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Old 08-18-2016, 04:49 AM   #1
DistantStar
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Default My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

I was born with a cleft lip and palate 20 years ago and I speak Afrikaans and English, and I've learnt the basics of Spanish. I've always been a "christian" and my family are all dedicated believers as well. I've always tried to do what is right and I often read my bible. But I was not saved.

By 14 and 15 years two things happened. The first was that I got addicted to ponography and, secondly, (although now I see this theory as very funny and absurd) I started to read about Ancient Astronaut theory and how some things in the Bible can be explained as spaceships or whatever. So I just started to doubt.

Eventually I got over the ponography, but something strange followed. Every time I closed my eyes to pray, I couldn't because my mind would immediately be filled with sexual thoughts. Not thoughts that I wanted, but thoughts that nevertheless came. Like being stuck on a single TV channel and you don't have the remote. So I couldn't pray.

The next year, before I became 16, my family and I went to a reenactment of the death of Jesus for an Easter celebration at a very big church. Afterwards as we sat the pastor called for people to give their lives to Christ by raising our hands as we prayed. It was very difficult - especially in front of my family - to raise my hand and then to go to the front.

This time as all of us who went forward prayed, I could feel those evil thoughts wanting to cloud my mind, but they could not. Not anymore. That was the first time I've prayed with a clean mind in months.

This in short is my testimony.

Now for the Local Church. Last year, at 19, I went to a South African university to study International Relations. I'm currently in my second year. In the first week of varsity a guy asked my to join a Christian society on campus. As I was a Christian and in the mood to meet new people (especially as I felt alone) I signed up.

They have a slightly strange way of holding "church" and I don't know if any of you experienced something similar. During the week we would meet in small groups, 3 or 4 people, to do a reading of a part of the Bible. Last year we did Ephesians. Then on Thursdays everyone would gather together at fairly large room. There we would first sing songs, and then everyone who wanted would share what they learnt during the week.

I noticed a few strange things. The first was their use of the Recovery Version of the Bible. I'd never heard of it before. Later on I discovered that Watchman Nee (as far as I know) wrote it. He also wrote, or compiled, the song book we used. Furthermore, as we gathered for the small groups we would not only read a portion of scripture, but also the commentaries left by Watchman Nee (or is it Witness Lee) which is found in the Recovery Version.

Very odd. But nonetheless they were all great people and I do believe that they are saved.

During this time I've noticed their distaste for other churches. Not in a mean way, but slightly in a condescending way. I remember one of them saying that we should not be broken into denominations, and he implied that those churches that are denominational have somehow lost their way. I found this really hypocritical. I thought, by making an "us vs them" distinction, this society is, in effect, making a denomination.

This year I began to notice something else which I find very disturbing, and which I think all Christians should always be wary of: more than once someone in that society, in one way or another, compared us with God. For instance, this year before I left I had a discussion with two people from that society. They told me about how, when we pray, we become Christ. Now I understand their point, but this is dangerous. I also remember another time last year how someone said that we are "In a sense, little gods". Like always they have some slightly convincing meaning to this, but still disturbing.

It was this deification - however subtle - which drove me away.

I began to think how obsessed they are with Watchman Nee. Once, last year, I went over to a friend who works for them. He had a bookcase of probably more than 40 of Watchman Nee's books (or Witness Lee's - I keep confusing them). At the time I just thought him very captivated by the Nee's work. I understand people taking a liking to certain authors. But later on I began to notice this trend. This trend of only reading Lee's bible, Lee's commentary, Lee's books, etc.

No C. S. Lewis, no modern apologetics, no nothing.

While all of this was in my head, the guy in charge of my small group missed some of our meetings, and this was followed by a busy schedule of mine. So eventually I stopped going to the small meetings and later on the bigger gathering.

I have a bit more to say about the Bible version they use and how I discussed it with him, but I feel like I've said enough.

