody's going to burn!" Filed a $4.8 million lawsuit in Orange County, California against Moody Press, Moody Bible Institute, and George Sweeting. Settled out of court. Moody Monthly made no retraction, but did agree to delete mention of The Local Church in the reprint of the popular article.

1980: Mr. Salem Kirban, author. Salem Kirban, Inc., publisher. Huntingdon Valley, PA A chapter on The Local Church in Satan's Angels Exposed by Salem Kirban. Representatives of The Local Church visited Salem Kirban, asking him to omit the chapter in subsequent editions, reminding him that they were suing Thomas Nelson over The Mind Benders. Chapter on The Local Church was omitted from subsequent editions. Nothing further was heard from The Local Church.

1980: Eternity magazine. Philadelphia, PA; Dr. Ronald Enroth, author. Mention of Witness Lee in an article entitled "The Power Abusers" by Dr. Enroth, Eternity, October, 1979. Four Local Church elders visited Eternity officials and raised the possibility of legal action if certain demands were not met. As a result of this coercive action, The Local Church was allowed to place a statement in the October 1980 issue of Eternity explaining their faith and practices.

1980: Media Spotlight Ministries, Santa Ana, CA Critique of The Local Church in Media Spotlight magazine, Vol. 3, No. 2 (April - July, 1980) Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Threat ignored. Editor and publisher Al Dager continued to comment on the group in a later issue. No legal action taken.

1980: Neil T. Duddy and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, authors. Berkeley, CA; Schwengeler-Verlag, publishers. Switzerland Die Sonder Lehre Des Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde, a book examining The Local Church, published in the German language, written by SCP researchers. Lawsuit filed by The Local Church in Oakland, California. (Note: a similar lawsuit against SCP was filed earlier in Switzerland). SCP forced into bankruptcy. Resulted in a default ruling against SCP.

1981: A Christian book distribution firm. New Zealand. Distribution of The Mind Benders, a book criticizing The Local church. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Reported in New Zealand Truth newspaper, 23 June 1981, page 10. Outcome unknown.

October, 1983: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) chapter at San Francisco State University. San Francisco, CA Criticism of the local church on campus. A student leader in the IVCF chapter at SF State conducted a seminar on cults for students. In the one session examining the local churches, the student leader referred to the group as a cult. Approximately five students attended the session - and approximately six local church members sat in to observe. Christian Students, a local church campus organization, charged IVCF with spreading false accusations and rumors about them based on The God-Men, which is published by InterVarsity Press. Notices were placed by The Christian Students in two campus newspapers announcing four public meetings in which they would detail their grievances. Unknown.

Dec 2001: LSM files $136,000,000 lawsuit against Harvest House publishers claiming defamation in a book by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. The lawsuit was thrown out of court in Texas, appealed to the Texas Supreme court, and again to the US Supreme Court. LSM lost the case.

My God, how much of our money did LSM use to pay their lawyers for all these unscriptural lawsuits!
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 01:27 AM   #3
MacDuff
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 88
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

There can be only two possibilities. Either Witness Lee and the LC interpreted the 1 Cor account as meaning something different than what is literally apparent, or they didn't consider those they were suing to be Christians. And if the latter is true, anyone on this forum that understands the lawsuits of the LC as being against Scripture must be considered as unchristian as those they sued. Are all who disagree with what the LC did in regard to Lawsuits considered unchristian or non-Christian by the LC? Since this forum and the Berean forum are composed mostly of members who take a stance against Lee, have they too been subjected to threats of Lawsuit?

MacDuff
MacDuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 05:20 AM   #4
ZNPaaneah
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7,125
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDuff View Post
There can be only two possibilities. Either Witness Lee and the LC interpreted the 1 Cor account as meaning something different than what is literally apparent, or they didn't consider those they were suing to be Christians. And if the latter is true, anyone on this forum that understands the lawsuits of the LC as being against Scripture must be considered as unchristian as those they sued. Are all who disagree with what the LC did in regard to Lawsuits considered unchristian or non-Christian by the LC? Since this forum and the Berean forum are composed mostly of members who take a stance against Lee, have they too been subjected to threats of Lawsuit?

MacDuff
No, there is a third possibility, that is they didn't care what the Bible said. You do what the Bible says when it is convenient, and you ignore it when it is inconvenient.

