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Old 07-20-2008, 05:11 PM   #1
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Default New Light from Old

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Concerning the keeping of days, the Apostle said, “One esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Again the Apostle took a very liberal attitude, not saying which was right or which was wrong. According to the Scriptures, we should not keep any day in this age. Today, under the Lord’s grace, every day is the same. Even the Sabbath differs not from any other day. The Apostle knew this quite well, but he did not speak concerning the right teaching. He did not say whether esteeming one day above another is right, or whether esteeming every day alike is right. He only said, “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” His attitude was truly liberal!

Could we be so liberal? We must be so liberal. By the Lord’s mercy and grace, we must learn to be so liberal. I do not mean that we should be liberal regarding the Lord. We must be absolutely definite concerning the Lord and the church as His expression. But could we be liberal with all other things? Whether or not a brother or sister should do a certain thing depends upon his or her feeling before the Lord. If they feel they should do it, let them do it unto the Lord. Perhaps they will feel that they need not do it. Then let them not do it unto the Lord. If the Lord wants them to do it, they should not say no to Him.

We should not have any legal regulations, and we should not attempt to make everyone alike. If we insist upon having certain things in uniformity, we are legal. If one eats herbs and feels that everyone should also eat herbs, it will cause trouble. As long as the brothers and sisters do not do things that are sinful, we should not trouble them. We should only be definite regarding Christ as life and the church as the expression of Christ. With all other things, we must learn from the Apostle Paul to be very liberal and general.

Witness Lee, The Practical Expression of the Church


Therefore, according to brother Lee, there is no keeping of feast days according to the Bible.

Brother Lee also warned about insisting upon having things in uniformity.

Someone in the Local Church really should go back and read Witness Lee's books sometimes...
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Funny...I suggested that more than once to the local folks following the LSM.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:56 PM   #3
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Therefore, according to brother Lee, there is no keeping of feast days according to the Bible.

Brother Lee also warned about insisting upon having things in uniformity.

Someone in the Local Church really should go back and read Witness Lee's books sometimes..
.
Interesting comment. Actually, only the BB's today are rightfully allowed to interpret Lee.

This is why I coined the phrases "early Lee" and "later Lee." There was no other way to explain the conflict. And there was no way to arrive at a consensus of thought. Two brothers could read two different WL books and arrive at two opposing thoughts. Many did this. I did this. We tried hard to determine "what did WL really say." Early Lee was closer to WN. Later lee was closer to JND. The conflict between the CB's and the BB's served to highlight this dilemma. Both initially were sourcing WL, trying to prove to the other side "what did WL really say." Eventually, most of the CB authors decided that this was going no where, so they decided to return to the Bible.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:20 AM   #4
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Interesting comment. Actually, only the BB's today are rightfully allowed to interpret Lee.

This is why I coined the phrases "early Lee" and "later Lee." There was no other way to explain the conflict. And there was no way to arrive at a consensus of thought. Two brothers could read two different WL books and arrive at two opposing thoughts. Many did this. I did this. We tried hard to determine "what did WL really say." Early Lee was closer to WN. Later lee was closer to JND.
Ohio, at what point in time do you believe did early Lee become later Lee?

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Old 07-21-2008, 08:29 AM   #5
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Ohio, at what point in time do you believe did early Lee become later Lee?

Terry
May I suggest Lord Acton's dictum, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"? Lee and his followers entered upon a mutually reinforcing circle of abnegation (on the part of the followers) and usurpation (on the part of Lee and now his Loyal Lieutenants). Like a dysfunctional family, it is a group conspiracy that gradually envelops the participants until the day it blows up and one of them is standing in front of the judge who is saying, "What were you people thinking?"

May the Lord have mercy upon us all. I was part of it. In some ways I still am, probably; even my posts are 'infected'. I cannot judge. I can only repent.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:41 AM   #6
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Default I vote for Feb. 1986 as the start of the real decline.

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Ohio, at what point in time do you believe did early Lee become later Lee?

Terry
I think this may be a question many people would like to ask.

Not that Ohio's answer would be conclusive, nor any of our, but it owuld be interesting to see as a as a kind of consensus.

Personally, I have studied closely the first message from the Feb. 1986 elders' training and there was clearly a turn in his mentality at that time to work very diligently towards seeing what he understood as the practical side of brother Nee's ministry being put into practice.

This is the first message found in volume 7 of the Elders' Training series.

Lee expressly says in Message One that the change in his mentality began in Taiwan in October 1984. I do not know occasioned the change in his thinking, but I bet we could figure it out.

In this message, Lee implicitly calls for a purge, saying that "the blood" had never been "purified" from the "ambition" from the troubles in 1973. Again, I'm not certain what these 1973 troubles were but others here can surely help me with this.

In October 1984, according to Message One, Lee apparently came to point the finger squarely at T. Austin Sparks for the loss of the one accord and consequent blessing in Taiwan in 1955, apparently unable to realize his own role in the problem with brother Austin-Sparks. (This was well discussed somewhere at the other site and I'd love a link back to it if someone knew right where it was.)

In other words, everything was fine with the "spiritual side" of brother Nee's ministry but the "practical side" - which Lee apparently understood to be the Local Aspect of the Universal Church - had been neglected all these years since the problems in Taiwan and Lee purposed within himself to put an end to that. He basically says here that the Lord's Recovery is just "one car" and he is the uniquely qualified "one driver." This later became the teachings regarding "wise master-builder" and "apostle of the age" and such.

I really believe this one message, better than anything else I've seen, reveals the point of demarcation between "old Lee" and "new Lee" and I feel it also reveals his turn from just caring for the churches to caring for The Church in a "new way." The result of those days in that training was that elders all signed up to help him build the Universal Church and they soon began aggregating statistics from all of the localities in Anaheim. This was an attempt to guage the status and condition of The Church and it did have the effect of unifying by a system of human organization all the local assemblies that until then had merely been closely associated with Lee's ministry.

So, two questions:
what was the problem with "ambition" in 1973?
and
what occurred in October 1984 that Lee went back to Taiwan?

I'm sure these are discussed somewhere but so is a lot of stuff and it's hard for me to organize things sometimes.

My notes indicate that Summer 1973 was the last training held in Los Angeles, but I don't know why that happened, exactly. And I would like to know what was the book that resulted from that training. My notes say that Ingalls and Barber handled the training in Winter 1972.

Also, I see that the Life Study of Acts took place in December 1984 so he would have been preparing for that, presumably, and the final book of the Recovery Version of the New Testament about October 1984. Maybe something he saw in the book of Acts? Maybe something (probably "ambition") that happened while finalizing the RcV? I know Ingalls has written some about this but I haven't made a thorough study of that topic as yet.

At the end of the day, it probably doesn't even matter but it could certainly stand as a lesson to all of us if we knew where they started skidding so far off the rails. (Not that there weren't HUGE problems before this, of course, but just recognizing that there is a rather clear difference between the 1968 Lee in Practical Expression and 1986 Lee in Elders' Training Book 7...)
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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Personally, I have studied closely the first message from the Feb. 1986 elders' training and there was clearly a turn in his mentality at that time to work very diligently towards seeing what he understood as the practical side of brother Nee's ministry being put into practice.

This is the first message found in volume 7 of the Elders' Training series...

I really believe this one message, better than anything else I've seen, reveals the point of demarcation between "old Lee" and "new Lee" and I feel it also reveals his turn from just caring for the churches to caring for The Church in a "new way."

...At the end of the day, it probably doesn't even matter but it could certainly stand as a less to all of us if we knew where they started skidding so far off the rails. (Not that there weren't HUGE problems before this, of course, but just recognizing that there is a rather clear difference between the 1968 Lee in Practical Expression and 1986 Lee in Elders' Training Book 7...)
Good answer. I much prefer your specifics to my generalities. General themes are well and good, but without specifics they are empty, self-evident tautologies. Thanks for commenting. I will consider.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:09 PM   #8
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Ohio, at what point in time do you believe did early Lee become later Lee?

Terry
The transition was gradual, as many have already posted, but a major change occurred at the end of '84 with the end of the Acts L.S. training and the start of '85 with the beginning of the FTTT in Taiwan.

Some have protested this date as "too late" in time, others saying it never happened at all, but it works for me. WL highlighted this transition on numerous occasions with the phrase, "as I laid my pen down."
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:29 PM   #9
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The transition was gradual, as many have already posted, but a major change occurred at the end of '84 with the end of the Acts L.S. training and the start of '85 with the beginning of the FTTT in Taiwan.

Some have protested this date as "too late" in time, others saying it never happened at all, but it works for me. WL highlighted this transition on numerous occasions with the phrase, "as I laid my pen down."
Ohio:

can you cite to me a place where it is printed this phrase "as I laid my pen down"?

