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Old 12-27-2016, 11:56 AM   #1
Nell
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Default How the Living Stream Ministry got started

It's hard to imagine that there was a time that the Living Stream Ministry publishing house did not exist...at least as it does today. This is my recollection of the "Before" picture and how it evolved. Hopefully some of you who were there will be able to add to the story and correct any mistakes in my memory.

Around 1974 in Austin, Texas there was an announcement about something new coming called “Ministry Station” meetings. This was being shared in all the churches. Until that time, there were no publications other than an occasional booklet called “The Stream”. There was no Living Stream Ministry publishing house and no meeting hall on West Ball Road. WL’s messages were recorded and the audio tapes were distributed to the churches. The brothers then digested WL’s messages and shared them in all the church meetings.

Coming soon! “Ministry Meetings” which would be shared, not in the meeting hall, but in a nearby rented facility. In Austin the meetings were held in a community room of a nearby shopping mall, near the rented hall in north Austin. George Whitington (the “most leading brother”) shared all the messages which were called the “Life Study of Genesis”. Each message later came out in booklet form and sold for $.25 each.

We were told that “the ministry” belonged to Witness Lee. It was HIS ministry and he could handle it any way he wanted because it belonged to him. The “ministry meetings” were NOT church meetings and were therefore NOT to be shared in the church meeting hall/s. The ministry was “for the church”. The church was not “for the ministry.” This was shared several times and the leadership in Austin was adamant that these “ministry meetings” should not be considered church meetings...hence the offsite location. The “ministry” was a help to the church, but was NOT the church.

Someone who was in Austin might recall, but I believe it was about the time that Austin bought its current property on S. Congress Ave. and built a hall that the next change occurred. The message was something like “Oh. Never mind. The ministry meetings will no longer be held offsite but brought in to the church meeting hall.” I guess the unspoken was that the church and the ministry of WL are one in the same. The hall in Anaheim on West Ball Road was built with volunteer labor from all over the globe. The church met in this hall and the Living Stream Ministry presses downstairs began to roll out books, starting with Life Study of Genesis booklets.

At one point later, several Life Studies had been shared, Romans, John, Revelation, etc. and we were still buying those little booklets. The brothers in Austin offered to take all complete sets of booklets and have them hardback bound so we did (including our names engraved in gold!) It was so much better than a gazillion little booklets. Soon we found out how much trouble we were in. Anaheim/LSM took great exception to what we did. We were ordered to STOP forthwith. The LSM was going to publish all the Life Studies in a single bound volume and we had jumped the gun, making it unnecessary for us to purchase what we already had from the LSM. After all, it was Witness Lee’s ministry. It belonged to him.

Of note, Witness Lee actually wrote few, if any, books. The majority of his books were reduced to print from his spoken messages. WL didn't transcribe his own messages! The saints in the churches did. They were serving the ministry of Witness Lee from transcriptions, volunteer labor for building 2 meeting halls including publishing facilities, etc. Everything we were told when the offsite “ministry station meetings” began was reversed and the churches soon belonged to Witness Lee and the LSM. Thus the franchise began.

Nell
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

Thank you for this!

Were things really like that back then? Seems surreal... Now everything's a sales pitch for the Ministry. Only the children's meeting is still safe in my locality, but for how long?

(yes, I'm still alive; not much has changed since I dropped outta here in August. Just took some time to reconsider my views, but still have not reached a conclusion in favour of the LC.)
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

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Thank you for this!

Were things really like that back then? Seems surreal... Now everything's a sales pitch for the Ministry. Only the children's meeting is still safe in my locality, but for how long?

(yes, I'm still alive; not much has changed since I dropped outta here in August. Just took some time to reconsider my views, but still have not reached a conclusion in favour of the LC.)
Unsure, either we live in a random and meaningless universe, or God has placed you there for a reason. If you are struggling with LC strictures, rest assured that many of your neighbours are also. God has promised that to the degree you care for and shepherd others, to that very degree He'll care for and shepherd you.