Why did Witness Lee refuse to discipline PL but would rather excommunicate Max R, JI, JS, BM, manufacture a sister's rebellion, publish a whitewash, etc.? It wasn't convenient for him to do what the Bible said.


Matt
7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
ZNPaaneah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 06:31 AM   #5
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 12,043
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
No, there is a third possibility, that is they didn't care what the Bible said. You do what the Bible says when it is convenient, and you ignore it when it is inconvenient.
ZNP is right. We all have asked the same questions. The answer is simple.

WL's words superseded those of scripture. They serve a man, and not God.

Of course, they will never admit it. I know because I also was there for decades, and I never would admit it.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #6
Cal
Member
 
Cal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 4,304
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
ZNP is right. We all have asked the same questions. The answer is simple.

WL's words superseded those of scripture. They serve a man, and not God.

Of course, they will never admit it. I know because I also was there for decades, and I never would admit it.
They've become convinced that by serving this man, they are serving God. That's how they rationalize it.

Of course, serious objective reflection will bring to mind the dangers in this mindset. But they are scared to death of defying Lee, being convinced that unquestioning loyalty to Lee is what God wants. Quite insidious and difficult to break, because it's not an intellectual position, it's a deep-seeded and irrational emotional position. Aka, a stronghold.
Cal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 12,043
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
They've become convinced that by serving this man, they are serving God. That's how they rationalize it.

Of course, serious objective reflection will bring to mind the dangers in this mindset. But they are scared to death of defying Lee, being convinced that unquestioning loyalty to Lee is what God wants. Quite insidious and difficult to break, because it's not an intellectual position, it's a deep-seeded and irrational emotional position. Aka, a stronghold.
In many ways, living in greater Cleveland helped to deliver many of us from this spiritual stronghold. TC helped to expose the false loyalty to a man, and would direct us to the Lord. But at the same time, he gave WL a pass on all his wrongdoings, saying that WL was his "spiritual father," and whatever mistakes WL made were "none of his business." I agree with this saying within proper boundaries, which definitely were violated on a regular basis when your so-called "spiritual father" becomes abusive towards your "spiritual brothers."

May of TC's loyal followers never were delivered, however, from serving man. When I finally reached the point where my three elders were all TC loyalists, placing TC's wants and whims and tantrums above the church, that was my tipping point. For them it seems almost impossible to make the distinction between man-pleasing and God-pleasing.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
Cal
Member
 
Cal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 4,304
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
In many ways, living in greater Cleveland helped to deliver many of us from this spiritual stronghold. TC helped to expose the false loyalty to a man, and would direct us to the Lord. But at the same time, he gave WL a pass on all his wrongdoings, saying that WL was his "spiritual father," and whatever mistakes WL made were "none of his business." I agree with this saying within proper boundaries, which definitely were violated on a regular basis when your so-called "spiritual father" becomes abusive towards your "spiritual brothers."

May of TC's loyal followers never were delivered, however, from serving man. When I finally reached the point where my three elders were all TC loyalists, placing TC's wants and whims and tantrums above the church, that was my tipping point. For them it seems almost impossible to make the distinction between man-pleasing and God-pleasing.
This "spiritual father" argument has always struck me as misled. (Not saying you are making it.) Where does the Bible say we should be loyal to a "spiritual father?"

Again, it's an emotional appeal, not a rational one. I understand being appreciative of people who have helped us. But "father" subtly co-opts the commandment of honoring one's natural parents to bolster a misplaced loyalty. The kingdom of God neither relies on nor requires such allegiance. TC is out in the weeds here.
Cal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 10:07 AM   #9
Nell
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,031
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Post #2 contains a partial list of lawsuit threats and actual lawsuits filed by the LSM and/or one of its subsidiaries.

To my knowledge, the last one filed was in 2001 and went all the way to the US Supreme Court where it was shot down with the Supremes refusing to hear the obviously frivolous case. This case is chronicled on the Harvest House website under Corporate Statements,
https://www.harvesthousepublishers.c...ate-statement/

Nell
Nell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2018, 10:46 PM   #10
afazio
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDuff View Post
There can be only two possibilities. Either Witness Lee and the LC interpreted the 1 Cor account as meaning something different than what is literally apparent, or they didn't consider those they were suing to be Christians. And if the latter is true, anyone on this forum that understands the lawsuits of the LC as being against Scripture must be considered as unchristian as those they sued. Are all who disagree with what the LC did in regard to Lawsuits considered unchristian or non-Christian by the LC? Since this forum and the Berean forum are composed mostly of members who take a stance against Lee, have they too been subjected to threats of Lawsuit?
Actually, I was in the LC in the days of "The Mindbenders." I heard Lee's repeated "justification" for the lawsuits. Lee alluded to Paul appealing to Caesar for redress from the Jews who were after him. That was Lee's stated "justification" of filing those law suits.

