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Old 02-08-2015, 09:51 AM   #1
Awoken
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Default Deification

Okay, having spent the last several years being steeped in LC doctrine, this in particular is a point I still feel confused about. I need to "get clear" about this. I talked with a non-LC brother about this a little bit recently but I also did not feel his view adequately satisfied me.

In the LC we were taught that Jesus, as the living bread, wanted us to eat Him (okay, so far we're on-target scripturally) as our food and supply. Then, through continual feeding, we would eventually "become Christ" in the same way that someone who eats a lot of bread... becomes bread? Okay, it's true that we are the Body of Christ, and we are in Christ, but this simplistic view that we were supposed to "become Christ in life and nature... but not the godhead" is pretty weird. Unfortunately I feel like I have been so hammered with this idea that I find it difficult to reconcile with the more orthodox Christian ideas about what being "in the Body" really means, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diviniz...28Christian%29

There's also the matter that these types of ideas are not a new thing, although the way they were presented by Church members in the past was not exactly what was presented by Lee, either. But at any rate, the idea of deification, divinization, theosis, whatever you want to call it... is not new and there is a good deal of scriptural leeway for interpreting it in many different ways. The Protestant approach seems to be largely "ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist/is heretical", while the least eyebrow-raising variety of thinking there is something to it seems to be believing that:

Quote:
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.

- C.S. Lewis
This actually makes sense to the extent that Jesus both declared that in resurrection we would be like angels, and that in Revelation, John saw an angel and fell down to worship it. Of course the angel immediately told him to knock it off and stop worshiping anything that wasn't God Himself. This seems like maybe the most critical element, at least to me, of this whole messy subject. You do not become like God by wanting to "be God". You become like God by loving Him and beholding Him.

I'm just curious what different interpretations or rebuttals of these kinds of ideas exist here on a board of ex-LC members and the varying stances that others have taken about this line of thinking.

(Edit: Gah, had to adjust this post when I reflected on it and caught myself in a mental trap. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be like God - there is definitely something questionable about wanting to be God. Adjusted.)
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Deification

To be honest, I can't say I really know what to think regarding this subject. It's been so ingrained in me that the biggest problem is that I don't know how LC views compare to that of mainstream Christianity. What I can say is that I have never been completely comfortable with how the LC expresses their views on deification. I don't feel that they provide enough scriptural support. The phrase "God's economy is to make man God in life and nature, but not in the Godhead" is well known in the LC, but where is that teaching explicitly found in the Bible? If they could simply provide more scriptural support for their teaching, I would be much less reluctant about accepting it.

Awhile back, Paul Onica and Kerry Robichaux produced a translation of a thesis by French scholar Jules Gross titled The Divinization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers. When I initially heard about this, my reaction was that they must be a little desperate to support Lee's teachings. If a teaching is wholly Biblical, you shouldn't have to go to the works of an obscure scholar to support it. The problem is that Lee, being held as an infallible minister, chose to support deification, so now the BB's have to scramble to find ways to also support that position.

It seems that Lee liked to make statements for the shock value. When you combine that with his already questionable teachings, it is a publicity nightmare. Being pressured to shout things like "I am a god-man" in a meeting (something I've had to do before) isn't exactly what most people want to do when they attend a church. I don't care how well founded the LC teaching on deification is, they don't have the ability to teach this subject in a "normal" way, and in my mind that is a big part of the problem.
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Deification

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Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I don't feel that they provide enough scriptural support. The phrase "God's economy is to make man God in life and nature, but not in the Godhead" is well known in the LC, but where is that teaching explicitly found in the Bible? If they could simply provide more scriptural support for their teaching, I would be much less reluctant about accepting it.
If a teaching is wholly Biblical, you shouldn't have to go to the works of an obscure scholar to support it. The problem is that Lee, being held as an infallible minister, chose to support deification, so now the BB's have to scramble to find ways to also support that position.
Excellent points! And the real truth is that many of Lee's teachings cannot be substantiated by even an implicit (much, much less an explicit) reading of the teachings of Jesus or the scripture writing apostles. This is the real danger of an entire Christian movement taking the words of a self-appointed "apostle of the age" on a wholesale basis, without any kind of filtering or check and balance from other external sources.

Even the wisest of men, king Solomon, admitted: "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) It was bad enough that Lee would never accept anyone within the movement as his peer, but he even went so far to claim he was the ONLY person speaking as God's oracle on earth since 1945. And since his death, one of the most blended of the Blendeds, Benson Phillips, stated that outside of the Local Church of Witness Lee (his term was "The Lord's Recovery") there was "no great spiritual person on earth", and that "the process of sanctification takes place only in the Lord's Recovery".

So not only does the Local Church teach an inaccurate, unbiblical understanding of deification, they boldly proclaim that to go through the process of sanctification one must be a member of their little sect! How convenient! So naturally you need to purchase all the books and go to all the conferences and trainings so as to become saturated with the person and work of Witness Lee. May God have mercy.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #4
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First, I would say that just because Jesus said we would be like angels in resurrection, and John saw an angel and fell down to worship, it is not clear that they were actually talking about the same thing. John's inclination was based on a recognized difference between himself and the heavenly beings, even if just angels. But it is also noteworthy that some of the angels mentioned in the OT are sometimes thought to actually have been the Son incognito. I don't know the theological implications of this, but it would give John's actions a different consideration.

As for the whole "becoming Christ" thing, it is quite different to say that we become as he is and that we become him. But what seems to be more troublesome in that whole flawed line of theology is that they expect to get there without any overt activity on their part that could be seen a being obedient to the commandments of Christ, most notably to love your neighbor as yourself. And tied to this is the general command concerning righteousness. If I take Lee's way, the Beatitudes should read "blessed are those who disdain distinctions of right and wrong for theirs is the tree of life," followed by a discourse in how paying any attention to righteousness is just from the "wrong tree."

That is how we are supposed to become Christ "in life but not in deity." By ignoring the things that Christ commanded. By remaining openly disdainful of every Christian that does not choose to come the "way of the church."

