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

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Old 02-07-2015, 02:24 PM   #1
Awoken
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Default Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

I notice that a lot of the posters here are from the earlier era of the LC, i.e. the 60's through the 80's. From what I have read the idea of "worldliness" back in those days was pretty closely tied to the use of material things and also with popular culture. It probably also had a lot to do with denominational practices and standards (that, at least, has not changed too much).

From my own experience of this group, today "worldly" has a different meaning when used in the context of LC meetings, although not entirely separate. At least from what I have witnessed, going out to movies, sharing memes from current popular culture (particularly via internet social media), and such was not particularly frowned upon. This is especially true amongst the younger generation, although in recent trainings I have heard about young saints engaging in worldly things during training breaks and coming back smelling of "garlic and onions". That does seem like a pretty big allusion to popular culture. On the other hand, one of the elders in the church where I regularly met even went to a location near here which celebrates Christmas very openly and took his kids to a Christmas-themed store. I am not sure if this means there are just growing "avante garde" attitudes or if it is possibly because I am located in the industrial belt and this area is considered more "fallen" or what. I think the idea of "worldliness" in the LC has become much more closely tied to the systems that distract from Christ - i.e., an obsession with worldly ventures and entertainment, religion without reality, et cetera. To me this actually seems pretty reasonable, although it may not match the thinking of those in the highest echelons of the LC. Of course, at least for me - I cannot judge for others - part of the problem is that the doctrine and mind-control aspects of the LC became part of my own "world" without me ever realizing it. Oops.

I guess the problem in either situation is a departure from simplicity and simple faith, but just taken to opposite extremes. If avoiding everything that contradicts doctrine becomes your faith - and not Jesus - your faith becomes avoidance, not seeking. Regardless, I wonder whether anyone else who was in the LC more recently than three decades ago noticed any such shift, or whether this is just my imagination and personal/subjective experience of things.
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:00 PM   #2
aron
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

I was there in the "pre-television" era. I can still remember the shock I felt when I walked into an elder's living room and his teen-aged daughter was watching television!

In all my years there, I had never seen nor imagined such a thing. A few had televisions, along with VCRs, for watching "ministry" tapes. That was it. MAYBE the news, occasionally. But television, for entertainment? Never.

Today, from my sporadic contacts, I think it is commonplace. So there has been a big change regarding culture, and the world.
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

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I notice that a lot of the posters here are from the earlier era of the LC, i.e. the 60's through the 80's. From what I have read the idea of "worldliness" back in those days was pretty closely tied to the use of material things and also with popular culture. It probably also had a lot to do with denominational practices and standards (that, at least, has not changed too much).
The era that I was in high school and college (mid to late 80's), anything not of the churchlife was considered worldliness. Sure, it's easy to say going to movies, reading fiction, or entertained by sporting events is considered "worldly". Even if you ended up meeting with a community church, that too is considered worldliness.

Many from my generation, LSM churches lost these young people. It's generally considered they were "lost to the world" even if they went to Christian colleges, became missionaries, or simply met with non-LSM Christian fellowships.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

Since I grew up in the LC, I can speak regarding my impressions over the years and what I have experienced more recently. I wasn't around in the "old days" so all I know about that is stories that people have shared here. I think in the past, a much more literal view was held regarding worldliness. I have read stories of worldliness associated with watching TV, going to the movies, etc. I hear they liked to bring personal possessions to the beach to burn. Nowadays I think worldliness is associated with anything that distracts people from going to meetings. I also think that things like movies are still viewed as worldly, although, no one is really going to care much if YP are going to the movies. Worldliness could be taken to mean anything, for instance, if someones job keeps them from attending a semi-annual training, they might be labeled as too worldly. In my experience there is a wide variation on how "legal" elders are. Some essentially forbid going to the movies and some turn a blind eye.

Growing up in the LC, I feel like I got it ingrained in me what is acceptable and what isn't. There is some type of boundary, and though I can't say what it is, it has definitely changed over the years. When I see some of the things that some of the YP do, I wonder how they get away with it. I know that I couldn't have gotten away with some things when I was younger.

I think that "officially" many things are still unacceptable. I was at a conference back in the mid 2000's where Minoru expressed his concern that some saints still had a TV in their homes. I thought to myself at the time that he was pretty naive. I still think that. It isn't some saints that have TV's in their homes now, it's many.

When there was the Great Lakes split, one of the issues that I remember the BB's making a big issue of was the YP who were starting to experiment musically by including drums, bass guitars, electric guitar, etc in meetings. The BB's claimed all this was worldly. Little do the BB's know, but pro-LSM saints have done the same thing in the privacy of home meetings. Essentially, there is a double standard, however, I think there is a line that saints know not to cross in a visible way.