I think I heard that once but not enough to stick.

Your quote brings it back to mind for me and that just happens to jibe with some of my speculation about October 1984....
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:36 PM   #10
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Default Another excerpt from Practical Expression of the Church

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THE KING’S BUSINESS
If this matter is our business, it means nothing. But if it is His business, it is not a small thing. The local church is indeed the King’s business; so we must take a stand. Of course, some will oppose us. Nevertheless, we must take the Lord’s way of unity. And if we take this way, we must be absolute. If you do not feel burdened to take this way, I do not encourage you to take it. If you feel that you have peace in going along with the denominations, just do it. But if you are going to take the way of the ground of unity, do it in an absolute way. Do not do it lightly. We must mean business with the Lord.

We are in the Lord’s recovery, and the time is short. Luke 21:24 says that Jerusalem will be trodden under the feet of the Gentiles until the fullness of the time of the Gentiles. But Jerusalem has already been returned. I really believe that the Lord will do a quick work. We must be wise. Therefore, I believe that all the scattered brothers and sisters should come together to one or more centers. Even the students had better not study in a place without a church. The place to study is where there is a prevailing church. We must not put our studies first, but the church life. Even our jobs do not matter. As long as we can make a living, let us be concentrated. Then we can declare to the whole world and to Satan the fact of our unity. The ointment will flow and the dew will come down, and we will see the Lord commanding His blessing. Even the gates of Hades will not be able to stand against us.

I do believe that this is the strategic way. First of all we must be concentrated, and then equipped to bear the testimony and give the enemy the shame. Then we will go out to spread the unity of the church life to other cities.

This is the way to keep the unity. We must leave all the divisive groups and take the ground of unity. And we must seek the Lord’s leading for us to be concentrated together. Of course, no one controls this matter. We all must seek the Lord’s guidance. Perhaps the Lord will lead some to meet here in Los Angeles, or with those in Akron, or with those in Houston. We all must seek the Lord’s leading concerning this matter. It is only on the ground of unity that we have the ointment and the dew with the commanded blessing of life.

Witness Lee, The Practical Expression of the Church
Lee spoke at one point of the need to be concentrated in "centers" via migrations (instead of spreading out) and, ironically, taught that "no one controls this matter" of being concentrated.

One really must wonder honestly whether filling out and submitting migration applications isn't a kind of control or if it's just "OK" because certain ones have approved the forms and they are "leading ones" which means they can do no wrong and neither can we as long as we do as they say.

But if we do things contrary to what Lee actually taught us about such matters, what shall we say about this?

They seem to have created a very confused situation that will eventually require revision of many of brother Lee's inconvenient old books...
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:05 PM   #11
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Ohio:

can you cite to me a place where it is printed this phrase "as I laid my pen down"?

I think I heard that once but not enough to stick.

Your quote brings it back to mind for me and that just happens to jibe with some of my speculation about October 1984....
YP, I heard that phrase a number of times, and it became almost symbolic. The actual event was the finish of the outlines and notes for the Acts Training in Irving winter 1984. I was there, staying in Arlington. WL used the event to imply that his Lfe Study work in the US was finished, and he was moving to Taipei to start something new.

At least that is how my memory remembers it, but I couldn't point to a book, I don't remember reading it. After that training, subsequent ones became wild promotionals for recruitment of full-timers and the FTTT.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:51 AM   #12
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YP, I heard that phrase a number of times, and it became almost symbolic. The actual event was the finish of the outlines and notes for the Acts Training in Irving winter 1984. I was there, staying in Arlington. WL used the event to imply that his Lfe Study work in the US was finished, and he was moving to Taipei to start something new.

At least that is how my memory remembers it, but I couldn't point to a book, I don't remember reading it. After that training, subsequent ones became wild promotionals for recruitment of full-timers and the FTTT.
I'm in agreement that the phrase took on a particular significance for at least a brief while but I never got completely clear on what it was supposed to mean before everything became about the practical issues of the "new way."

Do me a favor and keep this question in mind in case you think of something more specific about it or somehow run across it again.

My first training was Winter 1985 and the title then was "The Conclusion of the New Testament Part 2" with messages on The Spirit and The Believers. I had never heard of Witness Lee before September 1985. I am thinking it may have been spoken during this training which is why I do not recall it so clearly and did not have a strong sense of what it meant. I imagine you may also have heard this phrase at the Summer 1985 training, if you were there. I have no idea whatever became of my notes and outline from this training but I do somehow still have the abstracts and, of course, the printed version. I'm going to put it in line to comb through these and see what I can come up with along these lines.

I suppose it may well have been, upon concluding a careful study of Acts, that Lee concluded, "Our practice is not like this, either in the US or in Taiwan. I will go back to Taiwan and see if we can get our practice to match what we have seen in the Acts." But significantly, he ascribes the problem in Taiwan since 1955 to T. Austin-Sparks from that "put down my pen" time and I do not see that conclusion as directly resulting from his study of the New Testament.

Like I said, please keep this question in mind if you come across it somewhere...
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:59 AM   #13
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Default An Additional Word from "Practical Expression"

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Our practice is one thing, but to take our practice as a basis for fellowship is another. Our practice may be according to our need, but we should not make our practice the basis of fellowship. For instance, we love to practice pray-reading because it helps us to enjoy the Lord, but we should never make pray-reading the basis of fellowship. Whether you like pray-reading or not, we do not care. We simply love you because you are a brother.

Some who speak in tongues always like to convince others to speak in tongues. This is the problem. And some who practice baptism by immersion always like to convince others to take immersion. But we must be willing to drop all of these things as a basis for fellowship. We may practice certain things because they help us, but we should not make any practice a basis for our fellowship. We really need grace for this.

Even our way of doing things should not hinder our fellowship. The way we do things may differ from that of others. If this is the case, we should not say a word. Our way of doing things is not the basis for fellowship.

There have been some in the past that have tried to adjust us. But we have told them that since we do not adjust them, they should not adjust us. Could everyone drive a car in the same way? This is why we have “backseat” drivers. When the car is driven by you, you must drive it. But when it is driven by others, you should let them drive it. Could you do this? Could you let others drive and not say a word? It is not so easy. If you drive a car in a certain way, you should not expect others to drive it in the same way as you. Therefore, we told the dear ones who tried to adjust us that as far as we were concerned, it was quite all right for them to do things in their way. We only asked that they would please give us the same freedom to do things in our way.

We must learn the lesson of grace in this way. We may practice many things for the Lord, yet we should not make any one of these things the basis for fellowship. When we practice the church life and take the standing of the unique ground of unity, we must not particularize in any thing. If we once particularize anything, we become a sect. If you prefer to speak in tongues, you should not expect the church to speak in tongues. If you expect the whole church to speak in tongues, you will make it a sect of speaking in tongues. The church is general, very general. It cannot specialize in any particular thing. But the problem is that if the church does not take your opinion or your way, you will say that the church is narrow. But really, it is you who are narrow. We cannot take anything special. We must be general. Then we are really not narrow, but, in fact, broad.

To be broad does not mean that we take in everything. To be broad means to be general, not opposing anything nor imposing anything. If you are of a certain opinion, you should realize that not all the brothers will have the same concept. We cannot expect others always to hold the same opinion as we.

We must be general. We should not be particular in anything. Wherever you go, do not make demands upon others. Perhaps their way is better than yours, or yours better than theirs, but this is not important. We must be so general that we may have the proper fellowship. The proper fellowship is not based upon a way or a practice. It is only based upon the same life within us.

Witness Lee, The Practical Expression of the Church
Those who have taken the new way should not be particular about that. Perhaps that way is better than the way of the others, but this is not the basis for proper fellowship. As brother Lee clearly taught, the proper fellowship is not based upon a way or a practice. It is only based upon the same life within us.

It is especially interesting to me to see the "one car - one driver" thing in such a different context here than in the Elders' Training message! And it would appear that at a certain point, brother Lee considered that indeed, you can expect others to drive the car the same way as he did...
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:04 AM   #14
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I suppose it may well have been, upon concluding a careful study of Acts, that Lee concluded, "Our practice is not like this, either in the US or in Taiwan. I will go back to Taiwan and see if we can get our practice to match what we have seen in the Acts." But significantly, he ascribes the problem in Taiwan since 1955 to T. Austin-Sparks from that "put down my pen" time and I do not see that conclusion as directly resulting from his study of the New Testament.

Like I said, please keep this question in mind if you come across it somewhere..
.
Another thought presented by WL during this time was, "we have recovered life, we have recovered the truth, now we must recover the way." This supposedly corresponded with John 14.6 -- "I am the way, the truth, and the life." WL thus summarized his ministry in America: Mid 60's to mid 70's was "life," then the life study era to the mid 80's was "truth," then he had a "laboratory" in Taipei to find the "way." Eventually by the early 90's, this was superseded by the "high peak."

