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Old 06-19-2014, 05:39 AM   #1
aron
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Default The Asian Mind/The Western Mind

I'm not sure where to post these thoughts, so I'll put them here. Admin can move them if needed. This largely is in response to amrkelly's point about Asian subterfuge (relating to Dana Roberts going to the PRC to investigate WN), how the Chinese will nod and smile and feed you a load of baloney.

So I wanted to relate an experience that I had that gave me some insight to the Asian culture. I trained in martial arts for years, and once I was doing tai chi in a small room with a bunch of Chinese. We all were moving together through the forms, and if you made a bad move you would bump into the other person. You would violate their space.

If you can imagine a flock of birds flying together, and each bird has to watch out for the one in front and on the side. Each bird instinctively processes all that to keep in the space allotted, even though that space is changing, because the flock is moving. Or think of a school of fish swimming together; you get my point, I hope. At that time I really saw something of the Asian preference for "order". If everybody is free to move about in an unconstrained way, then they will bump into each other.

This is completely different from my upbringing. I grew up in the Western U.S. where there are wide open spaces and everybody has to be independent. You have to figure it out, and do it. You are not flying in a flock, but solo. The rugged individual is sort of the cultural model.

So Nee's model, and Lee's model, is a kind of Asian-leaning model, "that we would all have the same mind, and speak the same thing." The proper, orderly, harmonized church life is the conceptual vehicle that guides everything. So "Witness Lee is always right, even when he's wrong" is not so much a self-aggrandizement (though he bought into it, to some degree) but rather a central organizing principle for an orderly functioning religious body. The Big Boss speaks and we all say "Amen". So if WL says that Solomon with all his foreign wives is a type of Christ and his bride, we say "Amen". Then, if in the next breath WL says that David is not a type of Christ because he was a sinner (he numbered Israel in his pride, he dallied with Bathsheba, had Uriah the Hittite killed, he -"gasp"- threw a stone at Goliath instead of forgiving him!) we still say "Amen". Because good order in the church requires us to say "Amen" whenever WL speaks. So all of this is perfectly reasonable, even essential, in the Asian-created mind. So the "truth", or reality, of "good order in the church" is greater than the requirement for consistency when interpreting the Bible, for example.

But in my rugged individualistic "cowboy" mind, I see the verse that says, "As the wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but nobody knows where it comes from and where it goes, so is it with everyone who's born of the Spirit." So I see the "freedom of the Spirit" calling me. I don't want to wait for Headquarters to tell me how to function. In fact, I get a resentment when HQ shows up and tells me who are my "vital group" members. And I want to be free to see what I see when I read the Bible. I want to use my reason, and function in my inspired spirit.

I read the Bible and see Philip going down the south road out of Jerusalem, and running up to a chariot. Then afterward the newly saved Ethiopian went down to his home country, and Philip never told him to report to HQ for vital group assignment or full-time training. And 2,000 years later Ethiopia is still a christian nation! Who told Philip to go down to the south road? An angel! Who told him to run up to the chariot? The Holy Spirit! Deal with it. That is how God moves.

Actually, the "rugged individual" and the "harmonious coordination" aren't necessarily contradictions. They are just cultural predispositions. And I have to get over mine, and try to understand the other. Which is what I am doing here, typing this.

My point is that perhaps WL wasn't necessarily a snake oil salesman, as much as he was trying to fulfill his "church" mandate. The Living Stream Ministry, the full-time training, all of that came out of the requirements for the collective. WL's cultural predisposition wasn't the individual looking for the Spirit to guide him home. Instead his primary "vision" was the collective, and so he worked for the collective, and was willing to lie, to cover-up, to manipulate people, and to lift himself above the flock. Because he felt that was what the collective needed to go forward. All this was required for "good order in the church." So that was where the Deputy God teaching came from, and the idea of unquestioning obedience to the one in front of you.

To me this is the Hive Mind, and it has produced a lot of crazy stuff over the years, not limited to the Local Churches of Lee. I remember reading one testimony of a "rebellion", where the LSM representative angrily told the questioning Local Church elder, "We do what we are told." To some degree this is effective, but eventually it totally quenches the Spirit.

But on the other hand my cultural mindset can fixate on "freedom" and end up being wild, uncoordinated, and not caring for anyone else. Then I'm useless to God. So I'm not saying that my cultural metaphor is superior, just trying to understand how others think. Does anyone else have any insight to the "Asian mind", as I've tried to relate to it?
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:31 AM   #2
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When making generalizations about the "Asian mind' how do we avoid ethnic stereotypes rather than realistic and authentic depictions of actual cultures, customs and behaviors?
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:45 AM   #3
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When making generalizations about the "Asian mind' how do we avoid ethnic stereotypes rather than realistic and authentic depictions of actual cultures, customs and behaviors?
We could do a survey. Go to China and randomly ask people, "Do you value order or freedom more?" Then go to Butte Montana and Boise Idaho and rural hamlets of Colorado. Ask the same question. Then you will have a quantification of cultural values.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

Good observation, Aron.

I'm neither Western nor Asian but I live in a Chinese community. I like these people. Though I believe I'll be always an outsider for them. Anyway, in three words, I'd describe the Chinese mentality as:

1) Subordination;
2) Collectiveness;
3) “Us” versus “Them” mentality. (Well, that is slightly more than one word )

Generally, the Chinese are also lack of creativity and tend to imitate or copy someone else's models and patterns.

BTW, can you guess whose quote is this: "The individual is subordinate to the organisation. The minority is subordinate to the majority. The lower level is subordinate to the higher level"...

That was Mao Tse-tung's quote but it pretty much sums up the LC's value system.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:00 AM   #5
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We could do a survey. Go to China and randomly ask people, "Do you value order or freedom more?" Then go to Butte Montana and Boise Idaho and rural hamlets of Colorado. Ask the same question. Then you will have a quantification of cultural values.
Maybe somebody has done research already that provide us guidance lest we simply confirm our prejudices to ourselves. Or is there some value in comparing and contrasting prejudices in a discussion such as is possible here? Or rather I should say that is what I would like to avoid if possible.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:09 AM   #6
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Generally, the Chinese are also lack of creativity and tend to imitate or copy someone else's models and patterns.
Do you have any evidence to support this proposition? Do all Chinese lack creativity? If only some or even most, than how much less creative are they than whom? Americans? How do you put a meter on creativity?
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:19 AM   #7
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When making generalizations about the "Asian mind' how do we avoid ethnic stereotypes rather than realistic and authentic depictions of actual cultures, customs and behaviors?
I don't know. I married a Chinese sister, and saw Chinese culture and customs close up. There are distinct differences between the cultures of east and west.

Personally, I wonder if Nee's development of deputy/delegated authority comes from him growing up in his culture and heritage ... that he superimposed upon the Bible ... and then impressed upon those in his movement.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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Do you have any evidence to support this proposition? Do all Chinese lack creativity? If only some or even most, than how much less creative are they than whom? Americans? How do you put a meter on creativity?
I put a meter on Chinese creativity but the original products and new technologies that the whole world buys from China. What are they?..
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:25 AM   #9
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I don't know. I married a Chinese sister, and saw Chinese culture and customs close up. There are distinct differences between the cultures of east and west.

Personally, I wonder if Nee's development of deputy/delegated authority comes from him growing up in his culture and heritage ... that he superimposed upon the Bible ... and then impressed upon those in his movement.
Does that make you an expert about the Chinese or about that sister? Would she endorse your expertise?
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:01 AM   #10
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Does that make you an expert about the Chinese or about that sister? Would she endorse your expertise?
Of course not, on both accounts. On the 2nd account she was my wife. What do you think?

But I was shaped by it, and have views based upon it ... that certainly doesn't speak for all Chinese.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:10 AM   #11
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I don't know. I married a Chinese sister, and saw Chinese culture and customs close up. There are distinct differences between the cultures of east and west.

Personally, I wonder if Nee's development of deputy/delegated authority comes from him growing up in his culture and heritage ... that he superimposed upon the Bible ... and then impressed upon those in his movement.
It's hard to well nigh impossible to separate certain teachings like Nee and Lee's Deputy Authority from several millennia of Chinese dynasties.

Even the British mindset, with centuries of the ruling monarchy, differs from the pioneering mindset of the US.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:13 AM   #12
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. that certainly doesn't speak for all Chinese.
Nor was I, nor any of us. But it does show how Titus Chu could stand in front of WL in public and declare how "ashamed" he was that Cleveland was not fully implemented in the new way. It does show how the majority could sit there and think, "Oh, this is good. This is a well-regulated church life." In another society that might be a sign of despotism.

People do polls all the time. It's not some secret science. What does the population think about this value, versus that value? Then they know what to title the next Hollywood movie or fragrance or utility vehicle.

Generalizations are merely generalizations. I am not afraid to make them. I don't pretend they are some absolute truth for all people at all times. If anyone is offended by my making a generalization, well I will go look at the poll numbers and see if I can back it up.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:19 PM   #13
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Maybe somebody has done research already that provide us guidance...
http://www.asanet.org/images/members...hart_Baker.pdf

From American Sociological Review, 2000.

Turns out Asians are much more rational... "I do this because it's the best thing to do" versus Americans who are more traditional... "I do this because my daddy did it."

But Asians are more oriented toward social coherence and conformity... "I do this because that's what the group wants me to do" versus Americans who are more independent... "I do this because I want to do it."

Zeek is right, though: I should have titled this thread something less inflammatory and provocative, like "Shared cultural norms and values: East vs West"
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:48 PM   #14
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I've been tooting this horn about the dichotomy between Eastern and Western cultures being at the root of the problems in the Recovery for years. Waking up to the realization that I had grown up in, and given my life to propagate, an incognito Chinese church was deeply disturbing, but the conviction only gets clearer as the years go by.

I stumbled in here today by chance. Wasn't even aware this forum existed. Reading this thread almost gave me goosebumps, to finally hear some traction for this understanding. In a discussion that I didn't personally initiate, no less. Actually, most of what I've had are monologues, not discussions. Nice to see that someone else can connect the dots.

Once you see this dichotomy clearly, I believe you'll recognize that nearly every gripe from disgruntled ex-members or frustrated current members has its roots in Asian cultural values that got institutionalized so deeply into the practices of the Local Churches that they create an atmosphere of expectations so rigid they are just as effective at enforcing conformity as posting a bouncer at the door, or a requiring a profession of doctrinal faith that one must sign in order to be fully received into the circle of fellowship. Some of the Asian cultural elements relate to standards of conduct that are pushed as if essential to the Christian life. Others elements are Eastern cultural values that make their way into doctrinal stances on minor truths, and then get stressed like major ones. The manifestations are numerous, but the root is the same. We (they) failed to distinguish between Lee's culture and his portion of Christ.

On the one hand, I believe this is the glaringly obvious "elephant in the room" that even the current leaders in the Recovery acknowledge has been wreaking havoc and hemorrhaging the life-blood of what, by all rights, should be a thriving organism. Whether they see the elephant for what it truly is or not is not for me to say, but I've been encouraged just to hear they acknowledge the problems it causes for them. And that encouragement is not rooted in cynicism toward them.

On the other hand, though, there is a reason why so many members can't see the elephant, and why the leaders (in my view) should be given some slack for failing to evict it. I bumped into it daily, got trampled by it with bothersome frequency, and wrestled with it on and off for over a decade before all the loose threads of my chronic frustrations got tied together by the common thread of Asian culture, at which point the resultant tapestry finally came together. It was a relief in the small sense that the puzzle finally got solved and yielded a coherent picture. But it was devastating at the same time -- my faith got rocked and my Christian life got shipwrecked by the disappointment. Blindness is not always willful, and the more painful the picture, the more innate subconscious defense mechanisms there are to prevent you from seeing it.

Plus, it's a complex picture, not a simple line-drawing. I blame no one for not being able to connect the dots without help. It took me about 30 pages even just to put my thoughts on the topic together when a brother asked me to connect the dots for him by giving detailed explanations rather than generalizations. It's like walking someone through calculus, when you can jump 5 steps at a time, but they need each little one spelled out for them separately in order to see the connections at first. I'll probably share pieces of that effort here as the discussion progresses, but I'm leery of becoming one more disgruntled bozo with an angry manifesto. (Sorry if that that offends anyone here; I trust most of you here, like me, have been there for a time, even if you've moved past that phase.)

For the record: I have no interest in WL, LC, or BB bashing. I bless the Lord for the privilege of growing up and giving my best years whole-heartedly to be receive what these people gained of Christ, and serve together with them. Some of you here, I feel, have some issues with bitterness that you would do well to seek help dealing with. God forbid that He eventually has to judge you with the same strictness and enthusiasm with which some of you here are casting stones. I have no interest in participating in that or providing ammunition for those who are just looking for rocks to throw rather than to build something with.

If there have been moral or ethical wrongdoings that set some of you off, I can't speak to that, as I never noticed such things in greater frequency or severity than are common to any institution, sacred or secular. I'm just talking about the personal offenses and reactionary cynicism that rise up when a person finds out they don't fit in to something they had hoped to be a part of at some point. I still struggle with disappointment that there seems to be no place for me among what those dear folks are doing. But I'm dealing with it, and staying positive is part of how that is best done.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:06 AM   #15
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OK, I'm registered now. Post #14 is mine. Upon re-reading it I wish I could go back and edit some things. Sounds arrogant the way that came out. I'll dodge the light and claim I wasn't my usual charming self only due to lack of sleep.

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Actually, the "rugged individual" and the "harmonious coordination" aren't necessarily contradictions. They are just cultural predispositions. And I have to get over mine, and try to understand the other. Which is what I am doing here, typing this. ... my cultural mindset can fixate on "freedom" and end up being wild, uncoordinated, and not caring for anyone else. Then I'm useless to God. So I'm not saying that my cultural metaphor is superior, just trying to understand how others think. Does anyone else have any insight to the "Asian mind", as I've tried to relate to it?
At the risk of sounding arrogant again, I think I've got some insights into this that I'll try to share as time allows. I think your own insights are fully in line with the reality of the situation, though, and it's nice to see you are honest enough to apply the same critical standards to your own culture.

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When making generalizations about the "Asian mind' how do we avoid ethnic stereotypes rather than realistic and authentic depictions of actual cultures, customs and behaviors?
Easy. "Ethnic" is spelled e-t-h-n-i-c, and "cultural" is spelled c-u-l-t-u-r-a-l. When someone speaks about cultural matters, don't assumr they're talking about racial ones. It's that simple. To suggest that it is somehow difficult to discuss the two separately without being racist is extremely PC, and stifles legitimate & respectful discussion. Keep in mind that cultural stereotypes are not the same thing as ethnic stereotypes, and that the former, unlike the latter, tend to be descriptive rather than vicious, and are quite often rooted in reality. Everyone knows that when it comes to complex systems like people, generalizations don't fit all situations, and that there are exceptions to every rule. But that doesn't mean the generalizations and rules don't still do a good job of accurately describing things most of the time.

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We could do a survey. Go to China and randomly ask people, "Do you value order or freedom more?" Then go to Butte Montana and Boise Idaho and rural hamlets of Colorado. Ask the same question. Then you will have a quantification of cultural values.
The East/West divide alluded to in the OP is a very well-established and universally accepted dichotomy in academia. It is one of the most obvious and most striking phenomena in global cultural studies.

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Maybe somebody has done research already that provide us guidance lest we simply confirm our prejudices to ourselves. Or is there some value in comparing and contrasting prejudices in a discussion such as is possible here? Or rather I should say that is what I would like to avoid if possible.
I'm guessing that you have felt victimized by prejudice at some point in life. Please forgive if I'm being too presumptuous. I'm not trying to patronize you. But I don't understand your repeated suggestions that cultural differences can't be discussed respectfully outside the realm of racial stereotypes and prejudice, both of which imply open bigotry. Especially considering the tone of the OP, which I felt was a perfect example of someone's respectful insight into cultural differences. He was every bit as appreciative of Eastern cultural values as he was of his own Western ones, and offered just as much criticism of his Western ones as he did about their Eastern ones. That's called a respectful, balanced discussion, with no hint of the racial or bigoted stereotypes and prejudices that you seem to be afraid of. Where's the problem? Are folks just supposed to consider cultural differences taboo for fear that someone might say they're racist for noticing that such things exist?

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Does that make you an expert about the Chinese or about that sister? Would she endorse your expertise?
Does anecdotal evidence have any place at all in your universe? If he gives you quantifiable evidence, will you then question the statistical validity of those numbers? The guy is just trying to have a discussion.

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Zeek is right, though: I should have titled this thread something less inflammatory and provocative, like "Shared cultural norms and values: East vs West"
Nothing against Zeek personally, but I disagree. I fail to see how either title is less inflammatory or provocative than the other. Am I just blind and insensitive? Both seem perfectly fine. What I feel is provocative and inflammatory is to suggest that generalizations about cultural differences are inherently racist, bigoted, or critical, and that they shouldn't be discussed without first issuing a full-page disclaimer before each and every sentence that someone can potentially misinterpret in a manner that wasn't intended.

Sorry. Maybe I just need to get some more sleep again. I know I'm new here so I hope I'm not crossing the line.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:18 AM   #16
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I have no interest in WL, LC, or BB bashing. I bless the Lord for the privilege of growing up and giving my best years whole-heartedly to be receive what these people gained of Christ, and serve together with them. Some of you here, I feel, have some issues with bitterness that you would do well to seek help dealing with. God forbid that He eventually has to judge you with the same strictness and enthusiasm with which some of you here are casting stones. I have no interest in participating in that or providing ammunition for those who are just looking for rocks to throw rather than to build something with.
Thanks for posting and welcome. Your voice is refreshing. I grew up in rural and semi-rural community church (i.e. Protestant) environments, and when I had problems and realized I desperately needed God, I got active there. I was in one church on Tuesday night for prayer meeting, and another one on Friday night with high school students, and in another on Sunday trying to help with Bible study. And some of these churches didn't get along: one pastor told me, when I related my fellowships with him, not to let the others know that I was with him, and in a small town, yet! What!

So to be exposed to the Local Church "oneness" culture with its integrated service, and fellowships, was very attractive. There were many opportunities to get involved, as well, and not "pew sitting." And I found the approach to the Bible very rational, which had an appeal. In the community churches there were pastors who didn't have formal training, but they spoke on Sunday morning because they were the one reading the Bible on Monday through Saturday! They didn't know much but they knew more than the rest. But often they didn't bring much depth of insight to the Word. Contrast that to my first exposure to the Local Church meetings, where the rank-and-file could stand up and go into details on the nuances of the Word like few pastors I had heard. I liked it and jumped in.

But over time I saw the fellowships go from being "local" to being franchises of Living Stream Ministry. Every time the Big Brothers from HQ showed up everybody got real stiff, and afraid to go off script. And the terminology was off-putting... "the new way"..."vital groups"... does anyone remember the "youth propagation groups"? That one really rolled off the tongue! Eventually, as well, as I got some experience in the Word, I got kind of resentful that my own insights only had so much value as I could square them with the LSM version. Otherwise I should keep my thoughts to myself.

So I went back to the Podunk Community Church. I still told everyone there about "God's economy", but at least I could re-arrange it in my own language without the thought police pulling me back into line. And eventually, looking back, I realized that while WL had some insight, he didn't have the last word on Bible understanding. In an organizational system that required him to have the final word he was forced into a position that nobody but God alone should be in. And as I tried to allude to in my opening post, I eventually realized that there was a big cultural element behind this.

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If there have been moral or ethical wrongdoings that set some of you off, I can't speak to that, as I never noticed such things in greater frequency or severity than are common to any institution, sacred or secular. I'm just talking about the personal offenses and reactionary cynicism that rise up when a person finds out they don't fit in to something they had hoped to be a part of at some point. I still struggle with disappointment that there seems to be no place for me among what those dear folks are doing. But I'm dealing with it, and staying positive is part of how that is best done.
Christians believe that there is a loving God who sent His Son to save us from sin and death. We know that our Christ has passed through the mortal veil and now always lives to intercede for us. Given that, I think that passing judgment on one another, while still ourselves dwelling in the flesh, is probably counterproductive. Nee & Lee & many others might all be higher than I at the proverbial Great Banquet in the Sky. But at the same time I can point out the possible cultural similarities of Mao's "Great Leap Forward" with Lee's "New Way" and their stifling effects.

And I now, outside the system, I also have freedom to point out inconsistencies in WL's expositions. David was too rough on people in the Psalms, said WL. He was supposed to bless his enemies. Yet elsewhere in the OT narrative they were hacking one another to bits with swords and burning cities. Of course my expositions are often inconsistent, also. But I am not in a system in which one person (me, naturally) has to be unquestioned as "God's current oracle". If you require this kind of arrangement for social coherence and your "oracle" is not named Jesus Christ you are probably headed for trouble. WL was indeed logical, and that is attractive, as I am logical too. I like to think, and to solve puzzles, not the least of which is how do I follow the Spirit home to my Father in heaven. I found that in the Local Churches I didn't have much freedom to think, or speak, so I left.

And my point of starting this thread was that this lack of individual freedom, as I experienced it, wasn't perhaps due to the fact that Nee & Lee were power-hungry usurpers of God's throne as much as they were from a cultural mind-set that put great emphasis on the collective, and on social coherence and conformity. And they brought that mind-set to the Bible and created an interpretive template that stressed some things and ignored others.

Now, we all do this, to some degree, which is why I mention my own history. But Lee, in presuming to have gone beyond culture, missed its effect and was unable to mitigate it. Eventually what we all assumed didn't exist actually dominated the scene. It was your proverbial "elephant in the room." I will let you have the last word, and again thanks for posting.

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The manifestations are numerous, but the root is the same. We (they) failed to distinguish between Lee's culture and his portion of Christ.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:36 AM   #17
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Some of the Asian cultural elements relate to standards of conduct that are pushed as if essential to the Christian life. Others elements are Eastern cultural values that make their way into doctrinal stances on minor truths, and then get stressed like major ones. The manifestations are numerous, but the root is the same. We (they) failed to distinguish between Lee's culture and his portion of Christ.
Welcome Caveman!

Your insights and attitude are much appreciated here.

As a typical Westerner, as if growing up in the west side of Cleveland, Ohio qualifies me of that, I have often thought that we were fooled into thinking that Lee's Chinese culture was "spiritual" just because it was foreign to our own. Admittedly being active in the Titus Chu-led LC's was a kind of Lee-Lite experience, while at the same time introducing a new set of dynamics.

It has always amazed me that the justification for regular leadership "dress-downs" by both Lee and Chu were sourced in a missionary sister from England. Supposedly M. E. Barber's brutal rebukes of Watchman Nee, which reportedly "perfected" him, gave all subsequent leaders the privilege to repeat such a shameful practice with others. For a collection of brothers, so "faithful" to the pure word of God, it is quite surprising since the New Testament provides not even a single verse fragment warranting such a leadership style. How do we attribute this ongoing practice to a sister, and without any scriptural support, if Chinese culture is ruled out?
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:43 AM   #18
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But over time I saw the fellowships go from being "local" to being franchises of Living Stream Ministry. Every time the Big Brothers from HQ showed up everybody got real stiff, and afraid to go off script. And the terminology was off-putting... "the new way"..."vital groups"... does anyone remember the "youth propagation groups"?
Funny reminder.

Those "propagation groups" took on life like a government program.

We had campus PG's, family PG's, work PG's, etc.

Eventually some brainchild developed IPG's -- Individual Propagation Groups -- which takes us back to the other LC maxim -- "even when he's wrong, he's right!"
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:56 AM   #19
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It has always amazed me that the justification for regular leadership "dress-downs" by both Lee and Chu were sourced in a missionary sister from England. Supposedly M. E. Barber's brutal rebukes of Watchman Nee, which reportedly "perfected" him, gave all subsequent leaders the privilege to repeat such a shameful practice with others. For a collection of brothers, so "faithful" to the pure word of God, it is quite surprising since the New Testament provides not even a single verse fragment warranting such a leadership style. How do we attribute this ongoing practice to a sister, and without any scriptural support, if Chinese culture is ruled out?
One of the interesting things about culture in general, and religion in particular, is that we build shrines to stuff from days gone past that we never would allow in present time. So we had all these sisters in the LC narrative that would never be allowed to function today. M Barber was only one of them... I remember Peace Wang, Dora Yu, etc. I forget all the names that were reverently cited in the LC lineage. Probably none of them could exist in the present organization.

I think Jesus mentioned something about building shrines to martyred prophets. Quite similar. We eulogize stuff we'd never allow today. Welcome to planet earth.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:31 AM   #20
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And my point of starting this thread was that this lack of individual freedom, as I experienced it, wasn't perhaps due to the fact that Nee & Lee were power-hungry usurpers of God's throne as much as they were from a cultural mind-set that put great emphasis on the collective, and on social coherence and conformity.
For me these go hand-in-hand. As previously noted, I had far more time with Titus Chu than with Witness Lee himself. And the case could be made by many that the true "duplication" of Witness Lee was not with the Blendeds, who were only talented observers and repeaters, but with Titus Chu, who of all Lee's adherents most nearly matched Lee in talent and mannerisms.

It took quite a while to finally realize that the continual public shamings of other leaders had little to do with actual "perfecting" and had everything to do with the establishment and maintenance of the power base. The basis for this had much to do with Chinese cultural norms, both within the leader and the followers, which explains why the demographic "color" of the LC's in the US slowly "transformed" from white to yellow.

I may be "seeing" Lee through the person of Chu, but from all accounts, the picture is accurate. Not just was power-grabbing a primary motivation, but going further, LC leaders demanded a glory -- a vain-glory (see John 5.43-44) -- that rightfully belonged only to the Son of God, the Man Christ Jesus. The result was a collection of man-pleasers, deteriorating over time with each successive expulsion (i.e. quarantine) of those who refused to pay homage.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:36 AM   #21
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One of the interesting things about culture in general, and religion in particular, is that we build shrines to stuff from days gone past that we never would allow in present time. So we had all these sisters in the LC narrative that would never be allowed to function today. M Barber was only one of them... I remember Peace Wang, Dora Yu, etc. I forget all the names that were reverently cited in the LC lineage. Probably none of them could exist in the present organization.

I think Jesus mentioned something about building shrines to martyred prophets. Quite similar. We eulogize stuff we'd never allow today. Welcome to planet earth.
Great points.

