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Old 09-03-2016, 08:56 PM   #1
ZNPaaneah
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Default ZNP Blog - Carry My Bones Up From Here

Introduction

The context of James is the early church. James emphasizes this context in his book when he says that we should not “have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons”. The record in Acts and Galatians reveals a key human failing, we are prone to have the faith of Jesus “with respect of persons”. Imagine you are a new one, you are not sure what to believe. But, you know you can trust James, after all, he is the brother of Jesus and the son of the virgin Mary. In Acts and Galatians James had a big influence on the early church and what was recorded was not a positive one. James’ experience is as much a part of the context as Paul’s experience of persecuting Christians or Peter’s experience of denying the Lord. James experience of the early church respecting him according to who he was in the flesh is relevant for him to expose false prophets, to shut their mouths, and to help those who have wandered from the truth return to the normal church life. We might think that showing partiality is extremely rare. What is the teaching of slavery if not “having the faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons”? When John Adams was working on the declaration of Independence his wife mentioned the fact that women were not treated as equals. The Civil Rights movement and Women’s suffrage are both based on “having the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons”. Some justified slavery saying the slaves were descendants of Ham, the son of Noah that was cursed. That is, by definition, to be a “respecter of persons”. Arguments against women’s suffrage were that women were weaker, that they were too occupied with domestic duties, and that they were too stupid to bear the responsibilities of voting. Once again, this by definition, is to “hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons”. What about Nazi Germany where Jews were required to wear the star of David, were housed in Ghettos and then exterminated in camps. This is the logical extreme of what it is to be a “respecter of persons” and what it is to show partiality.

Paul told us that “their mouths must be stopped” regarding the false prophets. How do you accomplish that? James tells us that no man can “tame the tongue”. “Taming the tongue” or “shutting the mouths” is a work of faith. It is the book of James, as much as any other New Testament book that will equip you to stand against a false prophet by “taming their tongue”.

Why are Christians deceived by false prophets? Like any disease you need to know what the risk factors are, what steps do you need to take to protect yourself and what are the symptoms of those who are being led astray. How do you diagnose if you have been deceived? What is the number one safeguard against false prophets? How do you speak to someone who is deceived, how do you reach them? These are some of the issues addressed in the book of James. Many tempations can be examined: investment schemes (Bernie Madoff), national security (Benedict Arnold), elections (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) using the book of James. And the book is balanced, not only does it focus on false prophets but also on genuine faith. Orville and Wilbur Wright, Douglas Macarthur and Harry S. Truman are examples of people who were vilified as being false during their lifetime. These men reveal how difficult discerning the truth can be. James gives us a promise that if we lack wisdom we can ask God and He will give us this wisdom without upbraiding us. The book of James is the “perfect gift of God”. The New Covenant is about giving us a new heart, a heart of flesh. The book of James is about this new heart given to the genuine believers of Christ.

False prophets are “bullies”. Cults are characterized by bullying. How do you respond in a way that triumphs over bullies? This is an issue in schools and in the world, not just in the church. FDR and Marshall exemplified the way mentioned by James in their dealing with MacArthur, likewise Gandhi in his dealing with the British, and Mandela in his actions as President. Christians are destined to rule and reign with Jesus Christ and the book of James equips us to triumph over bullies.

What are the indicators that a man is genuine or false? James gives us a seven point checklist to discern. He also reveals the actions that should set off an alarm. How can a man who knows Jesus and ministers the word of God be a false prophet? James explains this and makes clear the matter of grace with three simple words. James also gives us the one thing, above all, that a believer should not do. Again, this can apply to a church, it can also apply to Germans living under Adolf Hitler, or investors considering an investment scheme from Bernie Madoff.

Finally, James explains how to return when you have wandered from the truth. The book is written to “the twelve tribes in the dispersion”. He identifies what led them astray, why they followed this false leader, and what is the path that leads back to a normal church life. It applies to traitors and scam artists of all kinds. James focus is on judging why you were deceived. This is not for us to judge others, but rather that we can remove the beam from our own eye.