Also, in those days (the early 80's), I also read the entire deposition which was taken of Lee in the Mindbenders lawsuit. Even though I was a "committed" member of the LC at that time (and had been for well over a decade), I couldn't believe what I was reading! Lee perjured himself repeatedly in that lawsuit. He also repeatedly pled that he was an old man who couldn't remember much (when he didn't want to answer some pointed questions. However, those of us who knew Lee knew how much he prided himself of his keen memory and mind for details. The whole deposition portrayed a man completely antithetical to the one all of us in the LC knew. In fact, I could have pointed the lawyers to taped ministry messages (by Lee) that completely contridicted what Lee was telling those guys under oath!
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2018, 09:38 AM   #11
Sons to Glory!
Member
 
Sons to Glory!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 1,191
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by afazio View Post
Actually, I was in the LC in the days of "The Mindbenders." I heard Lee's repeated "justification" for the lawsuits. Lee alluded to Paul appealing to Caesar for redress from the Jews who were after him. That was Lee's stated "justification" of filing those law suits.

Also, in those days (the early 80's), I also read the entire deposition which was taken of Lee in the Mindbenders lawsuit. Even though I was a "committed" member of the LC at that time (and had been for well over a decade), I couldn't believe what I was reading! Lee perjured himself repeatedly in that lawsuit. He also repeatedly pled that he was an old man who couldn't remember much (when he didn't want to answer some pointed questions. However, those of us who knew Lee knew how much he prided himself of his keen memory and mind for details. The whole deposition portrayed a man completely antithetical to the one all of us in the LC knew. In fact, I could have pointed the lawyers to taped ministry messages (by Lee) that completely contridicted what Lee was telling those guys under oath!
Oh my! I was around back then too, but was too young/immature to see through it. Now days, I think I would be more prone to do the due diligence to read such things. But being young & immature lends itself to being happily duped, doesn't it!?

When elders and others were standing up shouting at full force, "I'm following a man, and I'll follow this man (Lee) right into the kingdom!" I must admit there was some trepidation occurring in me (even being young & immature) . . .

But the bottom-line is the Lord had me where I was supposed to be, and He Himself arranged things to move me out when He saw fit. Praise and glory to Him!!!
__________________
LC Berkeley 70s; LC Columbus OH 80s; An Ekklesia in Scottsdale 98-now
Sons to Glory! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2018, 10:27 AM   #12
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 12,043
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Let's bring this opening post forward. Perhaps Mr. E and Drake would like to comment on these?

I could not believe how tactics used by LSMers in Ohio a decade ago duplicated what happened a half century ago in Asia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
The following is an incomplete? list of threats and lawsuits by Witness Lee and LSM.

1966: Members of the Little Flock Church at Shuman Reservoir, Taiwan.
Suit over Church property. In this rural church, the elders welcomed as Bible teachers persons previously excommunicated by Witness Lee in Taipei. A church split followed, and control of church property became an issue. Followers of Witness Lee from out of town staged a sit-in in the church building and threatened to "take the next step" if the keys to the building were not given to them. Approximately 90 church members reluctantly gave up the church property to approximately 10 of Lee's followers. [Note: Two out of the three persons listed on the title as owners of the building were sympathetic to Witness Lee].

1971: Believers in Church Assembly Hall, Hong Kong Ownership of church property on Observatory Road in Hong Kong. The church was split over this. Church members sympathetic to Witness Lee filed a lawsuit against other members. Out of court settlement. Property went to followers of Witness Lee.

1973: Christian Literature Crusade. Fort Washington, PA. Alleged inaccuracies in The Ecclesiology of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee by James Mo-oi Cheung. Threatened to sue Christian Literature Crusade. CLC recalled books, apologized to Witness Lee, agreed not to publish revised edition.

1977: Dr. Walter Martin, Founder and Director, Christian Research Institute. San Juan Capistrano, CA. Criticism of Witness Lee and The Local Church in public lectures. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Threat ignored. No legal action taken.