And lest you forget another sister ... Madame Jeanne Guyon, the 17th century MOTA ...
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:54 AM   #22
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For the record: I have no interest in WL, LC, or BB bashing. I bless the Lord for the privilege of growing up and giving my best years whole-heartedly to be receive what these people gained of Christ, and serve together with them. Some of you here, I feel, have some issues with bitterness that you would do well to seek help dealing with. God forbid that He eventually has to judge you with the same strictness and enthusiasm with which some of you here are casting stones. I have no interest in participating in that or providing ammunition for those who are just looking for rocks to throw rather than to build something with.
If there have been moral or ethical wrongdoings that set some of you off, I can't speak to that, as I never noticed such things in greater frequency or severity than are common to any institution, sacred or secular. I'm just talking about the personal offenses and reactionary cynicism that rise up when a person finds out they don't fit in to something they had hoped to be a part of at some point. I still struggle with disappointment that there seems to be no place for me among what those dear folks are doing. But I'm dealing with it, and staying positive is part of how that is best done.
Welcome to the forum caveman

Thanks for your insightful post. Don't know how old you are, but many (most) of the frequent posters here are "middle aged" refugees who were in "the glorious churchlife" back in the 1970s. Some of us left the Local Church 20 years ago or even more. Some just recently. We do have a few scattered current LC members. Anyway, much of the "perspective" you see in the postings here come from us surly old curmudgeons. Most of us are very much aware of our rock-throwing tendencies, and we try to stay on the positive side, but much of the time our willing spirit is overcome by our old, weak flesh. Many of us are living proof that calling on the Lord, pray-reading and going to 5 or 6 meetings a week do not a transformed person make. So when you catch us picking up stones, just do what the Lord Jesus did when those people were going to stone the adulteress and say "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone" and we'll probably put our tail between our legs and walk away.

Seriously, this forum is in need of some new blood and some fresh air - from BOTH sides of the fence. I have been trying my best to see how we can further promote this forum and maybe you can help us.

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Old 06-20-2014, 08:15 AM   #23
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God forbid that He eventually has to judge you with the same strictness and enthusiasm with which some of you here are casting stones.
I don't know about anyone else but when I got the boot the stones were coming my way, not the other way around.

But I don't know that for sure either. Cuz I was bucking the Lee/apostle/oracle "Flow of Oneness" push. So maybe stones were flying both ways, it could be claimed, by the leaders.

It was at that time I woke up, and realized I was in a cult.

So is it throwing stones to tell everyone the local church is a cult?

Let's face it, we'll never be able to determine with any degree of certainty, how much Chinese culture influenced Nee and Lee's theology and hermeneutics.

We can say that "Authority and Submission," with its deputy/delegated authority, and their insistence on "Hand-over," "follow the one in front of you, and the leader," certainly appear to be very totalitarian in nature. Did it come out of Chinese culture/history? Does it matter where it came from?

That's what makes the local church a cult. And that's not a stone. That's a boulder ... for all in the Recovery.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #24
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I've been tooting this horn about the dichotomy between Eastern and Western cultures being at the root of the problems in the Recovery for years...

Once you see this dichotomy clearly, I believe you'll recognize that nearly every gripe from disgruntled ex-members or frustrated current members has its roots in Asian cultural values that got institutionalized so deeply into the practices of the Local Churches that they create an atmosphere of expectations so rigid they are just as effective at enforcing conformity as posting a bouncer at the door...

... there is a reason why so many members can't see the elephant, and why the leaders (in my view) should be given some slack for failing to evict it. I bumped into it daily, got trampled by it with bothersome frequency, and wrestled with it on and off for over a decade before all the loose threads of my chronic frustrations got tied together by the common thread of Asian culture, at which point the resultant tapestry finally came together....

Plus, it's a complex picture, not a simple line-drawing. I blame no one for not being able to connect the dots without help. It took me about 30 pages even just to put my thoughts on the topic together when a brother asked me to connect the dots for him by giving detailed explanations rather than generalizations. It's like walking someone through calculus, when you can jump 5 steps at a time, but they need each little one spelled out for them separately in order to see the connections at first. I'll probably share pieces of that effort here as the discussion progresses...
"it's a complex picture, not a simple line-drawing.''

I hope that you'll eventually take the time to spell out your thoughts. Unfortunately I'm not a very systematic thinker, and probably the readers would benefit if someone out there is able to state an argument coherently. If you can actually present a "detailed explanation" I imagine that it might be very helpful. I sort of have a habit of meandering, and at the end I hope that my point has been made somewhere in the text.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:04 AM   #25
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"The individual is subordinate to the organisation. The minority is subordinate to the majority. The lower level is subordinate to the higher level"...

That was Mao Tse-tung's quote but it pretty much sums up the LC's value system.
Actually that's quite perceptive. In the U.S. you'd never get away with subordinating the individual. Our country is founded on the rights of the individual coming first.

Of course the state has been encroaching steadily but it is telling that no politician could make that kind of statement in the U.S. today but they can, and have, in China. That's exactly what I was alluding to in starting this thread.

If you look back at the Local Church established in the U.S. by Witness Lee as a product of someone who came from a society where a Mao Tse Tung could make that statement, then what we experienced there suddenly doesn't seem so weird after all. It almost makes perfect sense.

"The individual is subordinate to the collective" in spiritual terms became morphed into "Christ and the church" which of course is directed by Christ's bondslave Witness Lee who just happens to have the ministry of the age. So if you don't subordinate yourself utterly (being "one") to the ministry of the age, which is actually fronted by a book publishing house (and now a multimedia company) then you are not cooperating with God on the earth today.

The collective thus becomes the lens through which reality itself is perceived. God is pushed off, somewhere beyond the collective, waiting for us to approach Him through the "church life".
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:59 AM   #26
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Mao Tse-tung was a self-described Marxist-Leninist. The principles of the collective that he refers to, he got from them. Marx and Lenin were Europeans. So, in what sense are these ideas "Asian"? Also, isn't subordinating oneself to a collective the opposite of subordinating oneself to one man like the MOTA?
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:18 AM   #27
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Mao Tse-tung was a self-described Marxist-Leninist. The principles of the collective that he refers to, he got from them. Marx and Lenin were Europeans. So, in what sense are these ideas "Asian"? Also, isn't subordinating oneself to a collective the opposite of subordinating oneself to one man like the MOTA?
Do you believe it was an accident that China became a breeding ground for Marxism-Leninism, while the USA rejected that political and economic theory?

These formulas work fine for the CPC and the LRC:

Mao = Communist party of China (CPC)
Communist Party of China (CPC) = Mao

WL = LRC
LRC = WL

If you don't subordinate yourself to Mao (WL), that means you don't subordinate yourself to the Communist Party of China (LRC).

BTW, in the USSR, they used a similar formula for one of the Party slogans: “We say 'Lenin' and mean the Party. We say 'the Party' and mean Lenin.” All sects, cults, and totalitarian regimes have similar characteristics. They just need a breeding ground.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:43 AM   #28
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It was no accident that China became a breeding ground for Marxism-Leninism, while the USA rejected that political theory.

These formulas work fine for the CPC and the LRC:

Mao = Communist party of China (CPC)
Communist party of China (CPC) = Mao

WL = LRC
LRC = WL

If you don't subordinate yourself to Mao (WL), that means you don't subordinate yourself to the Communist party of China (LRC).
And "The lower level is [not] subordinate to the higher level"

And like the CPC, in the LRC your are OUTTA THERE ... ELIMINATED.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:49 PM   #29
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Do you believe it was an accident that China became a breeding ground for Marxism-Leninism, while the USA rejected that political and economic theory?

These formulas work fine for the CPC and the LRC:

Mao = Communist party of China (CPC)
Communist Party of China (CPC) = Mao

WL = LRC
LRC = WL

If you don't subordinate yourself to Mao (WL), that means you don't subordinate yourself to the Communist Party of China (LRC).

BTW, in the USSR, they used a similar formula for one of the Party slogans: “We say 'Lenin' and mean the Party. We say 'the Party' and mean Lenin.” All sects, cults, and totalitarian regimes have similar characteristics. They just need a breeding ground.
I don't know. "Breeding ground" is a nebulous term. Anywhere that communism took over may be supposed to be a breeding ground. It's a truism. But then, the LRC took hold among some indigenous Americans. Was there something Asian about us as compared with those that rejected the LRC?

I did find some support for the OP thesis in this article, http://www.develop-top-talent.com/ta...or-styles-asia that states "This research showed that cultural difference do indeed show up in self-expressed behavioral preferences by leaders. However, within each culture there is still room for a diversity of styles and approaches even where one or a cluster of styles is preferred more often than others." But, whether a leadership style is a matter of cultural difference or individual difference is going to be a judgment call in every case, isn't it?
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:49 PM   #30
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Another hypothesis I have is that the LRC culture of submission was created in an environment where a leadership claims to have special revelation of the bible that no other Christians have. Under such an environment followers would gravitate towards trusting and blindly submitting to and following their leaders because no longer is Jesus to source of divine revelation, but their leader is. Their identity is no longer in Christ, but it's wrapped up in the revelator. That's why those in the LRC become so offended when Witness Lee is criticized, because their identity is wrapped up in him. An attack on Lee would subconsciously be viewed as an attack on themselves.

Jehovah's Witness, a sect which now claims over 8 million members developed in the United States and have something similar going on. They believe that only their leaders are qualified to interpret the bible for them and that every other Christian outside of their sect is misled. It's even more taboo than in the LRC to question authority. But then again they are considered by most to be a cult...

Here's a video of Francis Chan's conversation with a JW:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcFMGKLTI5k

The JW tells this pastor "Your problem is that you read the bible by yourself. You need our leaders to interpret it for you."

This is a similar mindset I've heard from ex-JW I've met online who all say they lived in an environment where no one could ever question the elders or the Watchtower's teachings, but they were pretty much expected to blindly follow.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:33 PM   #31
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...no longer is Jesus the source of divine revelation, but their leader is. Their identity is no longer in Christ, but it's wrapped up in the revelator. That's why those in the LRC become so offended when Witness Lee is criticized, because their identity is wrapped up in him. An attack on Lee would subconsciously be viewed as an attack on themselves.
"Their identity is not longer in Christ, but it's wrapped up in the revelator".
So, I've been reading and writing on these forums for over 10 years now, and how is it that bearbear is able to say in just a dozen or so words what I've trying to say for 10 years and probably over 100,000 words? It's just not fair I tell you, it's just not fair! Ok, Ok, it's fair... but only because God is making it fair. Otherwise...

Seriously though, "no longer is Jesus the source of divine revelation". Can we just stop right there my friends? Any church, group of churches or association of churches, or any ministry, or any man that has lost "Jesus as the source of divine revelation" is not worthy of our slightest attention, much less giving our hearts and souls to. Nuff said?
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:12 AM   #32
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I don't know. "Breeding ground" is a nebulous term. Anywhere that communism took over may be supposed to be a breeding ground. It's a truism. But then, the LRC took hold among some indigenous Americans. Was there something Asian about us as compared with those that rejected the LRC?
Communists were a marginal group in the US, but in China they managed to take over the country. Mao became a dictator in China. Chiang Kai-shek and his government had to retreat to Taiwan, where Chiang Kai-shek also became a dictator. There were two Chinese states ruled by dictators at the same time. And I believe if it were not Mao and Chiang, it would be another Mao and another Chiang. (It's the same analogy with the USSR, where one dictator replaced another dictator. Czars were followed by Lenin. Lenin was followed by Stalin. If it were not Stalin, it would be another dreadful alternative named Trotsky).

The US never knew dictatorship. America was born as a republic, while China has always been a monarchy or an authoritarian regime. Puyi, the last Chinese emperor, reigned until 1917, while the US never had their own monarchy.

American saints bought a pig in a poke, i.e. they didn't know what they bought with the LRC. To put it tentatively, firstly, they were told that the Lord loved them and they had to love the Lord. Then they were told that if they wanted to love the Lord, they also needed to love His church. And next step was a substitution, when they were told that if they wanted to love the Lord and His church, they also had to be submissive to WL because he was the MOTA, his vision was God's vision, and the LRC was the only genuine Christian church. By that time, the saints had been brainwashed well enough not to get off the hook. WL just "helped" American saints to substitute their values for his values.
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:03 AM   #33
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"Their identity is not longer in Christ, but it's wrapped up in the revelator".
So, I've been reading and writing on these forums for over 10 years now, and how is it that bearbear is able to say in just a dozen or so words what I've trying to say for 10 years and probably over 100,000 words? It's just not fair I tell you, it's just not fair! Ok, Ok, it's fair... but only because God is making it fair. Otherwise...

Seriously though, "no longer is Jesus the source of divine revelation". Can we just stop right there my friends? Any church, group of churches or association of churches, or any ministry, or any man that has lost "Jesus as the source of divine revelation" is not worthy of our slightest attention, much less giving our hearts and souls to. Nuff said?
That's true for us. But members of the LRC keep on praising the Lord for He is still speaking to them. They also believe that Jesus is the source of divine revelation, therefore everything they hear at their conferences is the word of the Lord. The more conferences they have, the more the Lord speaks to them. I can't stop saying to my wife that it is not the word of God but one man's opinion about it. But it is useless to talk.

I just came back from the Lord's Table where they had a long "sermon", full of cliches: "exercise your spirit", "grow in life", "grow in the Church" (or in the church life - I didn't bother to listen), etc. That's just a lot of hot air, but the saints are confident that it is the Lord who speaks to them through the brothers. They believe their church is unique because it's only in the LRC where God is still speaking to His "chosen people". (BTW, which commandment is easier to fulfill: "exercise your spirit", "grow in the church" or "love thy neighbor as thyself"? I don't remember if I've ever heard the last phrase in the LRC).

Saints can't notice that they substituted the word of God (the Holy Bible) and their own word to God (their prayer) for someone else's talk about God. They take the life with man's interpretation of God for the life in and with God.
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:55 PM   #34
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That's true for us. But members of the LRC keep on praising the Lord for He is still speaking to them. They also believe that Jesus is the source of divine revelation, therefore everything they hear at their conferences is the word of the Lord. The more conferences they have, the more the Lord speaks to them. I can't stop saying to my wife that it is not the word of God but one man's opinion about it. But it is useless to talk.

I just came back from the Lord's Table where they had a long "sermon", full of cliches: "exercise your spirit", "grow in life", "grow in the Church" (or in the church life - I didn't bother to listen), etc. That's just a lot of hot air, but the saints are confident that it is the Lord who speaks to them through the brothers. They believe their church is unique because it's only in the LRC where God is still speaking to His "chosen people". (BTW, which commandment is easier to fulfill: "exercise your spirit", "grow in the church" or "love thy neighbor as thyself"? I don't remember if I've ever heard the last phrase in the LRC).

Saints can't notice that they substituted the word of God (the Holy Bible) and their own word to God (their prayer) for someone else's talk about God. They take the life with man's interpretation of God for the life in and with God.
This post is right up there with BearBs post.

So Untohim you asked, and there wasn't "Nuff said."
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:09 PM   #35
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Awareness, my problem is that I don't know how to explain my wife that "Their identity is not longer in Christ, but it's wrapped up in the revelator". It is a conclusion, not a solution. I know that the phrase is true. Most of the posters know that, too. It's obvious for you and me but not for everyone. Solution is how to make that statement true for others. And I don't know how. The members of the LRC look at their identity from another angle. For them, it's all Christ, from Christ, and about Christ.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #36
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InChristAlone,

Harold's right, your post was right up there, and actually there is never "Nuff said" around this place...or why keep this little forum going?

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It is a conclusion, not a solution.
Another golden nugget. Bless you my friend. And may God and his Word comfort and strengthen you. Rest assured there are a number of brothers and sisters in your situation that are hanging around this place. And that's one of the biggest reasons that this forum has some value.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:57 PM   #37
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Reading this gave me goosebumps. In the past, multiple 'new ones' have told me that the Local Church reminds them of communist dictatorship. These are people who know NOTHING about the LC. They visit for the first time, and this was their impression. Scary huh?
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:25 AM   #38
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Communists were a marginal group in the US, but in China they managed to take over the country. Mao became a dictator in China. Chiang Kai-shek and his government had to retreat to Taiwan, where Chiang Kai-shek also became a dictator. There were two Chinese states ruled by dictators at the same time. And I believe if it were not Mao and Chiang, it would be another Mao and another Chiang. (It's the same analogy with the USSR, where one dictator replaced another dictator. Czars were followed by Lenin. Lenin was followed by Stalin. If it were not Stalin, it would be another dreadful alternative named Trotsky).

The US never knew dictatorship. America was born as a republic, while China has always been a monarchy or an authoritarian regime. Puyi, the last Chinese emperor, reigned until 1917, while the US never had their own monarchy.

American saints bought a pig in a poke, i.e. they didn't know what they bought with the LRC. To put it tentatively, firstly, they were told that the Lord loved them and they had to love the Lord. Then they were told that if they wanted to love the Lord, they also needed to love His church. And next step was a substitution, when they were told that if they wanted to love the Lord and His church, they also had to be submissive to WL because he was the MOTA, his vision was God's vision, and the LRC was the only genuine Christian church. By that time, the saints had been brainwashed well enough not to get off the hook. WL just "helped" American saints to substitute their values for his values.
I agree generally with your comments about China and Russia. But you're describing particular political conditions that were present at the time not cultural patterns related to an "Asian mind." European Enlightenment values had not made deep inroads in China or Russia in contrast to the US which was born of those values and where those values continued to develop. I don't disagree with your characterization of the LRC but I don't think that you have explained what made the US a "breeding ground" for the LRC. Lee avoided pushing Nee's "Spiritual Authority" probably because he figured, Americans would reject it. But, he was able to sell a kind of spirituality that negatively sanctioned reason to Americans who should have known better. If what he was pedaling was an "Asian mind-set" why did we buy it?
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:24 AM   #39
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I agree generally with your comments about China and Russia. But you're describing particular political conditions that were present at the time not cultural patterns related to an "Asian mind."
For the Asian mind, a leader has an indisputable authority, be it family, business or politics. But it is always people who give him this authority. A ruler like Mao or Stalin is impossible in the US. Nobody will give him so much power.

In my opinion, political system is a reflection of people's mindset. If people tend to be submissive and lacking initiative, with the need of a strong head to organize them, they will always end up with the leader and political system that represent their character best.

We can also see the same mind-set in Asian business. Paternalistic leadership is the prevalent leadership style in Chinese and Japanese business organizations. And again -- this business style is just a reflection of the Asian mind-set.

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If what he was pedaling was an "Asian mind-set" why did we buy it?
I never said that WL was pedaling the "Asian mind-set". He was pedaling his doctrines. But as a Chinese man, I believe he had the Asian mind-set. His paternalism (in the bad sense of the word) towards saints manifested itself in the way how he treated them. And he treated them as if they were foolish children who were not equal to him. (Well, any dictator or cult leader has a similar leadership style, so we can't blame only the Asian mindset).

Why did Americans buy WL's mindset? If my previous post did not sound true to you, then I don't have the answer. I believe the saints didn't even notice how the change happened in their minds. One day they just became a part of the system. "When in Rome do as the Romans do". And they did.

Anyway, I don’t want to say that I know everything about the Asian mind-set or that I understand why American saints bought WL’s mind-set. I just share my viewpoint which can be mistaken.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:35 AM   #40
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Awareness, UntoHim, thank you brothers. It's really tough and frustrating for me when I am trying to talk to my wife. My talks seem to be useless, but I still hope that God helps me to plant some seeds. Anyway, I thank God for everything. My experience helped me realize that if I can't change my wife, I'd better start changing myself.

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In the past, multiple 'new ones' have told me that the Local Church reminds them of communist dictatorship.
I spent my childhood and schooldays in the USSR. I remember our meetings and how proud we were for we belonged to the first communist country. We were absolutely sure that we lived in the best country in the world, our leaders were the most intelligent ones, and communism was the best system of social organization. Our enemies, i.e. those foreigners who opposed the USSR and the Party were spawn of hell: Western capitalists, militarists, imperialists, and just naive folks, deceived by corrupted American politicians. Of course, it was us who were deceived by our own corrupted politicians. But we had no idea about that. Our believes had a "solid ground". We had great science, Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space, we had free medicine (including surgery and dental treatment), free education (kindergarten, school, college, university), we didn’t know such thing as unemployment, etc. It was all true. But it was only half-truth. We lived in a fallacious world created for us by our leaders. The past, the present, and prospects were filtered. We trusted everything. Every word from our leaders was the ultimate truth. Who wanted to oppose the ultimate truth? That would not be only suicidal but also mentally unbalanced. Since our leaders told us that black was white, it would be stupid of us to say that it was not white but red. We knew that the Western world was black and our world was white. We knew that the West was decaying, and the USSR was prospering. And we could not imagine that it was the other way around. Our ideology, based on lies, distrust, and control, was false, therefore the whole system was false.

As an ordinary Soviet schoolboy, I was a member of a few Communist organizations of schoolchildren. That was mandatory. In a way, it was fun, like the Scouts. But there were always sessions of brainwashing when our elder comrades told us fairy tales about how the US wanted to destroy the world and how the USSR was struggling consistently for universal peace. And we believed all that crap because there was no other information. We lived in, with, and by the myth. We were sure that the USSR was struggling for peace. And we had no idea that our country was sponsoring dictatorial regimes, with hope for communism to conquer the whole world one day. We didn’t know that “good grandfather Lenin” was not “the most kind man” but an arrogant and narrow-minded executioner. Of course, he didn’t murder people personally, with his own hands, but he made orders. However, for us Soviet kids, he was a holy man. That was the only Lenin we knew. There was no alternative reality. Any word against the Party, her leaders or politics could make you a pariah, social outcast.

Thank God, the last 10 years of the USSR were quite liberal. In Stalin's time, any critical remark could cost man his life or 10 years in a labor camp. However, control, manipulation, and lack of freedom of speech were always there. But we didn’t feel that. It was a part of the system. And it was a part of us. We were like a man who were born with chains around his legs but never noticed the chains because he didn't know the difference. He got used to his chains so much that he didn’t imagine a life without them. Moreover, he had fear to fall if he loses his chains. And we were like that. We wore chains but we thought we were free. We blindly followed instructions of our elder comrades and never questioned a thing. To question the ideology meant to lose your identity. From a good Soviet man, you turn yourself into a capitalist henchman, traitor, and servant of your Motherland’s enemy.

BTW, not many people know that the USSR was not a communist state. The ideology was communist but the USSR was a socialist state, ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Lenin wanted to build a communist state but 75 years later the experiment failed.

Well, it’s a different topic and a long talk. So I'd better to stop here. Anyway, I don’t want to say that everything in the USSR was bad. Not at all. I had a great childhood. But since the system was based on half-truth, lies, and constraint, it had only two ways: to reform itself or collapse. The reforms didn’t work out and the system didn’t survive in the real world. When the control weakened, the myth died, the truth came out and everything started to collapse like a house of cards. Will the LRC collapse like the USSR? I doubt it. The control, lack of information, and lack of freedom of speech are still there. But it’s a good thing that we have a forum like this where everyone is free to discuss his or her opinion.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:52 AM   #41
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...the [LRC] saints are confident that it is the Lord who speaks to them through the brothers. They believe their church is unique because it's only in the LRC where God is still speaking to His "chosen people". (BTW, which commandment is easier to fulfill: "exercise your spirit", "grow in the church" or "love thy neighbor as thyself"? I don't remember if I've ever heard the last phrase in the LRC).

Saints can't notice that they substituted the word of God (the Holy Bible) and their own word to God (their prayer) for someone else's talk about God. They take the life with man's interpretation of God for the life in and with God.
I was in a meeting of the FTTA where a trainee asked about shepherding the poor. The trainer said, "Don't waste your time." He said to go for "good building material." I protested. I said that Jesus talked about inviting those who could not repay you to the feast. The trainer ignored my comments and the meeting continued. It was as if I'd never spoken.

So what kind of group can fixate on "exercise your spirit" and ignore verses like "they told me to remember the poor, which I was eager to do" (Gal. 2:10)? They say that they are "closely following the apostle (Paul) yet they ignore Paul's words that are not convenient to their philosophy. The greatest commandment, given by Jesus, to love one another is nothing compared to building up the organization.

This probably shows that the "oracle" has supplanted God's word. If the Maximum Leader says that a scripture is 'natural' or 'fallen', then they ignore it. And other concepts derived from the Word become the new "speaking from God." And thus you have the plain words of the scripture being ignored or even spoken against, while the "interpreted word" reigns supreme.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:04 AM   #42
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I don’t want to say that everything in the USSR was bad. Not at all. I had a great childhood. But since the system was based on half-truth, lies, and constraint, it had only two ways: to reform itself or collapse...
It is interesting that the LRC is so proud of its "goodly heritage" in Protestant Christianity, yet they resist reform, which was what the Protestant movement was largely about. Have you ever heard of the "Reformation"? That's what they call it in the history books. Yet the LRC leadership is completely opposed to any kind of reformation. So they want it both ways: They want to be "children of the Reformation" without any actual reformation at all.

Now, having said that, the new poster caveman brought up a very good point. He said that the problems in the LRC are not any worse than anywhere else. Their hidden scandals are pale compared to the scandals in the RCC and many denominations. And who are we? What throne do I sit upon, to render judgment? NO.

But at the same time we should admit our imperfections, and resist a system which pretends to be perfect. In such a system the Maximum Leader is not allowed to make any mistakes, because he/she is the current "oracle from God", and God does not make mistakes. That kind of a system will not allow change but it will be rigid and inflexible and will eventually collapse. That system is built on a foundation of lies. No one is truly "good" except God. Even Jesus said this, while he was in the flesh. (Mark 10:18)

The only truth is to love one another, forgive one another, encourage one another, comfort one another. The rest of it we should be willing to be flexible and work out together, as those who have believed into the Lord Jesus Christ, and are trying to return home to the Father, and not alone but together.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:36 AM   #43
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Why did Americans buy WL's mindset? If my previous post did not sound true to you, then I don't have the answer. I believe the saints didn't even notice how the change happened in their minds. One day they just became a part of the system. "When in Rome do as the Romans do". And they did...
I think this is an important question. My experience was that the system WL created offered us security and comfort. You no longer had to think, or wrestle with the tough questions. The "oracle" gave you all the truth. And if the "oracle" said don't bother, you could ignore those bothersome questions, with a good conscience. "Just exercise your spirit", we were told.

So you had firm direction, which is good. We were "wild Americans" with few boundaries and we suffered in a wild system. WL offered us a very controlled environment. The truth was clear. No more gray areas.

Secondly, we had "home". We were "home in the church". Our feeling of alienation disappeared. We had a place to go. We had purpose. Our job on earth was "to build up the church".