And one day, in the midst of your caring and shepherding and feeding others, a great door will open for you. A door that no one can shut.

I know it's a lot to tell a teenager to "be still and wait on God", but you can do it. One day at a time, He'll get you through this season. He is always in charge. "His mercy endures forever" and "He never sleeps nor slumbers". He will lead you on.
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Old 12-31-2016, 10:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

I didn't come into a TLR "local church" until 1978. But did a lot of reading of LSM books, including all of the "Life Studies", and got "TLR history lessons" from a number of saints who had been in TLR since the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Nell's account is consistent with my understanding of how LSM operated from 1974 through 1985.

I'd add that from 1978 until 2,000 (when I moved away) my local church in Central California had a book room in its meeting hall that sold all LSM books and booklets based on Witness Lee and Watchman Nee's spoken ministries. Cassette audio tapes of Witness Lee's spoken "messages" going back to 1969 or 1970 could be "checked out" or purchased.

Watchman Nee books published by Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) were also sold. But, I was told LSM books had better translations than CLC's, and thus were a better buy.

By the late 1970's and early 1980's, The "Ministry Station Meeting" was conducted at the local church's meeting hall on Friday nights with spoken "messages" given by church elders (who rotated speaking duties) based on their "digestion" of Witness Lee's "Ministry Station Meeting" "message(s)" in Anaheim the previous weekend.

There were also 10 day "trainings" in mid-summer and mid-winter for those willing to pay $100 and go to Anaheim Ball Road hall. Thirty Life Study messages would be given by Witness Lee at each "training", continuing wherever he left off. Summer trainings were on New Testament books, Winter on Old Testament books. Winter trainings were moved to the new Irving, Texas facility in the early 1980's. Trainings were eventually shortened as Witness Lee's health and strength declined. Once he finished "Life Studies" of all Bible books, he went to topical or "deeper" Bible book studies with long, high sounding names including "Consumation of", Chrystalization Study", "High Peak". But, the content didn't change much. With time his teaching deviated more and more from the words Bible authors use, and increased bashing of "Christianity" and other churches and their leaders (though some of that was present from his first US messages). Scripture citations, initially read by "co-workers" before each message, at some point were no longer read first, but some might be read during the message, or a list given "on the chalk board" behind him.

Videos of training messages were made, and before the internet tapes were rushed by Greyhound bus to churches in the US, where "video trainings" were conducted in each church to saints who paid $50, or were "new ones" who were considered ripe for "coming into the church life" and didn't have the money.

During "trainings" video trainings pre-empted all church meetings except The Lord's Table Meeting and The Prayer Meeting in my locality. But, even those would be shortened so a tape could be watched if there was time.

I recall hearing "the Ministry Station Meeting is not a church meeting" some before 1980, but not after that.

While it may seem that Witness Lee and LSM "took over" "the local churches", but accounts of saints going back to the late 1960's and early 1970's I knew, the California local churches were very beholden to Witness Lee (with one exception I was aware of) from the beginning.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

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Originally Posted by JJ View Post
While it may seem that Witness Lee and LSM "took over" "the local churches", but accounts of saints going back to the late 1960's and early 1970's I knew, the California local churches were very beholden to Witness Lee (with one exception I was aware of) from the beginning.
Upon reading Nell's account, I was curious as to how the churches would so easily turn to fully embrace "the ministry" despite the initial efforts to make a strong distinction between the churches and LSM. It's interesting that some churches held "ministry meetings" in rented facilities in order to create a facade of seperatation between LSM and the church. When the people attending such ministry meetings would have also been almost entirely composed of church members, it becomes obvious that such a practice was a bit ridiculous and wasteful, but I digress.

It seems to me that the fact that everyone was so beholden to Lee from the beginning, was really the driving force behind various 'changes' that occured in the LC. Most of these things were not a matter of 'if', but a matter of 'when'.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

Don Rutledge once provided Lee's ministry agenda from the Jan 1974 elders' meetings. It was a jaw-dropping laundry list which itemized the LSM takeover of the LC's.