As for terms like "in the body," the easiest way to get around the questions on those is to ignore the terms. If you are Christian, you are in the body. If you are in the body, you are in the church. It is best if you actually assemble with others who are in the church. (BTW, I am using the term "church" in a generic way, not in the way of a group that declares they are the only true church within a secular, political boundary.)

I would be careful how I read Lewis. I don't think he was in any way thinking that we would be gods in the sense that Lee taught. It is a reference to becoming what we should be. We should be God's image on the earth. Compared to fallen man, Adam and Eve were kind of like gods.

Whatever verses are used to support the "becoming God" theology, I can only say that there is probably something in the reading that is not really there. It is a hallmark of Lee's Bible exposition. Some of the teachings are said to be based on verses, but it is nearly impossible now to see that it really says what he said it does. I am convinced that we "simply" accepted whatever he claimed was said as being true without real critical consideration. Without thinking about it ourselves. If Lee said that the verse meant "X," then it must be true. I was gone before teachings like the minister of the age (MOTA) and others really took hold. But we still took Lee at his word. To the exclusion of our own good minds to read the text and ask "but does it really say that??"
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Deification

"He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words." ~ C.S. Lewis.

The scripture said, "You are gods, but you will die like men." (Psa 82:6,7) The gods were disobedient, and fell. They lost immortality. The Watchers partook of the fallen flesh, and ultimately they were consumed (the flood). Now their spirits fly around in waterless places, seeking rest. Not really the "gods" that I would seek to emulate, or become.

What is my point? Don't be so quick to assume means something that you think (hope?) it does. It may mean the opposite, or something radically different.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Deification

Deification: my own take is that “becoming God” has two parts, both worth noting. First, “becoming”… not sure what text supports that? It says humans will be “like” God, in Genesis 3:5, Exodus 4:16, 7:1. And also in the NT 1 John 3:2 says, “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is.”

Now, my dog is like my cat; both are furry household pets. But let’s not conflate my dog with my cat. Certainly with the redeemed and forgiven sinner there’s re-birth, transformation, the promise of future glory. But deification? Luke 9:26 (KJV) says, “… ashamed of me and of my own words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels”. Here you have the Father, Son and holy angels appearing together in glory. But we don’t use this parallel presentation to conflate the holy angels with God. Shared glory doesn’t mean “becoming God.”

The whole thing seems to be exercise in speculation, tenuously connected to scripture (which I’ve also done occasionally -- but I don’t pretend my speculations equal truth or reality itself).

Next is “God”. My experience was to find a section which kind of hangs everything together. For me it was the scene of Revelation chapter 1. On the throne there is the one who is, and who was, and who is coming. God. Before the throne are seven spirits. Now, I do conflate these with the seven angels to the seven churches (the lamp stands). They are the eyes of God which run to and fro throughout the earth. When Hagar spoke to one of these messengers she said, “You are the God who sees me”. They are God, operationally, by extension, but arguably they’re also serving spirits.

Then there is whom I refer to as the LOGOS before the throne. This is the Word of God; who’s also God, operationally (see eg John chapter 1), and who’s probably akin to the “son of man” appearing before the enthroned “ancient of days” in Daniel 7. When the Logos speaks God speaks, because Logos doesn’t speak of His own will but of God who sent Him. The Roman centurion helped me greatly here: “I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me, and I say to this one….” The centurion, though not conflated with Caesar, is operationally “Caesar” to his troops. When he speaks, Caesar speaks through him. So you have distinctness yet oneness. The Firstborn Son is the unique, singular emanation, the effulgence of the glory of God.

Anyway, that helped me see the unique God of Israel yet understand how Christ and the Holy Spirit, or Great Angel, could be seen, operationally, as “God.” Look how many times in the OT the appearing spirit being is referred to as “an angel” and also as God. I can think of probably half-a-dozen, anyway. But God is still one, there on the throne.

None of this, however, suggests that we redeemed and transformed sinners become “God” in any definition of God that I understand. I rather trend my thinking in more conservative directions. But I may be wrong.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:02 AM   #7
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Anyway, that helped me see the unique God of Israel yet understand how Christ and the Holy Spirit, or Great Angel, could be seen, operationally, as “God.” Look how many times in the OT the appearing spirit being is referred to as “an angel” and also as God. I can think of probably half-a-dozen, anyway. But God is still one, there on the throne.
Acts 7:35 "This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

God appeared to Moses in Exodus, and an angel appeared to him according to Stephen. I see this happening repeatedly in the text. There appears to be some overlap, conceptually. A ministering, or messenger spirit, also called "God."
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:55 AM   #8
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But at any rate, the idea of deification, divinization, theosis, whatever you want to call it... is not new and there is a good deal of scriptural leeway for interpreting it in many different ways.
Lee lifted himself up by teaching esoteric topics largely ignored by the Christian public. He used these teachings to "prove" to his followers how "degraded" all other Christians were. Using modalistic oneness he "proved" others were tri-theists; using the ground of oneness he "proved" others were divided; using deification he "proved" others never were changed by the Lord, etc. Each of his pet teachings "proved" how great he was, and how pitiful Christianity was.

Personally I am not as troubled by these unique teachings as other posters are. Part of the reason is that the GLA was not so extreme as other regions, but mostly I was bothered by all the unrighteousness and abuses with the LC leadership -- they just don't know how to treat other people as the Lord has taught us. They talk love, yet suffer from a severe shortage from the top down.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:04 AM   #9
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To be honest, I can't say I really know what to think regarding this subject. It's been so ingrained in me that the biggest problem is that I don't know how LC views compare to that of mainstream Christianity. What I can say is that I have never been completely comfortable with how the LC expresses their views on deification. I don't feel that they provide enough scriptural support. The phrase "God's economy is to make man God in life and nature, but not in the Godhead" is well known in the LC, but where is that teaching explicitly found in the Bible? If they could simply provide more scriptural support for their teaching, I would be much less reluctant about accepting it.