1977: Maranatha Village. Santa Ana, CA. Sale of The Mind Benders, a book critical of The Local Church. Requests made by men identifying themselves as Local Church members that Maranatha Village refrain from selling the book. Persons placed Local Church tracts in the books racks. Store continued to sell the book. Employees removed Local Church tracts from book racks.

1978: Believers in The Church in Denver. Denver, Colorado. Ownership of church property in Denver. The church was split over this. Church members sympathetic to Witness Lee filed a lawsuit against other members. Out of court settlement. Property went to Witness Lee's followers.

1978: Lighthouse Christian Store. Long Beach, CA Sale of The Mind Benders in the store. Local Church members requested that the book be removed from the bookshelves. Bookstore refused to remove the book from bookshelves.

1979: Christian Herald Books, publisher. Dr. Ronald Enroth, author. Mention of The Local Church in The Lure of the Cults by Dr. Ronald Enroth. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Without consulting the author, the publisher removed all references to The Local Church in a revised edition.

1979: Nelson Publishers. Nashville, TN; Dr. Jack Sparks, author. The Mind Benders, a book examining cults which included a chapter on The Local Church. Filed four separate lawsuits simultaneously in Anaheim, Dallas, Atlanta and Cleveland for $37 million. Settled out of court with the publisher issuing a retraction and ceasing distribution of the book - the author making no apology or retraction. Media reports that The Local Church received $150,000 in settlement. Estimates are that over one million dollars was expended in litigation costs before settlement.

1979: Daniel Smith, former missionary with China Inland Mission; pastor; Bible teacher. Vancouver, B.C., Canada Comments critical of The Local Church in Pilgrim of the Heavenly Way, Smith's self-published autobiography. The Local Church sent one of their leaders to Canada asking that the book be retracted - "half threatening me," according to Smith. Author rewrote 1 1/2 pages of the book, pasting pages of new text over the old. He was not contacted again.

1979: Schwengeler-Verlag, publishers. Switzerland. Neil T. Duddy and Spiritual Counterfeits Project, authors. Berkeley, CA Die Sonder Lehre Des Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde, a book examining The Local Church, published in the German language, written by SCP researchers. Filed lawsuit in a Swiss court to stop distribution of the book. Dismissed by Swiss court because improper plaintiff brought suit. Appealed by The Local Church but dismissal was upheld by higher court.

1979: Dr. James Bjornstad, author. Counterfeits at Your Door. Regal Books, publisher. Glendale, CA. Mention of The Local Church in Counterfeits at Your Door. Dr. Bjornstad was threatened with a lawsuit by Local Church elders who wanted the book taken off the market. Threat ignored. No legal action taken.

1980: Moody Press. Moody Bible Institute. George Sweeting, president and editor-in-chief. Chicago, IL The July/August 1979 issue of Moody Monthly magazine which briefly critiqued The Local Church in a feature article, "A Catalogue of cults: Where they stand on the Deity of Christ." Prior to this, Local Church members had come onto the Moody Bible Institute campus shouting "Babylon is falling, Moody is crumbling, Moody's going to burn!" Filed a $4.8 million lawsuit in Orange County, California against Moody Press, Moody Bible Institute, and George Sweeting. Settled out of court. Moody Monthly made no retraction, but did agree to delete mention of The Local Church in the reprint of the popular article.

1980: Mr. Salem Kirban, author. Salem Kirban, Inc., publisher. Huntingdon Valley, PA A chapter on The Local Church in Satan's Angels Exposed by Salem Kirban. Representatives of The Local Church visited Salem Kirban, asking him to omit the chapter in subsequent editions, reminding him that they were suing Thomas Nelson over The Mind Benders. Chapter on The Local Church was omitted from subsequent editions. Nothing further was heard from The Local Church.

1980: Eternity magazine. Philadelphia, PA; Dr. Ronald Enroth, author. Mention of Witness Lee in an article entitled "The Power Abusers" by Dr. Enroth, Eternity, October, 1979. Four Local Church elders visited Eternity officials and raised the possibility of legal action if certain demands were not met. As a result of this coercive action, The Local Church was allowed to place a statement in the October 1980 issue of Eternity explaining their faith and practices.

1980: Media Spotlight Ministries, Santa Ana, CA Critique of The Local Church in Media Spotlight magazine, Vol. 3, No. 2 (April - July, 1980) Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Threat ignored. Editor and publisher Al Dager continued to comment on the group in a later issue. No legal action taken.