2 Pet 2:15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing.

What is the path back to God? James gives us that path. The word “dispersion” refers to the pattern of distribution of individuals within a habitat. The kingdom of heaven is like a field where the Lord has distributed believers across this earth under His sovereignty. If these believers can root out the stony heart and take a heart of flesh, then there is no place left for God’s enemy. The Lord has prayed that we would all be one and overcome the world, and He has given us the book of James to help us according to His love and His purpose.

The truth is powerful whether or not you believe it. It did not matter that no one believed Wilbur and Orville Wright had built an airplane that could fly. They did not waste time arguing or debating. Instead Wilbur spent months rebuilding the plane damaged by the customs office and then in a demonstration lasting less than 5 minutes took off, circled the field and landed. Likewise, it didn’t matter that the British did not believe Gandhi when he said that they would pack up and leave on their own. It was the truth and it was what they did. However, for a false prophet his power is based on you “believing” his word. If you reject his word then he is powerless. For example, the followers of Hitler claimed that he “struck a chord with us, he uttered what was in the consciousness of all of us”. Charisma exists as an interaction between a speaker and an audience. Hitler told them what they wanted to hear. It is like a virus that needs a host to infect, without a host there is no life and no power. When we deal with our heart we will deal with the virus. As a rule James makes it clear we are not to judge our brother, however he also points out that teachers are subject to a “stricter judgement”. It is foolish to argue that the New Testament forbids us from judging teachings, that is akin to forbidding discernment, prudence or wisdom. Jesus tells the church in Thyatira that He has this against them, that they tolerate that woman Jezebel who teaches His believers to commit spiritual fornication. This book teaches us to discern the teachings and teachers, it doesn’t teach us to judge our brother.

2Pet 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

I will reference my personal experience with the Local Church through some of the discussion on the book of James. This group was founded by Witness Lee, a coworker of Watchman Nee. Since some may not know this relatively small and obscure Christian group it is important to give you a little background of key issues, doctrines, events and people.

Watchman Nee

When Mao took over China Watchman Nee remained and sent Witness Lee to take “the recovery” to Taiwan. Watchman Nee died in prison after Richard Nixon asked about him. One incident that is critical to this book is understanding who Watchman Nee is (author of Sit, Walk, Stand and other books on the Bible). In China Watchman Nee established a new sect of Christianity based on his doctrine “The Ground of the Church”. This is a highly contentious doctrine and it is the foundation of his sect. This doctrine is based on the Old Testament typology of the Temple which was built on a specific ground. The place where Abraham offered up Isaac. Since James uses this as “the” example of being “saved by works of faith” it is really a cornerstone to understanding both the book of James and the sect of Watchman Nee. This is also the same ground where King David offered a burnt offering to stop the plague brought on by pride. This “plague brought on by pride” is also a critical component of both James and the issues I raise with Witness Lee. The doctrine of “The Minister of the Age” exemplifies the extent of this “plague brought on by pride”. As a result it is important to introduce these two doctrines. The other incident that is crucial is Watchman Nee’s being disciplined by the elders in Shanghai for having a mistress. Witness Lee taught (in speaking, but not in writing) that Watchman Nee was disciplined for living with a woman, but that the woman was his mother. This lie was critical in preserving Watchman Nee’s legacy as a man of God, and by extension Witness Lee’s legacy as his closest coworker.