Awhile back, Paul Onica and Kerry Robichaux produced a translation of a thesis by French scholar Jules Gross titled The Divinization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers. When I initially heard about this, my reaction was that they must be a little desperate to support Lee's teachings. If a teaching is wholly Biblical, you shouldn't have to go to the works of an obscure scholar to support it. The problem is that Lee, being held as an infallible minister, chose to support deification, so now the BB's have to scramble to find ways to also support that position.

It seems that Lee liked to make statements for the shock value. When you combine that with his already questionable teachings, it is a publicity nightmare. Being pressured to shout things like "I am a god-man" in a meeting (something I've had to do before) isn't exactly what most people want to do when they attend a church. I don't care how well founded the LC teaching on deification is, they don't have the ability to teach this subject in a "normal" way, and in my mind that is a big part of the problem.
This is a great post.

Back in the early 90's "high peak teaching days," I dug into this until I convinced myself of its veracity. I was now on board as an official god-man. Then I started to ask myself what good is this teaching? I studied all week and then for 5 minutes on Lord's Day morning I would speak it to others. But what about the rest of my life? Who could I tell this stuff to? What good was it after all?
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:47 AM   #10
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Back in the early 90's "high peak teaching days," I dug into this until I convinced myself of its veracity. I was now on board as an official god-man. Then I started to ask myself what good is this teaching? I studied all week and then for 5 minutes on Lord's Day morning I would speak it to others. But what about the rest of my life? Who could I tell this stuff to? What good was it after all?
From the NW where I was meeting at the time, the messages were received, but not believed. I observed much reluctance on the faces of many brothers and sisters from the LSM/LC assembly I met with.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:55 AM   #11
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Part of the reason is that the GLA was not so extreme as other regions, but mostly I was bothered by all the unrighteousness and abuses with the LC leadership -- they just don't know how to treat other people as the Lord has taught us. They talk love, yet suffer from a severe shortage from the top down.
This is indicative of the LSM culture. The so-called recovery have morphed into ministry churches so the mode of receiving is not one according to love and grace, but according to "ARE YOU FOR THE MINISTRY?"

Several verses come to mind regarding receiving according to the ministry...

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:32

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

This second verse in 1 Corinthians 13:1 may be a window to why wives of elders and deacons are often absent to prophesying meetings. The ministry to these sisters, has become a noisy gong. Lacking is the love that attracted them to the recovery.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:06 PM   #12
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This is a great post.

Back in the early 90's "high peak teaching days," I dug into this until I convinced myself of its veracity. I was now on board as an official god-man. Then I started to ask myself what good is this teaching? I studied all week and then for 5 minutes on Lord's Day morning I would speak it to others. But what about the rest of my life? Who could I tell this stuff to? What good was it after all?
Though I was never comfortable with the teachings on deification, I never saw the need to raise any issue of it, I just accepted it for what it was. I never once had any personal experience where the doctrine of deification meant anything to me. It was all a matter of memorizing the phrases and paying the necessary lip service.

I think you also raise a good point, that is even if Lee's teachings of deification had some value, it's not like you can just go around and tell people about it. Telling someone you're a "god-man" is probably the easiest way to scare someone away.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:53 AM   #13
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Lee lifted himself up by teaching esoteric topics largely ignored by the Christian public. He used these teachings to "prove" to his followers how "degraded" all other Christians were. Using modalistic oneness he "proved" others were tri-theists; using the ground of oneness he "proved" others were divided; using deification he "proved" others never were changed by the Lord, etc. Each of his pet teachings "proved" how great he was, and how pitiful Christianity was.

Personally I am not as troubled by these unique teachings as other posters are. Part of the reason is that the GLA was not so extreme as other regions, but mostly I was bothered by all the unrighteousness and abuses with the LC leadership -- they just don't know how to treat other people as the Lord has taught us. They talk love, yet suffer from a severe shortage from the top down.
Yeah, agreed. I went to the elder I was closest to about my own personal struggle with sin on multiple occasions and he basically brushed aside all of my questions/requests for help and told me in so many words that my problem was that I was too focused on my own selfish issues and not on "the building", never mind that that particular issue more or less made it impossible for me to be an effective builder of others. His solution was to suggest that I move into a brothers' house (nearest one being an hour away from the city where I work and attend school).

On top of that, I once sent him an email asking if he would be willing to be an accountability partner and he completely ignored it - no response whatsoever. I remember trying to figure out what the heck this was supposed to communicate to me. I had to assume it meant I was not 'in my spirit' and so I was only good for being ignored, which sadly I think actually was the intended effect. I would be lying if I said I don't feel bitter about this, although I don't hold it against the elder personally. Ron Kangas also ignored me blatantly in like manner once so I think this kind of 'teaching' must come from the top down.
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
To be honest, I can't say I really know what to think regarding this subject. It's been so ingrained in me that the biggest problem is that I don't know how LC views compare to that of mainstream Christianity. What I can say is that I have never been completely comfortable with how the LC expresses their views on deification. I don't feel that they provide enough scriptural support. The phrase "God's economy is to make man God in life and nature, but not in the Godhead" is well known in the LC, but where is that teaching explicitly found in the Bible? If they could simply provide more scriptural support for their teaching, I would be much less reluctant about accepting it.

Awhile back, Paul Onica and Kerry Robichaux produced a translation of a thesis by French scholar Jules Gross titled The Divinization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers. When I initially heard about this, my reaction was that they must be a little desperate to support Lee's teachings. If a teaching is wholly Biblical, you shouldn't have to go to the works of an obscure scholar to support it. The problem is that Lee, being held as an infallible minister, chose to support deification, so now the BB's have to scramble to find ways to also support that position.

It seems that Lee liked to make statements for the shock value. When you combine that with his already questionable teachings, it is a publicity nightmare. Being pressured to shout things like "I am a god-man" in a meeting (something I've had to do before) isn't exactly what most people want to do when they attend a church. I don't care how well founded the LC teaching on deification is, they don't have the ability to teach this subject in a "normal" way, and in my mind that is a big part of the problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Though I was never comfortable with the teachings on deification, I never saw the need to raise any issue of it, I just accepted it for what it was. I never once had any personal experience where the doctrine of deification meant anything to me. It was all a matter of memorizing the phrases and paying the necessary lip service.