1980: Neil T. Duddy and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, authors. Berkeley, CA; Schwengeler-Verlag, publishers. Switzerland Die Sonder Lehre Des Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde, a book examining The Local Church, published in the German language, written by SCP researchers. Lawsuit filed by The Local Church in Oakland, California. (Note: a similar lawsuit against SCP was filed earlier in Switzerland). SCP forced into bankruptcy. Resulted in a default ruling against SCP.

1981: A Christian book distribution firm. New Zealand. Distribution of The Mind Benders, a book criticizing The Local church. Lawsuit threatened by The Local Church. Reported in New Zealand Truth newspaper, 23 June 1981, page 10. Outcome unknown.

October, 1983: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) chapter at San Francisco State University. San Francisco, CA Criticism of the local church on campus. A student leader in the IVCF chapter at SF State conducted a seminar on cults for students. In the one session examining the local churches, the student leader referred to the group as a cult. Approximately five students attended the session - and approximately six local church members sat in to observe. Christian Students, a local church campus organization, charged IVCF with spreading false accusations and rumors about them based on The God-Men, which is published by InterVarsity Press. Notices were placed by The Christian Students in two campus newspapers announcing four public meetings in which they would detail their grievances. Unknown.

Dec 2001: LSM files $136,000,000 lawsuit against Harvest House publishers claiming defamation in a book by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. The lawsuit was thrown out of court in Texas, appealed to the Texas Supreme court, and again to the US Supreme Court. LSM lost the case.

My God, how much of our money did LSM use to pay their lawyers for all these unscriptural lawsuits!
What is particularly troubling to me is the lawsuits filed by Lee's supporters to evict LC's and steal their property. This happened in many Ohio LC's.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2018, 10:38 AM   #13
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 12,043
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by afazio View Post
Actually, I was in the LC in the days of "The Mindbenders." I heard Lee's repeated "justification" for the lawsuits. Lee alluded to Paul appealing to Caesar for redress from the Jews who were after him. That was Lee's stated "justification" of filing those law suits.

Also, in those days (the early 80's), I also read the entire deposition which was taken of Lee in the Mindbenders lawsuit. Even though I was a "committed" member of the LC at that time (and had been for well over a decade), I couldn't believe what I was reading! Lee perjured himself repeatedly in that lawsuit. He also repeatedly pled that he was an old man who couldn't remember much (when he didn't want to answer some pointed questions. However, those of us who knew Lee knew how much he prided himself of his keen memory and mind for details. The whole deposition portrayed a man completely antithetical to the one all of us in the LC knew. In fact, I could have pointed the lawyers to taped ministry messages (by Lee) that completely contridicted what Lee was telling those guys under oath!
afazio's account of Witness Lee's disingenuous side reminds me of the Muslem practice of Taqiyya.

In other words, deception by Lee and LSMers is perfectly fine as long as they are furthering their cause, aka the "Recovery."
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2018, 05:34 PM   #14
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7,514
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by afazio View Post
Also, in those days (the early 80's), I also read the entire deposition which was taken of Lee in the Mindbenders lawsuit.
I remember reading that. Do we have a copy out here of that deposition?
__________________
Cults: My brain will always be there for you. Thinking. So you don't have to.

Last edited by awareness; 08-27-2018 at 07:24 PM.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 06:14 AM   #15
Nell
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,031
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
I remember reading that. Do we have a copy out here of that deposition?
This is as close as I can get to the actual deposition. It came from the "other forum," now defunct. This deposition, as noted below, is a matter of public record and can be requested (and paid for) by anyone. You would have to know the court where it was filed and the case number. It would help to have the style of the case, e.g.,

In the 9th District Court of Last Resort
Case Number: ________________

Local Church, Witness Lee, et al, Plaintiff
v.
Mindbenders, et al, Defendant

************************
Title: Witness Lee's Sworn Statements vs. Local Church Teachings
Post by: afazio on November 11, 2005, 02:39:21 AM

Although this was written many years ago, the contradictions in Lee's sworn statements are directly in opposition to many of the Local Churches most recent publications, as well. Compare them to the currect "One Publication" article:

May 27, 1989
Dear brothers and sisters in the Local Churches,

Many of us who have been in the Lord’s recovery for many years and even decades were quite disturbed at the content of the April 10, 1989 letter entitled “An Open Letter to the Speakers in the Meeting of the Church in Anaheim” on August 28, 1988. Much that was stated in that letter was in direct contradiction to what Witness Lee swore in the 1982 legal deposition to be both his teaching and the beliefs and practices of the saints in the Local Churches. Could those eight brothers be so ignorant and far afield from Witness Lee’s heart, mind and teachings, as well as what is commonly accepted among the saints, or, was Witness Lee lying about so many of the issues when he swore, under penalty of perjury, in 1982, concerning both what he teaches and what is practiced among the churches?