Thanks for your time. I'd like to hear responses.
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Old 08-18-2016, 05:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

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[I] I remember one of them saying that we should not be broken into denominations, and he implied that those churches that are denominational have somehow lost their way. I found this really hypocritical. I thought, by making an "us vs them" distinction, this society is, in effect, making a denomination.
Welcome!

Your straightforward discernment of this hypocrisy shows wisdom. Yes, the LCM is hypocritical in many ways. As you said, they often have a narrow point, yet it's the broader implications of that point which they do not discuss that usually do the damage.

Indeed their central problem is they are controlled by Witness Lee. (Watchman Nee came first, Witness Lee modified Nee's doctrines and spread them around the world after moving to the US in the 1960s. Nee died in 1972 in a communist Chinese prison. Lee died in 1997 from cancer. His appointed lieutenants continue his cause.)

Yet, from the grave they still control the minds of their followers via entrenched leadership sworn to advance especially Lee's doctrines. This is why they rarely read anything but Nee and Lee or some older teachers Nee or Lee recommended. This of course is strange and warped, but there you have it.

It's a circular mindset. Why do they follow Lee unquestioningly? Because he was the "Minister of the Age." Why do they think that? Because he said so. Why do they believe him? Because he was the "Minister of the Age."

It's very difficult to reason with that kind of thinking. The best thing to do is just find another church.

May God guide you.
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Old 08-18-2016, 06:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

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During this time I've noticed their distaste for other churches. Not in a mean way, but slightly in a condescending way. I remember one of them saying that we should not be broken into denominations, and he implied that those churches that are denominational have somehow lost their way. I found this really hypocritical. I thought, by making an "us vs them" distinction, this society is, in effect, making a denomination.
There's a strange phenomenon in the Local Church, in which the Christian bona fides are prominently waved, while other Christian groups with the same historical lineage are panned as deficient. This way, they hope to attract new recruits by self-consciously asserting their legitimacy, and subsequently isolate their members by delegitimizing every other assembly. And apparently they miss the disconnect, in saying that every other group is "denominated" and wrong, yet their condemnation of "the other" (here being every other Christian) is their ideational bedrock. The Rock on which they stand is not faith in the Lord Jesus Christ but rather the idea that nobody else is qualified to collectively represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Hypocrisy, indeed.

Watchman Nee got saved in his teen years (1920), and wrote a best-seller "The Spiritual Man" a few years later. Once he became well-known, it was realized that this book was merely a translation of a Western book on spirituality.

Quote:
In 1926, when he was suffering from tuberculosis, Ni began his first major book, The Spiritual Man, which sought to explain spiritual formation in terms of biblical psychology, especially the radical distinction between “soul” (self-consciousness) and “spirit” (God-consciousness). Published in 1928, the three-volume work has been called basically a translation of Penn-Lewis’s Soul and Spirit, published ten years earlier, though Ni did not make that clear. These early efforts laid the theological foundation for his future teaching ministry.
http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/n/ni-tuosheng.php

In short, he was a Christian like you or I, whose followers literally raised him to God-like status. This trend was continued with his acolyte Witness Lee.

They have fairly deceptive recruiting practices, as you've noticed. First, they will say that "We are just Christians like everyone else". They'll gladly go on and on about their rich heritage, centered in the Protestant Reformation. (In their narrative, Martin Luther was essentially the initiation of the "recovery", with his doctrine of justification by faith.) Then once the new person thinks, Hey this is a great Christian group, and begins to emotionally connect with them (enhanced by shouting, loud singing, repetitive declarations, and 'pray-reading') they'll begin the isolation process.

I see two big problems with Witness Lee, first that he was disqualified as a Christian minister by New Testament standards. He was a lover of money and defrauded the saints repeatedly over a period of decades, on several continents (he moved to the USA in 1962). And his sons were set loose on the church and emotionally, psychologically and even sexually abused church members (all this was covered up and protesting witnesses were declared "rebellious" and ejected).

