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Old 03-20-2017, 10:34 AM   #1
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Default It's a Sham

Sham. That's a word I never thought I'd use to characterize Witness Lee, his ministry, and to some extent the Local Church itself.

This past week has been a real education on the history and character of WL, his ministry, and his successors. (I'm the guy from the "Some thoughts on this site" thread.)

A week ago if you would've told me "the Lord's Recovery is a group of Christians with an exclusivist attitude and weird, insular culture" I would've said "Yep, I've known that for a long time." But it wasn't until I was informed of this site and spent a lot of time reading the documents and comments, along with even more time reflecting, reminiscing, and writing about it myself that I can now conclude "it's a sham." That's a significant difference from merely calling it puffed up and peculiar.

A big thank-you to the core community here for hosting this site and providing this information. The real shame would be if these important historical records were lost.

p.s. I have some ideas how to better organize and communicate the information on this site. Let me know if you're interested.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:47 PM   #2
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The real shame would be if these important historical records were lost.
Before this forum started up there was another one that had 40 pages of personal testimonies, along with a forum like this one. Many of the the stories were heart-wrenching. You could see the human cost, the real human experience behind the spiritual veneer. Then the hosting site got a new software, archived the material & its now gone. So your concern isn't unfounded.

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I have some ideas how to better organize and communicate the information on this site. Let me know if you're interested.
Admin on this site is looking for some help. As for myself, I write because I like to. I don't see it as either cause or burden. So function as you see fit.

Secondly if we do have a cause its to hold forth Christ. My contribution has been an attempt to hold forth the Christ seen in scripture with the one of LC teaching and practice. The contrast could hardly be more glaring.

And sham is a great word - succinct and accurate and absent undue religious colourings.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:14 AM   #3
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Sham. That's a word I never thought I'd use to characterize Witness Lee, his ministry, and to some extent the Local Church itself.

This past week has been a real education on the history and character of WL, his ministry, and his successors. (I'm the guy from the "Some thoughts on this site" thread.)

A week ago if you would've told me "the Lord's Recovery is a group of Christians with an exclusivist attitude and weird, insular culture" I would've said "Yep, I've known that for a long time." But it wasn't until I was informed of this site and spent a lot of time reading the documents and comments, along with even more time reflecting, reminiscing, and writing about it myself that I can now conclude "it's a sham." That's a significant difference from merely calling it puffed up and peculiar.

.
"A Sham" hmmm. God used saints from the "the local church" in my city and Witness Lee's ministry to bring the word of Christ and His unsearchable riches to me. My spirit was enlivened with The Holy Spirit of God. I was baptized into the body of Christ, and His Holy Spirit, taught to read the Bible and pray to God, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, use my gifts to build the church.... to name some of the biblical things. Unfortunately non-biblical teachings and practices were also there, so God also helped me see through those and leave.
How can I say it was a Sham now? No way. Messed up? Yes.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:41 AM   #4
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(quotiong myself with my new account)

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This past week has been a real education on the history and character of WL, his ministry, and his successors. ...I was informed of this site and spent a lot of time reading the documents and comments, along with even more time reflecting, reminiscing, and writing about it myself that I can now conclude "it's a sham."
The past two days have been a winding-down process after the conclusion was reached. There's still fresh insights and more to learn and experience, but my soul has been able to quiet down.

I want to comment on the reflecting and reminiscing process. It's remarkable just how many memories welled up during the immersive week. Dozens and dozens of people, places, incidents, etc. over the course of 20+ years. Most were of the "snapshot" variety, a still-image impression. Others a brief "video clip", sometimes with "audio". Some funny, some not-so-funny, some momentous, some plain ordinary.

An important theme emerged over the course of the week: many of these memories captured evidence of dissonance I experienced over the years. Several were vivid recollections of the countenance or demeanor of saints either betraying their inner discord or doing hypocritical behavior. A few of these people I honestly cannot recall the name of and may never have even talked to! But the situations were such that the disparity between expectation/belief and reality were glaring enough for it to register a lasting impression. This included a number of LC leaders, probably because of relatively-heightened expectations for them contrasted with the actual experience.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:56 AM   #5
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How can I say it was a Sham now? No way. Messed up? Yes.
Ministry of the Age, God-ordained way, High peak of the divine revelation -- these claims of WL and his ministry are either true or not. Legit or sham. There's really no in-between. (I must credit aron for making this point in my other thread.)

And note that my OP said "to some extent the Local Church itself." Like you, I do not consider my entire LC experience a total sham. Actual life experience is far too complex to be glibly assessed.