That deposition is a matter of public record, for those who would like to familiarize themselves with it. However, some of the brothers who signed that letter are on record as having been present at least part of the time, so they should be able to recall some of those matters. How can they make public statements which so directly refute what the man they hold as the oracle of God swore to be so?

Which are we to believe is an accurate representation of our beliefs and practices - that which Witness Lee swore under penalty of perjury in the 1982 litigation, or that which those eight brothers have drawn up as a public letter which, just about point by point, directly contradicts the avowed stand of the brother they regard as “the apostle”?

Let us look at these issues ourselves and determine which of the contradictory positions are more according to the Word of God and how our current practices compare with them.

You will remember that the lawsuit never went to court because the defendants (the authors of “The Mindbenders”) were unable to afford legal counsel to match what the saints in the Local Churches were able to pour into the matter. Therefore, those defendants went bankrupt and simply lost by default.
Those of you who were a part of the Local Churches at that time may remember that it was the opinion of the authors of “The Mindbenders” that the Local Churches were a cult. As a matter of fact, they specifically stated, “The brainwashing or mind bending of the Local Churches is the most powerful and lasting of any cult on the contemporary scene”(that would have included Jim’s Jones’ People’s Temple at that time). They based their opinion that the Local Churches were a cult upon several factors which Witness Lee repeatedly and vehemently denied.

Among those factors were:
1) that Witness Lee referred to himself or was referred to; by others as an apostle. When asked if he ever referred to himself as an apostle, Witness Lee answered “Never”... “I don’t, assume, I don’t take the standing that I am the apostle” (page 59) . He said that the term “apostle” is just today’s term, “missionary.” He said that the Greek term “apostle” is the same Latin term “missionary,” and applies to all the co-workers (page 262).

He said, “In my teaching I encourage, I say, ‘Don’t say certain, certain, certain brothers, so and so, they are apostles.’ I say. ‘All of you can be apostles, and I encourage you all to be apostles, even the little sisters’” (page 438).

He stated that, to his knowledge, there are no persons in the United States who are referred to by other members of the; Local Churches as “apostles.” He said, “We don’t have this habit to use this title,” and, “We never attribute such a kind of title to anyone” (page 57).

Witness Lee said that only one or two times had he ever heard members refer to him as “the apostle” and when he heard this he said “Don’t say this. Don’t say this. We don’t have among us positions, ranks and titles. Don’t say this. Because in the Bible we are taught the best way is to practice the brotherhood, the brotherhood. Jesus already told us, “Don’t control others, don’t think you are the master over others. You all are brothers. You only have one Master, that’s Me, that means Christ; that’s Christ” (page 439).

When pressed further on the same matter and asked, “So on those occasions when members of Local Churches have attempted on their own to put you on a pedestal as something special as an apostle or some other form of exaltation, you have always warned those people when it came to your attention”...
Witness Lee responded, “Actually, I would say the same thing concerning people saying me being an apostle occurs only very few times, very, very few times. I answered already. I asked them not to do this” (page 442).

If Witness Lee’s answer was both honest and scriptural, then the brothers who wrote the letter of April 10, 1989 are coming not only against his avowed stand, but the scriptural basis he cited for that stand, when they refer to him as “our apostle Brother Lee” and designate him an apostle of any “order,” as they did in that letter.

In addition, we should expect Witness Lee to be faithful to his word and publicly, for both the benefit of those brothers and the many saints who received that letter, admonish those brothers not to set him up as an apostle because it is against both the brotherhood of the believers and against Christ’s word that we only have one Master, Christ.
It is impossible to reconcile Witness Lee sworn statement that “We don’t have among us positions, ranks, and titles,” (page 439) and (in answer to the question if there is any clergy-laity distinction whatsoever among us in the Local Churches-page 339). “All the believers are priests, no different, serving God in the same way” with the hierarchical structure of
1. first-order apostle
2. second-order apostle
3. third-order apostle
4. elder, and
5. saint
outlined in that April 10 letter.