The second problem with Witness Lee is his theology. He said that man is hopelessly corrupt apart from God's grace. This led him to reject whole swaths of the Old Testament as "men's concepts". In Witness Lee's theology, "Behold I come to do your will, Oh God; in the scroll of the Book it is written concerning me" (Psa 40:9; Heb 10:7) is merely the vain thoughts of a sinner. No idea that it could pertain to the coming Son of David, the Messiah who alone is righteous, and whose righteous sacrificial death on the cross opened the way for the rest of humanity. No; everyone is a sinner. "All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Um, sorry, but no - there is One Man who did not fall short of God's glory. In fact that is the central theme of the whole Bible. This is our faith - we have none other.

Then, when he came to New Testament exposition, Witness Lee wrote book after book on elevated and "divine" human virtues. The Christian needs to be this, and that. Look at an outline of one of their Holy Word for Morning Revival books (their weekly study books). Line after line saying "We must do this" and "We need to be that". Burden after heavy burden is laid on the Local Church believer. So it all looks quite high and spiritual, as if the Local Churchers are living according to the highest standard, but there is a big hole in the middle. No Jesus Christ, or precious little of His presence.

Of course I'm oversimplifying here, and a Local Church apologist would probably refute every line I wrote. But they have such a voluminous armamentarium of writings that they can find a quote to say whatever they need to say. But if you want to see my point, take a look at the first pages of one of their study Bibles (Recovery Version) on the book of Psalms. Essentially the whole book gets dismissed as fallen human concepts, except where NT usage forces them to recognize it (even then, as with Peter's epistle - 'all flesh is like grass' - it doesn't meet Witness Lee's high standards).

In the Local Church, Watchman Nee and Witness Lee are held as Oracles and Seers of the divine revelation, so that their interpretive works have ultimately supplanted the Bible. Where they ignored or dismissed the Bible, it's also ignored. Where they used it to support their doctrines and teachings, it's eagerly, even obsessively held. (There are stories of churches praying over one word from the Epistle to the Ephesians for weeks, because it was supposed to be an especially rich or divine word).

I left this group a few years ago. Today I try to receive everyone in Christ Jesus. I probably don't do a great job, as I am weak, superficial, and a know-it-all. But God said, Show mercy and you will be shown mercy. So the Christian assembly, like all of life, is a great place to show mercy and bear with one another. Then I have the real hope that God will bear with me, defects and all.

May God bless your journey in Christ Jesus, and all those with you. Remember that the most weak, pathetic, and despicable person you meet is much loved by God, who's patiently waiting for them to return home, and this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate God's grace in the Spirit of His Son. But be careful! We're in enemy territory here on earth, and if you see the enemy coming at you with 20,000 troops and you only have one-half that amount, just retire from the field and pray for God's deliverance... He will always hear your prayers. (see e.g. Luke 14:31)
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Old 08-18-2016, 07:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

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They have fairly deceptive recruiting practices, as you've noticed. First, they will say that "We are just Christians like everyone else". They'll gladly go on and on about their rich heritage, centered in the Protestant Reformation. (In their narrative, Martin Luther was essentially the initiation of the "recovery", with his doctrine of justification by faith.) Then once the new person thinks, Hey this is a great Christian group, and begins to emotionally connect with them (enhanced by shouting, loud singing, repetitive declarations, and 'pray-reading') they'll begin the isolation process.
This is exactly true. I thought them a normal Christian group, I began to connect with some of them and the singing is precisely like you said: loud and repetitive. The pray-reading always confused me.

You made me realise something about connecting emotionally. Last year I spent a lot of time with one of them. He became a close friend. It was after he left last semester for another campus that I began to question the society more seriously. I guess that because he left, I had no more emotional bonds to the society.

In one of my politics classes I met a Zimbabwean. I convinced him to come one evening to the bigger group gathering. As I am usually aware of the emotional states of guests, I noticed that he was very... sceptical... as we sang. It was that day that I realised the society is very wrong. It was only when I saw the society through his eyes - through fresh eyes - that I questioned it strongly.