Perhaps someone could find that and post it here. It answers many questions, and it signaled the end of the "local" churches.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:33 PM   #7
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Don Rutledge once provided Lee's ministry agenda from the Jan 1974 elders' meetings. It was a jaw-dropping laundry list which itemized the LSM takeover of the LC's.

Perhaps someone could find that and post it here. It answers many questions, and it signaled the end of the "local" churches.

Don Rutledge
, a former leader in Dallas, Texas was well-respected among church leaders, including Witness Lee, and wrote about the flourishing time in the sixties and early seventies when the churches were growing in life and numbers, and spreading. It was certainly a time of blessing on a path of receiving believers according to God’s Son alone. That is, until the seismic shift in the direction of the churches occurred and wide-sweeping changes throughout “the recovery” set the churches on another path. And, the “local churches” of “the Lord’s recovery” would never be the same.


January 1974

DON RUTLEDGE: “The turn away from the vision Witness Lee had regarding the practice of the local church life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches. With charts and statistics, Witness Lee and Max Rapoport came forth to launch the movement. It was boldly declared that the churches would use Witness Lee as the exclusive source of teaching and Max would serve as the coordinator to bring the various churches, with their elders, into a unified movement. Two life-study messages a week were going to be given in Anaheim and ministry stations were set up in various cities to repeat the messages through designated brothers. Some smaller churches consolidated to the larger localities where there was a ministry station. The official list of twelve men who could give conferences was announced. Bi-annual trainings began that year. From that time on, the individual churches would be called to account if they were moving “independently.” In addition to coordinating the elders to act in a single direction, Max was charged to assist the various churches to be more effective with gospel preaching and outreach.

“He began to travel and, in particular, to meet with the elders. Those who would not be good movement men were pushed aside, if possible, or moved somewhere to be out of the way. On several occasions, Max told me that he was working to bring the elders and churches into one coordination for the purpose of carrying out the burden of Witness Lee. He told me several times that only he could ‘put the whole thing together’.

"I am not attempting to call into question the motive of Witness Lee or Max. During this time, Witness Lee did some very good teaching and Max did some very good gospel work. But what did happen was that the nature of the various ‘local churches’ changed from being local in administration and spontaneous in actions to being directed from a center with clear administrative leaders and directors.

“Things were definitely not the same. Some were saying the time of blessing has passed; or we changed our vision; or the moving of the Spirit left the churches; or teaching, doctrine, and methods replaced life.

“This time ended with a split between Witness Lee and Max Rapoport after a power struggle between them. Both had their followers, and Witness Lee won out. It was at this time, the time of becoming a movement that opened the door to Philip Lee and set the stage for the current Blending Brothers.

“After the split with Max, there was a pause in the development of the movement. Witness Lee began again to start up the movement consolidation in 1981. He bought property in Irving, Texas and began making plans to strengthen the movement. Benson Phillips and Ray Graver of Texas began traveling to the churches to promote Witness Lee, his ministry, and the office. By 1984 the first round of law suits had been won. WL declared that the boulders were off the road and the “Lord’s Recovery” could proceed. In 1986 the final pieces were put in place. The movement looked nothing like the early days of Elden Hall, Ohio, the Northwest or Texas or other places.” D. R.

There were more changes that took place that were of concern to Don and many others.

The Daystar debacle, sorry to say, was a catalyst for the changes which brought a stream of income into Living Stream's account for dealing with Daystar debt and financial security in the future which has given the current global authorities (blending brothers) healthy incomes and encouragement to carry on Witness Lee's name and ministry in spite of the hidden things of deviation, dishonesty and shame never dealt with by them in the Body.