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Old 03-22-2017, 07:56 AM   #6
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Misitry of the Age, God-ordained way, High peak of the divine revelation -- these claims of WL and his ministry are either true or not. Legit or sham. There's really no in-between. (I must credit aron for making this point in my other thread.)
I've come to the conclusion that WL was delusional. He actually believed these things. I suppose that makes it a "sham," but I think people balk at the suggestion that the delusion is intentional (not sure if that's implied in the word "sham" or not).
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:45 AM   #7
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Yes, I agree that he was delusional. I also believe he was deceitful to some extent. (You're correct in pointing out that the word "sham" does typically connote deceit.)

The John Ingalls account, for instance, tells of WL's "noticeably pained expression" when John delivered his resignation letter for his position on the LSM board of directors. Then a few months letter, in what would be their final conversation, WL pleads with him over the phone to reconsider resigning from the RcV translation work, saying "I have prayed, Preserve my brother's usefullness in your hands."

How much of this particular episode is delusion and deception? Impossible for us to say for sure, but to me it's some of both.

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Old 03-22-2017, 11:39 AM   #8
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"A Sham" hmmm. God used saints from the "the local church" in my city and Witness Lee's ministry to bring the word of Christ and His unsearchable riches to me. My spirit was enlivened with The Holy Spirit of God. I was baptized into the body of Christ, and His Holy Spirit, taught to read the Bible and pray to God, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, use my gifts to build the church.... to name some of the biblical things. Unfortunately non-biblical teachings and practices were also there, so God also helped me see through those and leave.
How can I say it was a Sham now? No way. Messed up? Yes.
Good points. Any characterization must include both the good and the bad. I also think that we should always distinguish between LSM and the LC's. To impugn one man's sins upon the whole is never fair.

This is why I prefer to use the Lord's own words here, notably "leaven." Jesus warned us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and likewise we should warn others of the leaven of Lee and the Blendeds. This leaven includes errant teachings and unrighteous behaviors.

The LC's are filled with kind and caring saints, loving both God and man, and mostly unawares of corruption at headquarters in Anaheim.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:56 AM   #9
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I've come to the conclusion that WL was delusional. He actually believed this things. I suppose that makes it a "sham," but I think people balk at the suggestion that the delusion is intentional (not sure if that's implied in the word "sham" or not).
For me it's almost impossible to make simple conclusions about WL. Surely he did much work for the Lord. I know hundreds of brothers and sisters in the Lord who would readily step forward to assert this.

Unfortunately WL was also abusive and demeaning to others, both within and without his movement. His sons Timothy and Philip exaggerated this fleshly tendency, taking it new new depths, apparently without any semblance of Christian charity. Unbelievably, WL was fine with their roles, knowing full well the shortage of character in his own sons, even when innocent children of God were being damaged. Only when his own ministry was tainted did he take action, but not the action one might expect from a servant of God. How can any fair-minded Christian not be outraged at the corrupt nepotism WL exhibited?
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:16 PM   #10
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For me it's almost impossible to make simple conclusions about WL. Surely he did much work for the Lord. I know hundreds of brothers and sisters in the Lord who would readily step forward to assert this.

Unfortunately WL was also abusive and demeaning to others, both within and without his movement. His sons Timothy and Philip exaggerated this fleshly tendency, taking it new new depths, apparently without any semblance of Christian charity. Unbelievably, WL was fine with their roles, knowing full well the shortage of character in his own sons, even when innocent children of God were being damaged. Only when his own ministry was tainted did he take action, but not the action one might expect from a servant of God. How can any fair-minded Christian not be outraged at the corrupt nepotism WL exhibited?
I have a more extreme view. Based on the definition of a false prophet or false teacher I would define WL as a false teacher. Remember, Balaam was the OT archetype of a false prophet and he faithfully spoke the Lord's word. When you get into the details of this topic it is truly stunning and very scary. Judas is the NT example of a false prophet and for 3 years he was one of the 12 disciples doing miracles and following the Lord. Surely, when Revelation refers to "The false prophet" we can understand that to mean and/or include Judas depending on your interpretation. Yet Revelation says the false prophet is in the Lake of fire before the Great White Throne Judgment when Jesus judges the unbelievers. How do you explain that? If the Lake of fire is only for unbelievers, and they don't get judged until the Great White Throne, why is the false prophet already in the Lake of fire before that judgement? I think this is because the false prophet feels he should be judged at the judgement seat of Christ with the believers, the Lord acquiesces, and that is where he is judged for the Lake of fire.
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Old 03-23-2017, 02:47 AM   #11
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Jesus was the faithful witness, per Rev 1:5. Singular: "the" faithful witness; not "a" faithful witness. The rest of us are, to some degree, compromised (yet it's the faithfulness of Christ that gives us hope; not of ourselves). Witness Lee's signal failure wasn't his unfaithfulness but rather it was his elevated claims of ministry and position. There could only be one apostle per age. And golly gee it just happened to be the guy who discovered this crucial principle. Fancy that.