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Then, when he came to New Testament exposition, Witness Lee wrote book after book on elevated and "divine" human virtues. The Christian needs to be this, and that. Look at an outline of one of their Holy Word for Morning Revival books (their weekly study books). Line after line saying "We must do this" and "We need to be that". Burden after heavy burden is laid on the Local Church believer. So it all looks quite high and spiritual, as if the Local Churchers are living according to the highest standard, but there is a big hole in the middle. No Jesus Christ, or precious little of His presence.
Precisely. They give off this aura of having a deeper understanding of scripture. Of being more spiritual as you said.

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May God bless your journey in Christ Jesus, and all those with you. Remember that the most weak, pathetic, and despicable person you meet is much loved by God, who's patiently waiting for them to return home, and this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate God's grace in the Spirit of His Son. But be careful! We're in enemy territory here on earth, and if you see the enemy coming at you with 20,000 troops and you only have one-half that amount, just retire from the field and pray for God's deliverance... He will always hear your prayers. (see e.g. Luke 14:31)
Thank you for the detailed and insightful post. I appreciate it.

And thanks to Igzy for the same reason.
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Old 08-18-2016, 07:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

A word about "no denominations". Watchman Nee came of age in a time when resentment against Western imperialism in China was widespread and acute. Nee found the idea of the British Brethren attractive, that names of churches became points of division. We should have no other name but Jesus Christ.

Watchman Nee shoehorned this idea onto the Chinese resentment, and "denominations" became spiritual code for the Western imperialists. The "local" church was indigenous and therefore wholly Chinese. The Normal Christian Church was read entirely within a cultural lens, and it matched the views and dispositions of so many that within a decade his group was arguably one of the largest and most prominent in the land.

Then Nee suddenly got the revelation that the local churches should come under central authority. He called it the Jerusalem Principle. He essentially did a 180-degree turn. And this was what was exported. Each local assembly is essentially a franchise of the Mother Ship. So the group that started out by rejecting imperialism became the most authoritarian and imperial of them all!

But they don't have a name. . . thank God for that. They got that right, anyway. (insert sarcastic face here)
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

I forgot to add something.

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Then once the new person thinks, Hey this is a great Christian group, and begins to emotionally connect with them (enhanced by shouting, loud singing, repetitive declarations, and 'pray-reading') they'll begin the isolation process.
Both this year and last year they invited me to join others in staying at the church for two weeks. In that time would would wear a suit, read the Bible and attend seminars by... you guessed it... Witness Lee. During that time all technology use, from laptops to cellphones is also restricted.

I'm not one for isolating myself from my family and dear friends, so when they invited me I always gave an unclear answer (though I guess I should have been more direct).

I suppose that things like this can be good, but it sounded really disturbing.
It did not sound at all like other Bible camps to which I've been invited which one can hear is more open and connected.

Just an extra thought.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

DistantStar,

My advice is:

If any group seems to believe that they are the "unique" anything, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to believe if you leave them you are leaving God, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to limit you to their materials or teachers, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to isolate you, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to make your involvement with them more important than your involvement with your own life or family, head for the door and don't look back.

There are plenty of good groups and churches out there. No need to bother with the fringe wackos.

God bless you on your journey! Stick around for a while. Note: We are not the unique anything.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:14 AM   #8
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DistantStar,

My advice is:

If any group seems to believe that they are the "unique" anything, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to believe if you leave them you are leaving God, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to limit you to their materials or teachers, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to try to isolate you, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to make your involvement with them more important than your involvement with your own life or family, head for the door and don't look back.

There are plenty of good groups and churches out there. No need to bother with the fringe wackos.

God bless you on your journey! Stick around for a while. Note: We are not the unique anything.
This is very good Igzy! I wish I had considered these things before I committed to the group.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:18 AM   #9
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DistantStar,

My advice is:

If any group seems to believe that they are the "unique" anything, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to believe if you leave them you are leaving God, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to limit you to their materials or teachers, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to try to isolate you, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to make your involvement with them more important than your involvement with your own life or family, head for the door and don't look back.

There are plenty of good groups and churches out there. No need to bother with the fringe wackos.