I think that in order to successfully recruit new members, they have to publically portray an image of being more "relaxed" about things than in the past. They let college students get away with things that FTTA graduates won't get away with. I think a lot is situation dependent.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

Thanks for that post, Freedom. For some reason I cannot explain I find these kinds of observations fascinating - I suppose because I became used to thinking about them and trying to define myself by such standards. It is ironic how similar in structure and "spiritual reality" the LC is to, say, Catholicism. The main difference is that the orthodoxy isn't written down in a set of rules, it's something you're supposed to decipher based on the LSM material, the BBs, and the other believers around you (probably in that order of importance, too).
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

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Thanks for that post, Freedom. For some reason I cannot explain I find these kinds of observations fascinating - I suppose because I became used to thinking about them and trying to define myself by such standards. It is ironic how similar in structure and "spiritual reality" the LC is to, say, Catholicism. The main difference is that the orthodoxy isn't written down in a set of rules, it's something you're supposed to decipher based on the LSM material, the BBs, and the other believers around you (probably in that order of importance, too).
A few months back I started a thread on holidays, and specifically, I posted some W Lee excerpts on Christmas. Part of one of Lee's statements reads: "Christmas is a blasphemy to Christ, and no Christian with a pure conscience should have anything to do with it." Lee was well-known for making these kinds of statements. These type of statements create a problem for those in the LC. Lee held views that were contrary to the views of normal people and even the views of the lesser-devoted members (such as myself). Since Lee is held as the infallible MOTA, what he has spoken cannot be contradicted publicly (unless rationalized by the BB's). Unfortunately for LC leadership Lee's views are not conducive for gaining people or even keeping current members. Simply put, members have to be sheltered from the more extreme views until later on.

Many in the LC do not hold such a hard-lined attitude on things like Christmas. Others do. The problem is that because Lee made such a statement, that is the official stance on the issue. Lee's views on many issues are found in his ministry, however, the problem is that you have to conclusively read his ministry to find out what his stances were on different issues. Furthermore, in many instances Lee said things at one point in time, then contradicted himself later. Since there is no list of rules, it is left to individuals to interpret what should and shouldn't happen in the LC. It makes for a really confusing situation. Members who don't know any better decide to do something that isn't sanctioned, and then suddenly find themselves in trouble. Others never get in trouble. There is a double standard. It kind of gets to you after a while, as was the case with me.
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

Wow, Awoken...coming from a Catholic background, that is exactly what I say about the LC...that it is more Catholic than the Catholics!! That was another of my major issues with the LC. I know they can't see it, but looking from the outside in, it looks a lot alike. Once that became clear to me, I decided there was no way I was going to involve myself with the LC. It took me 30 years to leave the Catholic church and that was probably why it was so easy to jump into the LC...it felt comfortable. Thankfully, all the things that bothered me about the Catholics were easier to spot in the LC as they were still very fresh in my mind. Not to mention, I had dear friends praying big time for me when I started sending them all kinds of literature and going on and on about the ministry. I do believe that there are many very sincere, loving and kind people in the LC. I have an LC member I love very much and he is not all bad! LOL!
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

I have observed that many of the LC are involved through digital media that can be considered “worldliness” to some. Most local LC members from this area enjoy Facebook, Netflix, internet, etc. What I find interesting is that those things are normal, yet they have no idea what is happening to fellow Christians in other countries like Iran and the Middle East, India, etc. Or what is happening in Israel. (I am not assuming that it is like this everywhere. It is a small group here.) When I bring it up as a general topic or even specifics, like Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran, they look at me like I am crazy to care and start going on about the persecuted LC members all over the world, especially China. I really don't get it at all. I get the same attitude when I mention helping the needy people in the community. It seems the entire focus for the LC here is on door to door ministry and building the church. As we live in an economically devastated community, we have many needy families, but that is not a concern. It is rather confusing to me. Maybe this is a little off topic, but it seems to me that they are considering care for people as worldliness. What I have heard said is that the high spiritual truths are what is important and everything else is of the world. I have always wondered about this and why there is no ministry within the LC for the poor and needy and persecuted.
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

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What I find interesting is that those things are normal, yet they have no idea what is happening to fellow Christians in other countries like Iran and the Middle East, India, etc.
While I fully agree with you, the first problem is that they don't even have a correct view of the condition of their own spirituality, and of the needs immediately around them. What is the value of wringing their hands over the plight of Christians or others on the other side of the world when they have such a "who cares" attitude about the people that are literally their neighbors — even without the modern miracles of air flight, TV, cell phones, internet, etc., that brings what is far away into view wherever your are. If they despise even the Christians in their immediate vicinity, how can they (or we) think that appearing to have care for someone a few thousand miles away is of consequence?

I believe that our sphere of care and concern should start in the middle and move outward. This may not be written clearly anywhere, but if you refuse the beggar that knocks on your door, declaring it to not be a function of the church, then it probably doesn't matter what you do about the people far away. When you shun the things that real Christians have been commanded to do, it makes the whole of the LCM's isolation and claims of speciality into a mockery of righteousness and justice.