1. This resulted in the elevation of persons.
2. It distorted human relations, as the question became who lined up after whom. Who had lunch with God's oracle today?
3. It distracted us from the word of God: if WL said prophetic OT scripture was fallen and natural, so be it. Never-mind that this completely left the pattern of NT reception by Jesus and the apostles.
4. It led to gross heresy, as the gap from "apostle of the age" and "God's oracle" to "Lord Changshou" isn't as great as some may wish.
5. It damaged our conscience. Rightness was now optional, subject to transient ephemera like "the sense of life". So, "drunken Noah" evidently got a pass.
6. Related to (2) it cut us off from one another. Those who didn't get the vision were isolated and ignored. (and the vision wasn't of Jesus, but of the ground, the building, the body, the economy, the move etc). And this continued apace in the quarantines that followed the attempted succession plans. So the ministry didn't help build the assembly but rather dis-assembled it. The ministry arrived and the flock didn't gather but scattered.

I could go on but you get the point, hopefully. Jesus warned us against such presumptuous "shepherds", and warned us against becoming such, ourselves. How? Jesus repeatedly said that the safe position is to take the least position. Those who preemptively elevate themselves above their station get put down. So WL should probably get put with the Jim Bakkers and the "Bishop" Eddie Longs of the religious world. The list is a long one. Per Paul in Titus 1:6 WL wasn't even qualified to be elder in a congregation. So what made him apostle of the age? No, he was flatly disqualified, even if there is such a thing, which is obviously debatable, resting as it is on tenuous scriptural grounds.

So the "oracle" got a revelation, that he was God's oracle. And this revelation must be true, because, after all, he was God's oracle. So it must be real, right? Amazing how far you can run a scam like that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Gantry
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:02 PM   #12
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If you have the URL you may be able to find the content in the internet archives:

https://archive.org/web/

Let us know!
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Old 03-23-2017, 05:14 PM   #13
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If you have the URL you may be able to find the content in the internet archives:

https://archive.org/web/

Let us know!
What mean "us"?
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:41 AM   #14
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My spirit was enlivened with The Holy Spirit of God. I was baptized into the body of Christ, and His Holy Spirit, taught to read the Bible and pray to God, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, use my gifts to build the church.... to name some of the biblical things. Unfortunately non-biblical teachings and practices were also there, so God also helped me see through those and leave.
How can I say it was a Sham now? No way. Messed up? Yes.
I would tend to agree with JJ with an emphasis on teaching/practices that result in division.
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:40 PM   #15
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I should have added that the positive things I mentioned all happened in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and thus are "ancient history"... not a good commentary for today,
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:12 AM   #16
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I should have added that the positive things I mentioned all happened in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and thus are "ancient history"... not a good commentary for today,
I would agree. In the 70's I wouldn't trade the childhood I had being raised in the local church environment. As a young Christian in the mid-80's I was helped by personal testimonies of one's daily walk through the week. Not relevant for the present local church environment which I'd characterize as "ministry churches".
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Old 04-08-2017, 10:58 AM   #17
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Lee said that there could only be one apostle per age, and he was the current MOTA. Either the statement was true or he was a fraud.

For the first part -- 'one ministry/apostle per age' -- I see no biblical support. If Paul was MOTA, then what was John doing? Where do you see John or Peter confessing subservience to Paul, and/or Paul demanding (or implying) its necessity? And why was the 'Apocalypse' written, post-Paul, by John and not by Timothy or Titus? And what, for example, of Wesley vis-a-vis Edwards? Which one of them was MOTA? And why is it that neither of them seemed to care, yet God moved mightily?

But suppose we accept the first part and try to go on, to find that, "Witness Lee has God's current (and sole) oracle."

There are enough data points to strongly suggest that if there were in fact a true and clear MOTA, then WL wasn't it, but defrauded the flock with false claims.

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Daystar showed avarice, opacity (money-laundering) and tight operational control, and if we look around we find there already was a behavioral pattern: tennis rackets, chairs, suits, "Let's go Linko!" &c. Rainbow booklets and gold bars. Merchandize and move on; leave the wreckage behind and 'sail on'.

Second, the Philip Lee affair(s): there are multiple, re-enforcing accounts from various ones involved. Per Paul's epistolary directives, WL wasn't even qualified to be church elder much less MOTA.

Third, look at treatment of scripture, a la Psalms, Job, 1 Peter, Jude, James &c. WL clearly and repeatedly departed from NT and subsequent church reception of scripture. According to his so-called revelation of 'God's economy', a not inconsiderable amount of scriptural text was merely 'fallen concepts' and 'natural thinking', not indicative of Christ (but WL claimed to be free from any such conceits.)