The hierarchical structure delineated by those eight brothers perfectly parallels Roman Catholicism’s papal order with its
1. Pope
2. Cardinal
3. Archbishop4. bishops
5. priests, and
6. parishioners.

However, it bears no resemblance to the universal priesthood of believers apart from a clergy-laity Structure, which we at One time were encouraged to practice.

In all fairness to the eight brothers who wrote that April 10, 1989 letter, we realize that even though that hierarchical structure totally contradicts what Witness Lee swore in the deposition, it is fully in accordance with what he spoke in Taipei in October, 1988 and printed in “A Timely Trumpeting and the Present Need” that publication might well have been what they based their delineation upon.

Another item which the authors of “The Mindbenders” attempted to prove in their determination that the Local Churches were a cult was Witness Lee’s excessive influence on or domination of the Local Churches. Among the points supporting this was that Witness Lee, as an apostle, appointed various elders in the Local Churches. This, again, Witness Lee denied. He said that, although he had a part in the migration of the saints from Los Angeles to Anaheim, he played no “special role,” in any migration of saints to form a local church in any locality. He also swore that, since there was no such thing as any designated apostles among us, there was also no such thing as appointment of elders by apostles, but that the elders “just became elders without any kind of appointment” by becoming “more mature in the eyes of all the saints” (pages 58 and 59).

At that time, 1982, he swore that for the previous ten years there had been no appointment of elders by apostles in any of the churches (page 5). Since the church in Anaheim came into existence during that period, Witness Lee’s statement directly contradicts the statement made by those brothers that Witness Lee is “the apostle who established the church in Anaheim and brought you (John Ingalls, Godfred Otuteye, and Al Knoch) into the eldership” (page 19).

When asked if he had “ever used the analogy that there can Only be one driver per car and that you, by analogy, are the driver of the car, and the car is the Local Church.” Witness Lee said firstly that he didn’t understand the question. Then he asked what “analogy” meant. After that, he said he couldn’t remember. When Witness Lee repeatedly denied that he remembered saying such a thing, the defending attorney asked, “If you did in fact use it as an illustration, it would not have been your intent at the time to convey that you were to be one running the show, so to speak? To which Witness Lee replied, “I never had this kind of concept, that I was running any show.” (page 365).

Also, when asked in the deposition regarding the autonomy of the local churches, Witness Lee declared that each was indeed “autonomous,” “separate, distinct and unconnected from one another,” “independent” (pages 326-328).

Surely this directly refutes the federation of churches appealed for in that letter. If, indeed, as Witness Lee swore, and we believe, each local church is autonomous, separate, distinct, independent, and unconnected from the other, how can those eight brothers state that, “Theirs (the local elders’) is not an all-inclusive leadership for their locality”? Whom do they expect will augment that leadership but an extra-local minister - thereby violating the God-ordained local nature of the church.

In addition, those eight brothers contend that “though they (the elders) may relate the truth to the saints, they do not ascertain, discern, and define the truth, for this is the gifted function of the apostles” (page 17). And, “in a local church there is no need for the elders to define truth, for God has given apostles for that very purpose.”

This, too, was a critical point to the authors of “The Mindbenders” in their effort to prove that the Local Churches were a cult. In fact, even by the definition of Witness Lee, himself, , if he is the sole authority and interpreter of God’s truth, this is a sign that the Local Churches are a cult.

Specifically, the attorneys for “The Mindbenders” stated, “In addition to these differences in doctrine, there are a number of practices which are characteristic of heretical cults and which are inconsistent or contrary to biblical injunctions and the orthodox theology. Among these are:... Domination by one man who is considered the sole authority and interpreter of God’s truths.” (page 430).

Witness Lee responded, “If anyone claims that his interpretation is the unique interpretation, this is a kind of sign of a cult. But in the church every believer has the right to interpret the Bible. So to have interpretations of the Bible in a universal way, that is not a cult. Rather, that is a proper practice” (page 430).

When then asked, “Are you an authority and interpreter of God’s truth?” Witness Lee answered, “I am just one of so many saints who have the right to interpret the Bible and who have some authority under certain things.”
When asked, “How many others in the Local Churches have the authority to be interpreters of God’s truth? Witness Lee answered, “Quite a lot. It is really quite hard for me. I would say, in our churches, everyone, even including little sisters. I heard in our meetings quite often a little sister stood up and told us, ‘Well, this verse, or what book means this and this, and we all accept it ‘“ (pages 430-432).