"The Conclusion" that you mentioned was a rehash of topics and the precursor for the "crystalization study of the NT" which followed.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:45 AM   #15
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Another thought presented by WL during this time was, "we have recovered life, we have recovered the truth, now we must recover the way." This supposedly corresponded with John 14.6 -- "I am the way, the truth, and the life." WL thus summarized his ministry in America: Mid 60's to mid 70's was "life," then the life study era to the mid 80's was "truth," then he had a "laboratory" in Taipei to find the "way." Eventually by the early 90's, this was superseded by the "high peak."

"The Conclusion" that you mentioned was a rehash of topics and the precursor for the "crystalization study of the NT" which followed.

Although I've never gotten into the printed Conclusion messages that I have, I did appreciate their purpose. Lee called them, at the time, "the consummation and final reaping" of all of his years of Bible study. It could be viewed as a topical index of all of his teachings in the New Testament and I've been amazed that some of them remain unpublished to this date, more than 20 years later. I really considered Lee might withdraw from public speaking after giving those messages. I mean, after all, what could follow the "final reaping" other than picking up the lost bits that have fallen to the earth? What comes after "The Conclusion?" "The Post-Script?" "The Appendix?"

As I understand it, though, Lee himself didn't finish the Crystalization study, did he?

Thanks for the insight about the three factors. I don't think I heard that before but it does seem to match his way of thinking. Except that I do see that there was a real problem with describing a practical "way" to meet and serve and having the saints apprehend that this description could be nothing but Christ Himself, as we recognize was the case for the other two items.

I'm sorry, but I just cannot accept that the applications for migration are only Christ Himself as the Way. And I'm pretty sure anyone reviewing this form would agree, even you, Ohio, who liked it for practical reasons.

There was an incident where some trainers had to apologize to a group of trainees about their way. The trainers publicly repented of their technique and prayed that their way did not cause permanent damage. We obviously couldn't say that no one could make a mistake. But at the same time you have to emphasize that anyone could make a mistake.

My realization in these days is that the biggest mistake was the action on the practical side before the recovery of the truth was concluded in reality. The consequence of failing to ever see through the veil of "Universal Church" is that they determined to build that very thing and have merely succeeded in enshrining the teachings of Lee and Nee in yet another denomination.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:15 AM   #16
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Default The Downward Spiral, when did it start?

The turn away from the vision WL had regarding the Practice of the Local Church Life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference.

Thanks brothers for bringing up this thread. In the coming third chapter, I stress this event. Few of the saints realize or even know what an earthquake this meeting was:

An attempt to salvage the Day Star disaster,

National Local Church Credit Union, complete with a national organizational chart with LSM on top, (bet you never heard of that),

Consolidation of existing but not so critical churches,

Move to Anaheim and to the "young people cities,"

Max R. becomes WLs right hand man to direct the churches on behalf of WL,

The Launch of LSM and dissolving of "The Stream Ministry",

The official designation of the Approved speaker list,

The shift from local initiated meetings to Life study ministry and common direction from Anaheim,

The appointment of Max R. to travel to the churches to make adjustments on behalf of WL,

The shift from elders being shepherds to being good organizers and dynamic leaders,

The public put down and humiliation of senior brothers and co-workers begins,

etc. Much more to report!!

The effects were immediate but gradual. While I have no use for the cult books that came out later or the authors, I believe the Lord allowed it as a loud siren warning to us. The full effect of this falling away came about in 1986. By then it was too late. WL's shouting put downs of TC and other senior brothers in 1974 became the fermentation book, spitting on Lang's book and the 1989 Lee is great message.

WL had the concept that he needed to be in charge at least by 1977. He told John So and myself in Athens Greece that he was the thumb and other gifted brothers were fingers whose function depended on being related to him. (Now that was quite a conversation!!!)

May we all continue in His love and peace and abound in hope.

In Christ Jesus, "Hope" aka Don Rutledge
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:21 PM   #17
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Default The Downward Spiral, when did it start?

I have a couple of questions...

1) What were the meetings like before the life study messages? How were the local churches organized to be on the same page, that is to share on the same subject matter coming from LA or Anaheim or were they?

2) When did the 'life study' messages end?

Quote:
WL had the concept that he needed to be in charge at least by 1977.
That's right about the time my spirit began to trouble me. Up to then, I loved my spiritual mentors (elders) in my locality. When I had fellowship with them one on one they led me to the scriptures & in prayer. They never said it was 'Brother Lee's' way is the best way. I was aware that Brother Lee was dishing out the LS messages. Our focus nonetheless was on Christ AND the church. The church life. It was not on LEE and the church.

But for the most part, I got a lot out of the Life Study messages... that was then though...This is now. I haven't picked one up in decades..

But in late '77 into 78......The elders who gave the messages began to emphasize strongly Brother Lee's position. They'd compare him to Paul the Apostle.

It got so bad for me, that after I left the LC, I didn't want to read the letters Saint Paul wrote to the various churches & individuals.

I purposely inserted SAINT to Paul because the only saints the LC ever spoke of were the saints in the LC. Paul was a saint!!
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:20 PM   #18
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The effects were immediate but gradual. While I have no use for the cult books that came out later or the authors, I believe the Lord allowed it as a loud siren warning to us. The full effect of this falling away came about in 1986. By then it was too late. WL's shouting put downs of TC and other senior brothers in 1974 became the fermentation book, spitting on Lang's book and the 1989 Lee is great message.

WL had the concept that he needed to be in charge at least by 1977. He told John So and myself in Athens Greece that he was the thumb and other gifted brothers were fingers whose function depended on being related to him. (Now that was quite a conversation!!!)
I found it interesting that when I "quoted" your post, the tag line was "Hope;911"

The details of this post in the next chapter will be helpful indeed, especially for those of us who have invested a lifetime in the LC program only to have this gnawing ache within of "how could something so good, become so bad." The events of this "very first special elders and co-workers conference" are shocking indeed. This preceded my time in the LC's by a couple years.

Hope, your comments about Max are notable. We always heard that he was extremely ambitious, usurping power and position, while WL, otoh, was always kind, benevolent, spiritual, magnanimous, and godly -- though perhaps a little "vulnerable" to the likes of Max -- because he (WL) was somewhat distant and "removed" from the "politics" of leadership, in order that he could devote himself exclusively to prayer, ministry, and the study of the scripture. Apparently that was a public relations message.

If your coming chapter expands on this post, then I'll pray for you, because you are "defacing the great image." And the "caretakers of that image" will be a little upset.

Can you also elaborate on this statement -- WL's shouting put downs of TC and other senior brothers in 1974 became the fermentation book, spitting on Lang's book and the 1989 Lee is great message.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:51 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=countmeworthy;914]I have a couple of questions...

1) What were the meetings like before the life study messages? How were the local churches organized to be on the same page, that is to share on the same subject matter coming from LA or Anaheim or were they?

2) When did the 'life study' messages end?

But for the most part, I got a lot out of the Life Study messages... that was then though...This is now. I haven't picked one up in decades..



The meetings were generally characterized with a lot of singing with the supplement songs and local compositions dominating the selections. Many testimonies were given regarding the experience of Christ in the brother and sister's daily life. Many were very enlightening regarding the experience of the indwelling Christ. There was much spontaneous speaking regarding passages of scripture someone had been reading. There was usually some Bible passage from the elders or from miscellaneous saints for pray reading. There were many testimonies and prayer regarding people the saints were caring for or had met in their daily life. There was not much ministry from the local brothers. The meetings were pretty much run by the members under the governing of the Holy Spirit.

In January 1974 Witness Lee shared his burden was to equip the churches with the truth. He wanted to fulfill WN's desire to give a commentary on the entire Bible. WL introduced the term Life Study at this elders/co-workers meeting. He referenced the training on Psalms and Ezekiel as something like what he was burdened to do. He then selected certain churches to be ministry station churches where the messages would be repeated by certain qualified brothers. Churches like Memphis and New Orleans were deemed too small and without qualified speakers to be ministry station churches.

From this beginning, WL's LSM ministry, the Friday night life study meeting, and the two annual trainings in Anaheim came to be the accepted content for ministry and church meetings and the ultra spontaneous member driven meetings were gradually put aside.

I too got a lot out of the Life Studies. I also lost all taste for them due to the abuses suffered by so many on the altar of the New Way.

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Old 07-22-2008, 03:10 PM   #20
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I found it interesting that when I "quoted" your post, the tag line was "Hope;911"

The details of this post in the next chapter will be helpful indeed, especially for those of us who have invested a lifetime in the LC program only to have this gnawing ache within of "how could something so good, become so bad." The events of this "very first special elders and co-workers conference" are shocking indeed. This preceded my time in the LC's by a couple years.