Thirdly, we were offered a charismatic experience, which touched us at a deep level. Many of us cried when we "touched our spirit" in the church. The Bible was no longer a book of black and white "dead letters" but now was living and operating within us. So we really felt alive.

I tried to start this thread with the idea of having a balanced and objective look at the LRC experience. I was encouraged that caveman (and others) have related to the idea. But it is not an easy one to work through. When we become simple we risk being simplistic. That is why it is good to have others consider our ideas.

So I will try to be simple and clear, with the warning that I may be too simplistic. I think WN started his indigenous Chinese church at least partly as a reaction to Western "imperialistic" domination of Asia. Remember that the Boxer Rebellion was happening also. The Russo-Japanese War, etc. WN was not operating in a social vacuum. Far from it: one of the main reasons for the successful Little Flock expansion was it offered an alternative to the largely Protestant missions that were operating. I believe both WN and WL came out of the Protestant denominations.

So the Little Flock was a local, indigenous, "biblical" alternative to the Western "Reformed" tradition. But with its success WN found the same problems as the earlier churches. How to organize, how to coordinate, how to maintain growth. And the Asian mind-set really emerges there. If you read WN's organizational works after WWII it's pretty clear. The "Spiritual Man" has receded and the "Organizational Man" is now at the fore-front. And it is the Asian Organizational Man that we see. One that emerges from an oriental culture.

Again, there is no problem with this, any more than the Puritans coming from England and imposing their idea of "progress" on the so-called "savages." The problem, as I see it, is that we assumed that WL had left human culture behind. We were not getting oriental culture but heavenly culture. And who could criticize heaven? So when problems occurred, as they always do, we had to pretend they didn't exist.

In the Local Church meetings we were free, even encouraged, to criticize "Christianity", and that meant the Protestants, the RCC, the EO, the "free groups", etc. But we were not free to question the Local Church organization, or the Maximum Leader in Anaheim. So a group that offered "home" actually became quite alienating, because there was nowhere else to go. Many American saints testified that they were "wrecked" for the Local Church. I don't know what they say there in Russia, but in the U.S. Local Churches they strongly push "burning all your bridges" with any connections outside the collective. It is an immersive, intense experience where everything inside the collective is "good" and everything outside is "bad." Your family doesn't know any better, the Christian Church is degraded, the world is sinful, etc etc. Supposedly the only source of information free from corruption is from the Maximum Leader who is "God's oracle." And thus the path has been cleared for a distorted Christian journey. No longer do you hear your conscience, the Bible, or the Spirit; instead your focus is on the speaking of God's current oracle.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:16 AM   #44
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The problem that we have was said well in this quote:
Quote:
It is a conclusion, not a solution. I know that the phrase is true. Most of the posters know that, too. It's obvious for you and me but not for everyone. Solution is how to make that statement true for others.
And this is where we find that postmodernism is not just a disease of those who want to reject knowledge or have an "I'm Ok, You're OK" kind of existence.

We see the things we see as true. But they don't. They see something else as true. Doesn't matter that it is actually false.

And the real problem is the first sentence in the quote. We are busy pushing conclusions rather than finding solutions. We want to tell them that they are wrong rather than show them how they are wrong. Or how we are right.

It takes the opening of the eyes. Theirs have been shut to everything not published by the LSM. They are so used to having blinders and colored glasses on that they do not even notice the apparatus on their heads or the weight of the coke-bottle prescription, Lee-colored glasses on their noses. They think that anything to the left or right of the path straight ahead into the door of the meeting hall is poison and dangerous. If it did not come as the result of their standing order with LSM, they are unqualified to read it and discern whether there is truth in it or whether Lee's still echoing mantra that all they need is in the LSM materials is the truth.

Sometimes a simple "but that's not what it says" may be the opener. And you may not get another opportunity to say another word for some time. Maybe even several years. They may just avoid talking anything spiritual, religious, etc., with you from then on. But there will be that "but that's not what it says" bugging them. Maybe they will eventually begin to read a little on their own and see that you are right. It might take years.

But I've seen it work.

How did Americans get fooled by such a thing? They were searching for "different" and they found it. But it was a cold pot with gallons of water in it and a single candle underneath trying to heat it. The change was subtle and slow.

The only other thing to say is that some are predisposed to be followers. They will follow what is in front of them. When a car passes on the highway, they unconsciously speed up and follow. When a poll says that more people are voting for candidate X today than yesterday, they decide to join the herd.

I know. That is very cynical. But I see the first day after day. And there is no other reason to publish political polls to the general population. It is a factor in the nature of people. And some will take advantage of it whenever they can.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:48 AM   #45
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I think this is an important question. My experience was that the system WL created offered us security and comfort. You no longer had to think, or wrestle with the tough questions. The "oracle" gave you all the truth. And if the "oracle" said don't bother, you could ignore those bothersome questions, with a good conscience. "Just exercise your spirit", we were told.

So you had firm direction, which is good. We were "wild Americans" with few boundaries and we suffered in a wild system. WL offered us a very controlled environment. The truth was clear. No more gray areas.

Secondly, we had "home". We were "home in the church". Our feeling of alienation disappeared. We had a place to go. We had purpose. Our job on earth was "to build up the church".

Thirdly, we were offered a charismatic experience, which touched us at a deep level. Many of us cried when we "touched our spirit" in the church. The Bible was no longer a book of black and white "dead letters" but now was living and operating within us. So we really felt alive.

I tried to start this thread with the idea of having a balanced and objective look at the LRC experience. I was encouraged that caveman (and others) have related to the idea. But it is not an easy one to work through. When we become simple we risk being simplistic. That is why it is good to have others consider our ideas.

So I will try to be simple and clear, with the warning that I may be too simplistic. I think WN started his indigenous Chinese church at least partly as a reaction to Western "imperialistic" domination of Asia. Remember that the Boxer Rebellion was happening also. The Russo-Japanese War, etc. WN was not operating in a social vacuum. Far from it: one of the main reasons for the successful Little Flock expansion was it offered an alternative to the largely Protestant missions that were operating. I believe both WN and WL came out of the Protestant denominations.

So the Little Flock was a local, indigenous, "biblical" alternative to the Western "Reformed" tradition. But with its success WN found the same problems as the earlier churches. How to organize, how to coordinate, how to maintain growth. And the Asian mind-set really emerges there. If you read WN's organizational works after WWII it's pretty clear. The "Spiritual Man" has receded and the "Organizational Man" is now at the fore-front. And it is the Asian Organizational Man that we see. One that emerges from an oriental culture.

Again, there is no problem with this, any more than the Puritans coming from England and imposing their idea of "progress" on the so-called "savages." The problem, as I see it, is that we assumed that WL had left human culture behind. We were not getting oriental culture but heavenly culture. And who could criticize heaven? So when problems occurred, as they always do, we had to pretend they didn't exist.

In the Local Church meetings we were free, even encouraged, to criticize "Christianity", and that meant the Protestants, the RCC, the EO, the "free groups", etc. But we were not free to question the Local Church organization, or the Maximum Leader in Anaheim. So a group that offered "home" actually became quite alienating, because there was nowhere else to go. Many American saints testified that they were "wrecked" for the Local Church. I don't know what they say there in Russia, but in the U.S. Local Churches they strongly push "burning all your bridges" with any connections outside the collective. It is an immersive, intense experience where everything inside the collective is "good" and everything outside is "bad." Your family doesn't know any better, the Christian Church is degraded, the world is sinful, etc etc. Supposedly the only source of information free from corruption is from the Maximum Leader who is "God's oracle." And thus the path has been cleared for a distorted Christian journey. No longer do you hear your conscience, the Bible, or the Spirit; instead your focus is on the speaking of God's current oracle.
That helps to explain your OP. And helps me somewhat with the "Asian Mindset."

It doesn't, however, explain what Zeek brought up. If Nee and Lee's theology was informed from an Asian mindset, how is it that we Americas fell for it?

I read somewhere in this thread a mention that Nee and Lee were raised in some form of the protestant movement. If I'm not mistaken, they were both raised in Christian homes.

So weren't they raised with a Christian Mindset?

They were Chinese in China. If Lee let go of that then why was he still speaking in a broken English Chinese accent?

None of us failed to realize that the local church came out of China. In a sense the Christian missionary imperialists invaded China, and China, thru Lee, invaded America back. Now who was the imperialist? Now who was, like the Christian missionaries bringing Western culture and ways into China, bringing Chinese culture and ways to America?

With something new, to American Christians. And high grade Christians joined the Nee/Lee movement, that invaded America.

It was something new, and it came out of China.

Our question is, how much of China was brought in? How much of the local church was influenced by China?
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:53 AM   #46
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The problem, as I see it, is that we assumed that WL had left human culture behind. We were not getting oriental culture but heavenly culture. And who could criticize heaven?
Aron, I believe you answered the question, at least to me. In the USSR, they tried to kill all local cultures and traditions. We were not Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Georgian, Uzbek, Moldavian, Belorussian, etc. We were Soviet. Each of us was a Soviet man. Our nationalities, traditions, and cultures were our past. Our Soviet culture was our present and our future. And we believed it was the "heavenly" present and the "heavenly" future. Almost nobody dared to criticize it. And those who did, they did not end well.

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In the Local Church meetings we were free, even encouraged, to criticize "Christianity", and that meant the Protestants, the RCC, the EO, the "free groups", etc. But we were not free to question the Local Church organization, or the Maximum Leader in Anaheim.
That reminds me the same situation in the USSR. There was this joke:

Question: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union, just like in the USA?

Answer: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished.

They say there are about 200 Local Churches in Russia, but I don't know anything about the situation there. I have never attended any LC in Russia. About 7 years ago I read a review of a Russian guy who was invited to an LC meeting. He said he had never attended anything more boring than the meeting.

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The only other thing to say is that some are predisposed to be followers. When a poll says that more people are voting for candidate X today than yesterday, they decide to join the herd.
I can't say for the Chinese but that is very Russian. Probably, that is why there are 200 Local Churches in Russia.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:58 AM   #47
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About 7 years ago I read a review of a Russian guy who was invited to an LC meeting. He said he had never attended anything more boring than the meeting.
I think the reason LC meetings are boring is because all spontaneity has been stripped away. Everybody is afraid to say anything not in the 'script' that Headquarters has put out.

At one point the LC meetings were quite local. In the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s you had all these young people, who were allowed and even encouraged to function in the LC meetings. But as regional and local leaders were raised up in this system who exercised their "gifts" and became a threat to the central power, then the Maximum Leader, WL, said that every LC group must be "absolutely identical" (see e.g. RcV footnotes in Revelation 2 and 3). Absolutely identical to what?

They ended up with meetings of people who were afraid and unable to think and speak beyond the footnotes and training outlines.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:04 AM   #48
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I can't say for the Chinese but that is very Russian. Probably, that is why there are 200 Local Churches in Russia.
It is interesting that the LCs propers in places like Russia, Mexico, and major countries in Asia, but NOT the US and Europe. This tells you something about the culture of the LC, perhaps it is not so much "Chinese" based, but as someone mentioned in an earlier post: it is about "independence" vs "group", and "freedom" vs "organization", etc...
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:14 AM   #49
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If Nee and Lee's theology was informed from an Asian mindset, how is it that we Americas fell for it?

I read somewhere in this thread a mention that Nee and Lee were raised in some form of the protestant movement. If I'm not mistaken, they were both raised in Christian homes.

So weren't they raised with a Christian Mindset??
In some ways, to the young people of the 1960s and 1970s "Jesus Movement" (I know this is a generalization but it is the best I can do here) the oriental Nee/Lee offered the best of both worlds. They were overtly Christian but you had the oriental "discipline" and structure that was attractive. Remember that movie Kung Fu? We thought Bruce Lee was the Man. Notice the groups that made inroads, like the Hare Krishnas, the Sun Myung Moons and so forth. There was an attractive element to the Asian way. When Deming tried to teach quality to the Ford and GM companies they waved him away, but then he went to the Japanese and they were kicking Detroit's butt in about 15 years. Quality. Boom! Bruce Lee rises.

I spent time in Japan and it was totally different than the U.S. No trash. You go to Louisiana and they still have trees down from hurricane Katrina. You go to where the Japanese tsunami hit and they have it totally cleaned up. The culture of entitlement is not there in Japan. You don't work, you don't eat.

So Lee was attractive to all these young Americans. You didn't have to be from a broken home. The guy got up early and he worked late. Surely he was more impressive than any theology professor RK saw in Princeton.

But he was still a man, and he put his pants on one leg at a time, just like everbody else. And eventually his "humanity" came forth, and it was not the humanity of Jesus. But he built a system that taught us to look the other way.


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None of us failed to realize that the local church came out of China. In a sense the Christian missionary imperialists invaded China, and China, thru Lee, invaded America back. Now who was the imperialist? Now who was, like the Christian missionaries bringing Western culture and ways into China, bringing Chinese culture and ways to America?

With something new, to American Christians. And high grade Christians joined the Nee/Lee movement, that invaded America.

It was something new, and it came out of China.

Our question is, how much of China was brought in? How much of the local church was influenced by China?
I wish I could do a better job answering these questions. They are good and important, in my view. Hopefully someone like caveman will do a better job than I have. I am just sharing my impressions, but obviously not every one is going to see what I see.

But in a way, you touch on the system going full circle. Only it wasn't the divine system. Nee raised up a local alternative to Western imperialism, which arguably was there. His movement was very successful. Eventually one of the strains of that movement made its way to America, and the imperialism was returned. And this time the cloak was cleverly set; once you "saw the local ground" you were set up to swallow the whole thing, "Deputy God" and all. You gotta give Satan credit - he isn't called the "subtle one" for nothing. Eventually we re-created the Roman monster. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:25 AM   #50
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Aron, you are doing an impressive job.

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LOL ...
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:45 AM   #51
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But he built a system that taught us to look the other way.
From post #14, "On the other hand, though, there is a reason why so many members can't see the elephant, and why the leaders (in my view) should be given some slack for failing to evict it."

When it comes to the leaders looking the other way, I cannot in sound conscience cut them any slack.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:01 PM   #52
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which takes us back to the other LC maxim -- "even when he's wrong, he's right!"
This LC maxim Ohio brought up is very Asian..at least in my wife's culture witnessing first hand. In this case even if the elder brother was wrong to provoke his younger brother, the older brother is still right. In the language of local dialects, there are certain words added to sentences in order to show respect to your elders.

By contrast in the Western culture I've heard the saying many times, "respect is earned and not given". Even with the current administration of the US government, every move made by the president is scrutinized and critiqued as if under a microscope. Just as on this forum there has been much scrutinizing and critiquing. It's easy for one to say "respect the feeling of the Body". Respect is earned and not given.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:14 PM   #53
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This LC maxim Ohio brought up is very Asian..at least in my wife's culture witnessing first hand. In this case even if the elder brother was wrong to provoke his younger brother, the older brother is still right.
When the serving brothers touched Philip Lee they found an Asian culture. They heard an Asian maxim, something like, "If you touch the master's dog you touch the master." The Asian code of 'face' had been violated.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:23 PM   #54
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For the Asian mind, a leader has an indisputable authority, be it family, business or politics. But it is always people who give him this authority. A ruler like Mao or Stalin is impossible in the US. Nobody will give him so much power.

In my opinion, political system is a reflection of people's mindset. If people tend to be submissive and lacking initiative, with the need of a strong head to organize them, they will always end up with the leader and political system that represent their character best.

We can also see the same mind-set in Asian business. Paternalistic leadership is the prevalent leadership style in Chinese and Japanese business organizations. And again -- this business style is just a reflection of the Asian mind-set.



I never said that WL was pedaling the "Asian mind-set". He was pedaling his doctrines. But as a Chinese man, I believe he had the Asian mind-set. His paternalism (in the bad sense of the word) towards saints manifested itself in the way how he treated them. And he treated them as if they were foolish children who were not equal to him. (Well, any dictator or cult leader has a similar leadership style, so we can't blame only the Asian mindset).

Why did Americans buy WL's mindset? If my previous post did not sound true to you, then I don't have the answer. I believe the saints didn't even notice how the change happened in their minds. One day they just became a part of the system. "When in Rome do as the Romans do". And they did.

Anyway, I don’t want to say that I know everything about the Asian mind-set or that I understand why American saints bought WL’s mind-set. I just share my viewpoint which can be mistaken.
I appreciate your comments and admission that you could be wrong. Me too. I think the closer we stick to observed behavior, the closer we will get to propositions about people that can be verified or falsified. Until we can record what is going on in the brain of people under discussion with an fMRI or similar device, what is going on in other people's minds is always no more than an inference. Only the individual we are postulating about can verify or falsify our inference and even they might be lying. I can describe behavior that I observed when I was in the church. For example, Chinese brothers and sisters often spoke Chinese among themselves. Now that's a significant difference between them and the "Westerners." But what was in their minds at any given time is hard to say. I'm not saying that mindsets don't exist. Just that they are hard to pin down. What can be pinned down, to a larger extent is what people do. I'm not excluding verbal behavior. The whole idea of "The Lord's Recovery" was a proposition asserted by Witness Lee. It has been effectively argued on this website that it was a false proposition. It is at least a questionable one. Whenever, we say "LRC" we should say "alleged LRC" or "putative LRC". It was a social construct. If you believed it, you were part of it. You could call that a mind set. But what you would actually observe is what people did. Like how often they went to meeting. Did they shout or sing? Did they live with extended family, in a nuclear family or alone? Who made the decisions? What did we actually see, hear, and touch? Who was doing what to whom? When? Where? How? And of course how much? What do Westerners do differently than Asians? If we stick to observed behavior maybe at the end of the day we more likely to reach a common understanding of what we are talking about.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:25 PM   #55
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Well, it’s a different topic and a long talk. So I'd better to stop here. Anyway, I don’t want to say that everything in the USSR was bad. Not at all. I had a great childhood.
Actually, when one thinks about crime, the USSR was a great system. Nearly no theft, rape, or murder, and no drugs, or no gangs, all of which are an American blight.

The USA would rather let 10 guilty men roam the streets, than let one innocent man be wrongly imprisoned. The USSR, however, would rather have ten innocent men in prison, than let a guilty man go free.

Great incentive to "behave.'
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:36 PM   #56
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I think the reason LC meetings are boring is because all spontaneity has been stripped away. Everybody is afraid to say anything not in the 'script' that Headquarters has put out.

At one point the LC meetings were quite local. In the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s you had all these young people, who were allowed and even encouraged to function in the LC meetings. . . .
The LRC meetings are boring because the content is boring.

In the 60s and 70s, at least we had an exciting form to wrap the lack of true content in. They had all these Jesus people who were ready (and allowed) to make the meetings exciting. So much so that we swallowed hooks with ruber worms on them to believe all kinds of nonsense and become aligned with a movement of error.

How did Americans buy into a Chinese movement? Like so many, they were seeking spirituality and there is something about Eastern things that seems spiritual. The phrases had enough use of spiritual talk. It had an "elevated" lexicon of terms.

They are convinced that saying it better makes it better. And if you can get a bunch of excited hippies to spice-up the meetings . . . .
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:44 PM   #57
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Actually, when one thinks about crime, the USSR was a great system. Nearly no theft, rape, or murder, and no drugs, or no gangs, all of which are an American blight.
I think it is important to realize that any system that takes hold and prospers, at least temporarily, has some claim to validity. Marx' "Communist Manifesto" at least was a trenchant critique of capitalism, when such criticisms were almost unknown.

And the Soviet confederated system, like the Yugoslavian one, held together for some decades. McDonald's, for all their blandness (or because of their blandness) has sold billions of burgers. The Mormons have captured millions of adherents. And so forth.

And likewise I think we can appreciate the system Nee & Lee set up, even if we disagree with it, even vehemently. And in the sub-systems of TC and DYL we have to recognize its ability to "morph" even while retaining some of its essential characteristics. And under those essential characteristics we may find certain cultural traits still predominating.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:46 PM   #58
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In the 60s and 70s, at least we had an exciting form to wrap the lack of true content in..
That's about it in a nutshell. Thanks for that observational chestnut.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:57 PM   #59
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If we stick to observed behavior maybe at the end of the day we more likely to reach a common understanding of what we are talking about.
Well I don't perceive a common understanding looming, but what I simply tried to point out is that there is this thing called culture. And while I cannot say how much it drove WL's thinking, it is kind of naive to think it had no effect on his ministry at all. And I'd add that the people who study society don't perhaps say "How much was individual 'x' driven by his native culture" as they say, "If you try to sell a McDonald's hamburger in Country X what factors do you have to take into consideration?" Or, "If Politician Y wants to get votes, what demographic is key here?" Or, "If you want a good opening night for this movie, what sort of title and billboard poster will bring in the crowds? What separates a mediocre showing from a blockbuster?"

All of that stuff is under the "common understanding" of the people that study it. And in evaluating the Local Church experience in its successes and failures, we might profit by considering the effect of culture. Because human culture does exist, and even though we insisted as Christians that we were the "one new man", if you step back and look carefully you might still see traces of the old man's culture(s), even in the framework of the religious collective. I think WL successfully blinded us to this, to some degree, and it may have been a big part of his survival.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #60
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I think the closer we stick to observed behavior, the closer we will get to propositions about people that can be verified or falsified.
Let me put my reply another way: we can observe the behavior of masses of people, and ask why millions went to this movie instead of thousands, or why a car sold well in one country and not another.

So there is actually a lot of observed behavior to look at. If you step back and examine it en masse, there are actually some generalizations that you can safely make. Enough so that there are plenty of folks who make a good living doing just that. And if we want to be persons of insight (Proverbs 20:5) we might learn something from them, as well. If we think that we are too spiritual to learn, then we learn little if at all.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:43 PM   #61
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I think it is important to realize that any system that takes hold and prospers, at least temporarily, has some claim to validity. Marx' "Communist Manifesto" at least was a trenchant critique of capitalism, when such criticisms were almost unknown.
Thanks for putting these two in the same paragraph.

I will start by saying that just because a system takes hold and prospers is not a sign that it has validity, but that it has people who are determined that since they have put themselves into it, they are going to be damned if it does not look good.

But putting the LRC and Marx in the same paragraph is insightful, even if you didn't realize it.

Seems that Marx was a master at using words with more than one meaning as a way to get the ignorant fired-up for his subterfuge. He saw that the word "exploit" was used in the economic sense to mean that a resource was used. If you work, your work is used. To an economist, that is to "exploit" your work. But the word is commonly understood to mean "used" in a negative sense, such as in an illicit manner. you are said to "exploit" the homeless by getting photo ops with them for political purposes but not actually intending to do anything about it. But this use of the word "exploit" is not what the economists are talking about.
But Marx makes sure that the word "exploit" is used in a way that makes the fact that you work for someone else seem as if you are being cheated. That fired-up a bunch of ignorant workers and we had a workers revolution.

Then came Nee and Lee. They used words just as masterfully as Marx. They did it well in Chinese. And despite the choppy "English-as-a-second-language" schtick, Lee was a master at using words in just as underhanded a way. He embellished as much as possible, then when it suited his aims, he carved away every meaning of words so that they only meant the one thing he wanted them to mean. "This simply means that . . . ."
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:07 PM   #62
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Well I don't perceive a common understanding looming, but what I simply tried to point out is that there is this thing called culture. And while I cannot say how much it drove WL's thinking, it is kind of naive to think it had no effect on his ministry at all. And I'd add that the people who study society don't perhaps say "How much was individual 'x' driven by his native culture" as they say, "If you try to sell a McDonald's hamburger in Country X what factors do you have to take into consideration?" Or, "If Politician Y wants to get votes, what demographic is key here?" Or, "If you want a good opening night for this movie, what sort of title and billboard poster will bring in the crowds? What separates a mediocre showing from a blockbuster?"

All of that stuff is under the "common understanding" of the people that study it. And in evaluating the Local Church experience in its successes and failures, we might profit by considering the effect of culture. Because human culture does exist, and even though we insisted as Christians that we were the "one new man", if you step back and look carefully you might still see traces of the old man's culture(s), even in the framework of the religious collective. I think WL successfully blinded us to this, to some degree, and it may have been a big part of his survival.
I agree. In fact, if culture is defined as a system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society, then what I was suggesting is that describing cultural differences is going to be more productive than talking about minds or mind-sets. Witness Lee claimed to have transcended culture when he said he preached the "pure Word of God." It isn't clear to me that anyone can do that. When I was sitting listening to Lee, I thought that some of his interpretations sounded like Buddhism or Taoism or Confucianism. He may not have been conscious of that because he was acculturated into that way of thinking as a child. We are all acculturated into some kind of society. If we don't examine our own behavior in terms of culture, we don't become aware of it. He taught that everyone has a blind spot. That might have been his.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:36 PM   #63
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I am new to this forum and just posted in Introductions. Concerning culture. The LC seems to want us to dispense with our culture altogether. We are to cease being individuals, which is against what we as Americans have been taught all our lives. We are free in this nation because we fought for individual and collective freedom. According to the LC, we are to dispense with holidays and the "selfish" celebration of our own or others' birthdays. We are to have only a collective mentality. We are not to form close personal relationships and have buddies. All these things are part of our culture, and I, for one, like these things. I do not believe Jesus wants us to cut off our emotions and be robots. I believe God loves variety, as evidenced by His varieties in creation. He made us emotional creatures. Loving life is being free to enjoy many things. Any church that tries to suppress our emotions and control our attitudes is a cult.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:38 PM   #64
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Let me put my reply another way: we can observe the behavior of masses of people, and ask why millions went to this movie instead of thousands, or why a car sold well in one country and not another.