Ground of the church

According to the “Ground of the Church” doctrine you cannot just build the church anywhere, it has to be built on the “proper” ground (just like the Temple in the Old Testament). The verses in the Old Testament are clear, specific, and difficult to ignore. However, for a doctrine as important and central as this (according to Witness Lee you cannot have the real oneness of the Body unless you are on the proper ground) the New Testament references used by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee are obscure and vague. It is based on these two New Testament verses:

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;

And

Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

According to Nee and Lee, “appointing elders in every church” = “appointing elders in every city”. You could reasonably deduce that the boundaries for each missionary was geographic, perhaps they were given cities to work in. But these two verses become the basis to say that the proper ground of the church is the geographic boundary of a city. This inference is then supported by Nee and Lee by showing that anywhere in the New Testament when the word “church” is used it is associated with a single city, and when “churches” are used it is associated with a larger geographic region (church in Ephesus, churches of Galatia). Like any good lie it is based on the truth. It is true that the Old Testament Temple is a type of the church. It is also true that the ground that the church is built on is specific and important. This ground was purchased by Christ with his blood on the cross. To try and equate this ground with the boundaries of geographic cities is an insult to Jesus. This different gospel that they preach becomes very ugly when you look at the application. Based on this doctrine all Christian gatherings are divisive because they do not claim to be the church in that city. Any other name other than “church in _________” is an abomination. Only the elders of this group are legitimate, any other Christian leader that does not submit to their authority is wrong. Also, what do you do when the church in a city has tens of thousands of members? In Taipei they have 23 meeting halls, each with elders in that hall. So the issue isn’t with different meeting halls, each with their own elders, the issue is with all of the elders reporting to Witness Lee. Only the “apostle” has the authority to appoint elders (or remove them) and they are all under his authority. So then, Watchman Nee teaches that “authority is local, each local church answers to the Lord” yet in practice every local church answers to Witness Lee and they are not “legitimate” unless he sanctions them. There are several requirements put on a local church. Each one must have a standing order with the Living Stream Ministry, receiving monthly shipments of books that they don’t want. They must participate in yearly trainings, sending people and paying fees for these. And they must contribute on a monthly basis to the Legal Defense Fund, paying for the legal team of lawyers that the Living Stream Ministry controls. This legal team is used for lawsuits against others. The teaching is used to judge others and to bring the believers into bondage. Then worst of all, they are told that if they leave the “proper ground” of Witness Lee’s churches then they cannot go on with the Lord.

Matt 18:6 but whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that [a]a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.

Minister of the Age

The second doctrine is the “Minister of the Age” doctrine. According to this the Lord is working out His purpose in this age, building His church. In each “mini time period” say the time of Martin Luther or the time of Watchman Nee the Lord has a particular vision, He gives that vision to one servant to minister and that servant is the “Minister of the Age”. Martin Luther was a “Minister of the Age” and Watchman Nee was a “Minister of the Age”. The vision that Martin Luther had was “justification by faith”, the vision that Watchman Nee had was “the ground of the church”. This doctrine is supported with an extensive review of the Old Testament showing that at any given moment in time God was moving through one key man (Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Elisha, etc.). Then in the New Testament you can see that Peter took the lead at one time, then James was clearly the leading elder at one time, then Paul when he rebuked Peter was taking the lead, etc. But then when you study church history this teaching collapses. There was never, apart from James, a “Minister of the Age” that all other ministers appear to submit to. They use a verse from Moses saying that there will be a prophet like him, but that verse is very clearly referring to Jesus. The Old Testament type of the “Minister of the Age” is a type of Jesus and the “vision of the age” is salvation by grace. This doctrine teaches that this type of Jesus is actually a type of Watchman Nee, that is equivalent to preaching another Jesus that Paul warns us of.

2 Cor 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach,

The book of James condemns the history where he was the leading elder saying that we should not have the faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons. He condemns boasting and pride.

Key Issues

Lawsuits


Many Christians became alarmed by this group. Books like the “God Men” and “The Mindbenders” were published accusing the church of being a cult. Witness Lee put together a legal defense team and sued these publishers. All of the churches are required to send money to Living Stream Ministry to support this legal defense team. Ultimately the publishers of those books went broke and could no longer fight the lawsuit, hence Witness Lee won. Witness Lee’s use of lawsuits to sue Christians is a major issue many have with him.

