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Apologetic discussions Apologetic Discussions Regarding the Teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee

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Old 12-28-2013, 06:29 AM   #1
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Default Lee's definition of faith versus the biblical definition of faith

In the Life Study of Galatians Message 8 Witness Lee gives this definition of faith:

"We may quote Hebrews 11:1, but still have only a doctrinal definition of faith. The genuine experiential definition of faith is that faith is the preciousness of Jesus infused into us. Through such an infusion, we spontaneously have faith in the Lord Jesus. This definition of faith matches our experience. The teaching of doctrine did not impress us with the preciousness of the Person of the Son of God. But one day we heard a living message filled with the preciousness of Christ. When this preciousness was infused into us through the preaching of the gospel, we spontaneously began to appreciate the Lord Jesus and to believe in Him. We said, “Lord Jesus, I love You. I treasure You.” This is what it means to have faith in Christ."

Faith is understood in the LCs as something that is spontaneously infused into you at the moment of conversion, and that it magically grows as you perform works such as like "calling on the Lord" or "pray-reading".

However I've come to have a different understanding of faith through my own experiences and reading the bible for myself.

According to the Strong's the Greek word rendered as faith, "pistis" is the conviction of truth. Hebrews 11 expounds the definition of faith further as the 1. assurance of things hoped for and 2. conviction of things we can't see.

I've come to understand that the Hebrew 11 definition of faith is describing the same faith that God required of the Israelites to trust in Him to deliver them from every need or dire situation until they made it into the good land and conquer it. I'll break it down below.

1. Faith is the Assurance of things hoped for:

God gave the Israelites assurance of their deliverance in every situation based on the miracles he had previously performed. Witnessing the ten plagues in Egypt and the parting of the red sea should have been enough assurance to the Israelites for them to hope that God could continue to deliver on his promises. God gifted faith to the Israelites based on his perfect integrity, but it was up to them to receive this gift.

2. Conviction of the things unseen

2 Cor 5:7 tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. The ten spies who delivered the bad report trusted in what their eyes saw when they witnessed the thirty foot tall giants in Canaan and they didn't have conviction of the unseen promises of God. However Caleb and Joshua ignored what their eyes were telling them instead choosing to believe in God's promise of conquering the good land because they had "conviction of things unseen".

The implications of this definition of faith is enormous if true. Because Paul says we are saved by faith alone in Eph 2:8, this could be the measure of faith God expects us to have in order to be saved. In other words we actually have to trust in Him all the way until we reach our promised inheritance in heaven.

The bible teaches there is a faith that can save us, and a dead faith that cannot (James 2).

For example say someone was forced to renounce his faith in Christ or be martyred and he chose to renounce Jesus to save his life. Does that person have a faith that can save them even if they at one moment "believed" in Jesus and went to church all their life? I would say this person did not have saving faith because he didn't have "conviction" of the unseen promise that awaits him in heaven. I believe Jesus was serious when he says that if you deny him, he'll also deny you before the Father.

I still believe faith is a gift from God and not something we "work" up. I've personally come to receive faith after God has answered my numerous prayers in circumstances that could not have been given to chance. Because God has delivered so many promises for me personally in my past, I can trust him to also deliver me in the future. I don't have to trust in my circumstances, because I know that God is in control and will continue to deliver on his promises as long as I walk by faith by trusting in him. Scripture says the righteous shall live by faith, faith is something we "live" out until the end of our Christian race.

It's interesting also that Hebrews 11 which is the hall of fame of people who had faith is also a laundry list of works that were produced out of faith! Crazy faith in God will cause us to trust him to the measure that we'll do some crazy things because we trust not in what we see but what God promises in his word and speaking to us.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lee's definition of faith versus the biblical definition of faith

I am sorry, but I cannot see where Lee's definition of faith is errant, or yours either. Just a different way of saying things. You know, I think a lot of the problem that people in the West may have with Lee's way of putting things is that he is of the Chinese culture and that is different from our American culture. He is attempting to translate Bible truths from his Chinese mental imagery into words that can be understood by English speakers. I see no problem with his saying that Christ is infused in us, that God wishes to enter into us by His Spirit. What he is saying is Biblical, he is just speaking in different words. My experience of the Christian life is that I was born again in 1983 and had the experience of Christ coming to live in me by His Spirit. That is what Lee is teaching. He is also teaching the growing and maturing process, and that is why it is necessary to study the Word, etc. I see nothing wrong with pray-reading in order to affirm and learn the Word. It is an excellent method. It is not a law. Nobody enforces a manner of learning the Word. But if you choose to use that method, it is a good one. It is not legalism to suggest good ways (works, if you want to call them that) to draw closer to God and to mature in the faith. The important think is to always be led of the Spirit in all that you do.
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