So there is actually a lot of observed behavior to look at. If you step back and examine it en masse, there are actually some generalizations that you can safely make. Enough so that there are plenty of folks who make a good living doing just that. And if we want to be persons of insight (Proverbs 20:5) we might learn something from them, as well. If we think that we are too spiritual to learn, then we learn little if at all.
I don't think I'm spiritual at all. In fact, no one has been able to explain what spirit is. Spirit seems to be even more elusive than mind which might be defined as the images that the brain makes. I ventured the definition that a spirit is a person without a body. But then it was pointed out that in I Corinthians 15 it talks about spiritual bodies. Any way I am certainly amenable to looking at the claims these folks who make a living making generalizations. I studied the social sciences enough to get a B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University and a M.A. in Children and Family Therapy from Florida International University. One thing that I have learned along the way is to be skeptical about claims people make. That goes for academics, preachers, people on websites like this one, and everybody else. My experience with the Local Church was very instructive in that regard. If you consider hindsight as a kind of insight, then I might be a "person of insight" myself.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:53 PM   #65
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I am new to this forum and just posted in Introductions. Concerning culture. The LC seems to want us to dispense with our culture altogether. We are to cease being individuals, which is against what we as Americans have been taught all our lives. We are free in this nation because we fought for individual and collective freedom. According to the LC, we are to dispense with holidays and the "selfish" celebration of our own or others' birthdays. We are to have only a collective mentality. We are not to form close personal relationships and have buddies. All these things are part of our culture, and I, for one, like these things. I do not believe Jesus wants us to cut off our emotions and be robots. I believe God loves variety, as evidenced by His varieties in creation. He made us emotional creatures. Loving life is being free to enjoy many things. Any church that tries to suppress our emotions and control our attitudes is a cult.
My experience in the Local Church was much like yours. It appears that the experience is fresh for you. I encourage you to free yourself from the Local Church culture if you can and you haven't already.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:22 AM   #66
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In fact, no one has been able to explain what spirit is. Spirit seems to be even more elusive than mind which might be defined as the images that the brain makes. I ventured the definition that a spirit is a person without a body. But then it was pointed out that in I Corinthians 15 it talks about spiritual bodies.
I know this is another topic, but I have been thinking over this for quite a while, since I tried to definite what spirit, spirituality, and spiritual life are.

BTW, there is a verse that distinguishes between the body, soul and spirit:

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."(I Thess. 5:23)."

I can't explain what spirit is, either. Probably, it's elusive because it's invisible, not physical. I tried to find answers reading the EOC doctrines, got some insights, but I am still unable to give a clear definition. And I believe even if I could get a definite answer, I'd not be able to comprehend it, anyway. Nevertheless, I'll try to explain the term "spirit". But first of all, let's definite what body and soul are:

1. The body, “dust from the ground” (Gen. 2:7), is the physical or material aspect of man’s nature.

2. The soul is the life-force that vivifies and animates the body, causing it to be not just a lump of matter, but something that grows and moves, that feels and perceives. In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, the term 'soul' refers both to the spiritual (not physical) element in our existence and to life itself. Anything that has life is called a soul. The soul is the sign of life, but it is not the cause of life. It is the bearer of life. Animals also possess a soul, and so perhaps do plants. But in man’s case the soul is endowed with consciousness; it is a rational soul, possessing the capacity for abstract thought, and the ability to advance by discursive argument from premises to a conclusion. These powers are present in animals, if at all, only to a very limited degree.

In the New Testament, the soul appears also to be the bearer of eternal life, and therefore, the salvation of the soul is identified with the possibility of life which does not know corruption and death.

3. The spirit is that force which God breathed into man when He created him. Spirit, the “breath” from God (Gen. 2:7), is the highest aspect of the soul, which the animals lack. Animals have feelings and different character traits but they don't strive for God. The spirit represents man's active participation in God. It is important to distinguish “Spirit”, with an initial capital, from “spirit” with a small "s". The created spirit of man is not to be identified with the uncreated or Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity; yet the two are intimately connected, for it is through his spirit that man apprehends God and enters into communion with him.

With his soul (psyche) man engages in scientific or philosophical inquiry, analyzing the data of his sense-experience by means of the discursive reason. With his spirit (pneuma), which is sometimes termed nous or spiritual intellect, he understands eternal truth about God or about theology or inner essences of created things, not through deductive reasoning, but by direct apprehension or spiritual perception – by a kind of intuition that St Isaac the Syrian calls “simple cognition”. The spirit or spiritual intellect is thus distinct from man’s reasoning powers and his aesthetic emotions, and superior to both of them. (I mainly quoted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's book 'The Orthodox Way').

Spirituality in the EOC means the everyday activity of life in communion with God. The term spirituality refers not merely to the activity of man's spirit alone, his mind, heart, and soul, but it refers as well to the whole of man's life as inspired and guided by the Spirit of God. Every act of a Christian must be a spiritual act. Everyday thought must be spiritual, every word, every deed, every activity of the body, every action of the person. This mean, that all that a person thinks, says and does must be inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit so that the will of God the Father might be accomplished as revealed and taught by Jesus Christ the Son of God.

"…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Doing all things to the glory of God is the meaning and substance of life for a human being. This "doing" is what Christian spirituality is about. A person can abide in Christ, accomplish His commandments and be in communion with God the Father only by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Spiritual life is life in and by the Holy Spirit.


I can't logically understand WL's words when he said that God doesn't need spiritual giants. Was it something Asian or was he just afraid of competition? In my culture, spiritual giants are those who bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Their life is the life in and by the Holy Spirit. The more spiritual giants, the better. But according to WL, God needs a different type of people. They don't need to be spiritual. They don't need to develop their personal relationship with God. They just need need to belong to the LRC, "exercise their spirit" by reading WL's books, and do all things to the glory of WL and his church. That's a spiritual life in the LRC.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:27 AM   #67
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I am new to this forum and just posted in Introductions. Concerning culture. The LC seems to want us to dispense with our culture altogether. We are to cease being individuals, which is against what we as Americans have been taught all our lives. We are free in this nation because we fought for individual and collective freedom. According to the LC, we are to dispense with holidays and the "selfish" celebration of our own or others' birthdays. We are to have only a collective mentality. We are not to form close personal relationships and have buddies. All these things are part of our culture, and I, for one, like these things. I do not believe Jesus wants us to cut off our emotions and be robots. I believe God loves variety, as evidenced by His varieties in creation. He made us emotional creatures. Loving life is being free to enjoy many things. Any church that tries to suppress our emotions and control our attitudes is a cult.
Welcome to the forum!

The ONLY holiday which the church endorced was the celebration of Chinese New Year. Supposedly it was celebrated as a means to introduce Chinese guests to the gospel. But why then didn't we use Christmas to introduce American guests to the gospel?

Friendships in the LC's are discouraged. The members are convinced that friendships spoil their spiritual sacrifice much like honey spoiled the OT offerings. The teaching is extremely manipulative, forcing member loyalties to only adhere to LSM leadership, and no others.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:16 AM   #68
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Default Asian Culture meets West Texas Culture: Don Rutledge testimony

From Don Rutledge

Ray Graver was strongly bent toward the teaching of “Deputy Authority.” He believed that in every activity of the church deputy authority should be manifested. Before the consolidation in Houston a few brothers in Waco and Lubbock were given copies of the “Eldership Papers.” These were messages given by Witness Lee in Taiwan. One of the main points was that there was an order in the eldership and in all manifestations of God’s work. There was a number one elder, a number two elder, a number three elder, and so forth. The same was true in the practical service in the church, such as cleaning the meeting hall, serving in the children’s meeting, and preparing food for a love feast. Until the number one person made a decision, there would be discussion (fellowship) regarding a matter, but once the “number one” gave his judgment all fellowship was over on that matter and any desire for further discussion was considered to be dissension and against God’s authority.

Ray Graver had come up with a teaching and a principle from the listings of the names of the twelve apostles in the New Testament. He discovered that the various listings in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts could be divided into three groups of four and that the first name in each grouping was always the same. Therefore, one might infer that here was a clue regarding divine deputy authority. While the order of number two, three and four could shift, the number one was always the same.

This was introduced about the same time that the elders set up the practical service with various service groups. The elders used a model that Witness Lee had used in China and Taiwan. All the members of the church were organized into various service groups: children’s meetings, cleaning, yard work, visitation etc. They also appointed four deacons including myself four deacons, one of which was myself. Ray met with me personally to go over the entire service list. He emphasized that I was the number one deacon and should communicate with each service group through the number one person listed under each group. I was specifically charged to draw up a procedural manual for the deacons called “the common way.” This was a term and practice lifted directly from Witness Lee’s practice in China and Taiwan. The elders charged each service group leadership to develop a “common way” and to submit it to the deacons.

I never complied and never developed a “common way.” I was the youngest brother and newest Christian among the deacons (Don Looper, Herman Massey and Jim Coleman being the other three), and for me to have some kind of official leadership or authority was a little silly.

When I moved to Dallas, the “number one” concept and “common way” practice were left behind in Houston with Ray Graver. We did have service groups with leadership and oversight, but did not carry out Ray Graver’s concept.

Ray was very gifted in the area of organizing activities and projects. He worked hard to push for one project after another. Over time, his projects became more important than his participation in church meetings, shepherding, fellowship and gospel work. The more he dedicated himself to the projects coming from Witness Lee or Benson Phillips, the more he became suspicious of individual saints and different churches. Eventually he saw a competition between the spiritual work of an individual saint and an LSM project. He seemed to always think that the worst motives were motivating an individual saint, and especially those of a local leadership.

Witness Lee had an illustration regarding how “the self” is expressed and how to apply the cross to “the self.” He often declared that your opinion is the expression of the self. Thus, when someone offered a different perspective from that of a “number one,” they may be exhorted to deny their self by denying their opinion even if they are “right.” Ray Graver and a few others ran with this notion. They applied it widely. It seemed that there were a number of West Texans who latched onto this idea: Francis Ball, James Barber, Benson Phillips, Ben McPherson and others. Though Ray was originally from Virginia, he went to college at Wayland and adopted the West Texas code. I believe that the cultural background of the leadership was a big factor in the development of the local churches in the USA.(My italics)

The men from West Texas brought a male-dominated and male-centric culture into the local churches that melded well with the male-dominated culture of China, the place where Witness Lee and other leaders were from. These West Texans were anything but weak. Several came from the oil fields and working ranches. They could sacrifice comfort and self interest and expected the same from others. The West Texas culture promoted strong leaders and fierce loyalty to the leader. The followers of the leader were expected to lay aside their own feelings and follow the leader fearlessly into whatever situation they may face.

Lest the reader ask “where does Don Rutledge get off talking about West Texas culture?”, let me mention that Baylor University, my school, has the Texas Library and Texas Ranger Museum. It is the center for the study of Texas history. While in Waco, I developed an interest in Western history and particularly Texas history. This has been a hobby of mine for forty-plus years. I have read scores of books on this subject including many on the character of the early and later Texans.

In contrast to West Texas, I come from the poorest section of the USA, the lower Mississippi River valley. I did appreciated the West Texans’ rugged character, as I myself had slept in the rain, had friends who needed to hunt and fish for food and who worked “can till can’t” in the hot southern sun. (“Can till can’t” means this: you start working when there is enough daylight so that one “can” see and you do not stop until it is so dark that one “can’t” see.) There was no lunch break. You ate whatever you had while you worked. You were not paid by the hour but by the day, provided the boss thought you had worked hard enough. I did see young teenage boys sent home without any pay because they had not pulled their share of the load. As a result, they faced a beating at home. But the next day, they did “jump up and turn around” and carry their share of the work. Thus, I appreciated the West Texan toughness, but I did not come from a culture which honored a leader as did the West Texans did. In fact, we in Arkansas had plenty of resentment toward the exploiting “planter class” which oppressed the peasants. It was sports that provided us a level ground with the sons of the planters. During pre-season, our high school football team had live scrimmages and hitting drills every day. The hitting and contact was ferocious. Not one son of a planter ever survived pre-season. They all would quit rather than continue to take the beating the peasants handed them.

We peasants had sympathy toward the weaker members of our society, and especially for ones oppressed. I believe the Lord Jesus puts into his believers a strong desire to bestow more abundant honor on the less comely and to protect the weak. One of the main reasons I eventually left the local churches was the rough treatment received by weaker ones and ones whose opinions did not match the leaders’ ideas. I recognize in some ways my reaction to the “lording it over” that came in later days may have been partly due to my culture. (My italics) Ransford Ackah of Ghana once told me, “Don, you always favor the poor.” I had to confess to him that his statement was true. Regardless of our background, culture, disposition, or how our mother raised us, we all need to be transformed and conformed to Christ. As this book develops, I ask the reader to allow me to comment on the personalities and background of different leading figures.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:22 AM   #69
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I am certainly amenable to looking at the claims these folks who make a living making generalizations. I studied the social sciences enough to get a B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University and a M.A. in Children and Family Therapy from Florida International University. One thing that I have learned along the way is to be skeptical about claims people make. That goes for academics, preachers, people on websites like this one, and everybody else. My experience with the Local Church was very instructive in that regard. If you consider hindsight as a kind of insight, then I might be a "person of insight" myself.
I apologize for being somewhat "flip" in my reply. Sometimes it is too easy to write. Circumspection (being careful of tongue) has always been a struggle for me. Please forgive me for seeming to be disrespectful. Sometimes I try to defend my ideas to zealously. The feelings of respect and mutuality toward others should always outweigh any "truth" that I think I'm promoting.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:12 AM   #70
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

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I apologize for being somewhat "flip" in my reply. Sometimes it is too easy to write. Circumspection (being careful of tongue) has always been a struggle for me. Please forgive me for seeming to be disrespectful. Sometimes I try to defend my ideas to zealously. The feelings of respect and mutuality toward others should always outweigh any "truth" that I think I'm promoting.
No problem aron. Apologies are rare on internet forums. I accept yours without reservation.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:32 AM   #71
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I am new to this forum and just posted in Introductions. Concerning culture. The LC seems to want us to dispense with our culture altogether. We are to cease being individuals, which is against what we as Americans have been taught all our lives. We are free in this nation because we fought for individual and collective freedom. According to the LC, we are to dispense with holidays and the "selfish" celebration of our own or others' birthdays. We are to have only a collective mentality. We are not to form close personal relationships and have buddies. All these things are part of our culture, and I, for one, like these things. I do not believe Jesus wants us to cut off our emotions and be robots. I believe God loves variety, as evidenced by His varieties in creation. He made us emotional creatures. Loving life is being free to enjoy many things. Any church that tries to suppress our emotions and control our attitudes is a cult.
Welcome love4truth.

Take heart. I have bunches of friends from the local church. But they are all exLCers. In fact, my most dearest and precious friends are from the local church. And I love them to death.

But we weren't suppose to be friends while in the LC.

What a funny and unnatural rule and practice not having friends is. Of course the supposed reason is that, our hearts are suppose to be wholly for Christ, and nothing else. They seem to forget about "the least of these."

My advice is to run, run, run, from the LC. If your LC friend cuts contact with you after leaving, she wasn't a real friend in the first place ; she's just pretending to be a friend, while hoping you get captured in the LC.

Go find a church where they've never heard of such a silly rule. That's not a cult.

If you stay, not being friends is just one aspect of your humanity that will be condemned and stripped away. It's a cult. You won't be allowed to even be your self, if you stay. You'll have to take Witness Lee's personally as your own.

Run Forest run.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:26 AM   #72
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More from Don Rutledge's testimony on Local Church leadership

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We occasionally visited the small church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In late 1973 while visiting there, we were joined for a day by Max Rapaport of San Diego. It seemed like an audition. He spent a long time, two to three hours, telling us how well San Diego was doing because of his leadership and “his” gift in the gospel and shepherding. He told us Witness Lee wanted him to be president of Daystar. According to Max, the business was about to go under and needed him to rescue it. He said he was willing to give up his very successful insurance business in order to serve Witness Lee. He declared that he did not want Witness Lee occupied with business but rather to give his full attention to the ministry of the word. He also stressed that Witness Lee was very concerned for the lack of gospel work and increase in the churches and was looking to Max to help all the churches. Finally, Max stated that many of the elders were not qualified to care for the churches.

As soon as Max finished with his report, he left to return to San Diego. He seemed to have no interest in what was happening in Albuquerque or in Dallas. Bob Bynum told me I looked like the RCA dog staring into the phonograph as I listened to Max. The next day, on the way home, I asked Benson Phillips regarding what had transpired. He said that if Witness Lee was going with Max, he was going with Max. Things would never be the same again
I find that statement from Benson very telling: "He said that if Witness Lee was going with Max, he was going with Max." And as soon as WL dumped MR, so did BP & the WL loyalists.

One of my Local Church elders was very similar: if Elder #1 said to jump off a bridge, we all were to jump. So your conscience and following the Spirit and discerning the word all got telescoped to a very narrow range, that of supporting the one over you. "Follow the one in front of you." In some cultures this may be more normative but I find it very anathematic, yet I tried, "for the church life".
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #73
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Default Re: Asian Culture meets West Texas Culture: Don Rutledge testimony

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From Don Rutledge

Ray Graver had come up with a teaching and a principle from the listings of the names of the twelve apostles in the New Testament. He discovered that the various listings in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts could be divided into three groups of four and that the first name in each grouping was always the same. Therefore, one might infer that here was a clue regarding divine deputy authority. While the order of number two, three and four could shift, the number one was always the same.
I have three questions: do you really think for a minute that Paul rebuking Peter in front of the rest, in the account of Galatians chapter 2, meant that Paul was now possessor of the "ministry of the age"? How about maybe that Paul simply felt that Peter was wrong?

#2 If the apostle John and Paul were in the same room, do you think that John would really listen to Watchman Nee's idea that he should know who was over him (i.e. Paul)? John would laugh in Nee's face if he told him to be submissive to Paul. Nor, importantly, did John ever attempt to boss Paul.

#3. Did John then get restored to the "mantle" once Paul exited the scene, to write his memoirs (Gospel, epistles, Apocalypse)? Now that he was the Big Kahuna he got the Spirit to write?

This "God can only move through one servant; all others must line up" idea is looney tunes. It was from Jump.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:43 AM   #74
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Default Re: Asian Culture meets West Texas Culture: Don Rutledge testimony

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This "God can only move through one servant; all others must line up" idea is looney tunes.
It is just incredible to think that we truly believed that the God of the universe, Who upholds all things by the word of His power, Who alone knows the hearts of some 7 billion people, not to mention all the creation we no nothing about, would limit Himself to the speaking of one fallen, limited, mortal man.

Like aron said, that was akin to looney tunes.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:00 PM   #75
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It is just incredible to think that we truly believed that the God of the universe, Who upholds all things by the word of His power, Who alone knows the hearts of some 7 billion people, not to mention all the creation we no nothing about, would limit Himself to the speaking of one fallen, limited, mortal man.

Like aron said, that was akin to looney tunes.
My wife worked at a bank. She brought the wife of the president of the bank to the church ... and she proved to be a live firecracker on fire for the Lord.

She eventually talked her husband, and one of his friends to a meeting. They were right behind me.

Well, the meeting got going and was on fire with great enthusiasm, action, lively testimonies, songs, and heavenly festivities, with everyone on their feet.

And I overheard the friend say to the president next to him, "These people are a half a bubble off level." (They were smart. That's the last we saw of them.)

Well I didn't take it to heart at that time, nor were I insulted. But I never forgot it.

Bro Zeek and I were talking and I brought that incident up.

And we quickly went to: We were at least a half a bubble off level, if not more, and prolly still are.

Methinks we were all looney tunes, and Tinker Bells.

Just own it.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:40 PM   #76
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We were at least a half a bubble off level, if not more, and prolly still are.
Now it's my turn. Touche.

But think about it this way. God, who is holy and righteous, sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus, into Satan's vortex where we were trapped, and rescued us. Jesus said that the angels cheer when we repent and turn back to God. Why? Because they love us, man, they love us! Sometimes I sense a whiff of the divine love and it is so intoxicating, so overwhelming that I don't want anything else. Then 5 minutes later I forget! Oh, man!

God loves us. God loves us. God loves us.

Yes, I'm a little bit teched in the head.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:02 PM   #77
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

Well here's a nice Christian church in Changzhou, China, built in the architecture of the western mind, adorned with consumer stores in the style of the Chinese consumer mind, offering five or six services a week and scarily reminiscent of the LC with a lot of "Amen" chanting going on inside.

The painting to the right of the interior shot was interesting, I didn't get it all in, sorry, but it features a westernized non-Middle-Eastern pastoral Jesus with a very Chinese "Three Gorges" mountainous background. The sheep, as best I can figure, are Scottish.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:40 PM   #78
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I know this is another topic, but I have been thinking over this for quite a while, since I tried to definite what spirit, spirituality, and spiritual life are.

BTW, there is a verse that distinguishes between the body, soul and spirit:

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."(I Thess. 5:23)."

Until we can define spirit and soul let's look at this verse as if it were an algebra problem and see where that takes us. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole x, y and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Oh look, it implies a tripartite man. Watchman Nee wasn't all wet after all.


I can't explain what spirit is, either. Probably, it's elusive because it's invisible, not physical.

Perhaps that's a clue. What is spiritual is what is incorporeal, intangible, invisible. Like infinity, the spirit is defined by negation. Infinite is what is not finite. Spirit is what is not corporeal. To say something is spiritual is not to specify what it is but to specify that it is not corporeal.

I tried to find answers reading the EOC doctrines, got some insights, but I am still unable to give a clear definition. And I believe even if I could get a definite answer, I'd not be able to comprehend it, anyway. Nevertheless, I'll try to explain the term "spirit". But first of all, let's define what body and soul are:

1. The body, “dust from the ground” (Gen. 2:7), is the physical or material aspect of man’s nature.

2. The soul is the life-force that vivifies and animates the body, causing it to be not just a lump of matter, but something that grows and moves, that feels and perceives. In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, the term 'soul' refers both to the spiritual (not physical) element in our existence and to life itself.

This statement confirms what I said above.

Anything that has life is called a soul. The soul is the sign of life, but it is not the cause of life. It is the bearer of life. Animals also possess a soul, and so perhaps do plants. But in man’s case the soul is endowed with consciousness; it is a rational soul, possessing the capacity for abstract thought, and the ability to advance by discursive argument from premises to a conclusion. These powers are present in animals, if at all, only to a very limited degree.

Simply put, humans appear to have physical and nonphysical aspects the combination of which makes us "living souls." Insofar as consciousness is a non-physical phenomenon, it is spiritual.

In the New Testament, the soul appears also to be the bearer of eternal life, and therefore, the salvation of the soul is identified with the possibility of life which does not know corruption and death.

3. The spirit is that force which God breathed into man when He created him. Spirit, the “breath” from God (Gen. 2:7), is the highest aspect of the soul, which the animals lack. Animals have feelings and different character traits but they don't strive for God. The spirit represents man's active participation in God. It is important to distinguish “Spirit”, with an initial capital, from “spirit” with a small "s". The created spirit of man is not to be identified with the uncreated or Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity; yet the two are intimately connected, for it is through his spirit that man apprehends God and enters into communion with him.

I think I understand what is being asserted. WL drilled John 4:24 "God is spirit" into my head for 13 years. So spirit is a generic term that includes God and some non-God entities. What they have in common is non-corporeality not divinity. Construing the spirit as a force is problematic except by analogy. A person such we and the Holy Spirit are supposed to be more than a mere forces.


With his soul (psyche) man engages in scientific or philosophical inquiry, analyzing the data of his sense-experience by means of the discursive reason.

We are souls (Gen. 2:7). So how would we do something "with" ourselves? Or, perhaps the question should be, would we do anything without ourselves? We cannot be other than what we are and what we are are souls. Therefore, the statement should more accurately be: As a soul, man engages in scientific or philosophical inquiry, analyzing the data of his sense-experience by means of the discursive reason.



With his spirit (pneuma), which is sometimes termed nous or spiritual intellect, he understands eternal truth about God or about theology or inner essences of created things, not through deductive reasoning, but by direct apprehension or spiritual perception – by a kind of intuition that St Isaac the Syrian calls “simple cognition”. The spirit or spiritual intellect is thus distinct from man’s reasoning powers and his aesthetic emotions, and superior to both of them. (I mainly quoted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's book 'The Orthodox Way').

Yes, I think I get what you're postulating...the spirit is like a sixth sense through which we directly perceive the Divine. Why do you suppose this sixth sense is attributed to the spirit? Spiritual intuition is not a sense of the physical world as vision or hearing is. It's a putative ticket to an unseen world.

Spirituality in the EOC means the everyday activity of life in communion with God. The term spirituality refers not merely to the activity of man's spirit alone, his mind, heart, and soul, but it refers as well to the whole of man's life as inspired and guided by the Spirit of God. Every act of a Christian must be a spiritual act. Everyday thought must be spiritual, every word, every deed, every activity of the body, every action of the person. This mean, that all that a person thinks, says and does must be inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit so that the will of God the Father might be accomplished as revealed and taught by Jesus Christ the Son of God.

That's confusing isn't it? A purely spiritual act would not involve the body would it? It's a contradiction of terms.

"…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

That quote doesn't mention the spirit so how it is related is unclear to me.


Doing all things to the glory of God is the meaning and substance of life for a human being. This "doing" is what Christian spirituality is about. A person can abide in Christ, accomplish His commandments and be in communion with God the Father only by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in his life.

No mention of the human spirit in all that. You include a lot that is not obviously spiritual in what you call spirituality.

Spiritual life is life in and by the Holy Spirit.


What happened to the human spirit? It seemed drop out of the account after the initial statement. As far as the Holy Spirit, we could call it the Holy Incorporeal or the Holy Non-physical. Those are better synonyms than Holy Ghost that came to have the unintended connotation that someone had died.

I can't logically understand WL's words when he said that God doesn't need spiritual giants. Was it something Asian or was he just afraid of competition? In my culture, spiritual giants are those who bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Their life is the life in and by the Holy Spirit. The more spiritual giants, the better. But according to WL, God needs a different type of people. They don't need to be spiritual. They don't need to develop their personal relationship with God. They just need need to belong to the LRC, "exercise their spirit" by reading WL's books, and do all things to the glory of WL and his church. That's a spiritual life in the LRC.
I think he meant guys like himself and Watchman Nee. He didn't think they needed more big names after himself apparently. And he stuck to it by blending the brother rather than naming a successor.

Since we're speculating already, I may as well go further. You know, God is supposed to be the God of the entire universe. So for God to act within the universe as God would really mess things up. I mean there are laws of physics that would be violated and that almost never happens outside of the Bible. But, from time to time people get a sense of a momentous presence that they can't explain. The experience is so awesome that they suppose that they are in the presence of that which cannot be exceeded. They can never really explain it and they have to use a symbol to point to it. That symbol is "the Holy Spirit."

Now, have I said anything more than your text? Maybe not. But I thought I should at least try to put the matter in my own words rather than settle for rote repetition like WL taught us to do in his training sessions. He didn't want original thinkers there either, just parrots.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:25 AM   #79
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That's a great post, Zeek. Thanks! It's hard for me to argue with someone who got a B.A. in Psychology. Nevertheless, l'll try to put my two cents in.

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We are souls (Gen. 2:7). So how would we do something "with" ourselves? Or, perhaps the question should be, would we do anything without ourselves? We cannot be other than what we are and what we are are souls. Therefore, the statement should more accurately be: As a soul, man engages in scientific or philosophical inquiry, analyzing the data of his sense-experience by means of the discursive reason.
When you say we are souls, don't you neglect man's physical aspect? What about "the dust of the ground"? (Gen. 2:7) When the body is alive, it is a part of us, a part of our human nature on the earth.