God bless you on your journey! Stick around for a while. Note: We are not the unique anything.
Haha thanks! Good advice!

I'll definitely stick around for a while.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: My Local Church Experience - And My Testimony

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If any group seems to believe that they are the "unique" anything, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group seems to believe if you leave them you are leaving God, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to limit you to their materials or teachers, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to isolate you, head for the door and don't look back.

If any group tries to make your involvement with them more important than your involvement with your own life or family, head for the door and don't look back.
I definitely agree.

These 5 warnings are time-tested safeguards for the children of God.

And welcome to the forum DistantStar.
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Old 08-18-2016, 11:51 AM   #11
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During this time I've noticed their distaste for other churches. Not in a mean way, but slightly in a condescending way. I remember one of them saying that we should not be broken into denominations, and he implied that those churches that are denominational have somehow lost their way. I found this really hypocritical. I thought, by making an "us vs them" distinction, this society is, in effect, making a denomination.

Very perceptive. That's how it is. Whether in California or Washington state the pervading attitude is all Christians not meeting with the local churches is meeting in division. To fellowship based on Lee's ministry is essential to not being in division.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:19 PM   #12
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Very perceptive. That's how it is. Whether in California or Washington state the pervading attitude is all Christians not meeting with the local churches is meeting in division. To fellowship based on Lee's ministry is essential to not being in division.
Once when talking to an old friend, who is in an LSM run Local Church outside the Great Lakes Area, he made an interesting comment, "all the brothers are one except for Titus Chu." That's the mindset of the typical, uninformed, yet loyal brother in the Recovery. The standard was not the truth of the Bible, or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but "oneness" with the Blendeds.

It reminded me of what the Pharisees said to some officers who had seen Jesus in action, "You aren't also led astray, are you? Have any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? But this multitude that doesn't know the law is accursed." -- John 7.47-49

For a people who claim to know the scriptures so well, and seek to follow the Lord so fervently, these LC folks follow their leaders just like the Catholics follow the Pope, all in the name of "oneness." Anyone who thinks soberly or examines the Bible is viewed with suspicion. Their oneness is not the real oneness of the Lord, however, since the Lord has so little say in the matter.

That is why I have often mentioned, based on all my study of church history, that distorted oneness, the kind we see with the Catholics, the exclusive Brethren, and the Recovery has done more to damage the children of God than any heathen persecution in the last two millennia.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:38 PM   #13
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Once when talking to an old friend, who is in an LSM run Local Church outside the Great Lakes Area, he made an interesting comment, "all the brothers are one except for Titus Chu."
It is somewhat disturbing to think that they actually see those who are "out of line". It's a dangerous way of looking at people. Singling them out.

Come to think of it, while I was there I never felt quite at home. I thought it was more a personality thing which kept me distant. Hell, while writing this I remember how I began to wonder if something was wrong with me! They never told me that I am wrong. But I just never felt right there. I wonder if they, too, started to think of me as being not a part of them. As though they also thought "all the brothers are one, except for Jacques".

Rather disturbing.

Edit: In their defense, that one friend I made which I mentioned did tell me that I shouldn't be too hard on myself and that I am saved and that I am alright. My point is that when I looked at all of them and how they behaved, I just couldn't act like they did. When I did act, I felt as though I'm being fake. Hence why I eventually wondered whether or not the problem lies with me.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:23 PM   #14
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Default Was I rash to quit the LC?

I apologise for making so many threads in a single day. It's just that for months I had no one (except for one friend) to ask for advice

I quit the Christians on Campus society/church by simply not attending meetings anymore. The guy I met for the small, weekly study skipped the meeting twice in a row because he was busy, and thereafter I had to do assignments or tests. (The complete story is in the "Testimonies" forum).

Aside from another meeting on Bible versions, I never went again.

But now as I'm sitting here I am wondering whether or not I was too rash. I had the opportunity to still stay for a few weeks. I could have used that time to ask questions and to observe it all a bit more.