I think you also raise a good point, that is even if Lee's teachings of deification had some value, it's not like you can just go around and tell people about it. Telling someone you're a "god-man" is probably the easiest way to scare someone away.
I think these are great posts. I remember when Lee sprung the "I'm a God-man" trap on the saints -- most didn't know what to think. Maybe 10 percent shouted "I'm a God-Man!!" as loudly and frequently as they could. Someone of course quickly composed a song, to the melody that already had carried a half-dozen songs already, and we sang it over and over again.

But really, what to make of it? It's arguably based on scripture, else Lee wouldn't have proffered it. But it's also arguably based on the presumptions of fallen man, overlaid upon scripture, else it wouldn't have the novelty and shock value it did. I mean, yes you can find the Church Fathers talking about this. But you can find the church Fathers speculating about reincarnation, universal salvation, and a host of less-than-widely received ideas along with divinization.

One may of course pick the Fathers that agree with one's idea, wave this in the air, and ignore the Fathers' less-than-orthodox positions where they are not helpful. Actually, I do this as well. But I don't make this the basis of "truth"; it's simply my thought-constructions and logical trains, buttressed by as much scripture and "authority" as I can find. Subject to change as we go along, and hopefully part of a conversation.

The real problem with Lee's ideas is the system they arose in. As soon as he said something, however tenuously it related to scripture and orthodoxy, we were expected to shout it repeatedly, compose songs to it, pray over it, speak it to our dog and cat and neighbors, etc. No matter if it bothered that "still small voice" within. It went forth in an environment which didn't promote careful cross-examination; one essentially had no way to openly discern what was healthy teaching and what was dross.

I don't think Lee would have done very well in an atmosphere of give-and-take. Nor, probably, would his ideas, including this one. "Becoming God", but not in the God-head? God, but not really God? Like, you know, "God" God? Not totally God but divinely God?

To me, there's a grey area at the edge of "God". I've poked around there, noting where "Spirit" seems fully divine (the HS) and where it tells the apostle, "NO -- don't worship me! I am your fellow servant!" The spirit speaks to the churches... but wait a minute, just two verses ago it was a ministering spirit (angel) speaking, and no change of pronoun.?.? "I Jesus have sent my angel"... who said this, Jesus or the angel? Or Jesus through the angel? Etc etc. I'm not going to drone on here, just note that I did find room for interesting speculation. And I also noted that the early Jewish antagonists didn't react to Christians presenting Three Powers in heaven, but Two. The Ancient of Days, as it were, and the Son of Man. Little note of the "Third of the God-head", who only seems to have been officially sanctioned a couple centuries later.

See, for example, "Two powers in heaven" by Alan Segal.

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Powers-Hea.../dp/039104172X

Now, why have I dragged the conversation so far away? To make one point. That I see a fuzzy area, arguably, at the fringe of the "God-head", to include the Seven Spirits/Seven Angels who stand before God/Seven Messengers to the seven churches,Seven Eyes of God, etc, etc. But I see a less-fuzzy area to include sinful man as "God", whether "in the God-head" or "not as an object of worship" or whatever disclaimers one tacks on. And given the warnings for sinful man not to presume any pride of place, with repeated references to the Arch-angel who lifted himself up, and angels who didn't keep their allotted place, but were cast down to darkness, with Israelites who made it from Egypt but were presumptuous and fell in the desert, there seems to be incentive to tread cautiously here.

But was there room for caution and discernment in the trainings and conferences? Hardly. Like Awoken said, it was like North Korea: if you didn't clap loudly enough you could be executed.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:13 AM   #15
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I think these are great posts. I remember when Lee sprung the "I'm a God-man" trap on the saints -- most didn't know what to think. Maybe 10 percent shouted "I'm a God-Man!!" as loudly and frequently as they could. Someone of course quickly composed a song, to the melody that already had carried a half-dozen songs already, and we sang it over and over again.
Regardless of how well they can manipulate scripture, or quote the great Athanasius, the matter is simple for me now -- the Bible does not explicitly say it. The Bible does not say that "God became man to make man god." Instead it says that God became man to save us from our sins. Lee made it his life-long dream to "recover" truths that everybody else missed, yet when it came to the simple basics of treating your brother or your neighbor with respect, he miserably failed.

It's just like Lee's "ground of oneness" was supposedly the long lost "recovered" truth that will finally make us all one. What happened with that novel idea? Lee could not be one with anyone! Not British, nor Chinese, nor American. He had no peers, and refused to have one. Except for a few book editors and blinded minions, Lee had all of his senior associates quarantined; everyone of them.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:26 AM   #16
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Yeah, agreed. I went to the elder I was closest to about my own personal struggle with sin on multiple occasions and he basically brushed aside all of my questions/requests for help and told me in so many words that my problem was that I was too focused on my own selfish issues and not on "the building", never mind that that particular issue more or less made it impossible for me to be an effective builder of others. His solution was to suggest that I move into a brothers' house (nearest one being an hour away from the city where I work and attend school).

On top of that, I once sent him an email asking if he would be willing to be an accountability partner and he completely ignored it - no response whatsoever. I remember trying to figure out what the heck this was supposed to communicate to me. I had to assume it meant I was not 'in my spirit' and so I was only good for being ignored, which sadly I think actually was the intended effect. I would be lying if I said I don't feel bitter about this, although I don't hold it against the elder personally. Ron Kangas also ignored me blatantly in like manner once so I think this kind of 'teaching' must come from the top down.
Brother Awoken, I first met the saints in May of 1973, just after my freshman year of college. I am now 60 years old. I have literally watched hundreds of precious caring brothers come and go because of abuses in the leadership. Our Heavenly Father used to bring some of His newborns to the LC to be cared for, but that rarely happens anymore. For many years, those who cared for people first have been purged out of the program and replaced by those loyal to the leadership. This forum is littered with these stories.