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Originally Posted by zeek View Post
That's confusing isn't it? A purely spiritual act would not involve the body would it? It's a contradiction of terms.
I'd not say "confusing", I'd call it a paradox. (Or if you don't like paradoxes, we may call it another meaning of the word "spiritual"). When you read or preach Gospel, is it a part of your spiritual life or not? If yes, then it's a spiritual act. When it's your strive for God and you share your love and God's love with others, then it's definitely spiritual. Why? Because you are inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit and you are not concerned with material values or pursuits. However, you still use your physical body to open and read the Bible for others. And you still use your hands to help people in need. But if you help them for your sake -- to glorify your name, that's not spiritual. But if you do it to the glory of God, then it is. In other words, spiritual life is God/Christ - centered life, not man-centered life.

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Originally Posted by zeek View Post

"…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

That quote doesn't mention the spirit so how it is related is unclear to me.
In my opinion, a quote doesn't need to have the word "spirit" to give a spiritual direction. To do all things in our sake, to glorify our own name, is not spiritual. Our acts must glorify God, His Spirit, not our own being.

As for spirituality in our daily life, I like this quote by St Thophan the Recluse:

We are all servants of our God. God has assigned to each his place and responsibilities, and He watches to see how each approaches his assignment. He is everywhere. And He watches over you. Keep this in mind and do each deed as if it were assigned to you directly by God, no matter what it is.

Do your housework in this manner: When someone comes to visit, keep in mind that God has sent you this visitor, and is watching. When you have to leave your house, keep in mind that God has sent you out on an errand, and is watching. Will you complete it as He wishes?

By orienting yourself to God at all times, your chores at home and responsibilities outside the house will not distract your attention from God, but, on the contrary, will keep you intent on completing all tasks in a God-pleasing manner. All will be performed with the fear of God, and this fear will keep your attention on God unswervingly.

To determine which duties inside and outside the family are God-pleasing, take the books in which these matters are discussed as your guides. Be careful to distinguish between concerns prompted by frivolity, passions, flattery and worldliness, from those that are correct, appropriate and honorable.


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Originally Posted by zeek View Post

What happened to the human spirit? It seemed drop out of the account after the initial statement.
I can be mistaken, but I don't see a contradiction. To me, spiritual life is when the human spirit is being guided by the Holy Spirit. With this guidance, we walk with God day and night, fulfilling His commandments, fighting our passions, and having a continual awareness of God's presence from communion with Him through constant prayer.

"The principal thing is to walk before God, or under God's eye aware that God is looking at you, searching your soul and your heart, seeing all that is there. This awareness is the most powerful lever in the mechanism of the inner spiritual life. (Theophan the Recluse)
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:27 AM   #80
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And the real problem is ... We are busy pushing conclusions rather than finding solutions. We want to tell them that they are wrong rather than show them how they are wrong. Or how we are right.
I am not sure that I can adequately treat this point, but would like to try. I am in some ways firmly in the "postmodern" camp, or at least the "relativistic" aspect of it. You know, the one that says, "Your truth is just as real to you as mine is to me". Because I see my positions change, over time. I realize that others see what I do not. I am not omniscient, and thus accept "reality" outside my ken (Ken = 'the range of what I can know').

But I do know this: I have a story in front of me. It is the story of God's love. God is holy, and because of our sin we were lost. We were so lost we didn't know we were lost. We didn't know what love was. How could we? We had no reference point. But then, in the gospel of the Son, Jesus Christ, we sensed God's love and we repented and turned back (yes, I got that from WL: 'repentance' as not only being sorry, or regretful, but changing one's course).

We have the written narrative in front of us, in all the details, of Jesus Christ. All the ancient writings pointed to the coming One, and one day Jesus was here; seemingly the son of a Nazarene carpenter, whose brothers argued with him (see e.g. John ch. 7). We have the four gospels, fulfilling the OT prophecies to the 'jot and tittle'. We have the rest of the NT, which is arguably all of apace.

Now, here the discussion turns to the 'church life'... I cannot say with the conviction of a Nee or Lee that some organizational model is right, or true. But I can say that no discussion that distracts me from the story of God's love will gain much traction. And if the church, the collective witness of the saints, tells these church-occupied people that they are missing the mark, that we as the church should rather be occupied with our Christ, and with receiving one another, than with building better organizational mousetraps, then even if they don't agree, at least they'll know that they've been spoken to. Then if they want to reject that and pursue another reality, fine. That is their journey. What more can we say?

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How did Americans get fooled by such a thing? They were searching for "different" and they found it.
The Oriental culture certainly has a lot to offer. There is a lot of accumulated, hard won wisdom in those societies. It is not coincidental that the Beatles went off to some eastern guru for help. They were coming from a society that had recently "won the war" against fascism, and was on some levels returning to prosperity, but remained deeply troubled.

Certainly the U.S. in the 1950s into the early 1960s was a dominant cultural, military, and economic power. But we had: #1 the race issue. Big problem. Not only African-Americans, but Hispanics, Native Americans, etc. A lot of marginalized and repressed people that were tired of it, and were talking. #2 The environmental issue. 'Prosperity', arguably merely shallow materialism, meant ruining the environment. Very discouraging, even frightening. #3 The whole nuclear annihilation thing. Armageddon was one red button away, with some 22-year old sergeant in a bunker in North Dakota staring at the thing all day long, waiting to be told to push it. #4 Political unrest; JFK shot, then his brother RFK, then MLK shot, etc, etc. #5 Vietnam came along; our friends, brothers, and cousins were going off to get blown up in some jungle, for what? For Monsanto? For Dow Chemical Corp? #6 There is more (the women's rights issue, for example), but you get my point. A society that by all rights should be peaceful and contented, but hardly. Actually a very alienated and restless society.

So the "eastern way" offered Americans a sophisticated alternative. I don't see much coming out of Africa except Rastafarianism. South America? Central America? I don't see anything significant, which can compete. The European, Protestant-dominated model was tired and exposed. So the Asian model certainly had some traction. "Model" meaning "way of doing things". Like what I wrote earlier about Philip Lee and the idea of 'face'. That was an Asian thing, largely, and we unwittingly let it in when we let in WL. Asian culture isn't superior or inferior to Western, but we pretended it didn't exist, in our new and shiny "Normal Christian Church Life". So it became the proverbial elephant in the room, to a significant degree.

http://www.livingstreambooks.com/ser...h-Life,/Detail

"The Normal Christian Church Life is a record of messages given during conferences held in Shanghai and Hankow. Watchman Nee spoke to his fellow workers on the principles in the New Testament concerning the practical arrangement of the churches, the ministry, and the work. In his speaking, he honestly examined his own work before the Lord in the light of these principles, provided adjustment and encouragement to his co-workers, and confirmed through personal testimony that the practice of the normal Christian church life revealed in the New Testament can be recovered."

So my question is, in the "practical recovery" of the supposedly normal Christian church experience, as presented by Nee, how much is a culturally-conditioned response to imperialism? And how much of that became the new imperialism, as we experienced it, in the American Local Churches of Lee? Go back and read the testimonies of those who went through Lee's "recovered" Local Churches, and if you keep these questions in mind as you read, you may be surprised.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:50 AM   #81
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Sometimes I sense a whiff of the divine love and it is so intoxicating, so overwhelming that I don't want anything else. Then 5 minutes later I forget! Oh, man!
I've been watching "Cosmos." Both the Sagan version in the 80s, and the Neil deGrasse Tyson version today. And since they both were written by Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow, they both demonstrate how immense the universe is.

In this immenseness, by comparison, even our sun and solar system are invisible specks. Then we have the earth, an even smaller invisible speck, and finally us humans, less than an invisible speak of dust ; completely nothing by comparison with the immense universe.

And yet, as you say, "God loves us. God loves us. God loves us."

And that blows my mind.

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Yes, I'm a little bit teched in the head.
I think you mean tetched ... unless you mean you are of the Silicon Valley.

And if we, by comparison to the universe, are less than an invisible speck of dust, what do you think our brain is? Is it any wonder we're all a little tetched in the head? Our thoughts are even smaller.

And I say: wonders of wonders, mysteries of mysteries ... not only is the universe mysterious, but so is God ... and so is God's love.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:04 AM   #82
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That's a great post, Zeek. Thanks! It's hard for me to argue with someone who got a B.A. in Psychology. Nevertheless, l'll try to put my two cents in.
I only mentioned my college degrees to show that I don't reject social science out of hand. The social sciences usually reject the spirit as a concept because it is too vague and there is little empirical evidence for such a thing. On the other hand, the subject can be approached phenomenologically by taking seriously what people say about their experiences of it. Anyway, psychology degrees don't privilege my opinions on this subject. Evaluate my arguments on their own merits and I'll do the same with yours.

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When you say we are souls, don't you neglect man's physical aspect? What about "the dust of the ground"? (Gen. 2:7) When the body is alive, it is a part of us, a part of our human nature on the earth.
I was suggesting the idea that the soul is the result of combining the spirit with the body in that verse. Taken that way the soul includes the body. But, in Bible usage the soul is often mentioned even by Jesus as something we possess as when he say you can "lose" your soul.

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I'd not say "confusing", I'd call it a paradox. (Or if you don't like paradoxes, we may call it another meaning of the word "spiritual"). When you read or preach Gospel, is it a part of your spiritual life or not? If yes, then it's a spiritual act. When it's your strive for God and you share your love and God's love with others, then it's definitely spiritual. Why? Because you are inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit and you are not concerned with material values or pursuits. However, you still use your physical body to open and read the Bible for others. And you still use your hands to help people in need. But if you help them for your sake -- to glorify your name, that's not spiritual. But if you do it to the glory of God, then it is. In other words, spiritual life is God/Christ - centered life, not man-centered life.
I take a paradox to be a question about which there are good arguments on both sides. The problem with spirit talk is that it makes what is essentially ethereal seem concrete. It is an instance of misplaced concreteness. When we in the church speaking this kind of spirit language we were under the illusion that we knew what we were talking about. Perhaps it was a case of shared delusion that was reinforced group behavior. An example of that would be when the group said "Amen" after someone testified about the spirit in a socially approved way or when the group groan "Oh Lord Jesus" when someone said something that did not line up with group norms. That's a form of social control. Under those conditions an individual learned what could be said and what could not. Experiences that confirmed what WL preached resulted in positive feelings. Those that did not conform were rejected as were individuals who did not learn to make socially approved sounds.

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In my opinion, a quote doesn't need to have the word "spirit" to give a spiritual direction. To do all things in our sake, to glorify our own name, is not spiritual. Our acts must glorify God, His Spirit, not our own being.

You may be right about that. But unless the relationship between whatever is asserted and the spirit is made explicit the relationship, if there is one, will remain unclear.

As for spirituality in our daily life, I like this quote by St Thophan the Recluse:
Quote:
We are all servants of our God. God has assigned to each his place and responsibilities, and He watches to see how each approaches his assignment. He is everywhere. And He watches over you. Keep this in mind and do each deed as if it were assigned to you directly by God, no matter what it is.

Do your housework in this manner: When someone comes to visit, keep in mind that God has sent you this visitor, and is watching. When you have to leave your house, keep in mind that God has sent you out on an errand, and is watching. Will you complete it as He wishes?

By orienting yourself to God at all times, your chores at home and responsibilities outside the house will not distract your attention from God, but, on the contrary, will keep you intent on completing all tasks in a God-pleasing manner. All will be performed with the fear of God, and this fear will keep your attention on God unswervingly.

To determine which duties inside and outside the family are God-pleasing, take the books in which these matters are discussed as your guides. Be careful to distinguish between concerns prompted by frivolity, passions, flattery and worldliness, from those that are correct, appropriate and honorable.
Quote:
I can be mistaken, but I don't see a contradiction. To me, spiritual life is when the human spirit is being guided by the Holy Spirit. With this guidance, we walk with God day and night, fulfilling His commandments, fighting our passions, and having a continual awareness of God's presence from communion with Him through constant prayer.
Quote:
"The principal thing is to walk before God, or under God's eye aware that God is looking at you, searching your soul and your heart, seeing all that is there. This awareness is the most powerful lever in the mechanism of the inner spiritual life. (Theophan the Recluse)
When I was a young Christian I often had the sensation of God's presence. It was a positive feeling that I carried around with me. It could also evaporate in an instant for no apparent reason. Then I would try to get it back by praying or reading the Bible. Sometimes that worked. Other times it returned spontaneously. Still others I related to spiritual dryness or the dark night of the soul metaphor. I don't think there is any need for a complicated understanding of spirit or soul to have the experience though. And the expereince is cross cultural so neither the Eastern nor the Western mind owns it.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:15 PM   #83
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When I was a young Christian I often had the sensation of God's presence. It was a positive feeling that I carried around with me. It could also evaporate in an instant for no apparent reason. Then I would try to get it back by praying or reading the Bible. Sometimes that worked. Other times it returned spontaneously. Still others I related to spiritual dryness or the dark night of the soul metaphor. I don't think there is any need for a complicated understanding of spirit or soul to have the experience though. And the expereince is cross cultural so neither the Eastern nor the Western mind owns it.
One of the more troublesome aspects of the Christian life is how to deal with dry times. And how to "get the feeling again" (as Barry Manilow sang).

The question that I have is whether we were made to feel alive or to be alive? If you don't feel alive, are you no longer alive?

This whole realm fits in nicely with the question I raised in another thread about "God's plan." We are so often conditioned to believe that our "inner sense" is a barometer of God's activity in and around us. And we think that a lack of discernible activity is somehow evidence of a failure on our part. A variant on the prosperity gospel. We seek the feeling because it proves to us that we are on the right track. And if we don't feel it, then we are doing something wrong.

That is what Lee's dispensing did for us. We learned to consider that "getting dispensing" was all we needed so we learned to feel good about that. And we also learned that just doing what we knew was right was not right. But we were duped. It really was right.

In the meantime, as we felt good for doing "spiritual things" and "getting dispensing" while ignoring righteousness, it would be safe to say that any accurate sense of God should have been displeasure. But it was not. Or at least we thought it was not.

God's goal is not to be active everywhere and everyone know it because they sense it. It is (as it was) to have his created people be his representative. To bear his image on the earth. That can only be meaningful if he is not constantly visible and moving without us. We must become his hands and feet. We must be those who live the righteousness of God. It should not matter how we feel about it. We must be about our Father's business.

Seems dry? No sense of personal speaking from God? Do we think that is the measure of the presence of God? What happened to omnipresent? What happened to "I am with you always"? Why do we allow the feelings to drive us? You will probably feel at least a little better for realizing that the way you feel is not an indicator of God's presence.

And what if the feelings are self-created and revolve around the irrelevant? What then? I guess we strike out on our own based on whatever seems right to us based on a jolt of static electricity, a bad taco, or a reduction in back pain for the day.

Yes, neither the Eastern nor Western mind owns these. They are natural and illusory. The difference should be that their religions have embraced it while our has (or should) ignore it.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:16 PM   #84
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One of the more troublesome aspects of the Christian life is how to deal with dry times. And how to "get the feeling again" (as Barry Manilow sang).

The question that I have is whether we were made to feel alive or to be alive? If you don't feel alive, are you no longer alive?

This whole realm fits in nicely with the question I raised in another thread about "God's plan." We are so often conditioned to believe that our "inner sense" is a barometer of God's activity in and around us. And we think that a lack of discernible activity is somehow evidence of a failure on our part. A variant on the prosperity gospel. We seek the feeling because it proves to us that we are on the right track. And if we don't feel it, then we are doing something wrong.

That is what Lee's dispensing did for us. We learned to consider that "getting dispensing" was all we needed so we learned to feel good about that. And we also learned that just doing what we knew was right was not right. But we were duped. It really was right.

In the meantime, as we felt good for doing "spiritual things" and "getting dispensing" while ignoring righteousness, it would be safe to say that any accurate sense of God should have been displeasure. But it was not. Or at least we thought it was not.

God's goal is not to be active everywhere and everyone know it because they sense it. It is (as it was) to have his created people be his representative. To bear his image on the earth. That can only be meaningful if he is not constantly visible and moving without us. We must become his hands and feet. We must be those who live the righteousness of God. It should not matter how we feel about it. We must be about our Father's business.

Seems dry? No sense of personal speaking from God? Do we think that is the measure of the presence of God? What happened to omnipresent? What happened to "I am with you always"? Why do we allow the feelings to drive us? You will probably feel at least a little better for realizing that the way you feel is not an indicator of God's presence.

And what if the feelings are self-created and revolve around the irrelevant? What then? I guess we strike out on our own based on whatever seems right to us based on a jolt of static electricity, a bad taco, or a reduction in back pain for the day.

Yes, neither the Eastern nor Western mind owns these. They are natural and illusory. The difference should be that their religions have embraced it while our has (or should) ignore it.
I'm not advocating having feelings like that. I was just describing what it was like when I had them. Sure, such feelings could be as meaningless as you suggest. What does living "the righteousness of God" and "being about our Father's business" mean to you? Is that what you think you're doing?
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:54 AM   #85
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When I was a young Christian I often had the sensation of God's presence. It was a positive feeling that I carried around with me. It could also evaporate in an instant for no apparent reason. Then I would try to get it back by praying or reading the Bible. Sometimes that worked. Other times it returned spontaneously. Still others I related to spiritual dryness or the dark night of the soul metaphor.
I think I understand what you mean. I used to experience the same sensations. Were they illusive or not, I can't say for sure. But once you experienced this feeling, you can't confuse it with something else. At the same time, you feel peace, love, joy, and contentment that come from an awareness of God's presence. If you felt that sensation, you want to get it back and live with it all the time. Maybe a prayer of repentance is a key.

On the other hand, I admire my mother-in-law, an avid church-goer and long time member of the LRC, who says that she has never felt God's presence. Nevertheless, she is still faithful and, probably, loves God even more than I do.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:35 AM   #86
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Those good feelings, while sensing the presence of God, releases a dose of Oxytocin in the brain. And that is addictive. And it's neither Asian nor Western. It's human neurology.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #87
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Those good feelings, while sensing the presence of God, releases a dose of Oxytocin in the brain. And that is addictive. And it's neither Asian nor Western. It's human neurology.
My therapist advised me to seek experiences that engender good feelings and now I find out that not only are good feelings "illusory" {OBW} but also addictive {awareness}. But let me ask you, isn't being addicted to a good thing a good end?
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #88
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I think there was a great loss when the Great Schism occurred between East and West. I don't know the details, nor do I care at this point. But I believe in my heart that something precious was lost. And when I read the Fathers I began to re-connect to this precious thread of common experience.

I am not trying to lift one group over another, but believe that these voices from the past are there for us, to guide us, encourage us, and comfort our hearts. Secondly, I ask you to consider the schisms that have followed the Protestant Reformation. Look at all the groups that have sprung up, each trying to "recover" some defect, either perceived or real, in the Protestant experience. And these perceived lacks may be associated with the fact that the Reformers were trying to find meaningful Christian experience through "sola scriptora", i.e. scripture alone, without the wisdom of the ancient Fathers to guide them.

So you got, in no particular order of importance, the Anabapists, the Puritans, the Unitarians, the Shakers, the Quakers, the the Brethren, the Mormons, the Jehovahs Witnesses, the Christian Scientists, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Local Church movement of Lee, and so on. All of these groups were trying to "recover" or "restore" the tattered fabric of the Christian testimony and faith. All of them, perhaps, reacting at least somewhat to lacks within Protestant Christianity as they experienced it and saw it.

Now, as I said, I grew up Protestant, and thereby look at everything as a Protestant; I simply don't know any other perspective. So I try to keep that in front of me. Even though the Eastern Christian traditions and practices often seem strange, and I don't plan on "joining" them, still I have found the ancient Fathers of the Eastern tradition, and I am grateful. These voices, to me, are the voices of the sheep who have gone on before me, who have followed the Master home.
Over the last 500 years, the post-Reformation sectarian movements in Christianity were arguably reacting to the disconnect they perceived between the written document and the status quo. So they got a vision or a revelation, and they moved on, to what always initially seemed like green pastures and still waters. And I don't doubt the Lord was with them, to some degree. Luther's treatises on justification by faith are powerful indeed.

But the fact remains that over the past half-millenia all these groups have emerged, each trying to repair what's been lacking. Even the Mormons have some justification, if you look at it that way. Probably the "church life" in upstate NY in 1825 was as dead as a doornail. So a restless young man goes out into the woods and suddenly there is a golden frog or a white salamander or whatever, and suddenly his spiritual life gets very interesting; engrossing even. But if the spiritual life of young Joseph Smith was engrossing in the first place he wouldn't have needed talking amphibians, would he?

I posit that perhaps all of these events show some reaction to the situation at hand, and they do it through an expression of the current popular culture. So Joseph Smith incorporates the seeking of gold, and instant wealth from the wilderness, with questions such as, "if Adam and Eve gave birth to all humanity, how did the American natives get here" and "what ever happened to the 12 tribes of Israel, anyway?" So young Mr. Smith gets a revelation that (surprise!) ties all the loose, unanswered threads together.

Likewise in 1917 young Mr. Nee was indeed in a situation of cultural imperialism. And indeed there was religious degradation, and sectarianism, and hypocrisy. Indeed there was a gap between the written word and the experience on the ground. So Nee got a nice revelation that exposed the situation and proposed a solution, all within his cultural lens. And if you don't believe it, read the testimonies of those who passed through his system. And today the Blendeds talk about rejecting teachings having a "different flavor"; what flavor is the one they are promoting?

Remember that the problem may be very real, and crying for a solution. But our solution is according to our cultural concepts, often subconscious. We can repress them and pretend they don't exist, but they do. Think of the "solution" the disciples wanted to the continuing Roman occupation, and the Herodian (who was an Idumean[Edomite]) usurpation, and Pharisaical religious hypocrisy, and the promise of the coming Son of David, whose kingdom would have no end. "Lord, are you at this time restoring the kingdom to Israel?" The kingdom they asked about there, was the kingdom of their cultural concepts. How could it have been any different? How can we see but else we can see? Only God can see the things of God. So the moral is, don't let people sell you their vision as if it were God's vision. Remember Lee's mocking degraded Christianity: how they hang socks every Christmas? We all laughed, yes; but what was his solution? The Local Churches/Little Flock is merely another "splinter cell", and arguably yet more collateral damage from the Great Schism of 1054.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:11 AM   #89
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I think I understand what you mean. I used to experience the same sensations. Were they illusive or not, I can't say for sure. But once you experienced this feeling, you can't confuse it with something else. At the same time, you feel peace, love, joy, and contentment that come from an awareness of God's presence. If you felt that sensation, you want to get it back and live with it all the time. Maybe a prayer of repentance is a key.

On the other hand, I admire my mother-in-law, an avid church-goer and long time member of the LRC, who says that she has never felt God's presence. Nevertheless, she is still faithful and, probably, loves God even more than I do.
She was in the LRC for years without sensing [or thinking she sensed as the case may be] God's presence? That's amazing! Why would she stay? Of course, if she made the right noises she would have no problem being accepted.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:56 AM   #90
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She was in the LRC for years without sensing [or thinking she sensed as the case may be] God's presence? That's amazing! Why would she stay? Of course, if she made the right noises she would have no problem being accepted.
I don't get it. I'm with Mike, and omnipresence. I can sense the presence of God anywhere, like while laying on this couch, and typing one-handed on my keybd. God is everywhere for me. I resit labels, I'm a misfit, but I suppose that makes me a panentheist.

But I suppose others may not see God in this way. And that's okay too. To each his or her own.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:34 PM   #91
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Those good feelings, while sensing the presence of God, releases a dose of Oxytocin in the brain. And that is addictive.
I had a dramatic, life-changing, never-forgetting experience of salvation regeneration while all alone in my bedroom. It was like no "dose" I had ever had before, and I had been "dosed" up for a long time. I knew without a doubt that God Himself had visited me. No amount of torture or persuasion could ever convince me that my experience was not real, nor not God Himself. I also knew assuredly that this God had a name, Jesus Christ, whom I had heard about all my life growing up in a Catholic home.

I never asked for any feelings, neither did I have any time of heart-wrenching or soul-searching repentance. I just was reading this Book my new friend gave me, who also had given me a ride home from school, after my car broke down. It was the first time in my life that I was filled with inner joy and peace. Without being told a thing by any other person, I knew that I knew that I was no longer destined for hell. After that experience, I had to tell everyone about what happened, and what my Savior had done for me.

I really don't think that "releases a dose of Oxytocin in the brain" can adequately describe all that happened to me. Perhaps I am wrong, maybe I just got a mega-dose, like a super-sized salvation.

P.S. About 8 months after this experience, after numerous trials, both good and bad, I went to a gospel meeting near my home at the Church in Cleveland. In that meeting, I had the distinct feeling that the "dose" I received in the meeting was identical to the "dose" I had initially received, which was all the confirmation needed to stay with that church for a very long time.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:54 PM   #92
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That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I wouldn't think of trying to unstick you for all the tea in China (in keeping in theme of the thread)

Seriously, and I'm not sure how much this relates to the Asian/Western dichotomy nature of this, but I don't think that many of us had even a slightly unremarkable initial experience of "touching the Church". I was a 17 year old Orange County, Calvary Chapel attending, space cadet with bushy blond hair who looked like a fish out of water...but there was something about the atmosphere that attracted me. I was in a "brother's house" (with a future Blended Brother) on the weekend of my 18th birthday.

I think the thing that set my parents and Christian siblings off as much as anything else was the "Asian flavor". Even though mid-1970s Orange County did have a substantial Asian population, there was not much of an Asian influence among evangelicals at that point. To me, Chinese people were a bit of a cultural/spiritual mystery, and that made Witness Lee all the more of an attraction (much to the chagrin of my parents and family).

Of course as time went by, I boldly declared to my family that "in the local church we don't have any culture!". At that point I was just a little college-aged punk who had no idea that I was firmly entrenched in one of the most "culturally intense" (if there is even such a term) religious movements to hit our fair land. But at that point if Witness Lee said we had no culture, then it must be true...we had no culture.

Looking back, it seems to me now that this was one of Witness Lee's many ruses on us gullible Americans - that we could actually establish and maintain a complicated, involved religious culture without actually having any culture.
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:51 PM   #93
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I'm not advocating having feelings like that. I was just describing what it was like when I had them. Sure, such feelings could be as meaningless as you suggest. What does living "the righteousness of God" and "being about our Father's business" mean to you? Is that what you think you're doing?
Not sure about your question. Do I think that doing things here is "being about the Father's business"? Not necessarily. My point was that the goal of the Christian should be to become discipled, get baptized, and obey. Are we good at it? Often not very. But the goal was not for those who go to create followers of a man, get them indoctrinated well, and give them great spiritual feelings.