Folks, if someone comes to you claiming to be an apostle, much less 'the' apostle, and says to follow his so-called revelations, rather than scripture and the clear pattern of apostolic and church reception of scripture, run away. Run away fast.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:56 PM   #18
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Is there a ministry book or article that talks more about Lee's theory of MOTA?
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:28 AM   #19
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Is there a ministry book or article that talks more about Lee's theory of MOTA?
Good question. By my memory Lee said that nobody else had any light. His ministry required absolute primacy. Anyone who didn't subsume their gifts were deemed independent, rebellious, and divisive.

As I wrote earlier, there's no record of this in the NT.

Eventually MOTA was formalized by his lieutenants sometime in the mid-90s. I'm not sure of the documentation they provided.

But WL's oft-asserted idea that God can only do one thing at a time is patently absurd. Look at Wesley and Edwards- which of them assumed primacy? They would have laughed at the notion.
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:05 AM   #20
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Is there a ministry book or article that talks more about Lee's theory of MOTA?
Here is a DCP article: The Vision of the Age, the Ministry of the Age, and the Minister of the Age, that explains the whole concept.
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Old 04-09-2017, 12:43 PM   #21
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Here is a DCP article: The Vision of the Age, the Ministry of the Age, and the Minister of the Age, that explains the whole concept.
Yes, do read that article.

It's a sham.
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Old 04-09-2017, 05:03 PM   #22
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Here is a DCP article: The Vision of the Age, the Ministry of the Age, and the Minister of the Age, that explains the whole concept.
Oh my goodness. It's been a while since I've read this article. Thanks for posting Koinonia. From a different perspective it's a concept essential for their church model to work. I would venture to say the concept behind the church model isn't the problem, it's too many Christians are lacking "the vision".

On another note from a historical perspective in the Local Churches 1986 and 1948 were important years. In 1986 that's the year of the "pledge of allegiance" and the Linko promotion. Whatever happened to the money intended for Linko? There's never been transparency regarding LSM financials and when few control the finances, one cannot assume those controlling the finances are exempt from temptation. Which is why oversight is always needed.
After being put out for a number of years, Watchman Nee resumes his ministry in 1948. Some may say how Nee changed direction of his ministry in 1948 was in part to China's social situation. May be true. I have considered the emphasis on deputy authority hierarchy was so he would never experience being put out of the church again.
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:48 PM   #23
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I came back for some more reading this weekend. There are many important facets to better understand the LC and our own experiences in it, and thankfully the documents and threads here provide a variety of perspectives. I doubt any one person could sufficiently cover it all. No MOTAs here

Let me restate my "sham" claim, hopefully more clearly than my original post:

Witness Lee was a delusional, puffed-up fraud. His skewed teachings and cult of personality and domineering power trips and corrupt nepotism resulted in an exclusivist, dysfunctional Local Church system. His loyal lieutenants now run the system in the same manner.

But that doesn't mean the sum total of hundreds of thousands of people's experience in the Local Church was/is a sham. No, certainly not, as JJ pointed out in post #3 and I agreed in post #5.

I was born into the LC and left about 10 years ago in my mid-20s. This included a year in FTTA. From my first confession and baptism in a junior high Summer School of Truth onwards there were plenty of times of genuine seeking and enjoyment. No doubt the sham teachings and devious leadership system played an important role in my life, but there were plenty of other important factors in my life, including some helpful teaching and care from others in the system.

I've had a lot of lessons to learn since I left the LC, and my perspective is certainly different than it was a decade ago. Knowing the real history of WL and the LC is another useful lesson, as I now can better assess my own past, including what I mentioned in post #4. Plus there are other systems out there, both religious and secular, with similarities to the LC system. So it's also helpful for navigating these land mines.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:21 AM   #24
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AskSeek: your post about TLR being "a sham" expressed what some here have concluded. I've been wrestling with questions about TLR for 32 years (after a "storm" in my local church divided and scattered "the saints" there, and broke my heart). The answers are both simple and complex. After two years of participating in this forum, I see that opinions here vary quite a bit.

My own opinion is that there is a need to consider TLR's "ways", all the way back to its "roots" in "Exclusive Brethren" teachings and practices as well as the in-compassionate and legalistic shepherding of M.E. Barber, learn from the good and drop the bad.

I like what "The Concerned Brothers" have been saying http://www.concernedbrothers.com
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:41 AM   #25
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AskSeek: your post about TLR being "a sham" expressed what some here have concluded. I've been wrestling with questions about TLR for 32 years (after a "storm" in my local church divided and scattered "the saints" there, and broke my heart). The answers are both simple and complex. After two years of participating in this forum, I see that opinions here vary quite a bit.

My own opinion is that there is a need to consider TLR's "ways", all the way back to its "roots" in "Exclusive Brethren" teachings and practices as well as the in-compassionate and legalistic shepherding of M.E. Barber, learn from the good and drop the bad.