The "elder" you were in contact with really didn't know what to do with you. Call on the Lord, live in the brothers' house, read the ministry books, and go to trainings -- all that was supposed to "fix" you.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:46 AM   #17
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Yeah, agreed. I went to the elder I was closest to about my own personal struggle with sin on multiple occasions and he basically brushed aside all of my questions/requests for help and told me in so many words that my problem was that I was too focused on my own selfish issues and not on "the building", never mind that that particular issue more or less made it impossible for me to be an effective builder of others. His solution was to suggest that I move into a brothers' house (nearest one being an hour away from the city where I work and attend school).

On top of that, I once sent him an email asking if he would be willing to be an accountability partner and he completely ignored it - no response whatsoever. I remember trying to figure out what the heck this was supposed to communicate to me. I had to assume it meant I was not 'in my spirit' and so I was only good for being ignored, which sadly I think actually was the intended effect. I would be lying if I said I don't feel bitter about this, although I don't hold it against the elder personally. Ron Kangas also ignored me blatantly in like manner once so I think this kind of 'teaching' must come from the top down.
This is why I cannot refer to the current crop of elders/co-workers as shepherds. They crave the function, but not the responsibility and the work that goes with being elders. Can you say they oversee my soul or your soul? I cannot say that.
I can say there is preference by elders to keep everything in the positive realm. Touching anything that would require to labor on a brother or sister is considered a waste of time. Simply, they're not equipped for the shepherding work.
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:36 PM   #18
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I went to the elder I was closest to about my own personal struggle with sin on multiple occasions and he basically brushed aside all of my questions/requests for help and told me in so many words that my problem was that I was too focused on my own selfish issues and not on "the building"...
I got the same thing. Once the euphoria wore off, and my old problems put me back on the merry-go-round, I went to an elder. I said "I have a problem" and told him what was going on. "No, you don't" he replied. I guess because I was still able to go to meetings and function there, he figured it could be ignored. Not important. Later I went to another elder. "We all have problems", he said. Later, a third elder told me that my problems would probably never leave me. At that point I was totally committed to the program so they couldn't say, "Sit up front, yell louder" or go to more meetings, because I was 24/7 in the local church.

None of them wanted to deal with it. I was a big boy by then and knew that only God could fix my problems, not Elder A or Elder B or Elder C in Local Church of Elmira. But I just wanted to talk to someone. I was tired of putting a plastic smile on my face every Friday night at 7:30, and every Sunday morning at 10:00, etc. Something inside just wasn't right: my behaviors made that plain. But they didn't want to talk about it. Like, if we just ignore Aron's problems, some day "transformation" will magically erase them.
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Old 02-10-2015, 05:56 PM   #19
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Yeah, agreed. I went to the elder I was closest to about my own personal struggle with sin on multiple occasions and he basically brushed aside all of my questions/requests for help and told me in so many words that my problem was that I was too focused on my own selfish issues and not on "the building", never mind that that particular issue more or less made it impossible for me to be an effective builder of others.
Were these verse ever a consideration to the elder?

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

Talk about building? Nothing I have witnessed builds as much as praying for one another.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:15 PM   #20
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If there were such thing as deification, it should then follow that those who have been or are being deified would posses God-like attributes. Ironically, those in the LC express nothing close, in fact quite the opposite in many cases. I am also no better than anyone else in this regard. If Jesus cared had compassion for the sick or poor, then why don't those who claim to be a "god-man" demonstrate the same kind of compassion?

It is quite ironic that Lee greatly emphasized his teaching on divination, however, he then turned around and made a mockery of things like good works, ethics, morality, etc. I'm not saying these things need particular emphasis, but if someone is going to go around proclaiming that they are a "god-man", they had better demonstrate an exceptional standard of living. Given Lee's actions throughout his life, I don't think it is going too far to say that it is blasphemous that he would call himself a "god-man".

Like others have mentioned, I have encountered elders and "leading brothers" with whom I have attempted to bring something up for fellowship, only to have the matter brushed off as if it was nothing. There was absolutely no care matters that could not be resolved instantly. It is not the best way to set an example. I remember a brother who suddenly disappeared from meetings. When this happened, no one hardly mentioned it. No one so much as bothered to give him a call to see how he was doing. The whole situation really helped me to see some of the underlying attitudes.
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:18 AM   #21
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I remember a brother who suddenly disappeared from meetings. When this happened, no one hardly mentioned it. No one so much as bothered to give him a call to see how he was doing..
To be fair to the "leading brothers", they are too busy "running the church" to care for the saints. Right? Like Jethro, in Exodus 18, telling Moses to get subordinates to deal with issues of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Even the NT has this pattern: Jesus broke the mob into companies of 50 (Luke 9:14), and had subordinates deliver the bread and fish to the groups. The brothers in Acts 6 got deacons to wait on tables. And so forth; if the LC "brothers" wanted to delegate shepherding to others, being too busy with "church affairs", this is easily understandable, and defensible.

But underneath it lies danger, and the real culture of the LC reveals itself. A culture of indifference. Instead of the shepherd leaving the 99 and finding the lost sheep, you have the so-called shepherds busy with the 99 and indifferent to the lost sheep. If you suffer they don't want to hear about it. It becomes a culture of, "Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost".

Two observations, from attempting to shepherd others in Christianity. First is that when someone comes to me with their problems it IS bothersome. I hate it! What can I do? Basically nothing. So my impotence is revealed, and I don't like that... I become uncomfortable, even resentful. But what God showed me is that even though I can't resolve the situation, and I'm not supposed to, what I can do is to pay attention. God loves them. Pay attention to them! If they are suffering, pay attention. Don't ignore them. God will intervene. But God needs your attention. Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first, but if you pay attention God will arrive... God will arrive and they will thrive.

Second, if you pay attention to others, simply because God loves them and cares for them, then they will indeed be encouraged, not only in their situation, but also to care for others. In this way you actually will work through subordinates. Not in a formal way of deputies, but the influence of your care will stretch from "your neighbor" to "the flock". It will... God is powerful. God can do anything, and God loves to flow. But first God wants to flow from you to your neighbor... yes, the one with the problem... that one. And when they bring you their problem, that is an opportunity for God to flow.