I find that there is one song that the LRC sang that they do not seem to really believe. A verse went something like "The feelings do not change the fact." It is not important what the rest of the song was about. That one statement was true. But then they go and accept or reject virtually everything based on their feelings and "taste."

My goal was not to chastise you, but to give a different perspective on the experience you had in the early days. Not saying that feelings are bad, but that they do not dictate whether things are good or bad. They do not define the truth or establish our spiritual condition. (Also not saying that if you feel really bad about something that you have done wrong and you sense a need to repent that such a feeling is a bad thing or to be ignored.)
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:45 PM   #94
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Not sure about your question. Do I think that doing things here is "being about the Father's business"? Not necessarily. My point was that the goal of the Christian should be to become discipled, get baptized, and obey. Are we good at it? Often not very. But the goal was not for those who go to create followers of a man, get them indoctrinated well, and give them great spiritual feelings.

I find that there is one song that the LRC sang that they do not seem to really believe. A verse went something like "The feelings do not change the fact." It is not important what the rest of the song was about. That one statement was true. But then they go and accept or reject virtually everything based on their feelings and "taste."

My goal was not to chastise you, but to give a different perspective on the experience you had in the early days. Not saying that feelings are bad, but that they do not dictate whether things are good or bad. They do not define the truth or establish our spiritual condition. (Also not saying that if you feel really bad about something that you have done wrong and you sense a need to repent that such a feeling is a bad thing or to be ignored.)
You said, "We must be those who live the righteousness of God."
I asked if that is what you think you are doing. Apparently not, because you admitted that you [ as part of the royal "we"] are often not good at it. If that's the case, then I submit that your righteousness is not "of God" because, as I'm sure you are aware, God is supposed to be very good at it.
Perhaps you learned to ignore your feeling when you were in the Local Church. I know I did. As long as you went through the motions and made the right noises, it was OK with most of the "saints". We were taught to release our spirit [by which I mean shout slogans] regardless how we felt. Eventually I caught myself acting a part and I wondered if other people who shouted were acting too. Later on, some confirmed that they were. That's how the leadership got us to behave like robots. It's really healthy to pay attention to your feelings. They are an important part of consciousness that imparts information about what is good or bad, right or wrong, sometimes even before we can think our way through situations. This book supports what I am claiming about the importance of feelings: http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Inte...l+intelligence
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:28 PM   #95
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I'm still keenly interested in what means "righteousness of God," and "being about the Father's business." I picture the times of our record on it. And wonder if that's what they mean. How could we ever hope to live up to that?

That's why I would like an explanation on them.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:05 PM   #96
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My therapist advised me to seek experiences that engender good feelings and now I find out that not only are good feelings "illusory" {OBW} but also addictive {awareness}. But let me ask you, isn't being addicted to a good thing a good end?
being addicted to anything "good" or "bad" is bondage. the dopamine/oxycontin flood is a symptom of the illusions the mind creates for us and we get addicted to it very easily. It's a good question, "is it a bad thing?" and one I wrestle with a lot. Is being "addicted" to sunsets and warm soup a bad thing? well, they're better than crack but once you start thinking "i must have that sunset to be happy" then you are on the road to not appreciating and being grateful for being alive.

I practiced this is a monastery once, in Kathmandu, every morning was a beautiful sunrise at 5am or so and we would all go to take tea and watch it - in silence of course. And then one morning I decided this was merely an illusion. I sat in a corner facing a wall, still on the rotating planet, still feeling the sun come up, but without that "sunrise kodak moment". Just being. That felt like freedom and space. That was more of a divine revelation, to me, than the blah blah worshipful beauty of the dawn sky.

You could argue the "fall" was the first illusion - we're naked, we need clothes, and everything else since then has been just all in our minds.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #97
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I think this matter of "the righteousness of God" is very applicable to our discussions here on this thread.

In general, I think that Asian people are looked upon as more moral and/or "righteous" than us westerners. Whether this is actually true or not may not be as relevant as we might think. "Perception is reality" is more of a truism than we Christians may want to admit.

Now when it comes to Witness Lee, perception was most certainly reality, at least when it come to how he was viewed, admired and followed by his flock. The perception of who and what Lee was to us equaled reality. So when others from within or without told us otherwise, we simply blew them off as "opposers".

Anyway, one point I would make is that the righteousness of God is JUST THAT - THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. It's HIS righteousness and not ours. The apostle Paul made it very clear: "Not having a righteousness of my own" (Phil 3:9). And how more clearer could have our Lord been when he exclaimed:"unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."?(Matt 5:30) These were pretty righteous dudes, those scribes and Pharisees. So it cannot necessarily be an outward, visible righteousness that was talking about. God is after MUCH more than the outward man, but moreso after the "hidden man of the heart".
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:08 PM   #98
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She was in the LRC for years without sensing [or thinking she sensed as the case may be] God's presence? That's amazing! Why would she stay? Of course, if she made the right noises she would have no problem being accepted.
She is a simple woman with a pure heart; sincere, naive, and uneducated. She trusts everything that "more educated and knowledgeable" brothers and sisters tell her. So she just enjoys the meetings, messages, and mingling with saints. That is her way of "enjoying the Lord". BTW, she is Chinese, but I don't think it's the main factor here. The problem is that she does not know any other ways to "contact" the Lord. In the LRC (at least in my locality), prayer is not a dialog, conversation with God, but rather a mantra, authoritative command, and a vain repetition with a loud voice. But as I said earlier, my mother-in-law still loves God and, probably, more than I do. "Blessed are the pure in heart".

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I had a dramatic, life-changing, never-forgetting experience of salvation regeneration while all alone in my bedroom. It was like no "dose" I had ever had before, and I had been "dosed" up for a long time.
Ohio, I have read about similar experiences like yours. So I find your story credible.

I want to share Anthony Bloom's testimony that always inspires me: "Up to my middle teens I was an unbeliever and very aggressively anti-church. I knew no god; I wasn’t interested and hated everything connected with the idea of God. Later, I began to look for meaning in life. Studying and making oneself useful for life didn’t convince me at all. As a member of a Russian youth organization I was talked into listening to a presentation by a priest. The presentation made me more indignant and angry. I immediately went home and asked my Mother for a book of the Gospel. I counted chapters looking for the shortest one and started reading St. Mark. While I was reading the beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel, before I reached the third chapter, I suddenly became aware that on the other side of my desk there was a presence. And the certainty was so strong that it was Christ standing there that it has never left me. This was the real turning point because Christ was alive and I had been in His presence. I could say with certainty that what the Gospel said about the crucifixion of the prophet of Galilee was true. History I had to believe, the Resurrection I knew for a fact. It began as an event that left all problems of disbelief behind because it was a direct and personal experience.” He saw nothing. He heard nothing. He just became aware of God's presence. This was neither a sensory hallucination nor a trance-like state, nor even the product of emotions. It was an encounter experienced with complete sobriety and equilibrium. Anthony Bloom used to say about this event that “God for me became a fact.”

I believe God must become a fact for every Christian, not just be a theory or an abstract idea. But this happens only through personal relationship of man and God. I don't know if God was a fact for WL, but I believe that in the LRC, God is rather an abstract principle than a fact. They are too busy with God's plan, God's church, and God's economy that they don't have time to establish a personal relationship with God himself.

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Old 06-27-2014, 04:33 AM   #99
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I don't think that many of us had even a slightly unremarkable initial experience of "touching the Church". I was a 17 year old Orange County, Calvary Chapel attending, space cadet with bushy blond hair who looked like a fish out of water...but there was something about the atmosphere that attracted me. I was in a "brother's house" (with a future Blended Brother) on the weekend of my 18th birthday.

I think the thing that set my parents and Christian siblings off as much as anything else was the "Asian flavor". Even though mid-1970s Orange County did have a substantial Asian population, there was not much of an Asian influence among evangelicals at that point. To me, Chinese people were a bit of a cultural/spiritual mystery, and that made Witness Lee all the more of an attraction (much to the chagrin of my parents and family).
There is nothing wrong with an "Asian flavored" church any more than any other flavor. And we undoubtedly did get attracted, to some degree, because it was new and different. How many 18 or 19 year olds want something new and different? Not shocking to contemplate.

It's like a young college girl bringing home an African-American or Asian man to meet mommy & daddy. The parents may be liberal, they may be conservative, but this girl is reacting, at least unconsciously, to the "same old, same old" of her upbringing. Because face it, by the time you are 18, often, what you grew up with feels old and restrictive. You want new horizons. The Lee group's strangeness was not off-putting in that regard. Its newness was attractive, the same way a young person of a different race or culture may be to a teen: all the girls or boys of your peer group are familiar, and generic (boring), and suddenly here comes this exotic person, so alluring. Lee's group in some way offered that exotic alternative to the bored and restless young American Christian. We were discontented, and "seeking"; yes, but seeking what?

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Of course as time went by, I boldly declared to my family that "in the local church we don't have any culture!". At that point I was just a little college-aged punk who had no idea that I was firmly entrenched in one of the most "culturally intense" (if there is even such a term) religious movements to hit our fair land. But at that point if Witness Lee said we had no culture, then it must be true...we had no culture.

Looking back, it seems to me now that this was one of Witness Lee's many ruses on us gullible Americans - that we could actually establish and maintain a complicated, involved religious culture without actually having any culture.
This is where my problem with Lee & Co comes in. Supposedly our culture was straight from the Bible itself. When Lee arrived here, we assumed that all of his "old man" had been stripped away and his ministry was only the "new man"; everything from Lee was effectively from the mouth of God. His Bible interpretation was THE interpretation. Case closed, supposedly.

But actually, that is very Asian: the Maximum Leader is unquestioned. To Asian culture, unquestioning obedience is necessary for stability, and harmonious functioning of society. Look at Singapore, for example: it's not communist at all, and is a very impressive place. But it's highly regulated - they have a different idea of "freedom" than we do in the west. To them the system comes first. To them, without the system you have nothing. So freedom is only what you get from the system; it is not an innate right. If the system is functioning well, and it gives you some human right, then okay. But if the Singaporean system decides that something like "freedom of speech" is a threat to the stability of society, guess what? No free speech.

Lee's system was derived from that culture, and to some degree reflected its cultural roots. But since he assured us it was "heavenly", we took it.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:38 AM   #100
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She is a simple woman with a pure heart; sincere, naive, and uneducated. She trusts everything that "more educated and knowledgeable" brothers and sisters tell her. So she just enjoys the meetings, messages, and mingling with saints. That is her way of "enjoying the Lord". BTW, she is Chinese, but I don't think it's the main factor here. The problem is that she does not know any other ways to "contact" the Lord. In the LRC (at least in my locality), prayer is not a dialog, conversation with God, but rather a mantra, authoritative command, and a vain repetition with a loud voice. But as I said earlier, my mother-in-law still loves God and, probably, more than I do. "Blessed are the pure in heart".
How can we judge a person inside a system like that? We cannot. John even wrote, I think, about such situations. "Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’ " So you and I cannot impose any other burden upon your mother-in-law, or your wife, or anyone for that matter, if the Lord will not.

But we can decide for ourselves what is truth. And if the system tries to get us to reject the truth we can reject the system.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:17 AM   #101
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being addicted to anything "good" or "bad" is bondage. the dopamine/oxycontin flood is a symptom of the illusions the mind creates for us and we get addicted to it very easily. It's a good question, "is it a bad thing?" and one I wrestle with a lot. Is being "addicted" to sunsets and warm soup a bad thing? well, they're better than crack but once you start thinking "i must have that sunset to be happy" then you are on the road to not appreciating and being grateful for being alive.

I practiced this is a monastery once, in Kathmandu, every morning was a beautiful sunrise at 5am or so and we would all go to take tea and watch it - in silence of course. And then one morning I decided this was merely an illusion. I sat in a corner facing a wall, still on the rotating planet, still feeling the sun come up, but without that "sunrise kodak moment". Just being. That felt like freedom and space. That was more of a divine revelation, to me, than the blah blah worshipful beauty of the dawn sky.

You could argue the "fall" was the first illusion - we're naked, we need clothes, and everything else since then has been just all in our minds.
What if a person were addicted to saving people's lives? Can't you admit that would be a good if a life-saving addict saved you or someone you love? Perhaps all good feelings involve dopamine or some similar chemical reaction. Would you then condemn all good feelings? Maybe you had a dopamine rush when you turned away from the sunrise. Shouldn't you condemn that too? Sounds like you were practicing life-denying asceticism. Perhaps that is an addiction too. Taken to its logical extreme only death would satisfy that addiction. I'm not trying to get personal or advocating drug addiction with my questions, just following the logic. Only God is absolutely good. Everything else is more or less good. So while addiction is perhaps not as good as being addiction-free, it is itself perhaps better than something else, say telling lies to justify invading a foreign country.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:39 AM   #102
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I think this matter of "the righteousness of God" is very applicable to our discussions here on this thread.

In general, I think that Asian people are looked upon as more moral and/or "righteous" than us westerners. Whether this is actually true or not may not be as relevant as we might think. "Perception is reality" is more of a truism than we Christians may want to admit.

Now when it comes to Witness Lee, perception was most certainly reality, at least when it come to how he was viewed, admired and followed by his flock. The perception of who and what Lee was to us equaled reality. So when others from within or without told us otherwise, we simply blew them off as "opposers".

Anyway, one point I would make is that the righteousness of God is JUST THAT - THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. It's HIS righteousness and not ours. The apostle Paul made it very clear: "Not having a righteousness of my own" (Phil 3:9). And how more clearer could have our Lord been when he exclaimed:"unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."?(Matt 5:30) These were pretty righteous dudes, those scribes and Pharisees. So it cannot necessarily be an outward, visible righteousness that was talking about. God is after MUCH more than the outward man, but moreso after the "hidden man of the heart".
I agree. And since I make mistakes everyday, that is, I do things wrong and I have never witnessed anyone who did not make mistakes, I don't even know what a human being exhibiting the righteousness of God would look like. Reading the Gospels, I can only try to imagine what Jesus might have like. With the possible exception of him, it seems like arrogance to claim that one is exhibiting the righteousness of God. Saying that we are called to God's righteousness, seems like setting ourselves up for failure. If someone thinks that is the way to go, I can't disprove it. But, if God is injecting us with his righteousness, he must be doing it is some hidden mysterious way that it takes wisdom to see.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:07 AM   #103
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You said, "We must be those who live the righteousness of God."
I asked if that is what you think you are doing. Apparently not, because you admitted that you [ as part of the royal "we"] are often not good at it. If that's the case, then I submit that your righteousness is not "of God" because, as I'm sure you are aware, God is supposed to be very good at it.
I think you are both misunderstanding me and misrepresenting what I have said (though not necessarily intentionally).

That I, and any of us, are not always and completely righteous is a given. But whether we are or are not righteous is not a matter of feelings. It is a matter of fact.

The best among us will reach the end of this part of our experience of the kingdom without ever being 100%, all the time righteous. But dismissing the righteousness we do exhibit and experience as "not of God" because we aren't as good at it as He is misrepresents things. While there is an argument that we are not righteous until we are 100% righteous, at the same time, we are called to fulfill the righteousness of the law. In this lifetime. So it must be that what we do fulfill of righteousness is righteous despite the fact that we are not 100% righteous.

If we are righteous, it is not us but Him. The only true righteousness is His righteousness. If you think that we have to be 100% before it is his righteousness, then I do not know what scripture you subscribe to. Mine says to "just do it." There are others who clutter their version with footnotes that suggest that we not bother trying until it feels right. Or to forget about reckoning yourself dead to sin because it is hard.

Studies have shown that the mental aspects of emotional and physical pain are very related. They also show that we notice and remember what is wrong or bad much more than what is normal and good. So it might be that unless we are clinically depressed, feeling bad could be a choice rather than something concrete.

I did not go through that to say feelings are irrelevant. But feelings that are not clearly tied to specific things that legitimately should create those feelings may be telling us something that is not true. We become euphoric because a group gets whipped into a frenzy. As a result we are convinced that what we hear at the time has to be right. It is associated with euphoria. On the other hand, we get taught to feel bad when anyone mentions certain things — religion, clergy, communion (rather than Lord's table), "going to church," "Sunday" — and if they say it in a meeting, the groaning from some becomes a groundswell to drive out the heretic, or bring the wayward member back to their senses and shut them up.

Surely if we cut someone off on the road we should feel bad about it. we may not have the opportunity to stop and repent to that person, but we should at least repent to God. But that does not make every case of "feeling bad" into a spiritual problem. Neither does it make every case of feeling good into evidence of a spiritual mountaintop. And it does not mean that a period of days or even weeks or months in which we do not experience some kind of emotional high or other thing that we identify as a sense of the presence of God means that he has left us.

Where can a go from your presence? If I ascend to the heavens, you're there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you're there.

Despite my admitted lack of mastery of much of anything, I believe that it is in the realization of the presence of God without "feeling it" that causes us to act as if we are children of God without having a feeling about it. To obey because we know we are called to obey. To stop hiding behind Lee's nonsense that if I don't feel it, I shouldn't do it because it somehow turns from being out of grace and into duty. You may not think of it as being from Lee, and surely there are others who teach similarly. But it is wrong. Jesus did not tell the 11 to go and disciple, baptize, and teach them to obey when they have a feeling. I think that teaching such a thing would get you "least in the kingdom" status (Matt 5:19).

Guess what. We have a duty. It was not put upon us before grace came to us. But even the grace teaches us to obey. Stories about "waiting for dispensing" or "premature light" are cop-outs for those who don't want to at least try and fail. Better to try and fail at obeying than to just say "I knew I couldn't do it, so I didn't even try. I buried the little will-power I might have had in the sand with my one talent."
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:49 AM   #104
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

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I think you are both misunderstanding me and misrepresenting what I have said (though not necessarily intentionally).

Maybe what you said was unclear though not necessarily intentionally. I asked questions but also responded to what I thought you meant.

That I, and any of us, are not always and completely righteous is a given. But whether we are or are not righteous is not a matter of feelings. It is a matter of fact.

If it's a given then why do you suppose God demands that we "MUST" be the "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD"? [The caps are not meant to suggest shouting so much to call attention the claims of divinity.]

The best among us will reach the end of this part of our experience of the kingdom without ever being 100%, all the time righteous. True

But dismissing the righteousness we do exhibit and experience as "not of God" because we aren't as good at it as He is misrepresents things.

Then it might be righteousness but not the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. For instance, sometimes it could be right but just by dumb luck.


While there is an argument that we are not righteous until we are 100% righteous, at the same time, we are called to fulfill the righteousness of the law.

Seems like a set up for failure that...no?


In this lifetime. So it must be that what we do fulfill of righteousness is righteous despite the fact that we are not 100% righteous.

Do you mean we are right once in a while even though we're not right all the time? If so, I agree. In that case, righteousness seems to be a human ability to get something right sometimes without which we would never have survived as a species. It does not however seem like THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.



If we are righteous, it is not us but Him.

Doesn't righteous just mean right? If so you are saying that every time a child tells the truth it is THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. If so then, exhibiting THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD is an ordinary every occurrence. If not, then it is possible to be righteous and it is not HIM. Which is it?


The only true righteousness is His righteousness. If you think that we have to be 100% before it is his righteousness, then I do not know what scripture you subscribe to. Mine says to "just do it." There are others who clutter their version with footnotes that suggest that we not bother trying until it feels right. Or to forget about reckoning yourself dead to sin because it is hard.

What's the difference between the only true righteousness and just being right? Maybe disambiguation will clear the matter up.

Studies have shown that the mental aspects of emotional and physical pain are very related. Premise1

What studies?

They also show that we notice and remember what is wrong or bad much more than what is normal and good. Premise2

So it might be that unless we are clinically depressed, feeling bad could be a choice rather than something concrete. Conclusion

Your conclusion ,may or may not be true but it doesn't follow from your premises.

I did not go through that to say feelings are irrelevant. But feelings that are not clearly tied to specific things that legitimately should create those feelings may be telling us something that is not true.

OK



We become euphoric because a group gets whipped into a frenzy. As a result we are convinced that what we hear at the time has to be right. It is associated with euphoria. On the other hand, we get taught to feel bad when anyone mentions certain things — religion, clergy, communion (rather than Lord's table), "going to church," "Sunday" — and if they say it in a meeting, the groaning from some becomes a groundswell to drive out the heretic, or bring the wayward member back to their senses and shut them up.

So you associate this kind of group behavior with feelings about God in general? Do you have but a negative feeling about being manipulated that way?

Surely if we cut someone off on the road we should feel bad about it. we may not have the opportunity to stop and repent to that person, but we should at least repent to God. But that does not make every case of "feeling bad" into a spiritual problem. Neither does it make every case of feeling good into evidence of a spiritual mountaintop. And it does not mean that a period of days or even weeks or months in which we do not experience some kind of emotional high or other thing that we identify as a sense of the presence of God means that he has left us.

So we have a duty to trudge onward anyway right?

Where can a go from your presence? If I ascend to the heavens, you're there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you're there.

Despite my admitted lack of mastery of much of anything, I believe that it is in the realization of the presence of God without "feeling it" that causes us to act as if we are children of God without having a feeling about it. To obey because we know we are called to obey.

To stop hiding behind Lee's nonsense that if I don't feel it, I shouldn't do it because it somehow turns from being out of grace and into duty.

When and where did he say that? I don't recall that teaching.


You may not think of it as being from Lee, and surely there are others who teach similarly. But it is wrong. Jesus did not tell the 11 to go and disciple, baptize, and teach them to obey when they have a feeling. I think that teaching such a thing would get you "least in the kingdom" status (Matt 5:19).

I don't recall ever being taught that. On the other hand, I remember hearing what you are teaching when I attended a Baptist Church before I came to the local church. They often slammed the Pentecostals on the feeling issue.



Guess what. We have a duty. It was not put upon us before grace came to us. But even the grace teaches us to obey. Stories about "waiting for dispensing" or "premature light" are cop-outs for those who don't want to at least try and fail. Better to try and fail at obeying than to just say "I knew I couldn't do it, so I didn't even try. I buried the little will-power I might have had in the sand with my one talent."
Is our will power God's will power like our righteousness is God's righteousness?
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:21 AM   #105
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

To all you people who actually know the mechanics of how the editor works here. Specifically, what's the easiest way to break up a long post into smaller quotes so we don't end up having everything in the quote box like zeeks last post? I'm sure it was time consuming for him to change his responses to red font.

Anyway, the way I do it, is to take the first sentence or two that I want to quote, keep the beginning part that contains the posters name: [QUOTE=OBW;33180] then at the point where I want to end the quote I manually type in: [ /QUOTE ] (without the spaces though) I then type my response immediately after.

Then for the next quote I simply highlight the word, sentence or paragraph(s) I want to quote and hit the quote icon, and then type m response to that particular quote immediately after.

Then so on an so forth for the rest of the post.

***one thing people sometimes forget is to always remove the [ /QUOTE ] at the very end of the original or it will show up in your last entry of the post.

I'm probably doing this the long way, so if anybody has a better explanation then feel free to jump in!
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:33 AM   #106
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

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***one thing people sometimes forget is to always remove the [ /QUOTE ] at the very end of the original or it will show up in your last entry of the post.

I'm probably doing this the long way, so if anybody has a better explanation then feel free to jump in!
I use the last [/quote], like I did here. I kept both the first and last "quote's."
Saves time.
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:21 AM   #107
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

Thank you UntoHim, Awareness. I have done it that way many times before. I think the black-red contrast makes the text easier to follow. As evidence to support that hypothesis, I present every Bible you have ever seen that had Jesus quotes printed in red and every other word in black.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:20 AM   #108
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Default The Last Apostle

Here is an interesting notion: "The last apostle". Where did that one come from? It reminds me of the Sunni's and Shia's, now at discord over whether Ali followed Muhammad. Who was the last prophet? There seems to be an inability to reach consensus.

So the Blended's say it was WL. Supposedly he was the last spiritual giant, and now is the age of small potatoes. No more apostles, no more big leaders. Now I wonder, from where in the Bible is this idea derived?

The Brazilian Dong-ites and GLA Chu-ites perhaps believe that their man is the latest and greatest apostle sent from God. WL supposedly handed over the reins to Dong and/or Chu. That seems to have a little more biblical precedent than the Blendeds' position. I cannot see where the Blendeds come from, and that they're still pretending to be a Christian group. What kind of 'normal' New Testament church life pattern are they following? "Witness Lee is the last apostle"... What kind of idea is this?

Is this Asian culture manifested as ancestor reverence, even worship? Maybe filial piety and obsequiousness are divinely mandated in Asian culture; as WL, the divinely appointed successor, once revered WN, now it's the "Brothers Wee" who collectively revere WL? I'm guessing here; I don't know.

From whence came the idea of an unbroken line of apostolic succession, that then had to culminate, and even terminate, in the person of WL? I see nothing in the Bible remotely like this; it seems to be spun whole-cloth from the human imagination, and (perhaps) helped along by cultural pressures.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:56 AM   #109
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So the Blended's say it was WL. Supposedly he was the last spiritual giant, and now is the age of small potatoes. No more apostles, no more big leaders. Now I wonder, from where in the Bible is this idea derived?
Who needs the Bible when you have the oracle, that speaks straight from the horses mouth ... er, ah, I mean from LSM books ... and from some weird -- really out there -- extra-Biblical, "blended" bunch. (If'n ya search the KJV, from top to bottom, there's no occurance of the word "blended" anywhere.)
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:32 AM   #110
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Default Re: The Last Apostle

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Who needs the Bible when you have the oracle, that speaks straight from the horses mouth ... er, ah, I mean from LSM books ... and from some weird -- really out there -- extra-Biblical, "blended" bunch. (If'n ya search the KJV, from top to bottom, there's no occurance of the word "blended" anywhere.)
http://www.concernedbrothers.com/Shi...%20Shields.pdf

David Shields, in 2006, writing on the idea of a "blended" group. Where was its origin, he asked. Howabout maybe in a despotic culture.

So WL the oracle of God said that he was the latest in the and long line, who give the the "sheep" the straight skinny right from the throne. But the oracle also said that he was the last, that he looked and there was none qualified to follow in his giant footsteps.

Who needs the Bible if you have God's oracle? If the oracle says it, well that's it.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:42 AM   #111
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Zeek,

In at least one point in your reply, you ask where it was ai thought you had said what I was talking about.