I like what "The Concerned Brothers" have been saying http://www.concernedbrothers.com

Everyone's experience in the LC/LSM is different.
When I first came to the LC in the mid 70s, we used the KJ and NASB. The RCV was just beginning with Romans and Hebrews as the first RCV books we used to study.

For me, my salvation through the Blood of Jesus was solidified. I don't take the Precious Blood of Jesus or His Holy Name for granted.

I did not understand the meaning of sanctification/consecration back then but I was because of the communal living and the ongoing fellowship. After I left and my personal walk deepened I learned the true meaning of sanctification.

My experience in the power of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, the Power of the Blood of Jesus and the Power of Sanctification were established there.

Forever I will be grateful for my foundation. But that is not true for others.
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:43 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by JJ View Post
AskSeek: your post about TLR being "a sham" expressed what some here have concluded. I've been wrestling with questions about TLR for 32 years (after a "storm" in my local church divided and scattered "the saints" there, and broke my heart). The answers are both simple and complex. After two years of participating in this forum, I see that opinions here vary quite a bit.

My own opinion is that there is a need to consider TLR's "ways", all the way back to its "roots" in "Exclusive Brethren" teachings and practices as well as the in-compassionate and legalistic shepherding of M.E. Barber, learn from the good and drop the bad.

I like what "The Concerned Brothers" have been saying http://www.concernedbrothers.com
JJ, you are so right. I too could never reconcile the many blatant Christian contradictions I found in the Recovery and especially with WL, until I studied Brethren history, especially J.N.Darby. One quote by a Brethren historian was quite helpful during my time of "wrestling" with these anomalies. F. Roy Coad basically said that with Darby there was so much good to speak of, and yet so much more wrong.

One must begin to apprehend this difficult conundrum in order to properly assess Witness Lee and LSM. Who can deny that he spoke many wonderful things and did much work for the Lord. Yet WL also felt he was above the law, and did many things a Christian minister should never have done. He thought far more highly of himself than he ought, based on these numerous false teachings of Deputy Authority, the Recovery paradigm, the ground of locality, oneness, Minister of the Age, the Work, etc.

After seeing the sad plight of so many ex-members who had forsaken the faith, I decided a better understanding of Lee for ex-members was to identify all the sources of leaven in his ministry. Like how the Apostle Paul admonishes us to "prove the will of God," and to "test all things, hold on to the good." Jesus Himself counseled the disciples not to reject the entire O.T. dispensation, but to beware of the "leaven of the Pharisees," and to "search the scriptures" because they always point to Christ.

For example, I would never reject the worship of God by calling on the name of the Lord. The Bible and Christian history is filled with the record of other men of God who have done so. But the public show we witnessed of "let's all stand and call on the Lord 5 times" must be utterly discarded. Like the Lord's word about the Pharisee praying in public to make show, we should all go to our "closet." It's not some "thing" to do. After visiting numerous non-LC churches, I learned that many dear believers call on the Lord from the heart, yet without fanfare.

So let me ask, "who has got the real thing?"
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:49 AM   #27
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Yes, do read that article.

It's a sham.
The idea of one specially-chosen human vessel for God's current speaking or leading or 'up-to-date truth' was entirely based on self-serving human logic, not on either scripture nor common Christian experience. It's a scam, perpetrated upon the body of believers, to trap a few of the weak and gullible ones.

It flies against the repeated counsel of scripture: Proverbs says three times that in many advisors is prudence, wisdom, success, and safety. By stark contrast, in the LSM & LC all revelation supposedly comes from one vessel, and if that vessel fails, there's no safeguard.

Even the pope has a college of cardinals! Look at the fellows in this "one unique revelation and one chosen revelatory vessel per age" idea: the Unification Church, the Rastafarians, the Mormons etc. Not good company.

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Originally Posted by askseek View Post
Plus there are other systems out there, both religious and secular, with similarities to the LC system. So it's also helpful for navigating these land mines.
Not to mention Eastern Lightning, Three Grades of Servants, etc.

Now, Jesus was arguably the model for the benign despot - nobody taught Jesus - Jesus taught everyone else. But the critical difference between Jesus and Paul, Luther, Darby, and Nee and Lee (and any of us) is that Jesus lived a sinless life, placed that perfect life on the cross for our sins, and rose three days later to eternal reign and glory. That didn't happen to Paul, Luther, Darby, or Nee. Or Sun Myung-Moon or Haile Selassie, for that matter.