God loves people, but God needs transparent "eyes" on the earth. Like the angel to Hagar; She said to him, "You are the God who sees me." We are here to let God see others, through us. But first, we need to be transparent. No motive. No intention. Only God knows and only God understands. God's will be done on earth, as in heaven. We are only there because God put us there; God knows everything.... and God will be glorified.

Q: "Master, who sinned, this person, or his parents, that he was born blind?"

A: "No, this is merely an opportunity for the glory of God to be revealed."
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:02 PM   #22
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But underneath it lies danger, and the real culture of the LC reveals itself. A culture of indifference. Instead of the shepherd leaving the 99 and finding the lost sheep, you have the so-called shepherds busy with the 99 and indifferent to the lost sheep. If you suffer they don't want to hear about it. It becomes a culture of, "Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost".
The indifference seems to be mostly towards those whom they label as "small potatoes", non-FTTA attendees, and the like. I've heard the implication made before that "church kids" aren't worth the same effort as recruits they gain on the campus. I'm sure there's all kinds of classification that goes on behind the scenes.

Even with shepherding, they really got it all wrong. They talk about shepherding all the time. When put into practice, however, it is anything but. Actions that are assumed to be efforts at "shepherding" someone are actually quite the opposite. An example of this might be pressuring someone to attend a meeting who in reality just needs someone to talk to. At a basic level, I don't even think many in the LC are empowered to really take the necessary actions to really help someone out. Here are some of Lee's views (yes, they're taken out of context) that apply to the attitude of shepherding in the LC:
Quote:
  • Going to the coffee shop is of the flesh...
  • Have we not forsaken the world? If someone takes me to a tea house, I would not follow him anymore...
http://afaithfulword.org/articles/BriefAccount.html
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:41 PM   #23
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I remember reading those quotes...

There are a few elders/members of the church in my area who I'm tempted to seek out and have an honest heart-to-heart with concerning their understanding of the whole church situation. I think there are at least one or two who probably don't share Lee's views, or at least not all of them. The problem is I'm not really sure where they stand, and going to talk to them could have pretty dire consequences. Regardless of how I feel about the doctrine a lot of these people still feel like my spiritual family. Right now I don't really want to completely abandon meeting, but on the other hand a part of me doesn't really want to meet in group settings because of the immense pressure to participate in Lee's teachings.

At least mountains of homework and a full time job are keeping me distracted from thinking about this stuff too much.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:28 AM   #24
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There are a few elders/members of the church in my area who I'm tempted to seek out and have an honest heart-to-heart with concerning their understanding of the whole church situation. I think there are at least one or two who probably don't share Lee's views, or at least not all of them. The problem is I'm not really sure where they stand, and going to talk to them could have pretty dire consequences.
I have had similar thoughts. Obstacle you might come across is peer pressure. That alone carries more weight than their conscience. Regardless how they feel privately....maybe only their wife at the most would know, outwardly elders will say something to the effect of, "I feel to honor the feeling of the Body."
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:36 AM   #25
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Even with shepherding, they really got it all wrong. They talk about shepherding all the time. When put into practice, however, it is anything but. Actions that are assumed to be efforts at "shepherding" someone are actually quite the opposite. An example of this might be pressuring someone to attend a meeting who in reality just needs someone to talk to. At a basic level, I don't even think many in the LC are empowered to really take the necessary actions to really help someone out. Here are some of Lee's views (yes, they're taken out of context) that apply to the attitude of shepherding in the LC:
Yes, they have it all wrong. Shepherding is not an elder speaking a word in the meeting. It is not encouraging a brother to go to a meeting. It is not a BFA exercise.
More likely it would be to visit a brother or sister in their home. It may be inviting ones over for dinner (without the landscape of a weekly home meeting following afterwards). It may be asking a brother to go for a hike or getting together for lunch during the week.
As was my experience, yes it may be going to Starbucks for coffee in the afternoon/evening as I often did with a fellow brother from the brother's house when we were still single.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:46 AM   #26
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To be fair to the "leading brothers", they are too busy "running the church" to care for the saints. Right? Like Jethro, in Exodus 18, telling Moses to get subordinates to deal with issues of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Even the NT has this pattern: Jesus broke the mob into companies of 50 (Luke 9:14), and had subordinates deliver the bread and fish to the groups. The brothers in Acts 6 got deacons to wait on tables. And so forth; if the LC "brothers" wanted to delegate shepherding to others, being too busy with "church affairs", this is easily understandable, and defensible.

But underneath it lies danger, and the real culture of the LC reveals itself. A culture of indifference. Instead of the shepherd leaving the 99 and finding the lost sheep, you have the so-called shepherds busy with the 99 and indifferent to the lost sheep. If you suffer they don't want to hear about it.
I wouldn't say their too busy. The culture has become one of indifference. One of partiality. Running the church is often setting meeting times and going to meetings. When I was college age, I recall going to many college age meetings on Friday nights. Most of the elders were present at the meetings. Was it necessary for all to be there? Could easily be out visiting brothers and sisters at their home.
Maybe their concept of shepherding is speaking a word in the meeting and leaving the active shepherding to the small potatoes?
I recall an account that happened in the early 90's. There were two brothers dealing with being divorced brothers. One was a small potato brother and suffered without any shepherding. The other was an deacon or elder brother who was shepherded by fellow elders and deacons in their locality. It's really sad when the LC culture becomes one of indifference and partiality.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:12 AM   #27
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This is a great post.