Hope, your comments about Max are notable. We always heard that he was extremely ambitious, usurping power and position, while WL, otoh, was always kind, benevolent, spiritual, magnanimous, and godly -- though perhaps a little "vulnerable" to the likes of Max -- because he (WL) was somewhat distant and "removed" from the "politics" of leadership, in order that he could devote himself exclusively to prayer, ministry, and the study of the scripture. Apparently that was a public relations message.

If your coming chapter expands on this post, then I'll pray for you, because you are "defacing the great image." And the "caretakers of that image" will be a little upset.

Can you also elaborate on this statement -- WL's shouting put downs of TC and other senior brothers in 1974 became the fermentation book, spitting on Lang's book and the 1989 Lee is great message.
On the one hand MR could be described as extremely ambitious, usurping power and position but he also had many good points and I can dig out some helpful actions on his part and he did shake up some apathy that needed shaking up.

And yes WL could be and usually was "kind, benevolent, spiritual, magnanimous, and godly -- though perhaps a little "vulnerable" but WL could also be more ambitious for his work than MR ever thought about. While MR attempted to shake things up he never sought to throw anyone under the bus. WL had no problem with jettisoning brothers. His motto was "shed two tears and go on."

In the 1974 meeting WL had been speaking for some time about the need to abandon the old cities and had mentioned Cleveland and Chicago in particular. TC stood up and in a very respectful way tried to give a gentle testimony for the older cities from his experience. WL shouted in a very angry way for him to sit down since his view had already been discussed before the meetings and then something to the effect that TC did not know what he was talking about. Bill Barker and Jim R. later tried to speak on behalf of Chicago and WL allowed them but his face and body language expressed his disapproval. He basically told them they could do what they wanted to do. There was no pleasantness in his voice or way. Everyone was clear what he really thought. There was also ridicule directed toward James B. and John I. for the way they had lead the church in LA but they were pretty much lumped in with all the elders and co-workers who needed to get with the new program.

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Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:59 PM   #21
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Does anyone know where I could get a set of the 2 Volumes of The Stream as it was published in 1977?

I haven't been able to locate used online.

PM me if so.

Thanks.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:12 PM   #22
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Hope wrote: While MR attempted to shake things up he never sought to throw anyone under the bus. WL had no problem with jettisoning brothers. His motto was "shed two tears and go on."


Ohio wrote: Hope, your comments about Max are notable. We always heard that he was extremely ambitious, usurping power and position, while WL, otoh, was always kind, benevolent, spiritual, magnanimous, and godly -- though perhaps a little "vulnerable" to the likes of Max -- because he (WL) was somewhat distant and "removed" from the "politics" of leadership, in order that he could devote himself exclusively to prayer, ministry, and the study of the scripture. Apparently that was a public relations message.




I have known Max since I was 17. That's a couple of years. (39, almost 40, to be exact). I just can't tell you all how much this man and his wife have meant to me over all these years. I claim no sense of objectivity when discussing them.

Oh, it is just so hard for me to write what I am wanting to here. I keep deleting everything I type.

Hope wrote: he also had many good points and I can dig out some helpful actions on his part and he did shake up some apathy that needed shaking up.


I can say so many things. And at the same time, I feel like there is just no way to say this at all.

Yes, he had many good points. And he did not try to throw anyone under the bus. WL's motto was 'shed two tears and go on' ? Oh, my word. That is anti-everything Jesus is. We love Him, because He first loved us.

WL was vulnerable to Max? Not even. It was clearly the other way around.

Yeah, Ohio. You nailed it. It was a public relations message of the first degree.

Boy, we all have our hearts on our sleeves at times here, don't we? Hope, you have written several times about reactions to things people have written that put you the floor. (I think those were your words, I'm writing from memory.) This is one of those times for me.

I look forward to some writing that may shed a more complex light than we have been used to hearing concerning this brother . Be gentle, everyone. Remember, he was one of the first quarantined.

I love this man. It's that simple.

FPO

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Old 07-22-2008, 04:36 PM   #23
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My understanding of the Mr. Rapoport incidents in the LCS is that he was a doer and Lee also being a doer was attracted to that in him. While those Lee had surrounded himself up until then were good men they were mostly concerned with the inner life and bible teaching and they were quite passive. Rapoport was more of an evangelist and focused on outreach.

Apparently Lee brought Rapoport into his LSM and family soap opera. What a mess! He should have stayed clear of Lee and his tar baby. Sad that ultimately like so many others he was disposable to Lee. When he was used up he was thrown away.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:14 PM   #24
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. Rapoport was more of an evangelist and focused on outreach.

Apparently Lee brought Rapoport into his LSM and family soap opera. What a mess! He should have stayed clear of Lee and his tar baby.
He should have stayed in San Diego. He was beloved there...we were considered a YOUNG People's church. There may have been about 150 members on average from what I remember. He had recruited about half of them!

He had just been drafted to Anaheim when I arrived. I heard him speak only a couple of times. Surely one could not take a nap in one of his 'sermons'.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:24 PM   #25
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My understanding of the Mr. Rapoport incidents in the LCS is that he was a doer and Lee also being a doer was attracted to that in him. While those Lee had surrounded himself up until then were good men they were mostly concerned with the inner life and bible teaching and they were quite passive. Rapoport was more of an evangelist and focused on outreach..

Yes, MR was a doer. WL had subdued the brothers around him and was always critical regarding whatever they did, putting them down and making a point to put down co-workers from the past. Thus it was very natural for the brothers around him to become somewhat fearful and passive.

Once the migration from LA occurred in 1969-71, Elden Hall was a place of little life and increase in spite of having WL. MR came along and gave WL an explanation. He needed to move to Orange County where young people were and get away from the oldness. Also MR declared that the other churches needed to focus on preaching the gospel rather than bringing in existing Christians.

I believe both WL and MR were carried away with their thought of a great religious movement. Neither had small ideas. It was pretty awesome to realize the summer training had gone from 70 full time in 1966 to nearly 2,000 full time by 1972. Not only WL & MR, but many of us thought that the LC was destined to be a large prevailing movement. The Texas area had gone from 70 or so in 1969 to over 500 by 1974 and the growth continued for several more years. By 1983, Dallas, counting children had over 500 plus churches in Denton, Arlington, and Ft. Worth had been established as well as brothers and sisters going to places outside the Texas area and the sink hole of Irving sucking some away, many never to be seen again.

Dear Finallyprettyok

I am very sorry if the mention of MR hurts you. I can certainly understand. But MR in many ways was like WL. There were many facets of their character and actions.

WL was very nice to me at all times. He treated me with honor and respect and had I stayed and gone along with the program I could have enjoyed a successful career with the LSM. PL also liked me and never tried to undermine what I was doing. But Thank God, my conscience was eventually too strongly attached to the Lord Jesus, the Word of God and to the love for the children of the Lord. WL violated my conscience in these areas and I had to leave his work.

MR also loved the Lord and was a big help in pushing saints and churches to be proactive in the gospel. Eventually there was a rivalry between he and WL. Both desired to head up the movement and there was only room for one leader. It was a mess. I came down on the side of WL. I am sure that MR has little use for me as a result and I would not blame him. I am so sorry I came down on anyone's side. Our loyalty should be to Christ alone.

I am glad that MR and SR have been a help and inspiration to you. I understand how it must hurt to hear or learn of any problems involving them. It is like the dear ones in the LC who are hurt when anyone is not complementary to their dear Brother Lee.

Please bear with me as I attempt to tell the story of the LC without prejudice. This is no easy matter and I do not desire to hurt anyone. I have seen enough of that.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:06 PM   #26
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Don:

I don't think we ever met back in the day. It blows my mind that all these years later, here we are connecting. Wow, huh? God is amazing, all the time.

I think we all have some post trauma stress syndrome about the LC. Some more than others, and that is why we are here.

I do believe I feel the gentleness of your heart and that you don't want to hurt anyone. I, like you, have seen way too much of that. And I have heard (read) you talk about what it was like for you in the post-LC years. I know that while our stories have so many differences, there are way more similarities, under the surface. Just like most of the time, scratch the surface just a little and find the ways we are the same.

It is impossible, pretty much, for me to describe what it was like there (in the LC) to people I know now. I think this is even more true because now we live in a very conservative, rural area where that sort of unusual religious expression just doesn't exist. Try to explain it to people and they start to picture Warren Jeffs, something like that. Crazy weird polygamy or something. I think that's why this forum means so much to us. We get it. For each other, from each other, we get it. Not perfectly, and not always easily, but we do get it. What a powerful experience it was, that we are here talking about it. For some of us here, it hasn't been that long in the past and for some of us it has been decades. But here we are.