No; the 'uncovered truths' of Nee and later Lee were in retrospect entirely ad hoc and meant to fit whatever the days' exigencies were. Look at the role women, for example: Dora Yu was a 'lionness' of the Little Flock but would have no place in the Recovery today. Why? Because she was expedient. Her value came and went. The only enduring 'truth' in women's functioning was toward the acquisition of temporal human power. She was useful, an used, but once the Foreigners were removed, she was discarded. Along with Peace Wang, Ruth Lee etc. Similarly, Mary MacDonough was used to 'recover the three parts of man' but wouldn't be able to give a message on it today.

http://www.tripartiteman.org/historical/mcdonough.html

Not to mention Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, and so forth. None of them would get an inch of space today. But they were at one point useful for the Cause.

Likewise, Leland Wang was used and discarded. Wang was the elder brother that Nee famously chafed under, whilst both were in Barber's tutelage. Then Wang bought the hall used for the first independent SCA gatherings. Once Nee removed him, on perceived doctrinal differences, Nee suddenly 'recovered the truth' of Authority and Submission. Nice timing. Once Nee was Top Dog, he codified it with supposed revelation.

Then Lee lifted Nee up as the singular "Seer of the Divine Revelation", and himself as "closest co-worker", which meant he was next in line as Guru. The whole thing is a self-serving sham.
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:09 PM   #28
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To me, lately it's all come down to one question: is the human experience at its core a competetive one, or a co-operative one? Based on that outlook, one will choose the path. And I have no doubt in my mind, which way Jesus was pointing us.

In the LC, words like "fellowship" and "oneness" were entirely predicated upon exclusivity toward one ministry and its constant critique of all others as fallen, deformed, dark, twisted, devilish, satanic, babylonian etc. We were "God's best". This striving for primacy against one's fellows flies against everything in the gospels and beyond them.

And I was so mesmerised by this system, that when the FTTA trainer told us "don't waste your time" with the sick, the indigent, the widows and orphans, and instead focus our attentions, efforts and energies on those who could repay us in this age, the so-called "good building material", I kept soldiering on. Even though I knew in my heart that the ministry's programme directives were absolutely contrary to the gospel message given us by the very witnesses of Jesus. The Hive Mind had taken over, and its present 'truths' had swamped the eternal gospel.

I thank God for pulling me out of that place.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:21 PM   #29
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Everyone's experience in the LC/LSM is different.
When I first came to the LC in the mid 70s, we used the KJ and NASB. The RCV was just beginning with Romans and Hebrews as the first RCV books we used to study.

For me, my salvation through the Blood of Jesus was solidified. I don't take the Precious Blood of Jesus or His Holy Name for granted.

I did not understand the meaning of sanctification/consecration back then but I was because of the communal living and the ongoing fellowship. After I left and my personal walk deepened I learned the true meaning of sanctification.

My experience in the power of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, the Power of the Blood of Jesus and the Power of Sanctification were established there.

Forever I will be grateful for my foundation. But that is not true for others.
Thanks for your testimony. It's encouraging for me.

I'm not bitter about my LC history or anything in my past, and am grateful for a number of things. My faith situation is quite different from yours, though.

These past few weeks have gotten me to reconsider belief in the Bible after years of being agnostic. A pretty comfortable agnostic for the most part, but there are times it's a struggle to have a sense of meaning. I've learned a lot in recent years about the history of religion and beliefs in general, which includes a history of the ancient Biblical times and peoples.

I still have my skepticisms, but I'm somewhat open to some sort of belief in Jesus. Not sure what that really would mean at this point.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by JJ View Post
AskSeek: your post about TLR being "a sham" expressed what some here have concluded. I've been wrestling with questions about TLR for 32 years (after a "storm" in my local church divided and scattered "the saints" there, and broke my heart). The answers are both simple and complex. After two years of participating in this forum, I see that opinions here vary quite a bit.

My own opinion is that there is a need to consider TLR's "ways", all the way back to its "roots" in "Exclusive Brethren" teachings and practices as well as the in-compassionate and legalistic shepherding of M.E. Barber, learn from the good and drop the bad.

I like what "The Concerned Brothers" have been saying http://www.concernedbrothers.com
Thanks for sharing about wrestling with these issues for 32 years. "The answers are both simple and complex" is a very helpful to hear.

And from your link I read the "Opening Words" document. I like that they cover the nuance of the word "ministry", something I haven't thought about:

The matter of one ministry has been strongly emphasized since Brother Lee's departure. This
emphasis has been very confusing to many saints because there are several meanings to the term
‘ministry’ which have not been clearly differentiated. These meanings include (1) the one New
Testament ministry initiated by the Lord, (2) the different individual ministries that are part of
this one ministry e.g. the ministries of the apostles Peter, Paul and John, and others, (3) the
personal ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, (4) the ministries of other workers, (5)
the work of ministry of the saints, (6) Living Stream Ministry (LSM) and (7) "The Ministry," a
magazine published by LSM. The failure to differentiate these items has led many saints to
equate in their own mind Living Stream Ministry with the New Testament Ministry, and to
consider that the co-workers who serve in the Living Stream Ministry are the only ones who
carry out the New Testament Ministry.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:42 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
F. Roy Coad basically said that with Darby there was so much good to speak of, and yet so much more wrong.