Everything about my posts are not specific to the person they are responding to. Where I directly quote you and then I am probably speaking directly about what you said for as long as I am talking directly to that point.

But points beget points. And ideas sometimes require more discussion than a three sentence reply. Once the discussion goes farther, we are often prone to speaking of "we" or "you" in generic terms, not meaning "you" specifically, but anyone who might read. If I say "if you thing about [idea] . . ." that is a call for whoever is reading to consider it. It does not mean that something they said is the source of the idea that I am now making.

This is a little like a recent comment I got when I said something about "we" and someone seemed to take exception to being swept into some generic "we."

Now, in that post, you said "Doesn't righteous just mean right? If so you are saying that every time a child tells the truth it is THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. If so then, exhibiting THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD is an ordinary every occurrence. If not, then it is possible to be righteous and it is not HIM. Which is it?"

(Before anyone comments on the section below, read the whole thing. If you chop my post into fortune cookies, you can make all kinds of interesting things out of it. But as a whole, it says something more cohesive. You may or may not agree with it, but it is not a collection of one-liners for scrutiny. If you find the whole to be faulty, then show me where it falls apart. But if you just start at the top and comment on each sentence or two without reference to the rest, you are not commenting on what I actually said. Just to some of the words that joined with others to say much more.)

This, like another post I just read, is a matter of context. In a generic way, "righteousness" can be simplified to "right."

But in the Biblical context, it is really more than that. Righteousness is not just the outcome, but the source from which it arises. It is also an attribute of the one who is said to be righteous. In the realm of attributes, there are many who are, at least for the most part, righteous. There are people in this world (without regard to whether Christian or not) who display outward evidence that they operate in human interactions in a manner that would be characterized as righteous. At least in major ways.

But the other aspect of righteousness when understood in the Biblical sense is the source from which righteousness arises. Is it just an adherence to a code of conduct? Or is it something that is being enhanced, or spurred into action by something other than our own will? Surely, in some aspect what I suggested is to adhere to a code of conduct. I specified that we have been commanded to behave righteously and therefore should seek to do that whether we feel like it or can identify how it is that God is doing it in us and it is not just a matter of obedience to the code we have signed on to.

And we have learned from certain people (Nee and Lee, for starters) that righteousness should come from within, not from without. But where does it say that? Where does it say that we will simply start being righteous if we have the right stuff within us? It actually does not. Instead it says that we are to obey. And obedience is something that Jesus commanded the disciples to teach. Must not be so automatic.

Yet, for those who have "signed on" to salvation through faith, we do have a power within us to do what we might not have been able to do without that power. But nowhere does it say that this power is going to simply make it start happening. We have to actually do it. Whether we feel like it or not. Whether we understand how it is that we have the power to do it or not.

I will confess here and now that I am not fully obedient in all things. But I can also confess that I know that there is something in me that gives me the way to do what I could not do on my own.

Yes, there are still things that I could do before and I will continue to be able to do. That does not deny the power of Christ, or make that righteousness different. The source inside me has been changed. I still do those things, but I do them as a child of God.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:48 AM   #112
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Default Re: The Last Apostle

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Who needs the Bible if you have God's oracle? If the oracle says it, well that's it.
There's a danger in declaring you are the oracle.

“Now when this people or the prophet or a priest asks you saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle?’ The Lord declares, ‘I will abandon you.’ Then as for the prophet or the priest or the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’ I will bring punishment upon that man and his household. Thus will each of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For you will no longer remember the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. Thus you will say to that prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” I have also sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’”’ Jeremiah 23:33-38
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:38 PM   #113
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Default Re: The Last Apostle

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http://www.concernedbrothers.com/Shi...%20Shields.pdf

David Shields, in 2006, writing on the idea of a "blended" group. Where was its origin, he asked. Howabout maybe in a despotic culture.

So WL the oracle of God said that he was the latest in the and long line, who give the the "sheep" the straight skinny right from the throne. But the oracle also said that he was the last, that he looked and there was none qualified to follow in his giant footsteps.

Who needs the Bible if you have God's oracle? If the oracle says it, well that's it.
But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked, That there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another. (1 Cor. 12:23-25)

Is that it? is that their only support for the Blended Brothers? And people, local churchers, are buying it? One verse is all it takes? With some convolution going on with what the KJV translates as "tempered?" Boy, they'll buy anything.

I'm using eSword, and have like 29 translations (some of them in just Greek - but a lot of translations) and not one of them translates "συνεκέρασε" as blended.

Strongs:
to commingle, i.e. (figuratively) to combine or assimilate

Maybe Lee should have used "assimilate." As in the Borg. The Assimilated Brothers - (The ASBs). "Resistance is futile."
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:25 PM   #114
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Default Re: The Last Apostle

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There's a danger in declaring you are the oracle.

“Now when this people or the prophet or a priest asks you saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle?’ The Lord declares, ‘I will abandon you.’ Then as for the prophet or the priest or the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’ I will bring punishment upon that man and his household. Thus will each of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For you will no longer remember the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. Thus you will say to that prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” I have also sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’”’ Jeremiah 23:33-38
Great verses!

Frameable quotes for the next training!
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:33 PM   #115
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Is that it? is that their only support for the Blended Brothers? And people, local churchers, are buying it? One verse is all it takes? With some convolution going on with what the KJV translates as "tempered?" Boy, they'll buy anything."
For many of them, that is more than they needed to buy a bunch of Lee's other hooey.

"Who needs verses when you have the oracle; the Minister of the Age."

Or more appropriately, "Verses!?! We don't need no verses! . . . ."
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:35 PM   #116
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Default Re: The Last Apostle

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But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked, That there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another. (1 Cor. 12:23-25)

Is that it? is that their only support for the Blended Brothers? And people, local churchers, are buying it? One verse is all it takes? With some convolution going on with what the KJV translates as "tempered?" Boy, they'll buy anything.
A single word, taken from an agreeable translation, can become "the central lane of God's eternal economy", if you have the right vision.

Think about what happens when the culture provides the vision. Then the Bible can become malleable, to fit its cultural constraints.
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:59 PM   #117
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

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Zeek,

In at least one point in your reply, you ask where it was ai thought you had said what I was talking about.

Everything about my posts are not specific to the person they are responding to.

Where I directly quote you and then I am probably speaking directly about what you said for as long as I am talking directly to that point.
I find the first three sentences of your reply unintelligible. I have no idea what the first one means. There seems to be more than a typo there. The second one is confusing. Who is responding to what? Why respond to someone with something not specific to him? The third is not even a complete sentence. Then you go on and ask me not to look at the logic of your sentences but rather to respond to your long posts as a whole. If your premises are false or self-contradictory, ambiguous or vague, the truth value of your conclusions can't be determined no matter how long you make your posts.

I won't bother to analyze any more of your statements since you explicitly asked me not to. Suffice it to say the rest of your post is just so much equivocation. Righteousness is inward then it's outward, it's a source then it's obedience to a code, you have the "power" but you are not fully obedient anyway. I will be charitable and assume that you are not intentionally trying to obfuscate the issue. Nevertheless, your argument is too diffuse to be persuasive. It might help if you kept your posts short and to the point. Piling on words doesn't necessarily make an argument clear or coherent.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:26 AM   #118
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"Who needs verses when you have the oracle; the Minister of the Age."

Or more appropriately, "Verses!?! We don't need no verses! . . . ."
We Christians believe that the Bible reveals Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ reveals the Father.

Lee, on the other hand, said that his ministry revealed Jesus Christ and therefore the Father. And Lee's ministry also taught that much scripture doesn't reveal Jesus. (if you want, go through the Psalms and count how much he either ignored or said was "fallen" and "natural concepts".) So he effectively was telling us, "Who are you going to believe, my teaching, or the Bible?"

I notice as well that when he used the Bible to support his arguments he called it the "pure word", and when it wasn't so convenient to his teachings he had less kind things to call it.

So what kind of idea are we seeing manifested here in "God's oracle", and "the last apostle": one according to scripture, or one derived from human nature, and expressing its parent human culture?
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:19 AM   #119
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Default The Apostle and the Oracle

There seem to be two key aspects to the arrangement of Witness Lee's Local Church hierarchy, and I'll capitalize them to avoid writing "supposed" or "so-called" before each use of the word. The first idea is of the Apostle. Today's Apostle is ostensibly the one most closely following the path of the original apostles, a la Acts 2:42: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers." So we have Lee continuing steadfastly behind Nee, who also closely followed (largely through literature) Mackintosh, Panton, Govett, Pember, Darby, Penn-Lewis, etc. Plus Nee had fellowship with notables such as at the Keswick Convention, of Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, T. Austin-Sparks, etc. So Lee was the Apostle, after Nee, who was after Somebody; we assumed a lineage stretching back.

The second idea is of the Oracle. Without the Oracle to guide you, the uninterpreted Word is missing something. The Oracle gives you the vision to see the intrinsic light and truth contained in the Word. Without the Oracle's speaking, the Bible is just a book. Look at Christianity, for example: they have the Bible but little truth or light. The Oracle could even show us where the Bible had natural human concepts: where the Bible and the Oracle's teaching came into conflict, the Oracle's revelation always won. Where Bible and Oracle agreed, the Bible was indeed revelatory, but when they disagreed, the Bible was actually the concepts of fallen men. So the Oracle had determined where the Bible was to be spirit and life to us, and where it was merely dead letters, to be be ignored.

The Oracle even revealed that eventually there's no Oracle! He'd looked high and low, and there were none of ability, so now the Oracle said that "one Apostle per age" was changing into "the age of small potatoes". There were to be no more spiritual giants. And we didn't need a Bible verse, chapter or book for this because it was from the Oracle. It seems as if our orientation, and vision, wasn't to the common Christian faith, nor even the "ground of the church". It was now to the Oracle, the Apostle, who was (surprise, surprise) the same person. The Apostle had invested the Oracle with authority, and the Oracle showed that the Apostle was God's man of the hour.

Combined in the person of the Maximum Leader, the roles of Oracle and Apostle created an identity and orientation for the Party, the Collective, the State, the Church, the Body, or whatever you'd call it. This collective orientation is probably just the instinctive social aspect of our species, seen here in a rather pronounced form, and an Eastern-tinged variety at that! Remember what they told us: "Be absolute". Our Maximum Leader, who the Oracle assured us was just a humble servant of all, had become the orientation point of group identity and culture. So when the Apostle asked us, "Who among you have I controlled?", we immediately replied in unison, "Maximum Brother, you have controlled no one!" We were for the Party, the Collective, the State, the Church, not for the Maximum Brother! But the Party/State/Church/Collective needed the guiding hand of Oracle and Apostle: without this firm hand at the wheel, the whole thing would fall apart! We told ourselves, "Even when he's wrong he's right"; if we kept that firmly in mind, everything would be fine. Just obey the Maximum Leader without question. It seems now, looking back, that the Local Church movement was a ruse to get our humble servant installed as the Maximum Leader. And if you don't see it, maybe you're still wearing culturally-tinted eyeglasses which were installed free of charge, back at your neighborhood Local Church.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:03 PM   #120
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But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked, That there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another. (1 Cor. 12:23-25)

Is that it? is that their only support for the Blended Brothers?
It's easy to say blended while neglecting "That there would be no division in the body, or, but that the members would have the same care for one another.

Contrary, division is promoted is you take an "Us versus Them" stand in regard to the ministry LSM publishes. Contrary if you are on fire for the ministry, you will get a level of care more than those who are lukewarm or apathetic towards the ministry.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:30 PM   #121
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It's easy to say blended while neglecting "That there would be no division in the body, or, but that the members would have the same care for one another.

Contrary, division is promoted is you take an "Us versus Them" stand in regard to the ministry LSM publishes. Contrary if you are on fire for the ministry, you will get a level of care more than those who are lukewarm or apathetic towards the ministry.
Yeah. It's funny how parts of the Bible they catch in their hand, and other parts, the true and critical parts, of love & caring, slip right thru their fingers.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:19 PM   #122
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Default "In the divisions he sought us"

From the thread "in the divisions He sought us", which probably should have been appended to this thread.

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Supposedly Nee, who had read every book known to man, passed down an accurate record of church history to Lee. Actually, Nee's limited account was thru the prism of Western culture, that which was passed down via the British missionaries..
History is partly parochial. It is like the vanity of limited man trying to see limitless God. Our histories' limitations should be acknowledged. But Nee's history was supposed to be all-encompassing, and thus we Westerners swallowed it as if it were not an Asian reaction to Western imperialism, but as if it were an account of reality itself.

And then we had to deal with the consequences of what we uncritically had received. "What you eat, that you eventually become."
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:14 AM   #123
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History is partly parochial. Our limitations should be acknowledged. But Nee's history was supposed to be all-encompassing, and thus we Westerners swallowed it as if it were not an Asian reaction to Western imperialism, but as if it were an account of objective reality itself.
I think that the reason that many of us took the "recovery" history and theology hook, line and sinker is because it seemed more complex and nuanced than what we'd been used to. Nobody ever talked in my Baptist church about the 1,000 year kingdom in Revelations 20:1-6. But there it was... six verses in a row kept repeating it: 1,000 years! So even in my suspicious mind, I had to admit that Lee and the Local Churchers had something I hadn't seen. In my Fundamentalist church I don't remember anyone talking about the distinction between Babylonian captivity and Egyptian captivity, and between the wilderness and the good land of Canaan. Etc etc.

Probably, what had happened was that, over centuries, the religious narratives had become "boiled down", and reduced, so whether it was the RCC/Eastern Orthodox liturgical cycle or the Fundamentalist Protestant "justification" dogmas, the story repeated in every Sunday morning service had become small and simple. Not much was needed to prop it up. The Bible we were familiar with was a small set of familiar tropes (the 4 gospels, a few epistles, some OT history types) and that was good enough, so we were told. "Believe and you will be saved", I heard over and over.

Along came Lee with his Brethren background and we were snowed under with verses. Believe me, other than vague references to "tribulation", they never talked about the book of Revelation in my community church! Who wants to read about plagues of fire and boiling heat and vapors and smoke? We knew it was there, but nobody wanted to look at it. So a lot of the Bible was basically off-limits. Same with history. Everything that didn't fit into our parochial views was basically put in a closet and marked "do not open."

Then Lee came along and seemingly blew everything up. In reality he just gave us a bigger box. But it was still a box. It still had edges, with an injunction "do not go beyond this point." It was actually still parochial. But we were told it was all-encompassing. No culture here; no self, no reaction to previous cultural modes. Just pure God. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

That's why Lee & Co were able to keep the sheep in their fold: they convinced us that everything outside their box was "fallen human culture" and everything inside it was pure recovered truth. And even when it started to taste bland like cardboard, we just had to keep saying, "Yum, yum."

Now, it's dawned on me that my own writings may reveal me as merely a "bitter ex-member", trying to tear down God's building. Maybe it is my wild, individualistic American culture reasserting itself. Maybe I'm merely reacting to what I see as Oriental cultural imperialism. But even if so, my Western cultural upbringing surfacing through my writings doesn't mean that Nee's Eastern culture didn't surface through his, right? I argue it's the opposite: that when we look at the world, including our religious world (ideas, behaviors, groups), we'll evaluate what is "normal" and "abnormal" based on culturally-derived norms. We'll filter our experiences for meaning based on culturally-instilled values. That proposition shouldn't be too shocking -- why do we think that Nee and Lee were somehow immune from this?

We got tricked by a "confidence game", and it was effective because the one gaming us, our new Prophet, was more assertive than we were, and waved more Bible verses in the air than we were used to seeing. So we thought that we were submitting to God, but were actually submitting to the thought-world of our Prophet; but which world, we were constantly reassured, had no vestiges of fallen human culture! And when that fallen human culture did eventually and undeniably reveal itself, it was too late. We were in: we'd fervently declared that we were "wrecked" for Lee's Local Church, and felt that there was no longer any way out.

Again, this view is a arguably a culturally-derived one. "The group is all and in all" is very Asian; the idea that the individual only has value in the group, by the group, and for the group. But if you don't recognize the source of that idea it will hold you and never let you go.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:10 PM   #124
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(Opening Post) I'm not sure where to post these thoughts, so I'll put them here. Admin can move them if needed. This largely is in response to amrkelly's point about Asian subterfuge (relating to Dana Roberts going to the PRC to investigate WN), how the Chinese will nod and smile and feed you a load of baloney...
It is a very complex issue because it involves both historical and cultural aspects. I will never forget once in a brother Lee's meeting I prayed to God that let me be like brother Lee so that all my problems will be gone. It is my eastern mind telling me that, not brother Lee nor others. I don't believe brother Lee intentionally teaches that everyone should be like him. But somehow I came up with that idea--to look to an authority, a deputy, someone tangible, like a quanyin goddess. So it came, don't defy, don't question, just follow.

"The Eastern Mind" might explain the prosperity of the local church in Taiwan and China, but not in America (other than Chinese Americans). Did you weep over one of American presidents' death? I bet not. Did I and the majority of Chinese and Taiwanese weep over Mao's and Chiang's death? I bet we did. Why so stupid? Don't know. I somehow wept when I heard brother Lee passed away in 1997, so did many of Chinese believers in the local church. (Maybe not Western minds, please correct me.)

Chinese were oppressed by Western powers and Taiwanese were colonized by Western powers and Japan in the past. You might see that long term effects on the people. Then, the Lord came to rescue us and deliver us. The gospel was good and the church life was sweet, then, some things went south. When I became the weak one, when I can't fly in sync, when I can't swim accordingly, I left on my own. I don't blame them. I prayed that I will stay alive, not hit by a car or die instantly, to take care of my family. It is quite a sad story.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:07 AM   #125
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Great to hear from you Eph ...

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I will never forget once in a brother Lee's meeting I prayed to God that let me be like brother Lee so that all my problems will be gone. It is my eastern mind telling me that, not brother Lee nor others. I don't believe brother Lee intentionally teaches that everyone should be like him.
Just yesterday another brother and I were laughing at the idea of being a mini-mota, or a wannabe mini-mota.

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But somehow I came up with that idea--to look to an authority, a deputy, someone tangible, like a quanyin goddess. So it came, don't defy, don't question, just follow.
Do you think this is where Nee came up with Deputy/Delegated Authority? Was it a cultural source/cause?

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I somehow wept when I heard brother Lee passed away in 1997, so did many of Chinese believers in the local church. (Maybe not Western minds, please correct me.)
WITNESS LEE, CHRISTIAN TEACHER - not scholar, not theologian ... just teacher ... got that:
http://www.lcinfo.org/?page=writings/media/obituary
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:41 AM   #126
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It is quite a sad story.
Don't buy the lie.

The LSM loves all the "sad stories" of those who perish outside their flock. They want you to go down, because that lifts them and their gospel up. Don't believe the lie.

This system is built on the concept of "other" which is actually a biological phenomenon but has been well-honed in Asian society. The system requires a "sad story" periodically to make it work. To do this someone needs to be designated as the "other"; it could be Max Rappoport, Jane Anderson, John Ingalls, or yourself. Or Titus Chu, Dong Yu Lan, Steve Isitt, Bill Mallon, John So, The Bible Answer Man... can I stop now? Can we see the pattern?

Then the bad sheep, the newly-discovered and announced "scapegoats", are publicly "flogged and executed", to keep the other sheep inside the pen. So their narrative needs you to #1 be pushed out, and #2 to come to a bad end. They don't want you to be saved. Their institutionally-biased narrative forgets the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, and so they tell one another, "It is necessary for one man(or woman) to perish, that the group is saved." So they pick on yet another scapegoat. Their system of "social harmony" needs it.

That's the opposite of Jesus' way. In the Jesus system, the Shepherd leaves the 99 and goes to find the lost sheep. Then the other 99 celebrate when their brother is returned to them. But in the LSM system, occasionally one sheep has to be publicly whipped (metaphorically speaking) and turned into a "the other" to keep the remaining 99 well-behaved and compliant. So their narrative structure, of "Us" versus "Them", wants you as the "other" to suffer and eventually to be destroyed. Don't buy into the lie. Don't offer yourself on their altar.

Actually, if you want to look at it that way, everybody has a sad story: you, me, and Witness Lee. All of us, I cannot overstress this, all of us, were bad sheep who went astray. Only Jesus made it back to the Father. Christ is the victor. There is only one name by which we may be saved. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and keep your heart fully engaged in pursuing Him. Don't be distracted by anything or anyone else. Everything else is a trap. Jesus presents you with the way home to our Father in heaven. This earth is not your home. "In My Father's house are many, many mansions". There is one waiting for you. That is why you wrote your comments. That is why you are going on. Because you believe it. As Jesus said, "Where I am going, you know the way." This is the gospel story.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:38 AM   #127
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I will never forget once in a brother Lee's meeting I prayed to God that let me be like brother Lee so that all my problems will be gone. It is my eastern mind telling me that, not brother Lee nor others. I don't believe brother Lee intentionally teaches that everyone should be like him..
In my meetings, we were told to be "Brother Lee tape machines" and repeat what we heard. And the trainings, even the Local Churches, were called "Witness Lee duplication centers". I don't know how much these ideas and phrases originated with him, but I suppose that they came from his inner ring of "cheerleaders" and he heard this kind of talk.

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"The Eastern Mind" might explain the prosperity of the local church in Taiwan and China, but not in America (other than Chinese Americans). Did you weep over one of American presidents' death? I bet not. Did I and the majority of Chinese and Taiwanese weep over Mao's and Chiang's death? I bet we did. Why so stupid? Don't know. I somehow wept when I heard brother Lee passed away in 1997, so did many of Chinese believers in the local church.
In America, we took the "Normal Christian Church" idea of Nee as from God, not as a product of the "Eastern Mind". So even though "Submission" seemed strange to our culture, we tried to copy it because we thought it was from heaven.

But I noticed certain warning signs that Nee's "Normal Church" life was merely human culture.

1. The exaltation of one person. I was at the Anaheim meeting hall and saw Chinese visitors posing next to Witness Lee's leather chair. Like it was a shrine.

2. Despising the poor. Of course the poor are despised everywhere but at least we in the West pretend to care. Jesus certainly cared. The Local Church way was, "Too bad for you." This, to me, is very Asian.

3. The Group triumphs fully over the Individual. Again, this has inroads everywhere but in the West we have the idea of individual human rights, even though we can't always follow it.

4. Order over freedom. Very similar to number 3, except this is in behavior. In the Lord's Recovery, you have complete freedom, as long as everything that you do is for the building up of the Group. And the Maximum Brother has told us what is for the building up of the Group.

5. Constant fighting, with "us" versus "them". This is a basic principle of much social organization. Without a "them" there is no "us". And the two are usually antagonistic. This is clearly fallen, and not exclusive to Asian culture, but in the Lord's Recovery it was filtered through Asian social expression.

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Chinese were oppressed by Western powers and Taiwanese were colonized by Western powers and Japan in the past. You might see that long term effects on the people. Then, the Lord came to rescue us and deliver us. The gospel was good and the church life was sweet, then, some things went south.
I understand the idea of foreign oppression, and tried to address this in my posts. Western colonialism and imperialism gave fertile ground for the "native" church movement of the early 20th century. But once Watchman Nee got a flock of thousands, he tried to control it. Nee went from being the "oppressed" to the "oppressor"... now his "vision" was no longer "local" but "the Jerusalem principle", the consolidation of power. So Nee showed that he was merely a human being. Likewise the Asian culture is not a stranger to imperialism, political, economic, or cultural. Asian culture knows how to be both "dominant" and "submissive"; in the 19th century the West dominated, and in the early- to mid- 20th century the pendulum of power began to swing back. The rise of the Little Flock, and its export to the U.S. in the Lord's Recovery, is an example of that.

My main point of starting the thread was that a lot of what we thought was a biblically- and scripturally-based "Normal Church Life" was really filtered through a human culture. But we didn't see it, so we took it as if it came from heaven. Yet all of the "storms" and "turmoils" and "rebellions" show us otherwise. "By its fruit a tree is fully manifested."

For example, the idea of "losing face" was clearly and repeatedly manifested. When Max Rappoport found Philip Lee misbehaving, Witness Lee couldn't be allowed to lose face. That would undermine the whole social order. Likewise Titus Chu could not lose face to Benson Philips. So yet another "storm" would break out. So a "natural" force is really controlling what we are told is the "divine order".
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:22 PM   #128
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2. Despising the poor. Of course the poor are despised everywhere but at least we in the West pretend to care. Jesus certainly cared. The Local Church way was, "Too bad for you." This, to me, is very Asian.

My observation is that the West is acculturated with the Christian values so you geniunely care for the poor. Then, you have the Gates Foundation with Buffet's full support to help the poor around the world. In the East, people usually leave their wealth to the heirs, not the charity. However, some charity groups such as Tzu Chi, a buddism in nature charity organiation, did a great job in helping the poor and needed. It really turns me off when the local church christians despised Tzu Chi and said that it is not a work of Christ.




4. Order over freedom. Very similar to number 3, except this is in behavior. In the Lord's Recovery, you have complete freedom, as long as everything that you do is for the building up of the Group. And the Maximum Brother has told us what is for the building up of the Group.

Gradually, I tell myself that if I work for a company I have to obey the rules and follow orders. When I can't handle it anymore, I quit. Is it a common practice both in the West and the East?


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And "The lower level is [not] subordinate to the higher level"

And like the CPC, in the LRC your are OUTTA THERE ... ELIMINATED.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:51 PM   #129
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My main point of starting the thread was that a lot of what we thought was a biblically- and scripturally-based "Normal Church Life" was really filtered through a human culture. But we didn't see it, so we took it as if it came from heaven. Yet all of the "storms" and "turmoils" and "rebellions" show us otherwise. "By its fruit a tree is fully manifested."
It took years for me to learn that not every doctrine nor practice of the local church is biblical. Why do the West follow the East? Now I get a better picture from your insight. The filters attract some of the WASP who then become poster boys to us during 1986 migration to Taipei. You have no idea how encouraging it was how you guys came to Taipei under brother Lee's calling. Then, things started falling apart, rumors and gossips, etc. After 28 years, cultural factor still plays a part in the movement. In the predominating East culture, no matter which country you are in, the local church movement is prospering, way ahead of that in the West.
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:51 AM   #130
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Gradually, I tell myself that if I work for a company I have to obey the rules and follow orders. When I can't handle it anymore, I quit. Is it a common practice both in the West and the East?
Yes it is a common practice. And the Boss tells the Workers what to do and how to do it. Obeying rules and following orders is in a hierarchical structure. But in the kingdom of the Father, Jesus told us, "These things should not be so."