So, okay. I'll do my best to bear with you as you tell the story --- and I'll try to add to it if I can. Like I said, I claim no objectivity when it comes to Max and his family. There you have it.

Local Church Credit Union? Boy, you are right there --- I sure have never heard about that! Crazy. And Approved Speakers List? Keep writing, brother. You have my curiousity stirred up here.

God Bless you, Don. What an amazing life, huh?

FPO
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:11 PM   #27
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Actually my impression is not that Mr. Rapoport "came along" and advised Lee but that Lee found out about him and the gospel work he was doing in San Diego and invited him up to work with him. Lee initiated the relationship.

Further I do not understand the situation to be one of rilvary between Rapoport and Lee for who would be number one in the movement. Lee was clearly number one and Rapoport followed his directives. From what I have learned Mr. Rapoport was too smart to think he could take over a movement started by Lee and run by him for years including in the Far East. Even if he wanted too he wouldn't be that stupid to think it possible. Apparently things started unraveling with the advent of Philip Lee and Rapoport's confrontation with him regarding his behavior. Nobody touches the prince! As others after Rapoport soon found out.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:17 PM   #28
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No djohnson it was a power struggle. PL was part of the show but it was a power struggle. Yes, WL seemed to take the first step in their getting together but MR told me how he had been waiting for the opportunity to be with WL and in coordination with him.

Willie S told me that one day we would wake up and a new flag will be waving. MR told me a coup was coming. When I asked him what that meant, he replied, "a violent overthrown of the present regime."

Several of His inner circle told me that MR was "the universal coordinator of the one new man." Dan Towle told me that for he and I to be one I needed to be in the coordination with MR. Dan and others in the inner circle told me that MR was in the position of Peter and was being prepared to be the leading apostle. MR had many history books on great rulers of the past Hannibal etc. He told me he read them in order to learn principles regarding how to run the recovery. I had read many of the books as history is a hobby of mine. I saw MR carry out the strategies of some of these ancient rulers quite well.

MR in his heart believed the local churches needed him to lead them and that WL's role was a Bible teacher. He told his inner circle after WL removed him that only he could put it (the churches) together and TC would be the one who brought him back.

On the other hand MR had many positive points and gifts. I still appreciate some matters in which I was helped by him and there were many that received his help. Maybe even more received help from his wife. They were quite a couple.

I feel so bad for them. MR was too much like WL. No one could get his attention. Both tended to way over estimate their portion and depreciate others. Both failed to recognize though they had spiritual gifts the blessing was on the truth, on the church, on the members of the Body of Christ and not on their person.

I understand that MR came to realize this and has acknowledged that his ambition and pride got the best of him. By the way whoever is without sin can cast the first stone.

For me this whole period of time was so sad for all involved. Eventually WL was way too strong for MR. I was in the meeting at the home of WL when WL decided to deal with MR and to deal with the threat MR posed to his leadership.

I wish I could say I was innocent in all of this and pure as the driven snow. But I was there. Was I all bad? I trust by the Grace of God I was not all bad, but I certainly did play in some of the games. Thank God for his mercy toward me. Let us all come to the feet of the Lord Jesus and take his love and forgiveness for all our sins. I personally have spent time seeking forgiveness for my involvement in any of the political power struggles. Lord, help us!!! If I hurt any who participate on this forum please grant me the favor of your forgiveness and I will be happy if you desire to address my failures directly.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:36 PM   #29
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Do you really believe that Rapoport would be that stupid? If he did read all those books and was such a good strategist surely he would know that he could not take over a movement which was about 90% Chinese - a language and culture which he was not from nor part of. I am not suggesting he was not ambitious. But I personally think it is a good thing for a leader to be a man of action and a person who can get things done instead of being a passive wimp.

It is probable he wanted to shake up the status quo and those with vested interests in it - like other jealous leaders - did not want their domains threatened. And no doubt Rapoport made many mistakes which apparently he has repented for. But from what I understand the biggest mistake he made was joining the LCS and letting himself get into the center of the Lee family and LSM quagmire. I suspect he is very happy he escaped when he did!
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:47 PM   #30
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Do you really believe that Rapoport would be that stupid? If he did read all those books and was such a good strategist surely he would know that he could not take over a movement which was about 90% Chinese - a language and culture which he was not from nor part of.


djohnson, look at Benson P. He took over the movement. He just had a little more patience than Max R. Strategy is everything.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:49 PM   #31
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Do you really believe that Rapoport would be that stupid? If he did read all those books and was such a good strategist surely he would know that he could not take over a movement which was about 90% Chinese - a language and culture which he was not from nor part of
So at this point, in America, the LC was about 90% Chinese? Care to substantiate this figure? Oh, maybe you meant the leadership. Was the leadership of the LC (Elders and Co-Workers) 90% Chinese?

For somebody who has claimed that they simply have family connections and have been to some meetings, you sure seem to know a lot about the inner workings of the movement. But anyway, let's get back to the %90 percent deal.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:08 PM   #32
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...But from what I understand the biggest mistake he made was joining the LCS ..
Sorry for dumb questions, but what is the LCS? ---Nell
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:17 PM   #33
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Do you really believe that Rapoport would be that stupid? If he did read all those books and was such a good strategist surely he would know that he could not take over a movement which was about 90% Chinese - a language and culture which he was not from nor part of. I am not suggesting he was not ambitious. But I personally think it is a good thing for a leader to be a man of action and a person who can get things done instead of being a passive wimp.

It is probable he wanted to shake up the status quo and those with vested interests in it - like other jealous leaders - did not want their domains threatened. And no doubt Rapoport made many mistakes which apparently he has repented for. But from what I understand the biggest mistake he made was joining the LCS and letting himself get into the center of the Lee family and LSM quagmire. I suspect he is very happy he escaped when he did!
Hello dj,

When MR and I were involved in the LC the chinese, at least in Texas and So. Cal were not 90%. In Texas about 5%. Similar in the Northwest. The mid-west was higher, perhaps 35-40%.

dj, you seem to know a lot about this topic. Did you ever know MR? Since you were never in a LC, you are probably making a big reach to assume you knew the motives of other leaders. Furthermore, I would not classify people you never knew as "passive wimps." It never hurts to give others a little benefit of the doubt.

Yes, MR did expect to lead the movement. It was not a matter of cold calculated thought. He, just like WL, saw his calling to be in leadership. He assumed it was God's call for him to head up the "Recovery."

Many times our actions come from good intentions which are found in our self delusions. When MR was attemping to manipulate some of the elders, he no doubt assumed it was for their good and was the Father's will that they come under his "positive" influence.

By the way, brother dj, there were plenty of brothers who would match your standard for leadership. Benson Phillips, Ray Graver, Don Looper, Titus Chu, John So, Bill Freeman, Bill Barker, Gene Gruhler, Ken Unger, Dick Taylor, Howard Higashi and a host of others . "But I personally think it is a good thing for a leader to be a man of action and a person who can get things done instead of being a passive wimp." When MR came to Texas for conferences and he came for several there were hundred and hundreds there. Where did they come from? Not from the work of passive wimps. When MR and JI came to Texas to recruit young people for the churches in Orange County, the churches in Texas gave up 125. They did not pack up and go just because MR made an announcement. They had been raised up by "men of action" and they were consequently men and women of action. The brothers in Texas were far more fruitful than MR. We gained hundreds more and brought many more to salvation and into the church than he. While the church in Anaheim was languishing, we were adding scores and scores of new people and establishing new churches.

dj you got this one wrong. It was a power struggle. I was there.

In Christ Jesus,

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:30 PM   #34
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...For me this whole period of time was so sad for all involved. Eventually WL was way too strong for MR. I was in the meeting at the home of WL when WL decided to deal with MR and to deal with the threat MR posed to his leadership.

... If I hurt any who participate on this forum please grant me the favor of your forgiveness and I will be happy if you desire to address my failures directly.

Hope, Don Rutledge
Don,

When was the last time you spoke with Max and his wife? This is certainly a rhetorical question. I sense an amount of regret or something in your tone as you're writing about Max. Maybe you should contact them.

Forgive my meddling. It's just a thought I had while reading what seems to be a heaviness in your heart as you're writing this.

We are all different people today from what we were then. Older and wiser, by His great mercy. The most important thing we need to learn from all of this is that the flesh and blood we once may have wrestled with was not our enemy but our brother. Praise Him that with some of these brothers, there is still time. I think there are matters that the Lord would have us attend to while it is still called "today".

Don't pay any attention to me, Don.

Blessings to you as you continue to chronicle a very sad story that will one day be to Him a glorious victory.