I guess it is too late in any case. What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:29 PM   #15
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I apologise for making so many threads in a single day. It's just that for months I had no one (except for one friend) to ask for advice

I quit the Christians on Campus society/church by simply not attending meetings anymore. The guy I met for the small, weekly study skipped the meeting twice in a row because he was busy, and thereafter I had to do assignments or tests. (The complete story is in the "Testimonies" forum).

Aside from another meeting on Bible versions, I never went again.

But now as I'm sitting here I am wondering whether or not I was too rash. I had the opportunity to still stay for a few weeks. I could have used that time to ask questions and to observe it all a bit more.

I guess it is too late in any case. What are your thoughts?
Until you are identified as an opposer you can go back. I knew a brother in one locality that would disappear for months and then show up and be accepted with open loving arms. He did this several times. No questions asked (at least not by me). You could ask the LC members your questions and it would be interesting to hear their answers and compare them to what you hear on this forum. But, if you start asking a lot of hard questions you'll probably be shoved to the side until you start making negative statements, then you'll probably be shown the door. Freedom on this forum seems to be surviving as an LC member. It probably would be more healthy for you to find a different denomination than the LC.
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Old 08-18-2016, 03:07 PM   #16
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I apologise for making so many threads in a single day. It's just that for months I had no one (except for one friend) to ask for advice

I quit the Christians on Campus society/church by simply not attending meetings anymore. The guy I met for the small, weekly study skipped the meeting twice in a row because he was busy, and thereafter I had to do assignments or tests. (The complete story is in the "Testimonies" forum).

Aside from another meeting on Bible versions, I never went again.

But now as I'm sitting here I am wondering whether or not I was too rash. I had the opportunity to still stay for a few weeks. I could have used that time to ask questions and to observe it all a bit more.

I guess it is too late in any case. What are your thoughts?
The Lord let me to the LC, and then led me away. Years ago it was much healthier, and more conducive for growth, at least the churches in Ohio area where I was. Yes there was problems but the Lord was there, like in other churches. Eventually the negatives began to far out weigh the positives. After contacting this forum, I learned about corruption at LSM covered up for decades, which explained to me why the decline occurred, and why something so good became so bad.
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Old 08-18-2016, 04:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Was I rash to quit the LC?

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Until you are identified as an opposer you can go back.
My advice is, don't go back. Don't look back. Remember Lot's wife.

That group has some strong mojo, don't mess with it. Just stay away from them.

I used to fight all the time with Mormons. They'd be coming down the street and I'd go over and challenge them. Now I just nod and smile and say, "Have a nice day." I'm probably not going to get them to see the light, so why bother. You are touching darkness. Unless you get a real strong anointing, don't waste your time arguing with people whose minds are made up.

The alternative is find someone who's positive, open, seeking, and who you get a real sense of the Spirit. Remember those two walking down the road to Emmaus, and Jesus came alongside? Both of them were wrong, thinking the wrong things, even trying to remonstrate with their new companion, "Are you the only one in Israel that doesn't know what is going on!"

But Jesus stuck with them, and they listened, and their hearts caught fire (Lu 24:32). That's what I want. Not to talk with people who don't want to listen. To me, that's like banging your head against a wall.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:36 AM   #18
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The alternative is find someone who's positive, open, seeking, and who you get a real sense of the Spirit. Remember those two walking down the road to Emmaus, and Jesus came alongside? Both of them were wrong, thinking the wrong things, even trying to remonstrate with their new companion, "Are you the only one in Israel that doesn't know what is going on!"