Matt 10:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,…"

See also

1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

The social order of the Local Church is a human order, with an Asian flavor. But we were told it was a divine flavor so we ate it as if it were manna from heaven.
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:58 AM   #131
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My observation is that the West is acculturated with the Christian values so you genuinely care for the poor. Then, you have the Gates Foundation with Buffet's full support to help the poor around the world. In the East, people usually leave their wealth to the heirs, not the charity. However, some charity groups such as Tzu Chi, a Buddhism in nature charity organization, did a great job in helping the poor and needy. It really turns me off when the local church Christians despised Tzu Chi and said that it is not a work of Christ.
Thank you for your observation. This is the first time I've seen a report like this from Asia.

As I wrote earlier, Western culture is not necessarily better, or superior, to Eastern. But the Lord's Recovery's disregard for the poor clearly displays its Asian cultural origins, and thereby subordinates both its Christian heritage and the words of scripture, to its organization-building scheme.

"Don't waste your time" on the poor, was what we were told in the FTTA.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:47 AM   #132
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Great to hear from you Eph ...
Do you think this is where Nee came up with Deputy/Delegated Authority? Was it a cultural source/cause?
I am not familiar with Nee's work. I received teachings that Nee is a very spiritual man, full of God's life and presence. God listens to his prayers and I wish I can be like Nee. And I am not supposed to read his writings "Spiritual Man?" because it is too deep that I as a young believer will get confused. I am out of his league. So I never did. I read the Normal Christian Life though, but forgot what it is about.

Maybe Aron can answer this question for us?
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:11 AM   #133
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And I am not supposed to read his writings "Spiritual Man?" because it is too deep that I as a young believer will get confused. I am out of his league.
That's a good one. Long ago, prolly before you were born, I was told not to read The Spiritual Man because it could cause me to become demon possessed.

I read it anyway. Actually, I ran to it faster than Eve ran to the forbidden tree. And yes, there's a serpent in that paradise.

I feel I should tell you. Watchman Nee was a man, a human, just like you & me. And yes, he was deified in Shanghai. Like Lee was deified here in America.

Why we have to deify men is beyond me. I guess we don't like who we are, so we hope that if other men can be deified, so can we.
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Old 08-24-2014, 02:43 PM   #134
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It took years for me to learn that not every doctrine nor practice of the local church is biblical. Why do the West follow the East? Now I get a better picture from your insight. The filters attract some of the WASP who then become poster boys to us during 1986 migration to Taipei. You have no idea how encouraging it was how you guys came to Taipei under brother Lee's calling.
When I was in the group, the focus of the "Lord's move", and the prime directive, was to get Caucasian males. Now it clearly seems to be the college freshman. But in the 1980s Lee used to talk a lot about Mid-Western males who grew up on beef and corn and were big and strong. Like that was his doppelganger, his “id”, his ideational “other” who needed to be harnessed and/or conquered. Suddenly, “Authority and Submission” had arrived in the U.S.A., the erstwhile "land of the free and home of the brave."

Maybe there was an inward, subconscious desire to show up the West, who had oppressed the East during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The ancient cultures wanted to demonstrate their validity, if not superiority, and Nee et al were supposedly the chosen vessels. Naturally Nee & Lee would never say this, but like I said look how quickly the Little Flock morphed from an indigenous, “local” movement, to one which was consolidated, centralized, and exported abroad. The imperialist, or "dominant" pendulum began to swing from the West back to the East.

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After 28 years, cultural factor still plays a part in the movement. In the predominating East culture, no matter which country you are in, the local church movement is prospering, way ahead of that in the West..
No matter how they disguise it, the “alien” factor of the Lord's Recovery is still pretty strong in the West. I spent some time in the churches in the S. California area, and the Chinese seemed to have a “caste” system. The educated ones led, and the uneducated ones unobtrusively mowed the grass and wiped the windows. In the West, you have truck drivers and plumbers and college professors all mixed together (of course I am generalizing, and there are always exceptions).

James 2:2-4 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?

This may explain why the Little Flock movement and organizational/social structure has resonated more strongly within Eastern societies than in the West. Because to Western culture it is peculiar and unfamiliar, and to the Eastern mind it is comfortable, and familiar.

Number One, don't waste your time on those who have no means to repay you. Ignore them; forget about them. Number Two, focus on those who are "good building material", who will make our society (i.e. the Lord's Recovery) prosperous and strong. Number Three, obey without question; this is essential to effective and harmonious social functioning. These kinds of ideas echo their source, or parent, Asian social/cultural systems.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:39 PM   #135
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I read it anyway. Actually, I ran to it faster than Eve ran to the forbidden tree.
This is a good one.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:56 PM   #136
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James 2:2-4 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?

Number One, don't waste your time on those who have no means to repay you. Ignore them; forget about them. Number Two, focus on those who are "good building material", who will make our society (i.e. the Lord's Recovery) prosperous and strong. Number Three, obey without question; this is essential to effective and harmonious social functioning. These kinds of ideas echo their source, or parent, Asian social/cultural systems.
Some of the local churches bypass our Lord's major mission on saving the poor and the sick, ignore James's teaching on equality. I can't generaize, but I had experiences in one or two local churches. (Aron, your posts speak my heart.) We should start a new thread about "money" and "power" on the local church movement to well document their influence.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:03 PM   #137
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This is a good one.
Actually the good one, as to Nee's book, The Spiritual Man, was the remark that, yes, there's a serpent in that paradise.

The serpent in that book is/was Jessie Penn-Lewis. There's claims that he, Nee, pretty much got the book from Lewis, claims of plagiarism even.

Jessie taught that Christians can be possessed of demons. That's why, I suppose, I was told that some brothers had become demon possessed from reading TSM.

If you ask me, and I have good off topic reasons for thinking this, Jessie Penn-Lewis was the demon, the serpent, in Nee's TSM paradise.

At this point, 1920s, we're at the West coming to the East, and bringing it to Nee and Lee. This was actually the point when syncretizing between East and West began, and a new Christian hybrid was born, that deformed both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee into Chinese Minister's of the Age.

Every paradise has a serpent.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:13 AM   #138
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Maybe there was an inward, subconscious desire to show up the West, who had oppressed the East during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The ancient cultures wanted to demonstrate their validity, if not superiority, and Nee et al were supposedly the chosen vessels...
I spent some time in the S. Cal. meetings, when the declared focus was to get Caucasian males. Every time someone brought in a young Charlton Heston or Gregory Peck or Kirk Douglas, all the Chinese would crane their necks to see them "Submit" to the "Authority". Was there something cultural behind that? I suspect.

Now, this may seem like pretty flaky conjecture, but I still find it more satisfying than Tomes' work, which merely demonstrates stuff like Lee's plagiarizing, and his crude and amateurish etymology, but never addresses the elephant in the room: why did so many of us completely give our lives over to this man's ideas, and allow our consciousnesses to be totally subsumed by his? What is behind that?
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:27 AM   #139
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If you ask me, and I have good off topic reasons for thinking this, Jessie Penn-Lewis was the demon, the serpent, in Nee's TSM paradise.

At this point, 1920s, we're at the West coming to the East, and bringing it to Nee and Lee. This was actually the point when syncretizing between East and West began, and a new Christian hybrid was born, that deformed both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee into Chinese Minister's of the Age.
I've read European writers, who seem to know something, who present Penn-Lewis as a terrible, corrupting influence in the revivals of the early 20th century there. Certainly she seems to have been overtaken by the idea of subjectivism, that whatever she was "feeling" at any moment came straight from God and therefore she could A) ignore the plain words of the Bible, and B) interfere with the lives of others, sometimes disastrously so, for the "the move of God" or "God's will" as she saw it.

So did an Asian-flavored variant of this make its way, via Lee, into the USA & S. Cali in the early- and mid-60's and create a kind of mass hysteria, subjectivist "primal scream therapy" charismatic phenomenon? I don't know; I wasn't there, but some of its effects I still felt 10 years later when I arrived. The sort of 'elevated sensations' phenomena was very prevalent, and pronounced, and you'd become susceptible to whatever was shouted from the podium or the seats. You were expected to chant or scream the latest slogan, and let it flood your consciousness.

The second thing about Penn-Lewis that I find interesting is the "Jezebel" idea. It seems to be a topic that no one wants to touch, at least in a balanced way: the ability (i.e. weakness?) of women to be channels or vectors of instability.

I say this here, particularly, because as I have noted, Nee & Lee made a big deal out of being influenced by several women's ministries, yet no woman could so much as speak (i.e. teach) in Lee's meetings! The only "functioning" women that I'm aware of were Jane Anderson & Sandee Rappoport & a few others, who merely had the temerity to try to privately counsel people, and help them. You know, shepherding, etc. Care. This was termed a "sisters' rebellion." Yet in addition to Penn-Lewis, others like Margaret Barber, Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, were publicly waved as "early pillars" in the historical rise of the Little Flock.

So there is clearly some tension there in the narrative, and some glaring unresolved contradictions, but since this is a "lightning rod" issue it's hard to approach. And to do so through the "Asian cultural lens" that I present on this thread makes it even more challenging. I don't have any ideas here, and won't even try my "flaky hypotheses", which may insult everybody involved, to no benefit. But it's an obvious issue in the Lord's Recovery discussion.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:38 AM   #140
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The serpent in that book is/was Jessie Penn-Lewis. There's claims that he, Nee, pretty much got the book from Lewis, claims of plagiarism even.
"In 1926, when he was suffering from tuberculosis, Ni began his first major book, The Spiritual Man, which sought to explain spiritual formation in terms of biblical psychology, especially the radical distinction between “soul” (self-consciousness) and “spirit” (God-consciousness). Published in 1928, the three-volume work has been called basically a translation of Penn-Lewis’s Soul and Spirit, published ten years earlier, though Ni did not make that clear. These early efforts laid the theological foundation for his future teaching ministry."

From the "Biographical dictionary of Chinese Christianity" web site.

So Nee had an "extensive literature ministry", according to this site, in which he "did not make clear" all his sources... sound familiar?

http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/n/ni-tuosheng.php
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:54 AM   #141
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Yet in addition to Penn-Lewis, others like Margaret Barber, Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, were publicly waved as "early pillars" in the historical rise of the Little Flock.

So there is clearly some tension there in the narrative, and some glaring unresolved contradictions, but since this is a "lightning rod" issue it's hard to approach. And to do so through the "Asian cultural lens" that I present on this thread makes it even more challenging. I don't have any ideas here, and won't even try my "flaky hypotheses", which may insult everybody involved, to no benefit. But it's an obvious issue in the Lord's Recovery discussion.
And on a related subject which I have addressed on other occasions, the primary modus operandi for "perfecting" the brothers inside the so-called Recovery, was public censure and humiliations passed down from the British missionary, a sister no less, M. E. Barber to Watchman Née. Every subsequent leaders' meeting for the next century was open hunting season for the maximum leader to hone his fine talents in the wild.

To "shoot at" the maximum leader would bring condemnation and excommunication, but for the maximum leader to take aim was to be expected by all. To take a direct hit was simply the means to "take the cross" and be perfected. To refuse was the ultimate failure, with all your friends abandoning you for looking back after you have put your shoulder to the plow.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:06 AM   #142
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why did so many of us completely give our lives over to this man's ideas, and allow our consciousnesses to be totally subsumed by his? What is behind that?
I plead that I was young and dumb ... and seeking God. Then I came to a local church, went to a Lee conference ... and got the "vision." Not realizing that the vision was an artificial replacement for God, and that it was a mirage.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:10 AM   #143
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So did an Asian-flavored variant of this make its way, via Lee, into the USA & S. Cali in the early- and mid-60's and create a kind of mass hysteria, subjectivist "primal scream therapy" charismatic phenomenon?
Yes.

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I say this here, particularly, because as I have noted, Nee & Lee made a big deal out of being influenced by several women's ministries, . . .
. . . in addition to Penn-Lewis, others like Margaret Barber, Peace Wang, Dora Yu, Ruth Lee, were publicly waved as "early pillars" in the historical rise of the Little Flock.
I'm working up a post for the Tomes thread that will address this. Stay tuned.
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:21 PM   #144
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To "shoot at" the maximum leader would bring condemnation and excommunication, but for the maximum leader to take aim was to be expected by all. To take a direct hit was simply the means to "take the cross" and be perfected. To refuse was the ultimate failure, with all your friends abandoning you for looking back after you have put your shoulder to the plow.
There lies the double standard.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:35 PM   #145
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...public censure and humiliations passed down from the British missionary, a sister no less, M. E. Barber to Watchman Née. Every subsequent leaders' meeting for the next century was open hunting season for the maximum leader to hone his fine talents in the wild.

To "shoot at" the maximum leader would bring condemnation and excommunication, but for the maximum leader to take aim was to be expected by all...
This is arguably a cultural red flag waving high for all to see, and which was disguised and then received under spiritual guise, under the rubric of "maintaining good order in the church".

It was indeed impressive, coming in from the outside, and seeing a well-oiled machine in which everyone is rabidly shouting agreement with the latest directive from headquarters. But then you'd hear someone mentioning a "rebellion" or a "storm", and when you'd ask what that was they'd look at the floor and say, "We don't talk about it."

This kind of "perfecting" and its obvious side-effects went against the scripture, against common sense, and most importantly against our own consciences, yet we took it, and came back for more. If this is not fallen human culture successfully masquerading as the way of eternal life, what is? Amazing, in retrospect, that so many people got so deeply taken in by this. If I wasn't there I might say they were without discernment, etc. But I was there, and that seems like an awful lot of people lacking discernment, and ignoring their consciences.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:42 PM   #146
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This kind of "perfecting" and its obvious side-effects went against the scripture, against common sense, and most importantly against our own consciences, yet we took it, and came back for more. If this is not fallen human culture successfully masquerading as the way of eternal life, what is? Amazing, in retrospect, that so many people got so deeply taken in by this. If I wasn't there I might say they were without discernment, etc. But I was there, and that seems like an awful lot of people lacking discernment, and ignoring their consciences.
Young people ... By definition ... Are discernment deficient.

That defined me. And perhaps you. It also had nothing to do with our innate intelligence.

And this is why I place nearly all the responsibility on leaders like Lee and Chu and the Blendeds.

They all knew better. We did not because we were young. They actually were wrongly calibrating our consciences.

Young believers really need leaders who will help them to properly calibrate their consciences in the ways of life and righteousness. This is the healthy pattern we see in the scriptures.

And this is why I am so thankful for leaders like John Ingalls. They spoke up against all odds. They were willing to risk it all to be faithful to their conscience.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:24 PM   #147
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I spent some time in the S. Cal. meetings, when the declared focus was to get Caucasian males. Every time someone brought in a young Charlton Heston or Gregory Peck or Kirk Douglas, all the Chinese would crane their necks to see them "Submit" to the "Authority". Was there something cultural behind that? I suspect.

Now, this may seem like pretty flaky conjecture, but I still find it more satisfying than Tomes' work, which merely demonstrates stuff like Lee's plagiarizing, and his crude and amateurish etymology, but never addresses the elephant in the room: why did so many of us completely give our lives over to this man's ideas, and allow our consciousnesses to be totally subsumed by his? What is behind that?
I'd say yes on my own account. During 1986 migration I was in Taipei and helped "CH or GP or KD" settle down. I felt reinforced when I saw caucasians brothers and sisters sitting in the meetings listening to brother Lee. It's a prevailing cultural phenomenon among Asians to worship foreign things and fawn on foreign powers. Then, came you guys doing the opposite, what does that imply?

So I'd like to ask western minds the same question as Aron did above. Why? Furthermore, if not cultural, then? If we can answer it, we might help christian believers who are not suited to stay in the local church to live a healthier and happier life.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:42 PM   #148
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It also had nothing to do with our innate intelligence.

And this is why I place nearly all the responsibility on leaders like Lee and Chu and the Blendeds.

They all knew better. We did not because we were young. They actually were wrongly calibrating our consciences.

Young believers really need leaders who will help them to properly calibrate their consciences in the ways of life and righteousness. This is the healthy pattern we see in the scriptures.
I can't agree with you more, Ohio. I was young , miserable, and maybe gullible, seeking the meaning of life. The leaders fed me with sugar coated truth about God and His plan on me. It is no longer easy for me to have God's presence. We need the healthy pattern in the scriptures.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:38 AM   #149
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Young people ... By definition ... Are discernment deficient.

That defined me. And perhaps you. It also had nothing to do with our innate intelligence..
Excellent point. And young people like something new. They typically don't say, "gimme that old time religion". They want new and fresh and exciting. So Lee's repackaged Brethren exclusivity, with its idea of being "God's best", combined with the charismatic shouting of a revival and the subjectivity of the inner life, placed an unbalanced pathway before us. And yes, those who lack discernment will pick up the bait. Is it any wonder they focus today exclusively on college freshman? Those are the only ones left for the LSM recruiters. Everyone else sees through their illusion... as awareness said, everyone else can smell the rat.

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They actually were wrongly calibrating our consciences.
We wrongly calibrated our own consciences, with the help of our new masters. We accepted the path; we chose it. Yes, we were ignorant. But we still made a choice, and had to live with it.

I understand your point as well, and Jesus also referenced this, but the only way to get off the path is to accept responsibility. I sat in the meetings while ritualized public shaming was going on. I didn't recognize the Asian "losing face" and "saving face" phenomenon for what it was, but my conscience was indeed bothered. Yet I stayed.

And that goes for the rest: ignoring the poor and weak, elevating a man above the flock, etc. etc. We accepted a fallen human culture as our own, because it was new, and different, and we'd been convinced it was scriptural and divine. Even when our consciences were troubled we kept telling ourselves it was the normal church, and was heavenly.

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Young believers really need leaders who will help them to properly calibrate their consciences in the ways of life and righteousness. This is the healthy pattern we see in the scriptures.

And this is why I am so thankful for leaders like John Ingalls. They spoke up against all odds. They were willing to risk it all to be faithful to their conscience.
And I definitely agree with you regarding the healthy pattern in the scriptures. The supposedly high peak theology was actually re-packaged 19th century Sunday School lessons for the most part (thx Nigel Tomes for noting this), but we largely missed the healthy patterns. Instead, LSM teachings took NT advice like "subject yourselves to one another" to an unhealthy place. And that goes for the rest of it. We got the letter of Paul, as viewed through Nee and Lee's Asian-colored lens, while the Spirit of Christ receded further into the background.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:46 AM   #150
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And this is why I place nearly all the responsibility on leaders like Lee and Chu and the Blendeds.

They all knew better. We did not because we were young. They actually were wrongly calibrating our consciences.

Young believers really need leaders who will help them to properly calibrate their consciences in the ways of life and righteousness. This is the healthy pattern we see in the scriptures.
It has been rightly said that our God-given conscience teaches us "to do the right thing" rather than "to do what is right." In other words, young people can be trained to do evil things, and their conscience will reinforce these actions.

Christian leaders, more than any other on earth, must take a stand for God's righteousness and holiness, in order to properly shepherd the children of God. This was the biggest failure of LC leaders.
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:15 AM   #151
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... It is no longer easy for me to have God's presence. We need the healthy pattern in the scriptures.
God is sovereign. We all go through what we go through for His kingdom. I am older now, and hopefully not quite so naive. So I offer my experience, in beginning to apprehend what is not healthy:

Beware of someone who teaches you that everyone else is wrong except them. Once you accept a ministry based on the judgment and condemnation of others, and this ministry begins to abuse you, then where can you go? If accepting a ministry means burning all your bridges with everyone and everything else, beware.

Beware of a ministry that elevates one person above everyone else, and that elevated person is not named Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ has passed through death and been given glory. Everyone else is waiting for the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ. Don't assume that someone among you is already fully transformed, and beyond error or reproof. Beware of a ministry that pretends everything they do is divine, and that there is no trace of fallen humanity or fallen human culture in their activities.

Beware of a ministry that requires absolute obedience and subjection, and calls any hesitations, considerations or questions as being independent, divisive, and rebellious.

Beware of a ministry that incessantly argues with others, and delights in pointing out the faults of everyone but them. They epitomize the parable of the splinter and the beam.

Beware of a ministry that either adds to God's word, like the Book of Mormon, or disparages God's word, like LSM does with the Psalms and the epistle of James (among others).

Beware of a ministry that is so subjective that it can tell you what is God's move and what is not. "Then God raised up Watchman Nee..." How do you know God didn't also raise up Joel Osteen, or Billy Graham? How is it that everything you do is God's move on the earth today, and everything else is the vain works of fallen men?

Beware of someone who merchandises the gospel, and makes buying books, CDs, DVDs, conference tickets, magazines, pamphlets, and posters equivalent to partaking of and accessing the divine reality. How much money did Jesus make for his teachings? And when Paul collected money it was for the poor saints, not for his ministry.

Beware of a ministry that puts pressure on you to accept them and their ideas. Who did Jesus pressure to be his disciple? No one. If you give in to such pressure, thinking that they will be pleased, later they will pressure you to renounce your family, attend the full-time training, relocate to Sweden, serve full-time, donate for the latest building project, etc. Proverbs 30:15 says, "The leech has two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry." You think if you give in to them, they will be satisfied? They will never be satisfied.

Beware of a ministry that gives you a skewed version of history. Beware of a ministry that says that we were all in darkness until Brother X or Sister Y came along and brought us to God's revival, restoration, recovery, etc. Beware of a ministry that says nobody could intrinsically understand the Bible until Brother X or Sister Y got revelations and now it is all so clear to us. Beware.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:06 AM   #152
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Beware of a ministry that grows by proclaiming a return to the pure word of God, only to later warn us of the dangers of returning to the pure word of God without his own interpreted version.

Beware of a ministry that must slander all the prophets God sends to them in order to maintain their own pristine image.

Beware of a ministry that sells grave sites in the "Garden of Transformation" so that members can spend their future next to their leader.

Beware of a ministry ... To be cont
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:17 AM   #153
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Beware of a ministry ... To be cont
Don't trust your spiritual care to someone who places someone or something as equivalent to Jesus Christ. There is one God, and Father of all, and there is one Lord of all, Jesus Christ. There is only one way to the Father, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no equivalent to Jesus Christ: the Church is not the way. The ministry of the age is not the way. God's current move is not the way. The ground of oneness is not the way. The Body of Christ is not the way. Jesus Christ is the way.

If you go to a meeting and the focus of the meeting isn't Jesus Christ but rather it is "discipling of the nations" or "the building of the Body" or "the consummation of the age" or "the current speaking of God for His intensified move" or "the intrinsic nature of the Body of Christ", beware.

When the the meeting begins to introspectively focus on itself, rather than on its Savior, Shepherd, Teacher and Friend, then it has clearly been distracted away from the heavenlies where Christ is, away from its Head, and has lost the way. Jesus Christ is the way.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:21 AM   #154
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Don't trust someone who tells you that the "group" is the only way to be saved. This is to repeat the RCC's failure. Haven't we learned anything? Didn't we already pass through the Protestant Reformation? I thought we were beyond this.

"Nobody who's left the Lord's Recovery has ever amounted to anything." Thank you for informing us of this, O omniscient one.
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:40 PM   #155
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Beware of unhealthy ministry, con't:

Watch out for someone whose ministry regards their flock, their readers, hearers, and disciples, as "mooing cows" and other less-than-salubrious terms.

Once I felt that the Lord communicated something to me, rather pointedly, and told me that the distance between myself and the dullest laggard, in terms of intelligence, wit, and capability, was much less than the distance between myself and God. If I desire God's mercy, shouldn't I also be merciful to those around me? What profit is there in categorizing other people so uncharitably? Don't we see the vast gap between ourselves and God? Then why presume some vast gap between us and our fellow heirs of faith, those who abide here in the flesh with us?

Lee let us know on no uncertain terms, and repeatedly, that we were dull, and unwitting, and failing take advantage of his vision, insight, teaching, and gifts. Why, if we'd just do exactly as he'd told us, a revival would sweep over the globe and the Lord would soon return! But no, unfortunately we were too poor and miserable to grasp what he'd placed front of us. I think Jesus referred to such ministers as shepherds who beat the flock. Be wary -- this minister's assessment of ones who don't match their standard is perilously close to the person who says to others, "Raca", or "You fool!".
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:34 AM   #156
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Young people ... By definition ... Are discernment deficient.

That defined me. And perhaps you. It also had nothing to do with our innate intelligence.

And this is why I place nearly all the responsibility on leaders like Lee and Chu and the Blendeds.

They all knew better. We did not because we were young. They actually were wrongly calibrating our consciences.
I can't speak for Chu, but most of the ones who are now the blendeds were either college students or only shortly out of college, so they were actually just as "discernment deficient" in their early days. (Speaking mostly of the Texas contingent, but that is a rather significant portion of the leadership now.) The thing is that they never saw anything different. Just got absorbed into the LRC Borg and now they dish out the mantras.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:58 AM   #157
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Default Re: The Asian mind and the Western mind

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
God is sovereign. We all go through what we go through for His kingdom.
Two statements. Both true. But I'm not sure we are clear what it means to be sovereign or to go through things "for the kingdom."

Does the fact that God is sovereign mean that everything is designed and willed? Or rather that God has the ability to control when he wills?

Does the fact that everything we go through has an impact on our lives in the kingdom mean that we were ordained to go through those due to His sovereignty? Or does it mean that God will use whatever is provided to shape us? I note that the "work together for good" is tied to "to those who love God." Does this mean that God ordains the "things" or that he works in and through the things for good?

And it says all things work together, not all things are ordained by the sovereign hand of God to work out for our good.

I do not have a problem with God for allowing bad things to happen to good people simply because he does not simply ordain everything. I do not diminish God if I am not on board with every declaration that the thing that just happened (won the lottery or lost a child in a horrible way) is declared to be God's will. I think we are too busy trying to make God out to be in charge of everything. If that is the case, then free will doesn't exist and the existence of evil is truly His doing. And I do not believe either of those. He is sovereign. But he is operating with restraint in this world during this time. Life happens. For those who love Him, who are called according to his purpose, he will work in all of the circumstances for our good (whether or not we understand how).

I do not know the answer, but it creates for me a question about God willing any of us to become part of something as corrupt as the LRC just so we would have these experiences. I am beginning to think that God may not necessarily will that we did it, but is going to work with it since that is what he has been given to work with.

In other words, I am not sure that I can find a positive reason for having become part of the LRC. Not sure that it is what God really wanted. Only evidence of how God worked with and on me during that time and afterwards as I have come to grips with the havoc it generated in my life and the lives around me.
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