Back in the early 90's "high peak teaching days," I dug into this until I convinced myself of its veracity. I was now on board as an official god-man. Then I started to ask myself what good is this teaching? I studied all week and then for 5 minutes on Lord's Day morning I would speak it to others. But what about the rest of my life? Who could I tell this stuff to? What good was it after all?
If Lee was right about his deification claims then he should have been able to walk on water. But history has revealed that Lee wasn't transformed even a little bit. Thus his deification doctrine was empty, and nothing but smoke and mirrors. At best it was esoteric Bible idealism.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:50 AM   #28
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If Lee was right about his deification claims then he should have been able to walk on water. But history has revealed that Lee wasn't transformed even a little bit. ... At best it was esoteric Bible idealism.
Deification (read: glorification, or transfiguration) should follow transformation. Yet Lee showed himself as an avaricious merchandizer from the beginning, and where did that get transformed? Deification was just the latest product, packaged and sold to the masses.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:56 AM   #29
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Deification (read: glorification, or transfiguration) should follow transformation. Yet Lee showed himself as an avaricious merchandizer from the beginning, and where did that get transformed? Deification was just the latest product, packaged and sold to the masses.
Somehow Lee's "deification program" was able to bypass the requirements of righteousness and integrity. We were all programmed to believe that Lee was so "deified," that he had reached the same infallibility status like the Popes of old, and hence, "even if he is wrong, he is right."

He taught all his followers to circumvent the laws just as he did, but keep on "eating Jesus," and all will be well. Forget about obeying the plain commandments of scripture, like "love your neighbor" and "don't sue your brother in court," because Lee has "recovered" the pure word for us and "interpreted" the Bible to mean something that every other Christian has missed out on for 2,000 years.

Who were we to have an opinion about what was going on in the LCM? None of us was even "qualified" to fellowship with Lee, since he alone was the deified "god-man." Who were we to question the deeds of the "acting god?"
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:16 AM   #30
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"The time for silence and shrinking back out of fear of being labeled heretical, cultic, or unorthodox must come to an end . . . The believers in Christ become God in and through their organic union with Christ; the believers in Christ become God through regeneration; the believers in Christ become God through organic salvation; the believers in Christ become God by eating God; the believers in Christ become God by loving God; the believers in Christ become God through the function of the law of life." Affirmation & Critique 2002

"Believers in Christ become God by loving God"...?? And my dog becomes me by wagging his tail when I enter the room...?? But I digress...

Part of the challenge of our journey is that we exist in a position where we simultaneously try to reconcile our heritage and yet go forward. Our heritage is, after all, the process of going forward! So we honor the past by leaving it. I've noted that DYL & TC are truer heirs of WL by taking kingdoms for themselves, and drawing people into their own orbit, than the Blendeds, who are essentially curators in someone else's museum.

So we have the uncomfortable choice: honor the past by staying there, or go on and risk be labeled a non-conformist? WL championed the process of orthodoxy, versus heresy, but when his own ideas butted up with conventional thinking he labeled himself non-orthodox. This is one of the uncomfortable legacies of Protestantism. Like Paul, we loudly shout, "I am a Pharisee and a son of Pharisees!" but we are Pharisees who "saw the true light" and moved on.

My argument here is that groups like the Latter Day Saints, the Jehovahs Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Local Church all present their initiates with a "warped present world" scenario, including (importantly) the current religious world, which they then contrast to their "true recovery of the past". So they offer, like WL, a "good land" in contrast with their depiction of "Babylon" or "Egypt" or "the wilderness". Now, they argue, the shadows must fall and the day must break forth. Look at that stark challenge to the status quo of contemporary Christianity: "The time for silence and shrinking back out of fear of being labeled heretical, cultic, or unorthodox must come to an end..."

Unfortunately the initiate may at some point wake up, after passing through the stages of being an avid novice, then a regular, and then a pillar of the New and True Church, and find out that (s)he is still a "stranger in a strange land". As the poet said, "Welcome my son/Welcome to the machine/Where have you been?/That's all right - we know just where you've been/So welcome to the machine." In other words, you thought that you'd escaped the machine, but now find that you're in yet another arm of the machine, stranger than before!

The stranger in a strange land archetype is perhaps this: the True Israelite (Jesus) presents his Jewish hearers with the truth of their own kingdom. He plainly reveals to them an embodiment of the true priesthood, joining man to God, and the true kingship, offering God's supervision of human affairs. Jesus is the heavenly Man who shows fallen, earthbound humanity their way home, to the Father's House. But His delusional peers don't recognize their own Priest and King, and drive Him out, where He offers this reality to new initiates. This was also Moses, also Martin Luther, also WN and then his adjutant WL. (And also Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon, etc etc etc). Raised in some shadow of the truth, then the True Light bursts forth, which creates tension with the precipitating shadows.

Orthodoxy, in this narrative, is bringer of both shadow and light. Not fully light, yet bearing it. So there is tension. Or else we ignore tension, live in a museum, and pretend there is nothing to reconcile. It has all been figured out. Which is where the Blendeds find themselves: in a museum. They have the New and True Orthodoxy, and are its champions. "Some day the world will recognize Witness Lee", they say. Deification, partial rapture, one church per city with one apostle (now deceased) presiding over all, through all, and in all. The new orthodoxy.

As another poet said, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" (I know we've quoted this before, but it's so succinct! Short, quick, and to the point).
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:47 AM   #31
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Unfortunately the initiate may at some point wake up, after passing through the stages of being an avid novice, then a regular, and then a pillar of the New and True Church, and find out that (s)he is still a "stranger in a strange land". As the poet said, "Welcome my son/Welcome to the machine/Where have you been?/That's all right - we know just where you've been/So welcome to the machine." In other words, you thought that you'd escaped the machine, but now find that you're in yet another arm of the machine, stranger than before!
aron, kind of funny your quote from the poet, especially the next line you did not include ...
Quote:
Welcome my son,
Welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline,
Filling in time
The "pipeline," of course, being a reference to the LCM children's program first initiated by Gen Gruhler in the early 90's. It supposedly began at their birth, and consummated with their graduation from the FTTA, to start one's career as a Full-Timer of Witness Lee.

More that a few loving LCM mothers got freaked out just thinking about their children emerging from such a machine ...

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Old 02-15-2015, 09:25 AM   #32
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...groups like the Latter Day Saints, the Jehovahs Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Local Church all present their initiates with a "warped present world" scenario.. which they then contrast to their proposed "true recovery of the past"...