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Old 07-22-2008, 11:00 PM   #35
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The turn away from the vision WL had regarding the Practice of the Local Church Life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference.
Don, thank you for the points you outlined. For many years I had looked at 1974 as the pivotal point for the Recoveries descent. During these years I was a young child so I lacked the information you are now disclosing. I only knew how I was directly impacted.
Fast forward a good 30 years to our recent past in the last five years...in some local churches the question has been raised how come there hasn't been an increase?
What these points you mention contribute to why there hasn't been an increase among the local churches thus far in the 21st century?
Or has the ministry become such an emphasis for fellowship that it precludes Christians from meeting generally and practically?

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Old 07-23-2008, 12:04 AM   #36
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Actually Hope I know people who know Max personally and I have read some of his writings. That's how I know he is not stupid. You mention Orange County and Texas but my impression from your posts is Max wanted to take over the entire movement in place of Witness Lee. I find that quite a stretch considering most of the movement is in the Far East - then and now. Mr. Rapoport would have had to be the village idiot to think he could take over a predominantly Asian movement when he did not know their culture or language. He may have "wanted" to in an abstract kind of way the same way I wouldn't mind a private jet to avoid the airport lines when I travel. But for him to really think it possible in practical terms...I'm not buying it. Do you seriously think he thought he could get the Far Eastern leadership on board to agree with him in taking Lee's place? I don't. Has he directly admitted this to you Hope i.e. that he thought taking over the entire movement including the Far East was a realistic possibility?

Regarding my term "passive wimps" I am not necessarily referring to anyone in the LCS but as a general statement. Further my criteria for leadership is not merely the ability to get things done but of course the biblical standards as described in 1st Timothy.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:05 AM   #37
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Nell LCS = local church system.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:01 AM   #38
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Actually Hope I know people who know Max personally and I have read some of his writings. That's how I know he is not stupid. You mention Orange County and Texas but my impression from your posts is Max wanted to take over the entire movement in place of Witness Lee. I find that quite a stretch considering most of the movement is in the Far East - then and now. Mr. Rapoport would have had to be the village idiot to think he could take over a predominantly Asian movement when he did not know their culture or language. He may have "wanted" to in an abstract kind of way the same way I wouldn't mind a private jet to avoid the airport lines when I travel. But for him to really think it possible in practical terms...I'm not buying it. Do you seriously think he thought he could get the Far Eastern leadership on board to agree with him in taking Lee's place? I don't. Has he directly admitted this to you Hope i.e. that he thought taking over the entire movement including the Far East was a realistic possibility?

Regarding my term "passive wimps" I am not necessarily referring to anyone in the LCS but as a general statement. Further my criteria for leadership is not merely the ability to get things done but of course the biblical standards as described in 1st Timothy.

Hello djohnson,


You are cracking me up. You know people who know Max and have read some of his writings. The only writings by Max I am aware of were articles in the "Rivers" magazine. Is this what you had reference to or has MR written more formal articles? The "Rivers" articles were more in the way of testimony and exhortation and I cannot see getting a gage of a person's intellect from those articles.

MR was not dumb but very capable. He rose to the top of the LCS in a very short time. He is very talented. He believed he would be heading up the LCs in North America, Europe and Africa etc. He was not going around with a map staking claim to this country and that. He wanted to lead men, people and I can never remember him referring to the Far East as a sphere where he expected to have direct influence. He did visit there and was a speaker in conferences.

MR was the ultimate people person. He was interested in leading and coordinating with elders, churches and co-workers. He believed there were many short comings in the leading ones during those days and they needed leadership and it happened to be his leadership. There can be no doubt that MR and his inner circle saw him as the heir apparent to Witness Lee and some told me the mantle had already been passed.

dj, don't think MR's ambition was something sinister. He loved to preach the gospel and see sinners saved. He believed the LCs were not up to standard here. He loved to shepherd new believers and see them live a happy strong Christian life. All of us have mixed motives. He also enjoyed the spot light and enjoyed being up front. Look up extrovert in the dictionary and you will see a picture of a young Max Rapoport.

Enough said on this subject. dj, be at peace. But it was a power struggle.

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Old 07-23-2008, 07:32 AM   #39
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Actually Hope I did happen to read 2 articles he wrote for Rivers and another article he wrote from a newsletter which I think had "Bruised Reeds" in it's title. And apparently my assessment was correct for as you concede he was not dumb but very capable.

My question is did Mr. Rapoport convey to you directly that he was in a "power struggle" with Witness Lee to take over Lee's movement? That he realistically thought he could do this?
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:42 AM   #40
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aron actually Benson Phillips did not take over the movement. That is one of the reasons I am so skeptical about this issue. Witness Lee still runs the place from his grave about 10 years after he died! For someone to think while Lee was alive he could take it over is well...just plain stupid. And from what I can ascertain Rapoport does not seem like a stupid guy to me.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:51 AM   #41
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Admin an accurate reading of the posts indicate that at first Hope relayed that Rapoport was trying to take over the movement not the movement in America specifically but the movement as a whole. It does not take a rocket scientist to know the movement is predominantly Far Eastern. I just don't find it plausible that while a Chinese leader was alive with deep roots in the Far East and with the overseas Chinese that an American with a brain in his head would realistically think he could take it over.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:27 AM   #42
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Actually Hope I did happen to read 2 articles he wrote for Rivers and another article he wrote from a newsletter which I think had "Bruised Reeds" in it's title. And apparently my assessment was correct for as you concede he was not dumb but very capable.

My question is did Mr. Rapoport convey to you directly that he was in a "power struggle" with Witness Lee to take over Lee's movement? That he realistically thought he could do this?


I guess you got me.

I can never recall Max or one of his inner circle ever conveying to me directly "that he was in a "power struggle" with Witness Lee to take over Lee's movement." What would you prefer to call the conflict between the two leaders. Since you seem to feel your assessments are more accurate than mine, how would you characterize the last 12 months of their relationship. Of course if Max had a half a brain he would not say such a thing directly to anyone. To say you were in a power struggle with WL would have been the death nell.

It is interesting that Benson P. a West Texan has been able to exercise control and influence over the LCS to the point of quarantining Titus Chu, who was Chinese the last time I checked.

Maybe Max thought he could take over the Far East, maybe he did not. We never talked about that. He only discussed his growing influence over the areas I mentioned.

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:19 PM   #43
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It is interesting that Benson P. a West Texan has been able to exercise control and influence over the LCS to the point of quarantining Titus Chu, who was Chinese the last time I checked.
Don, from a distance I don't think it has been Benson Phillips alone who has been able to exercise control and influence over the local church system. Last I knew many of the blended brothers served in Texas either as elders or via Living Stream Ministry. Wouldn't many of these brothers be in sync with Benson and share his concepts?
From the blended brother's function combined with the stature and respect they have among the local churches, it would be easy to give a word regarding Titus and persuade localities to quarantine Titus.
In my honest opinion it was more of a battle of wills between TC/LSM than it was a power struggle as you have portrayed in the past.

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #44
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aron actually Benson Phillips did not take over the movement. That is one of the reasons I am so skeptical about this issue. Witness Lee still runs the place from his grave about 10 years after he died! For someone to think while Lee was alive he could take it over is well...just plain stupid. And from what I can ascertain Rapoport does not seem like a stupid guy to me.
This is not correct. Today, the teachings of WN/WL are being manipulated for power and personal gain by BP and a core of BB's.

Let the reader decide which views are more accurate. Hope had first hand contact with many early LC leaders, and has presented many valuable insights. djohnson, by his own admission, "had a friend" in the LC and has "had an interest" in LC events over the years.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:48 PM   #45
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I guess you got me.

I can never recall Max or one of his inner circle ever conveying to me directly "that he was in a "power struggle" with Witness Lee to take over Lee's movement." What would you prefer to call the conflict between the two leaders. Since you seem to feel your assessments are more accurate than mine, how would you characterize the last 12 months of their relationship. Of course if Max had a half a brain he would not say such a thing directly to anyone. To say you were in a power struggle with WL would have been the death nell.

It is interesting that Benson P. a West Texan has been able to exercise control and influence over the LCS to the point of quarantining Titus Chu, who was Chinese the last time I checked.

Maybe Max thought he could take over the Far East, maybe he did not. We never talked about that. He only discussed his growing influence over the areas I mentioned.
Even as a youngster in the LC (1976 thru 1978) I knew these two things:

1. The leader of the Lord's Recovery lives in Anaheim, Calif.

2. Max R. was the heir apparent to the aging WL.



Hope, thanks for confirming Aron's view that the "West Texan" had the patience and strategy to out maneuver TC. It might have taken him 30 years, but he did it. Knowing TC, this is just incredible. Part of his strategy was to make this a confrontation between "one man" and "all the blendeds." As a friend of mine once naively said, "all the brothers are one except that TC."
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:51 PM   #46
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Ohio I do not believe the teachings of WN/WL are being manipulated per se. I think his writings are the leader of the LCS. He is the one minister of the age.