At any rate, what Nell shared in the opening post I had never heard before concerning Texas. It is a glaring sign of departure from our Texas brothers who have carried on in the same direction to this day.
That is, they have relegated control of their local churches over to a centralized headquarters to a degree that places them in the category of ministerial churches, receiving people according to a man and a ministry, in the churches of Witness Lee.

http://www.twoturmoils.com/TwentyFiv...ntheNewWay.pdf
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonRutledge
But what did happen was that the nature of the various ‘local churches’ changed from being local in administration and spontaneous in actions to being directed from a center with clear administrative leaders and directors.
Thanks to the Internet and some older, faithful brothers and sisters from mainland China and Taiwan, we now know that this particular "change" Don speaks of was NOT the first time Witness Lee was involved in a usurpation of the Local Churches of the Recovery movement. It was probably at least the third time this kind of takeover by "the Ministry" took place. We know for a fact that by the 50s in Taiwan Lee was already hiring and firing elders and co-workers at his personal whim. Local churches were accepted or rejected based upon their acceptance of the person and work of Lee. Whole churches and even families were brought into turmoil and division, NOT over the very Word of God or the Gospel, but over the teachings, practices and personal authority established by one man - Witness Lee.

As a matter of fact, by the time Witness Lee hit our fair shores here in America, he had many decades of experience in taking supposed "genuine local churches" and placing them under the thumb of his "Ministry" - we gullible Americans were just his latest conquest. I am afraid that much of the freedom and supposed blessing we experienced in the beginning years was not much more than part and parcel of Witness Lee's "bait and switch" game - a game he had played and won a number of times before.

All this does not in any way discount, much less nullify, the genuine experiences of Christ, the love and fellowship we had among all the saints, or even the legitimacy of our mission to practice the oneness shared by all believers in any particular city. What may very well be started as a genuine move of God can quickly become a movement of men. What may very well be started as a genuine and biblical mission can quickly become the personal mission of a man and his followers, which in turn can quickly devolve into something Lee and his followers decried the most - an organization based upon the person and work, not of Jesus Christ, but of a mere man...in short...religion...the kind of religion that Christ is versus.

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Old 01-05-2017, 04:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Special Oneness of Gideon's 300

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Originally Posted by Nell View Post

Coming soon! “Ministry Meetings” which would be shared, not in the meeting hall, but in a nearby rented facility. In Austin the meetings were held in a community room of a nearby shopping mall, near the rented hall in north Austin. George Whitington (the “most leading brother”) shared all the messages which were called the “Life Study of Genesis”. Each message later came out in booklet form and sold for $.25 each.

We were told that “the ministry” belonged to Witness Lee. It was HIS ministry and he could handle it any way he wanted because it belonged to him. The “ministry meetings” were NOT church meetings and were therefore NOT to be shared in the church meeting hall/s. The ministry was “for the church”. The church was not “for the ministry.” This was shared several times and the leadership in Austin was adamant that these “ministry meetings” should not be considered church meetings...hence the offsite location. The “ministry” was a help to the church, but was NOT the church.

Someone who was in Austin might recall, but I believe it was about the time that Austin bought its current property on S. Congress Ave. and built a hall that the next change occurred. The message was something like “Oh. Never mind. The ministry meetings will no longer be held offsite but brought in to the church meeting hall.” I guess the unspoken was that the church and the ministry of WL are one in the same. The hall in Anaheim on West Ball Road was built with volunteer labor from all over the globe. The church met in this hall and the Living Stream Ministry presses downstairs began to roll out books, starting with Life Study of Genesis booklets.


Nell
Sounds like Don Looper was one in charge in Austin and being very careful with the idea of Ministry Stations and their influence on localities and local leadership. Ministry stations began in January 1974. And, in 1986 brother Lee was talking about Gideon and his leadership of 300 men. In response, this was written in Deviating from the Path in the Lord's Recovery.


"Gideon only needed three hundred men and the rest could go home. This was the spirit of “the Lord's new move”. There was to be "no uncertain sounding of the trumpet" for the army to follow with Brother Lee as its unique leader. He had the burden to train this army to get into the truths of God's New Testament and propagate them throughout the earth.