I just watched The Man in the Iron Mask again recently and the LCM position on just about everything reminds me of the decadent balls given by a King who gave the starving people of Paris rotten food so he could have luxury in the palace and send all the rest of the good food to the armies he had out fighting useless wars.

That is what I see as the whole that is the LCM system.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:38 AM   #10
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While I fully agree with you, the first problem is that they don't even have a correct view of the condition of their own spirituality, and of the needs immediately around them.
I have found that the whole LC system is full of double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to the matter of worldliness. In my mind, a lot of the problem with the LC is that they have taken "Do not love the world" very literally, and try to assign a particular meaning to it. What I mean by that is Lee associated things like going to the movie theater as worldliness. When I was at a semi-annual training, one of BB's (probably Ron) compared people who look back at their cars when locking it with a remote to Lot's wife who looked back at Sodom. The problem then becomes that arbitrary things such as going to the movies or having a nice car are defined as worldly, and someone might get the impression that if they avoid these things, then they aren't "worldly" like everyone else.

When I was growing up, I was always overly concerned about if something I liked was "worldly" or not. It really drove me crazy sometimes. To top it off, I would turn around and my LC peers would be breaking all the rules that I tried so hard to follow. Back in the day, it seems the rules were stricter. Now, they are a bit more relaxed. I think this has to do with trying to improve on retention rates of their recruits. There are still things that are looked down upon, such as going to the movies. I think this is because they have to remain true to what Lee taught. If the LC isn't "unique" enough, what will stop members from going elsewhere?
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

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Wow, Awoken...coming from a Catholic background, that is exactly what I say about the LC...that it is more Catholic than the Catholics!! That was another of my major issues with the LC. I know they can't see it, but looking from the outside in, it looks a lot alike. Once that became clear to me, I decided there was no way I was going to involve myself with the LC. It took me 30 years to leave the Catholic church and that was probably why it was so easy to jump into the LC...it felt comfortable. Thankfully, all the things that bothered me about the Catholics were easier to spot in the LC as they were still very fresh in my mind.
It took me years post-LC to connect the dots and see the great irony: that this splinter sect of Protestantism had become so much like the "great harlot" that they repeatedly despised! Unbelievable! But there it was: all the quirks and foibles and traditions of men of the RCC were there in spades. Certainly Jesus was right when He said that we can perceive the splinter in someone else's eye before we see the beam in our own. The LC, which specialized in "splinter analysis", couldn't see a beam if you hit them on the head with it. Amazing.

Quote:
I do believe that there are many very sincere, loving and kind people in the LC. I have an LC member I love very much and he is not all bad! LOL!
There is a great line in the apostle John's "Revelation". He mentions the problems in a church, then says that the people within the church, who'd been led astray by errant shepherds, would not be judged. They were just trying to belong somewhere, and fit in, and if they were trying to go along in that church, it wouldn't be held against them. (Rev 2:24,25)

I am soo grateful for my time in the LC! So many people were kind to me. Eventually a lot of stuff bothered me and I moved on. But how can I judge anyone?! Who made me king? Many of them were great people. I've also met awesome Christians who don't meet in the LCs -- how can I judge anyone? Here's a quote on George Whitefield:

http://biblicalawakening.blogspot.co...impact-on.html

Quote:
Although ordained with the Anglican Church of England, there was not a denominational bone in Whitefield’s body. In one of his sermons, preached to several thousand gathered in the open air, Whitefield mimicked a conversation with Father Abraham who was looking over the banister of heaven at the gathered multitude representing many denominations. Whitefield cried out, “Father Abraham, are there any Anglicans in heaven?” The answer came back, “No, there are no Anglicans in heaven.” “Father Abraham, are there any Methodists in heaven?” “No, there are no Methodists in heaven.” Are there any Presbyterians in heaven?” “No, there are no Presbyterians here either.” “What about Baptists or Quakers?” “No, there are none of those here either.” “Father Abraham,” cried Whitefield, what kind of people are in heaven?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians in heaven; only those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Whitefield then cried out, “Oh, is that the case? Then God help me, God help us all, to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth!”
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Changing attitudes about "worldliness" within the LC.

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When I was growing up, I was always overly concerned about if something I liked was "worldly" or not. It really drove me crazy sometimes. To top it off, I would turn around and my LC peers would be breaking all the rules that I tried so hard to follow. Back in the day, it seems the rules were stricter. Now, they are a bit more relaxed. I think this has to do with trying to improve on retention rates of their recruits.
If you wanted to nit pick, virtually anything can be labeled as being worldly if it isn't promoting the ministry.
Getting an education. Going on hikes. Traveling, etc
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:33 PM   #13
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If you wanted to nit pick, virtually anything can be labeled as being worldly if it isn't promoting the ministry.
Getting an education. Going on hikes. Traveling, etc
From what I heard, in the early days, getting an advanced degree was considered "worldly" or a waste of time. Lee later flip-flopped and told everyone the best degrees, to be like Moses.
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