Further I am not debating Hope's position on the issue. I am questioning those that told him about Rapoport's desire to take over the movement e.g. Dan Towle, Lee etc. And here's why: I think Lee suffered from paranoia. This is evident in his The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion book. So in his head and those around him Rapoport could have been a perceived threat in the terms Hope describes just like those in the book were later. But was he an actual threat and did he really want to realistically take over the movement? I'm not saying he didn't I'm just saying it sounds far fetched considering the circumstances and make up of the movement itself.

BTW I have read the above mentioned book by Lee and his lieutenents then I read Mallon's letters that were posted on the internet, then I read somewhere that Mauro from the bereans site was a coworker and quoted in the book and was set up to say what he said and repented for misrepresenting the truth, then I read Ingall's book and some other material. Quite a difference between all this and Lee's book I would say.

So again I am not debating whether some thought and esp Lee that Rapoport was a perceived threat but so were a lot of other people in the paranoia-filled world of the LCS! And that's why I have asked Hope if he heard this directly from Rapoport.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:15 PM   #47
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Further I am not debating Hope's position on the issue. I am questioning those that told him about Rapoport's desire to take over the movement e.g. Dan Towle, Lee etc. And here's why: I think Lee suffered from paranoia. This is evident in his The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion book.
Did WL tell you this himself? Did you hear about his paranoia from WL directly? I never read that in the book FOTPR.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:23 PM   #48
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Paranoia: "Baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others."

Ohio Witness Lee engaged in conspiracy theories and had spies checking up on people including what restaurants they ate at. What does that tell you?
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:28 PM   #49
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Hope, thanks for confirming Aron's view that the "West Texan" had the patience and strategy to out maneuver TC. It might have taken him 30 years, but he did it. Knowing TC, this is just incredible. Part of his strategy was to make this a confrontation between "one man" and "all the blendeds." As a friend of mine once naively said, "all the brothers are one except that TC."

Btw, I also at one time heard a lot of talk about another "West Texan" who could never make it to the White House.
It is no accident that there are so many Blendeds who are Texans. Benson built his base out of loyal brothers and took many of them with him to Anaheim. Actually, Texans were placed all over the country through migrations.

I still remember being surprised to learn in the late 80s about the struggle between Benson and Titus over the Local Church in Cedar Rapids. Benson placed an elder there from OKC (an LC in his region containing a lot of Texans) and was maneuvering to bring that LC under the control of his region. There were some in Cedar Rapids who were being helped by Titus.

The brother who was sent there by Benson later told my husband and me about the struggle he witnessed and the things he heard behind the scenes that were said about Titus. He was totally repulsed by this and by the competition for control over that LC. He left the LC shortly after this.

Others might have some awareness of this and know more details. I just heard about this in one conversation many years ago. I was totally stunned that there was this kind of fighting over an LC and that Benson did not think well of TC. I just couldn't imagine there was this kind of struggle among brothers. Who could ever have imagined what was going to grow up from those ugly little seeds? Yes, Benson's maneuvering activities concerning Titus have some pretty deep roots.

I once heard that sibling rivalry in a family is usually due to one or more parents showing favoritism. The children compete with one another for the favor of the parent(s). It is plain that the relationship between Lee and all his LC leader children fueled this kind of behavior.

Benson was definitely the most patient, and he certainly knew how to position and use other people for achieving his longterm goals.

Lee preached oneness, but his ways sowed division.

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Old 07-23-2008, 08:29 PM   #50
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It is no accident that there are so many Blendeds who are Texans. Benson built his base out of loyal brothers and took many of them with him to Anaheim. Actually, Texans were placed all over the country through migrations.

I once heard that sibling rivalry in a family is usually due to one or more parents showing favoritism. The children compete with one another for the favor of the parent(s). It is plain that the relationship between Lee and all his LC leader children fueled this kind of behavior.

Benson was definitely the most patient, and he certainly knew how to position and use other people for achieving his longterm goals.

Lee preached oneness, but his ways sowed division.

Thankful Jane
Jane, I understand what your getting at. Clear and simple there's too much emphasis on man and not enough on the Lord. Which is why we have these unsavory power struggles, factions, and unconditional allegainces to man in the local churches. In reading what Don has had to say, he's been one of the few to emphasize discernment over personal relationships. If there are more who have, please speak out.
No matter how much you or I might like or respect a particular brother, that should not become between our discernment and in our walk with the Lord.

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Old 07-24-2008, 05:40 AM   #51
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I still remember being surprised to learn in the late 80s about the struggle between Benson and Titus over the Local Church in Cedar Rapids. Benson placed an elder there from OKC (an LC in his region containing a lot of Texans) and was maneuvering to bring that LC under the control of his region. There were some in Cedar Rapids who were being helped by Titus.
TC told that story a few times, he was really upset.

The church there was small, and the "ministry" was promoting "small groups" at the time. So the brother came from Texas to bring the latest "way," and divided the saints into small groups, and told them the Lord would bless them. The whole church collapsed in discouragement, and the Texan never stuck around long enough to help them.

I never saw one of those LSM programs bear fruit as promised. Many of the early reports were padded to stir morale, but that worked only for so long.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:22 AM   #52
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I still remember being surprised to learn in the late 80s about the struggle between Benson and Titus over the Local Church in Cedar Rapids. Benson placed an elder there from OKC (an LC in his region containing a lot of Texans) and was maneuvering to bring that LC under the control of his region. There were some in Cedar Rapids who were being helped by Titus.
I have never heard this particular story, although I’m not surprised at some level to find this sort of manipulation going on.

Hope may have some insight on this one. I have been pondering the creation of the church in Dallas back in the early 70s. The story I heard, which has been both confirmed and amplified by Hope, is that the first official meetings were somewhat hastened with a view to beating some of Lee’s rivals to the prize of claiming Dallas for the LC rather than another LC-like group. There’s even the famous meeting (locally) in which one of the others was there and was refused the right to speak. I never had a good sense about the reasons for silencing this man. Was it because he might speak something that was not from Lee? I don’t think the reason was ever given, only left to our imaginations.

Where is the sense of oneness in a city if there are two or more groups that would claim to meet strictly as Christians but they effectively fight over who gets to be the one. Why are they not meeting together? Who can actually claim that they have the high ground when all were moving rapidly to preempt the other(s)?

And don’t point fingers at the other guys. The history is of moving to a city where another group already meets, joining with them for a while with an undercurrent of “let’s follow Lee’s teachings” and when the existing group does not agree, leave them and start your own group. My Mom had a cousin in Clearwater, FL who was witness to that kind of thing when the LC moved to the Tampa Bay area. These were the people who introduced us to Nee and effectively paved the way for our entry into the LC a year or so later.

But now we learn that the same thing was happening within the LC? Not just between the LC and those who might be following Stephen Kuang or some other general followers of Nee? Wow! The sphere of influence is so diminished that there isn’t even an outsider with which to fight. And the result is the decimation of a small assembly.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:21 AM   #53
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Jane, I understand what your getting at. Clear and simple there's too much emphasis on man and not enough on the Lord. Which is why we have these unsavory power struggles, factions, and unconditional allegainces to man in the local churches. In reading what Don has had to say, he's been one of the few to emphasize discernment over personal relationships. If there are more who have, please speak out.
No matter how much you or I might like or respect a particular brother, that should not become between our discernment and in our walk with the Lord.

Terry
Brother Terry,

You have crystallized a great dilemna, that is our love and loyalty to the brethren and to gifted members versus our discernment and loyalty to Christ alone. Paul prayed for the Philippean believers, "Phil 1:9-10, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; NASB

While we need an abounding love not only for the Lord but for the believers, we also need knowledge and discernment and we need to distinguish between things that are excellent and those that are not. Of course Paul was right, this balance needs our prayer for one another.

I only hope that whatever I may write concerning our history would be of a little assistance in our increasing in love and having a little more discernment. To get through the many struggles we believers encounter requires not only love but some sober mindedness grounded in real knowledge and discernment.

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Old 07-24-2008, 10:46 AM   #54
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I still remember being surprised to learn in the late 80s about the struggle between Benson and Titus over the Local Church in Cedar Rapids. Benson placed an elder there from OKC (an LC in his region containing a lot of Texans) and was maneuvering to bring that LC under the control of his region. There were some in Cedar Rapids who were being helped by Titus.
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I have never heard this particular story, although I’m not surprised at some level to find this sort of manipulation going on.

Hope may have some insight on this one. I have been pondering the creation of the church in Dallas back in the early 70s. The story I heard, which has been both confirmed and amplified by Hope, is that the first official meetings were somewhat hastened with a view to beating some of Lee’s rivals to the prize of claiming Dallas for the LC rather than another LC-like group. There’s even the famous meeting (locally) in which one of the others was there and was refused the right to speak. I never had a good sense about the reasons for silencing this man. Was it because he might speak something that was not from Lee? I don’t think the reason was ever given, only left to our imaginations.