After seeing the sad plight of so many ex-members who had forsaken the faith, I decided a better understanding of Lee for ex-members was to identify all the sources of leaven in his ministry. Like how the Apostle Paul admonishes us to "prove the will of God," and to "test all things, hold on to the good." Jesus Himself counseled the disciples not to reject the entire O.T. dispensation, but to beware of the "leaven of the Pharisees," and to "search the scriptures" because they always point to Christ.

For example, I would never reject the worship of God by calling on the name of the Lord. The Bible and Christian history is filled with the record of other men of God who have done so. But the public show we witnessed of "let's all stand and call on the Lord 5 times" must be utterly discarded. Like the Lord's word about the Pharisee praying in public to make show, we should all go to our "closet." It's not some "thing" to do. After visiting numerous non-LC churches, I learned that many dear believers call on the Lord from the heart, yet without fanfare.

So let me ask, "who has got the real thing?"
That's a good example about calling but not in a repetitious or even out loud manner. Similar to what I just posted about the nuance of "ministry" so too there can be different ways of what "calling on the name" could mean and a variety of practice. I don't recall anywhere in the NT it's spelled out in a "do this" sort of way except Jesus instructing the disciples to "pray in this manner". And it's the famous "Our Father" prayer, short and to-the-point because "He already knows what you need before you ask him." It's refreshing for me to read that.

My question for you is regarding "leaven" in Witness Lee's teaching, what about "a little leaven leavens the whole lump"? At this point I'm in a detox frame of mind and thus not open to the teachings of WL, including RcV with its non-optional outlines. But I could see how others may want to pick and choose.

As for your question of the real thing... if you find out please let me know
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:04 PM   #32
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And thanks aron for several informative posts that really drove the point home.

But thankfully you also provided some healthy contrast, like in #11:
Jesus repeatedly said that the safe position is to take the least position. Those who preemptively elevate themselves above their station get put down.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:44 PM   #33
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JJ

So let me ask, "who has got the real thing?"
Every believer does. Jesus, he's the real thing. Coke (and we) had it wrong thinking it was something else
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:48 PM   #34
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That's a good example about calling but not in a repetitious or even out loud manner. Similar to what I just posted about the nuance of "ministry" so too there can be different ways of what "calling on the name" could mean and a variety of practice. I don't recall anywhere in the NT it's spelled out in a "do this" sort of way except Jesus instructing the disciples to "pray in this manner". And it's the famous "Our Father" prayer, short and to-the-point because "He already knows what you need before you ask him." It's refreshing for me to read that.

My question for you is regarding "leaven" in Witness Lee's teaching, what about "a little leaven leavens the whole lump"? At this point I'm in a detox frame of mind and thus not open to the teachings of WL, including RcV with its non-optional outlines. But I could see how others may want to pick and choose.

As for your question of the real thing... if you find out please let me know
The "real thing" is Jesus. Sounds passe, but there's no other simple answer.

askseek, if you seek Him, you will find Him. We have His word about that.

If we create performance out of worship, and lives filled with regulations, then we will feel caged up, and long for freedom. LC religious formulas did more damage than good.

Yes, the leaven leavens the whole lump, but it can also be purged out. I gave an example of calling the Lord's name. I have successfully purged out the leaven, without discarding the lump. I felt it was extremely worthwhile to do this in order to keep my love for Jesus.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:45 PM   #35
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Thanks for your testimony. It's encouraging for me.

I'm not bitter about my LC history or anything in my past, and am grateful for a number of things. My faith situation is quite different from yours, though.

These past few weeks have gotten me to reconsider belief in the Bible after years of being agnostic. A pretty comfortable agnostic for the most part, but there are times it's a struggle to have a sense of meaning. I've learned a lot in recent years about the history of religion and beliefs in general, which includes a history of the ancient Biblical times and peoples.

I still have my skepticisms, but I'm somewhat open to some sort of belief in Jesus. Not sure what that really would mean at this point.
Talk to Jesus as you would a friend. He wants a real relationship with you not a religious one. I may know the Word of God but that includes me yelling at Him when I get frustrated. I always end up apologizing to Him and hold a conversation with Him about my frustration.

Last month I was so unhappy for several week's. One night I told Jesus how tired I was of being so unhappy. That night He gave me a dream. I was laughing and having so much fun in the dream that when I woke up I no longer was unhappy. That dark cloud over me has proofed and I am no longer unhappy.