But Jesus stuck with them, and they listened, and their hearts caught fire (Lu 24:32). That's what I want. Not to talk with people who don't want to listen. To me, that's like banging your head against a wall.
Thank you.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:40 AM   #19
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Once when talking to an old friend, who is in an LSM run Local Church outside the Great Lakes Area, he made an interesting comment, "all the brothers are one except for Titus Chu." That's the mindset of the typical, uninformed, yet loyal brother in the Recovery. The standard was not the truth of the Bible, or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but "oneness" with the Blendeds.
Here's where the blendeds are in error. Thinking in order to be one in Christ, you must be one with them. In Christ all brothers are one. However when we refer to Titus' ministry or the ministry LSM publishes, the word Larry Chi brought out in his writing via Indiana is "COHESIVENESS". Blendeds misinterpret cohesiveness as oneness. Big difference.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:01 PM   #20
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The top local leader in South Africa is John Hwang, in Pretoria. The two Southern California Local Church "coworkers" who oversee the African continent are Dick Taylor and James Lee.
http://www.afaithfulwitness.org/warn...g%20Letter.pdf

There's a "warning letter" to the LSM churches in South Africa about the Brasilian christians formerly associated with LSM, who had been "quarantined", i.e. excommunicated.

You can see the signatures on the bottom of those who are the LSM Top Lieutenants.
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Old 08-20-2016, 03:03 AM   #21
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There's a "warning letter" to the LSM churches in South Africa about the Brasilian christians formerly associated with LSM, who had been "quarantined", i.e. excommunicated.
There is a lot of things in this letter which I find extremely hypocritical and condescending.

Quote (p.2): The Church in Pretoria began to meet in the mid-1970s as the first church in South Africa.

This. This. This is what is wrong with them. By that statement they mark all the missionaries to South Africa in 500 years as being false. By this statement they conclude that all other churches here are false. For them, hundreds of churches here throughout the centuries have been misled at best.

This is inexcusable.

Also unsurprising that they used a footnote in the Recovery Version as proof for the other group's supposed heresy.
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:55 AM   #22
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By this statement they conclude that all other churches here are false.
That's accurate. That's their mindset. All other churches are in division except them. Yet a common denominator in LC history 1950's to present is division. With Witness Lee, if you aren't here for Witness Lee and his ministry, you might as well not be here. What does that tell you? The basis for fellowship in any local church is Witness Lee's ministry. It's considered an essential item of faith. Disagree with my words? Let's ask ANY local church to drop the ministry publications and just take the Bible and see how far that goes.
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:28 PM   #23
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This year I began to notice something else which I find very disturbing, and which I think all Christians should always be wary of: more than once someone in that society, in one way or another, compared us with God. For instance, this year before I left I had a discussion with two people from that society. They told me about how, when we pray, we become Christ. Now I understand their point, but this is dangerous. I also remember another time last year how someone said that we are "In a sense, little gods". Like always they have some slightly convincing meaning to this, but still disturbing.

It was this deification - however subtle - which drove me away.
You think it's dangerous that God has given you the Holy Spirit and wants you to become like Him? It's not dangerous, that's Christianity in a nutshell. Even Catholicism teaches that. If you aren't like Him, then you get to go to hell where people who "aren't like God" live.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:23 AM   #24
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You think it's dangerous that God has given you the Holy Spirit and wants you to become like Him? It's not dangerous, that's Christianity in a nutshell. Even Catholicism teaches that. If you aren't like Him, then you get to go to hell where people who "aren't like God" live.
It didn't go well for the first being that wanted to be like God, why do you think it should go differently for you? https://www.openbible.info/topics/lucifer
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:03 AM   #25
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You think it's dangerous that God has given you the Holy Spirit and wants you to become like Him? It's not dangerous, that's Christianity in a nutshell. Even Catholicism teaches that. If you aren't like Him, then you get to go to hell where people who "aren't like God" live.
There's a huge difference between being like God and being God.

God created man in his likeness. He didn't created man Him. The resurrection didn't change this.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:03 PM   #26
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You think it's dangerous that God has given you the Holy Spirit and wants you to become like Him? It's not dangerous, that's Christianity in a nutshell. Even Catholicism teaches that. If you aren't like Him, then you get to go to hell where people who "aren't like God" live.
We may (and should) imitate Him and strive to be as perfect as Christ is (even though it is impossible). Yet even then we strive to be the perfect Man Jesus is, not the God he is. We do not have to become divine like you believe. The LC denomination says "we become gods" (sound familiar to a certain serpent we all know and love?). Then they'll add "Not in the Godhead of course." "Be ye therefore perfect" comes into mind. An impossible command, but a command nonetheless. We should strive to be the perfect man even if it is impossible.