Where is the sense of oneness in a city if there are two or more groups that would claim to meet strictly as Christians but they effectively fight over who gets to be the one. Why are they not meeting together? Who can actually claim that they have the high ground when all were moving rapidly to preempt the other(s)?

And don’t point fingers at the other guys. The history is of moving to a city where another group already meets, joining with them for a while with an undercurrent of “let’s follow Lee’s teachings” and when the existing group does not agree, leave them and start your own group. My Mom had a cousin in Clearwater, FL who was witness to that kind of thing when the LC moved to the Tampa Bay area. These were the people who introduced us to Nee and effectively paved the way for our entry into the LC a year or so later.

But now we learn that the same thing was happening within the LC? Not just between the LC and those who might be following Stephen Kuang or some other general followers of Nee? Wow! The sphere of influence is so diminished that there isn’t even an outsider with which to fight. And the result is the decimation of a small assembly.
Hello Mike,

It seems like a long time since we have had a little back and forth.

That scene on Sept. 1, 1971 in my living room in Dallas is still too vivid in my memory. Gene Edwards, Gary Hendley (sp?) and who knows who else had decided that Dallas needed a New Testament style church life a la WN. We were attempting to have a prayer meeting and Edwards and his group were sitting there glaring at us and saying nothing. Edwards could have said what ever he wanted and no one would have stopped him. But for some reason he asked George Whitington for permission before he spoke. We all were pretty much speechless. Finally George said, "no brother." Then Edwards asked him, "why brother, is it fornication?" George replied, "you need to clear up some things on the West Coast."

The problem all came down to "which co-worker do you like and want to be loyal to." At that time, I did not feel I was in Dallas to establish a WL local church but because the Lord had lead me there. I was very willing to meet with the others and actively pursued them. We were looking for others to join and labor with. I know for a fact they were pushing for a start in Dallas separate from us and before we got established. I do not know what happened in Tampa but in the Dallas case I do point the finger at the other guys.

This event is one of hundreds of the problem of elevating so called workers and the "so called Work." This creation by WN of a parallel entity to the church, the so called "Work" has been divestating to any real practice of preserving the oneness of the Spirit until we arrive at the oneness of the Faith.

In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:47 PM   #55
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Thanks Don. You have cleared it up. It was not a one-sided thing (as I had suspected), but it was a muddy mess. I only asked for your input because I knew that you would have as complete a history as we could get. I did not recall that the “event” was actually in your living room.

I understand that your goal was not to start a WL local church. I even trust that your motives and actions were as pure as you could realize at the time. It is possible that the same could be said for the others who were there.

But it is funny what it all turned into over time. Have you ever considered how you would have reacted to the LC in the mid 60s if it had been operating as it was in the mid 80s and beyond? Don’t answer that. It would be pure speculation. I always believe that introducing one “if” justifies changing everything which makes such inquiries futile.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:25 PM   #56
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Thanks Don. You have cleared it up. It was not a one-sided thing (as I had suspected), but it was a muddy mess. I only asked for your input because I knew that you would have as complete a history as we could get. I did not recall that the “event” was actually in your living room.

I understand that your goal was not to start a WL local church. I even trust that your motives and actions were as pure as you could realize at the time. It is possible that the same could be said for the others who were there.

But it is funny what it all turned into over time. Have you ever considered how you would have reacted to the LC in the mid 60s if it had been operating as it was in the mid 80s and beyond? Don’t answer that. It would be pure speculation. I always believe that introducing one “if” justifies changing everything which makes such inquiries futile.
Hello Mike,

I can answer your what if. The LC and in particular the LSM was a different animal from what was there in the mid 60s. In the mid 60s there was no LSM. There was no "the ministry", there was no Anaheim headquarters, there was no pledge of loyalty and oneness to "the Apostle", in fact there was no "the Apostle." Nobody was checking you out to see if you were doing your own thing and not fully following the ministry and its office. I could go on and on regarding the items that were added. The mid 60s were so much better as all we had was basically the Bible without footnotes, the Spirit, prayer and love for the brothers and sisters.

As regards to my historical account: Got any clues as to where I am going??


I LEFT IN THE MID 80s. That is not a speculation but is what happened. Thankful Jane says I went poof. I never ever had any fear of some terrible fate due to my "abandonment of the ministry." Rather I had a great fear regarding staying. Had I quenched the clear conviction of the Lord to sever my ties to the LSM and the recovery movement I was clear that I may be through with the Lord. The transition was not easy and I experienced a lot of guilt and accusation for my great failures as an elder while in the LC movement, (putting my own interests ahead of the welfare of the brothers and sisters etc...) But I never was bothered for one second regarding my decision. After that decision the Bible became like an adventure story and so much light poured out. Going with the HWMR or Life Studies would be a big step down and backwards. Never had I had such a depth and width in my prayer life. Fellowship with fellow believers was sweeter than I ever could have imagined. It was like the Christian life started over for me. Yes, I did walk through many valleys of the shadow of death but I feared no evil for His rod and staff were my comfort. Praise God, a new day had dawned. I could write for days about the wonderful experiences of Christ we have had since that fateful day.

Here is how it happened. I was attending a soccer game of my daughter (was she ever a great player!!! She was called a magician. One sports reported declared that she had an invisible string between her foot and the ball. She earned a full scholarship to the University of Mississippi and still holds SEC records in women's soccer) but back to the point. I was going through the mail. I opened a packet from the LSM. There was Benson Phillips diatribe against the elders in Anaheim. I read it while the play continued. By the time the game was over my time in the movement was over. Yes, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but my spirit was rising and I shared with Sheryl the situation. She saw it the same way and we have been going on together step for step ever since.

Early during this time the Lord gave me this passage as a theme for my experience during those days.

Ps 66:8-20
Bless our God, O peoples,And sound His praise abroad,
9 Who keeps us in life,And does not allow our feet to slip.
10 For Thou hast tried us, O God;Thou hast refined us as silver is refined.
11 Thou didst bring us into the net;Thou didst lay an oppressive burden upon our loins.
12 Thou didst make men ride over our heads;We went through fire and through water;Yet Thou didst bring us out into a place of abundance.
13 I shall come into Thy house with burnt offerings;I shall pay Thee my vows,
14 Which my lips uttered And my mouth spoke when I was in distress.
15 I shall offer to Thee burnt offerings of fat beasts,With the smoke of rams;I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats.Selah.
16 Come and hear, all who fear God,And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,The Lord will not hear;
19 But certainly God has heard;He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,Who has not turned away my prayer,Nor His lovingkindness from me. NASB

Mike, pleae read the above passage carefully. The Word of God is true and does not return void. I awake everyday looking forward to what the Lord has for me, Ps 118:24, 24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. NASB

I do not fear or dread the future, Zeph 3:15, The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
You will fear disaster no more. NASB Bold words are by me.

This is enough for now. Mike, your question just set off my rejoicing spirit and song.

In Christ Jesus,

Hope, Don Rutledge





In Christ Jesus there is hope for us all,

Hope, Don Rutledge

Last edited by Hope; 07-24-2008 at 05:09 PM. Reason: adding more
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:46 PM   #57
djohnson
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Hope do you think that based on Lee's claim that the publishing work in the Far East was centralized under his thumb that with Stream Publishers in L.A. his idea was to grow it into an LSM like enterprise when resources allowed? In other words the seed was already sown back in the 60s?
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:13 PM   #58
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Default Heads up Mike

Mike,

I tried to post right after your post to me but djohnson has a post that is at the top of the cue. Please see the one just before his.

dj,

At the time, I had no idea why we needed a different publishing office or what the reason was.

Hope
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:00 PM   #59
aron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post
The mid 60s were so much better as all we had was basically the Bible without footnotes, the Spirit, prayer and love for the brothers and sisters.
Brother Hope,

Thanks for sharing. The simplicity of your description is a great help, and an encouragement. I never can never give up hope in the God who has called us!

I came in much later, in a church that was out of the central lane of Anaheim's current move. The elders were mellow, and the saints were genuine. A vestige of the original joy remained. But I could also sense a great loss, with wistful discussions of what had once been. What really touched me, however, was listening to song tapes from the "early days". I had no doubt whatsoever that the Spirit had once visited these people in a mighty and special way.

Eventually the spirit within me told me to pack up my bags and move on. Further adventures awaited. But I never regretted my time among those dear people, nor did I doubt that my season there had been of the Lord. But I also knew that further adventures of christian fellowship and Bible exploring were in store. God was also in 'degraded Christianity', and He wanted me to seek Him, and serve Him there, as well.

I have failed many times, yes. But I do not regret my trying to heed God's call.
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