Thank You LORD Jesus for removing that dark cloud that was oppressing me.
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:58 PM   #36
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The "real thing" is Jesus. Sounds passe, but there's no other simple answer.

askseek, if you seek Him, you will find Him. We have His word about that.

If we create performance out of worship, and lives filled with regulations, then we will feel caged up, and long for freedom. LC religious formulas did more damage than good.

Yes, the leaven leavens the whole lump, but it can also be purged out. I gave an example of calling the Lord's name. I have successfully purged out the leaven, without discarding the lump. I felt it was extremely worthwhile to do this in order to keep my love for Jesus.
You can't blame the Recovery or Witness Lee for your failure to use your spirit when calling on the name of the Lord, or approaching this in a religious way. In the recovery there has never been a time when calling on the Lord was stated to be a religious ritual, neither is it stated as such in all of Witness Lee's writings. That is your interpretation of the practice because you were under the grip of a religious spirit yourself.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:12 AM   #37
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You can't blame the Recovery or Witness Lee for your failure to use your spirit when calling on the name of the Lord, or approaching this in a religious way. In the recovery there has never been a time when calling on the Lord was stated to be a religious ritual, neither is it stated as such in all of Witness Lee's writings. That is your interpretation of the practice because you were under the grip of a religious spirit yourself.
Your post is a sham.

The ministry of Witness Lee has a long history of always blaming others for his own failed programs and practices.

Witness Lee had the audacity to declare that those who lost their life savings in that Daystar luxury motor home debacle had also lost their spiritual virginity. Though LSM went on to possess millions in cash with vast real estate holdings, they never went back to make right all the money they swindled.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:51 PM   #38
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Your post is a sham.

The ministry of Witness Lee has a long history of always blaming others for his own failed programs and practices.

Witness Lee had the audacity to declare that those who lost their life savings in that Daystar luxury motor home debacle had also lost their spiritual virginity. Though LSM went on to possess millions in cash with vast real estate holdings, they never went back to make right all the money they swindled.
I don't see what Daystar has to do with prayer.
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:30 PM   #39
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You can't blame the Recovery or Witness Lee for your failure to use your spirit when calling on the name of the Lord, or approaching this in a religious way. In the recovery there has never been a time when calling on the Lord was stated to be a religious ritual, neither is it stated as such in all of Witness Lee's writings. That is your interpretation of the practice because you were under the grip of a religious spirit yourself.
Evangelical, your judgmentalism is showing.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:54 PM   #40
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I don't see what Daystar has to do with prayer.
The context is BLAMING. In that context, there is a connection.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:37 PM   #41
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The context is BLAMING. In that context, there is a connection.
You feel justified in blaming Witness Lee for not praying properly. I get it.
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Old 04-16-2017, 05:40 PM   #42
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I don't see what Daystar has to do with prayer.
It's about money.
See post #79 from the link below.

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...hlight=Daystar
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:24 PM   #43
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No one was the same after Daystar. WL has said that the recovery lost its virginity. At least there was a loss of the Lord’s presence and the glow that had been with many began to fade. The simplicity and purity was gone. LSM became a business. Fees were charged for conferences. Some who served full time began to receive a salary. Churches, elders and saints began to be evaluated based on their “usefulness.” The push for “good material” began. We had a call for the gospel song that had a line that went, “To the beaches, the parks or where ever we may.” This song ceased to be sung. The highways and byways were replaced with go the campus and bring in the good material. So. California was never the same in spite of great effort to recapture the era of blessing and glory.
All the evidence from witnesses says that WL and LSM are all about business. The business of making money peddling the word of God.
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Old 04-17-2017, 12:19 PM   #44
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It's about money.
See post #79 from the link below.
Thanks for the link, Terry. I went and added all of Don Rutledge's insider stories from that thread (several posts) to the excerpt thread for ease of access:

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...8779#post58779
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:01 AM   #45
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Sham. That's a word I never thought I'd use to characterize Witness Lee, his ministry, and to some extent the Local Church itself.

This past week has been a real education on the history and character of WL, his ministry, and his successors. (I'm the guy from the "Some thoughts on this site" thread.)

A week ago if you would've told me "the Lord's Recovery is a group of Christians with an exclusivist attitude and weird, insular culture" I would've said "Yep, I've known that for a long time." But it wasn't until I was informed of this site and spent a lot of time reading the documents and comments, along with even more time reflecting, reminiscing, and writing about it myself that I can now conclude "it's a sham." That's a significant difference from merely calling it puffed up and peculiar.

A big thank-you to the core community here for hosting this site and providing this information. The real shame would be if these important historical records were lost.

p.s. I have some ideas how to better organize and communicate the information on this site. Let me know if you're interested.
Perhaps we should have had the definition of "sham" :https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sham and a description of what TLR "purports to be at the beginning of this discussion.
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