"Three hundred men had a special oneness with Gideon. This special oneness was essentially different from the common oneness of the nation of Israel. In the same way, Witness Lee called for an army of followers, pointing out that “those who followed Gideon to fight against the Philistines defeated them and rescued the entire nation of Israel”. He spoke the following clear and important word about this special oneness.

"Whether or not a certain church takes the ministry does not decide whether that church is a genuine local church. The title of this message does not say “no uncertain sounding of the trumpet in the Lord’s recovery” but “in the Lord’s ministry.” I am not talking about something in the Lord’s recovery, but I am talking about the ministry…. The ministry is altogether filled up with a fighting spirit. I do not control any church. All the saints who have left the denominations, the divisive sects, and stand on the proper ground are a local church in their locality. They can express their opinions, but they may have nothing to do with this ministry. (Elders’ Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord’s Move, pp. 81-82)

The Work and the Church Mixed

"In the new way, however, the work and the church became mixed, or blurred. The one trumpet in the Lord’s ministry became the one trumpet in the Lord’s recovery. The special oneness with a ministry became THE ONENESS in the recovery. This surely changed the nature of the recovery and became the underpinning for a new center of focus in all the churches – THE MINISTRY. That focus led to division and the loss of hundreds of saints in the 1980s. (Deviating from the Path, 2008)
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:00 PM   #10
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The Work and the Church Mixed

In the new way, however, the work and the church became mixed, or blurred. The one trumpet in the Lord’s ministry became the one trumpet in the Lord’s recovery. The special oneness became THE ONENESS in the recovery. This surely changed the nature of the recovery and became the underpinning for a new center of focus in all the churches – THE MINISTRY. That focus led to division and the loss of hundreds of saints in the 1980s.
Thank you Indiana for sorting out a confusing situation. "The Work and the Church mixed". That's what happened.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Ministry Becomes the Lampstand - W. Lee

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Thank you Indiana for sorting out a confusing situation. "The Work and the Church mixed". That's what happened.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Around 1974 in Austin, Texas there was an announcement about something new coming called “Ministry Station” meetings. This was being shared in all the churches. Until that time, there were no publications other than an occasional booklet called “The Stream”. There was no Living Stream Ministry publishing house and no meeting hall on West Ball Road. WL’s messages were recorded and the audio tapes were distributed to the churches. The brothers then digested WL’s messages and shared them in all the church meetings.

Coming soon! “Ministry Meetings” which would be shared, not in the meeting hall, but in a nearby rented facility. In Austin the meetings were held in a community room of a nearby shopping mall, near the rented hall in north Austin. George Whitington (the “most leading brother”) shared all the messages which were called the “Life Study of Genesis”. Each message later came out in booklet form and sold for $.25 each.

We were told that “the ministry” belonged to Witness Lee. It was HIS ministry and he could handle it any way he wanted because it belonged to him. The “ministry meetings” were NOT church meetings and were therefore NOT to be shared in the church meeting hall/s. The ministry was “for the church”. The church was not “for the ministry.” This was shared several times and the leadership in Austin was adamant that these “ministry meetings” should not be considered church meetings...hence the offsite location. The “ministry” was a help to the church, but was NOT the church.
Nell
The church in Austin did what was warned against by both W. Nee and W. Lee. Nell's opening post provides a clear view of Austin's deviation, which gives us a window into the movement commenced in the Local Churches in 1974 to "range themselves around a certain leader".

"The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry."


There is a reason for keeping the ministry separate that relates to the keeping of the oneness in the Body. The apostles neither elevated their ministries nor themselves.