I understand the reasoning. I agree that Christ imparts himself into us by changing us to be more like him if we imitate Him. That he does impart His Spirit into us. Like a fossil whose initial properties are replaced with different ones, yet looking the same. My point is, there's fine line between being men with the Spirit of God, and being gods. Or becoming gods. This is dangerous thinking.

On God imparting Himself into us and changing us by working in us, I think you and I will agree. Then how is this achieved? Calling upon His holy and sacred name after each sentence? Just repeating it for some spiritual upliftment? Are you sure when you do this that it is Christ working in you and not just a psycological effect? I've seen people become almost drunk by doing this. If just an effect, are you sure you are not blaspheming? But hey, perhaps it is Jesus. Perhaps it is Him. Just a thought. I remember when I sat at the larger gathering people would say "Oh, Lord Jesus". Repeatedly. At times they'd say it just to say it. Sometimes we would just repeat it three times to be "filled" with Christ. I tried to imitate them, but it felt in my tongue like blasphemy. But hey, perhaps it's just me. The others are not intending to blaspheme Him. I assume that they are all at least sincere.

Here is a problem with your denomination: God never asks us to forsake our individuality to such an extent. The Local Church denomination does. We all are different members of the same body - we are all unique. Each with a separate mission and destiny. I know you can say "Well, were are still one body." Yes, but is the head of the body Christ with different Christians as members, each with unique views? Or is the head the Local Church denomination leaders with only their interpretation forced onto the members with "heretical" members cut off? Seeing other members as misguided at best?

The problem here seems to be between actually having your own views and having to conform to the views of a group. Does the latter not scare the blazes out of you? When I realised this I wanted to run to the hills with my hands on my ears and never look back, away from the City of Destruction (The Pilgrim's Progress).

The LC denomination has a distinct "us vs them" mentality. A very real issue of the feet hating the ears. They do not account for Christians actually living in a different way. The LC is right about certain things, yes. But they do not account for all the other things. As (the Catholic, if I may add) G. K. Chesterton put it (and note I don't think the LC quite heretics - not completely):

Quote:
“The heretic (who is also the fanatic) is not a man who loves the truth too much; no man can love truth too much. The heretic is a man who loves his truth more than truth itself. He prefers the half-truth that he has found to the whole truth which humanity has found. He does not like to see his own precious little paradox merely bound up with twenty truisms into the bundle of the wisdom of the world.”
C. S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity talked about the balance between being an individual and caring for the group:
Edit: The book is not about this concept. I mean to say that one part of one chapter deals with it.

Quote:
The idea that the whole human race is, in a sense, one thing - one huge organism, like a tree - must not be confused with the idea that individual differences do not matter or that real people, Tom and Nobby and Kate, are somehow less important things like classes, races and so forth. Indeed the two ideas are opposites. Things which are parts of a single organism may be very different from one another: things which are not, may be very alike: my nose and my lungs are very different but they are only alive at all because they are pats of my body and share its common life. Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body - different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children, or pupils, or even your neighbours, into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else's troubles because they are 'no business of yours', remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you. If you forget that he belongs to the same organism as yourself you will become an Individualist. If you forget that he is a different organ from you, if you want to suppress differences and make people all alike, you will become a Totalitarian. But a Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or an Individualist.

I feel a strong desire to tell you - and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me - which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs - pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
(Emphasis mine)

Admittedly I still have to think of what Lewis said here and how much I believe it. I just thought it interesting to share.

In conclusion, I guess my point is that we should be careful. Looking back at the post I feel like I simply stated a few thoughts in no clear order. Please pardon me for this. I'd like to hear others' thoughts.

Edit2: Are you a part of the Local Church? Reading your comment again I realised that you may have just been curious about a single point and that you may not even be a part of that denomination. If you are not, then excuse me for associating you with them. If you are, then all is well.
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Last edited by DistantStar; 08-23-2016 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Clarification
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