This is surely directly contradictory to the charge of those eight brothers that even the elders “do not ascertain, discern or define the truth, for this is the gifted function of the apostles” (page 17).

Last edited by Nell; 08-28-2018 at 06:45 AM.
Nell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 09:09 AM   #16
Drake
Member
 
Drake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,063
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by afazio View Post
Actually, I was in the LC in the days of "The Mindbenders." I heard Lee's repeated "justification" for the lawsuits. Lee alluded to Paul appealing to Caesar for redress from the Jews who were after him. That was Lee's stated "justification" of filing those law suits.
Well, afazio, I agree that taking a brother to court is not a good thing and a shame. However, is it not a terrible thing for the brother to slander and libel many thousands of brothers and sisters in the local churches, create an atmosphere of cultic fear against them, and still refuse to discuss it much less take action to correct the record after many attempts to resolve the accusations by the local churches? And frankly, the lawsuit was not about Duddy or Sparks but it was about a book.... and the publisher of that book. The objective was to correct the book, at least Sparks’ .... and Duddy’s was slanderous and libelous in total. People can say whatever they want as this forum proves.... but a book by a reputable publisher like Nelson is another category altogether. That is not really a brother taking a brother to court. Yet, when a brother, Duddy or Sparks, they both used the same source document for their unfounded accusations, refuse to listen to other brothers, those falsely accused, then why should they and their publisher not be considered and treated like gentiles according to Matthew 18:15-17?

I believe the judge’s opinion in this case pertaining to this libel suit needs to considered (be sure to read the bold parts at the end):

This matter came on regularly for trial and was heard as an uncontested matter…. Although the trial was uncontested, the Court feels that the plaintiffs have presented competent and reliable evidence, and the Court was very impressed with the stature and quality of the witnesses presented. Moreover, the Court was provided with a complete opportunity to question and cross examine the witnesses in order to ascertain the truth as the Court should do in a case involving First Amendment rights, regardless of whether the defendants appear or not. There was nothing that the Court wanted to see or to ask that was not provided. Furthermore, the evidence on behalf of the plaintiffs was substantiated by independent evidence from qualified expert witnesses. Accordingly, the Court finds that the manuscript by Neil T. Duddy, entitled The God-Men (Exhibit 1) disseminated (published) in the United States, the book Die Sonderlehre des Witness Lee Und Seiner Ortsgemeinde published by Schwengeler-Verlag (Exhibit 3) disseminated (published) in Europe, and the book The God-Men, An Inquiry into Witness Lee and the Local Church by Neil T. Duddy and the SCP published by Inter-Varsity Press (Exhibit 5) disseminated (published) in the United States and England, are in all major respects false, defamatory and unprivileged, and, therefore, libelous. (California Civil Code 45)

Drake
Drake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 04:37 PM   #17
Nell
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,031
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Does anyone really think the Judge would have reached this conclusion had Witness Lee not perjured himself?

Nell
Nell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 04:42 PM   #18
Drake
Member
 
Drake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,063
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Does anyone really think the Judge would have reached this conclusion had Witness Lee not perjured himself?

Nell

There was nothing that the Court wanted to see or to ask that was not provided. Furthermore, the evidence on behalf of the plaintiffs was substantiated by independent evidence from qualified expert witnesses.

Drake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 05:35 PM   #19
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 12,043
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
There was nothing that the Court wanted to see or to ask that was not provided. Furthermore, the evidence on behalf of the plaintiffs was substantiated by independent evidence from qualified expert witnesses.

That would be the primary "expert" that LSM hired for that litigation -- John Gordon Melton, Ph.D -- who also is a renowned vampire expert.

Quite convincing Drake! There are "experts" for hire out there for anything you want.

And nice pic btw.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2018, 07:34 PM   #20
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7,514
Default Re: Law Suits and the Local Churches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Another item which the authors of “The Mindbenders” attempted to prove in their determination that the Local Churches were a cult was Witness Lee’s excessive influence on or domination of the Local Churches. Among the points supporting this was that Witness Lee, as an apostle, appointed various elders in the Local Churches. This, again, Witness Lee denied.
Boy, I know that to be a whopper.

Thanks for presenting all that Nell.
__________________
Cults: My brain will always be there for you. Thinking. So you don't have to.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:47 PM.


3.8.9