“Consider the local churches in Asia to whom [John] wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand.” (W.L., 1964)



1974

The Ministry Coming to the Foreground

Don Rutledge, a former well-respected elder relates: “The turn away from the vision Witness Lee had regarding the practice of the local church life began in January 1974 at the very first special elders and co-workers conference. This is when the concept of the work began. Few of the saints realize the magnitude of effect this meeting had on the churches. With charts and statistics, Witness Lee and Max Rapoport came forth to launch the movement. It was boldly declared that the churches would use Witness Lee as the exclusive source of teaching and Max would serve as the coordinator to bring the various churches, with their elders, into a unified movement. Two life-study messages a week were going to be given in Anaheim. Ministry stations were set up in various cities to repeat his messages through designated brothers. Some smaller churches consolidated to the larger localities where there was a ministry station. The official list of twelve men who could give conferences was announced. From that time on, the individual churches would be called to account if they were moving “independently.” In addition to coordinating the elders to act in a single direction, Max was charged to assist the various churches to be more effective with gospel preaching and outreach.

“He began to travel and, in particular, to meet with the elders. Those who would not be good movement men were pushed aside, if possible, or moved somewhere to be out of the way. On several occasions, Max told me that he was working to bring the elders and churches into one coordination for the purpose of carrying out the burden of Witness Lee. He told me several times that only he could “put the whole thing together”.

"I am not attempting to call into question the motive of Witness Lee or Max. During this time, Witness Lee did some very good teaching and Max did some very good gospel work. But what did happen the nature of the various “local churches” changed from being local in administration and spontaneous in actions to being directed from a center with clear administrative leaders and directors.

“Things were definitely not the same. Some were saying the time of blessing has passed, or we changed our vision, or the moving of the Spirit left the churches, or teaching, doctrine, and methods replaced life.

“This time ended with a split between Witness Lee and Max Rapoport after a power struggle between them. Both had their followers, and Witness Lee won out. It was at this time, the time of becoming a movement that opened the door to Philip Lee and set the stage for the current Blending Brothers.

“After the split with Max, there was a pause in the development of the movement. Witness lee began again to start up the movement consolidation in 1981. He bought property in Irving, Texas and began making plans to strengthen the movement. Benson Phillips and Ray Graver of Texas began traveling to the churches to promote Witness Lee, his ministry, and the office.

“In 1984 the first round of lawsuits had been won. Witness Lee declared that the boulders were off the road and the Lord’s recovery could proceed.” D. R.



“Consider the local churches in Asia to whom [John] wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand. “ (W.L., The Vision of God’s Building), 1964)

"The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry"

The Ministry Becoming the Lampstand
(Witness Lee, The Vision of God’s Building, 1964)


“All gifts and all gifted persons are for the building up of the Body; they are not for any work in itself. The practice of today’s Christianity is absolutely different in principle. Wherever there is a gifted person, a spiritual “giant” with a certain gift, that person will begin a work. He will build up a certain Christian organization or ministry, and possibly call it some worthy name. We are not opposing anyone, but we are against the wrong principles which damage the Body life. The Apostle Paul did not form any Christian organization; he did not set up any kind of work. For possibly thirty years, he just established local churches. And, he did not keep any work in his own hands. In reading the New Testament we can only find the churches which were built up by him.

“At the time the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation he was greatly experienced and matured. Of the twelve apostles he was the only one remaining. Yet he did not build up anything as his work, his ministry. Consider the local churches in Asia to whom he wrote: most of them were exceedingly weak; yet those churches were the lampstands, not the ministry of the Apostle John. John’s ministry was far more spiritual than the condition of those churches; yet he did not set up his ministry as a lampstand. In fact, he did not set up his ministry as anything. All he did was to further the building up of those local churches as the lampstands. Oh, we all must learn this! We must be aware of the dangerous tendency for any local church to become a work, kept in the hand of some gifted person. If such is the case, that is a real degradation. However much the Lord may use a gifted person, however great his ministry may be, the local church must not become his work. God’s intention is not to build up the ministry of any person, but to build up His church. This is not a small matter.

“In the New Testament there are the titles, the “church of God” (Acts 20:28), the “church of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), and the “church of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33; 1Thess. 1:1). There is never any “church of the apostles. The church belongs to God, to Christ, to the saints, not to any apostle.