Unfortunately the initiate may at some point wake up, after going through the stages of.. the New and True Church, and find out that (s)he is still a "stranger in a strange land".
The broader theme I see, and the warning which accompanies it, is going beyond one's station, or measure. Admittedly the present scenario is lacking. Protestantism is degraded, RCC is warped, Greek Orthodoxy is stale, and many "free groups" and post-Protestant spin-offs are indeed wild. But what to do? Start yet another religious movement? How to guarantee you won't become wildest of all, and drag many with you?

One over-arching theme in the OT is what I call "the three falls": that of Satan, humankind, then angels. All three erred in going beyond their station. It is one thing to see that the situation is hardly perfect, and another to present its solution. WN saw the splinter, and his proposal became a beam. We all do this, to some degree; it's easy to judge, hard to heal.

My template is found with the aged apostle John, who saw the Asian churches in disarray, and used this as a larger jeremiad against decay and corruption. "Blessed is he who reads and keeps the word therein; for the time is short"... just as Paul had told the Colossians to read his epistle to the Laodiceans and vice versa, John fully expected everyone to read his epistles to the seven churches. All seven epistles were together in the same book!

But did John go further, and propose a new movement, on "virgin soil"? If anyone could have declared it hopeless, and chucked it all and started anew, it would have been John, but he didn't. But WN was saved how many years before he started a new movement, and "took the new ground"? Two years? Two years saved, and he started his new movement? (Lee, Watchman Nee, a Seer of the Divine Revelation, pp. 41-43)

Jesus fully dealt with all 3 falls. All problems have been resolved. The Spirit of Jesus is here, and will reveal "this Jesus"! Don't move, no matter how degraded things seem to be... otherwise we're tricked into acting, and our last state becomes worse than the first. A strange land, indeed.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:51 AM   #33
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The archetype is perhaps this: the True Israelite (Jesus) presents his Jewish hearers with the truth of their own kingdom. He reveals to them the true priesthood, joining man to God, and the true kingship, offering God's supervision of human affairs. Jesus is the heavenly Man... This was also Moses, also Martin Luther, also WN and then his adjutant WL... also Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon, etc... Raised in some shadow of the truth, then the True Light bursts forth, which creates tension with the precipitating shadows.
It may seem crass or even blasphemous to lump Jesus' narrative together with those of Moses, Martin Luther, and Watchman Nee, along with David Koresh, Joseph Smith, and Sun Myung Moon. My answer is that history has fully redeemed the narrative of "this Jesus". Why? He was raised from the dead, and by resurrection, God designated Him as Heir of Life and Savior of the World. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The rest of them, their graves remain to this day. Peter presented all this clearly in Acts 2: Jesus' narrative is unique; He's revealed as the singular Christ. The rest simply create larger mausoleums for themselves.

Look at what happened to the Moon cult when he died (Wikipedia):

"The True Family, in Unification Church terminology, is the family of church founder and leader Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han. Church members regard Moon as the Second Coming of Christ, and he and his wife as the "True Parents" of humankind, who have realized the ideal of true love as the incarnation of God's Word. The members of the Unification Movement generally address or refer to Rev. and Mrs. Moon as "Father" and "Mother" or "True Father" and "True Mother." Their children are known as the "True Children."

Rev. Moon, now deceased, is buried in what I'm sure is a fine Marble Box, and his son, one of his "True Children", is running the Moon Museum... sorry, Unification Church... the king is dead, long live the king!
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:44 PM   #34
Freedom
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Default Re: A stranger in a strange land

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aron, kind of funny your quote from the poet, especially the next line you did not include ...The "pipeline," of course, being a reference to the LCM children's program first initiated by Gen Gruhler in the early 90's. It supposedly began at their birth, and consummated with their graduation from the FTTA, to start one's career as a Full-Timer of Witness Lee.

More that a few loving LCM mothers got freaked out just thinking about their children emerging from such a machine ...
While growing up, I generally had a positive impression of the LC and looked up to the FTTA attendees and graduates. I saw them as people who gave their lives to the Lord. It seemed like such a good decision to make. Later on, I came to the realization through what I saw around me that the FTTA was not much of a "decision", attendance was quite often a result of pressure.

One thing that was really telling was when I saw some resist this pressure. What happened is the pressure got even more intense. That wasn't normal at all. It forced to to realize that the FTTA is not simply a "Bible school", but it more of a factory or WL duplication center. I am convinced that if it weren't for the FTTA, the LC would be quickly declining in the U.S. The younger generation seems to find the LC less relevant as the older LC generation. The solution to that is to send them off to the FTTA where they learn how to dress, speak LC lingo, and "play church". There is enough doctrine to get them convinced that they possess a great "vision" and to justify the cultural disconnect of the LC in America.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:33 PM   #35
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Default Re: A stranger in a strange land

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One thing that was really telling was when I saw some resist this pressure. What happened is the pressure got even more intense. That wasn't normal at all. It forced to to realize that the FTTA is not simply a "Bible school", but it more of a factory or WL duplication center. I am convinced that if it weren't for the FTTA, the LC would be quickly declining in the U.S. The younger generation seems to find the LC less relevant as the older LC generation. The solution to that is to send them off to the FTTA where they learn how to dress, speak LC lingo, and "play church". There is enough doctrine to get them convinced that they possess a great "vision" and to justify the cultural disconnect of the LC in America.
I was subjected to the pressures of FTTA as well. No, no, no, and no were my responses.
I observed those that answered the call for FTTA received the attention and subsequent care. Those that did not answer the call for FTTA were largely ignored.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:41 PM   #36
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I was subjected to the pressures of FTTA as well. No, no, no, and no were my responses.
I observed those that answered the call for FTTA received the attention and subsequent care. Those that did not answer the call for FTTA were largely ignored.
For someone who has grown up in the sheltered environment of the LC, it is not an easy thing to have to face life head-on. That was my experience. Looking back, I'm very glad I firmly decided no to go.

Actually, even though I had no desire to attend the FTTA, it would have been an easy route had I simply wanted an easy way out of facing the real world. I think that is the situation for many who go to the FTTA. They might not have any desire to go, but the fact that they don't have any plans for their future makes it seem more desirable as it offers them decision that they can make and at the same time please parents/saints.
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