“The greater our gift is, the greater is the danger that we will take over the church and keep it in our hands. This will greatly damage the church life. We must learn not only how to minister in the local church, but also how to keep our hands off the church. This is not easy. The local church is not our personal enterprise. The local church is the property of the local saints, not some worker’s business. Some gifted persons put a local church in their pocket. Oh, this is a real problem!

“All the local saints must realize that the local church is their church. If the local saints are not clear concerning this, they will allow a gifted person to take the local churches into his own hands and treat it as his personal property. Then the entire church life will be finished. The local churches belong to the local saints. The gifted persons are just the means to perfect the saints to function; they are only the instruments used by the Lord to build up the churches.

“Consider the situation in Christianity today. Look at the situation even from the time of the Reformation: four or five hundred years have passed, and it is still basically the same. Whenever a gifted person is raised up, a certain kind of work is established. I establish my work, you establish your work, he establishes his work. Then the church is gone. This is the source of all the divisions. However, if one gifted brother comes to build a local church, and a second gifted brother comes to build up the same church, there will be no division. All the work must be for the church, not for the workers. The ministry should be for the church; the church should never be for the ministry. We must be exceedingly clear concerning this principle. We must drop all wrong practices. A gifted brother should keep his hands off the local church. Although a gifted brother may sometimes not speak openly in a way of ministry, yet he still may quietly maneuver behind the scenes. Any such maneuvering damages the church. All gifts and gifted persons must be entirely for the local church. This is a tremendously vital matter.”

For more detail, see www.TwoTurmoils.com

Steve Isitt 12-12-2012
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

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We were told that “the ministry” belonged to Witness Lee. It was HIS ministry and he could handle it any way he wanted because it belonged to him.

At one point later, several Life Studies had been shared, Romans, John, Revelation, etc. and we were still buying those little booklets. The brothers in Austin offered to take all complete sets of booklets and have them hardback bound so we did (including our names engraved in gold!) It was so much better than a gazillion little booklets. Soon we found out how much trouble we were in. Anaheim/LSM took great exception to what we did. We were ordered to STOP forthwith. The LSM was going to publish all the Life Studies in a single bound volume and we had jumped the gun, making it unnecessary for us to purchase what we already had from the LSM. After all, it was Witness Lee’s ministry. It belonged to him.
You could even say all the donations given to Living Stream Ministry belonged to Witness Lee. The impression has been given at least during the 70's and 80's Living Stream was ran more like a family business than as a non-profit organization. True, you could say there are regulations regarding non-profit status. Maybe on US soil, but say Taipei? What regulations were in place to prevent any mismanagement of money? Consider Linko, the money raised for that land development investment, was that Witness Lee's too to use as he pleased?
Of course the brothers would never think Witness Lee would exhibit any corrupt traits.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:26 PM   #13
Nell
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

This is more details of how the LSM took over the Local Churches.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

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Of note, Witness Lee actually wrote few, if any, books. The majority of his books were reduced to print from his spoken messages. WL didn't transcribe his own messages! The saints in the churches did. They were serving the ministry of Witness Lee from transcriptions, volunteer labor for building 2 meeting halls including publishing facilities, etc.
Things were not much different in greater Ohio under Titus Chu.

We often heard that all leading brothers had to develop their own ministry. Then TC would add a few caveats like "of course, you can't use the church to build up your own ministry." Then all the brothers would take that word home, perhaps pray, add some extra energy, and hope for the best.

But how did Titus Chu, like Lee before him, build up his ministry? Was it not built on the backs of the saints? Was it not the offerings and the volunteer labor of the saints to build the meeting hall, and to build him a home on church property? Did not the saints "volunteer" to take care of his other properties, maintaining them, and making sure they were rented out? Did not full-timers supported by the church translate his messages and edit them into book form? Cleveland was just a miniature of Anaheim.
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: How the Living Stream Ministry got started

Indiana,
Thanks for posting Don Rutledge's accounts. That adds many pieces to the puzzle of the real WL, and the real history of the LC
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