1Cor 6:6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded? 8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren

Daystar

Witness Lee was involved in numerous investment schemes. The one I refer to is called “Daystar” it was a motor home company that was located in Taiwan. He sold stock in this company to all of the saints in the United States. His sons, Philip and Timothy ran the company. The company went bankrupt yet Philip and Timothy and Witness Lee made money. Witness Lee convinced all of the saints to not seek remuneration. Selling the stock as he did violated SEC regulations. There were a number of issues with this company that had the saints sought to get their money back would have put Witness Lee and his sons in jail.

Starting around 1972, Witness Lee expressed a concern for the financial suffering of the migrating saints and their need to be able to purchase proper meeting places. I was in a meeting of visiting elders and co-workers in which he introduced the Daystar business. He shared that his son Timothy had approached him about a business and that the business seemed to Witness Lee to be ideal for us (the local churches). The brothers and sisters could invest money, earn a nice profit of around 35%, and generate significant profit for the support of the new churches. He then spoke of manufacturing only the finest product. We could produce the product in Taiwan, which would help the believers there with employment and sell the product in the USA. He spoke at length concerning how the members of the churches should only invest their surplus and that he felt very positive that this was of the Lord. The business consisted of manufacturing and selling an expensive motor home. This was certainly a very different meeting than anything I had ever attended. I and others left with our heads spinning. I was bothered and asked James Barber what was going on. He replied that Witness Lee was God’s anointed and I should be very careful about criticizing. He declared that even if Witness Lee was wrong, God would bless the endeavor. (Taken from “History by Don Rutledge” posted on the Local Church Discussions website).


Philip Lee

After Daystar Witness Lee formed “Living Stream Ministry” and put Philip Lee, an unsaved person, in charge. Philip Lee was involved in many evil deeds including molesting sisters and having drunken parties in the office. The elders brought these to the attention of Witness Lee. All those that did were slandered, libeled and excommunicated. Max Rappaport, his wife, John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, John So, etc. There is a long list of people who became aware of the sins of Philip Lee and as a result were maligned and driven out of the Local church and everyone was told to avoid them because they were “poisoned”. These were the key spiritual leaders in the church. In addition, Philip Lee was the one who forced all the churches to get “standing orders”. This means that each month the church pays for books they don’t want. The boxes of books would build up in the closet until they have no more room. At that point they have a “yard sale” to get rid of them.

Key People

Ray Graver, Benson Phillips, Kerry Robichaux and Ed Marks were all in the church in Houston at the same time I was from 1978 to 1981. All five of us then went to form the church in Irving to build a large conference center for the Living Stream Ministry and were there until 1983. So for six years I was in a church of 200 (Houston) and 100 (Irving) with these four. Today Ray Graver and Benson Phillips run Living Stream Ministry. Ed Marks is a key elder, taking over when the elders in Anaheim resigned over Philip Lee. He is notorious for signing an apology letter to Phillip Lee apologizing for the elders that had disciplined him over his adulterous behavior with sisters (married and single) at the Living Stream office. Kerry Robichaux is the “scribe”. He graduated with a degree in linguistics. He has studied Greek and has a Phd. I went to Rice university at the same time he was there. Ray Graver and Benson Phillips are notorious for refusing to listen to John Ingalls when he came to them about Philip Lee. They argued that Philip was a “local matter”. They basically stuck the knife in the back of the elders in Anaheim and then the four of them (Ray, Benson, Ed and Kerry) replaced them.

Upon coming together we attempted amid protests to mention the matter of the misconduct in the LSM office. They steadfastly refused to hear about it, but we proceeded to speak. Ray [Ray Graver] Graver then quickly rose and exited the room. Benson [Benson Phillips] (in whose home we were meeting) also rose to register his displeasure. We felt that they had knowledge relevant to the matter and wanted to confer with them about it. Benson admitted that the same sister from the LSM office (mentioned previously) had come to him in Taipei to disclose a related event, but he strongly protested our bringing this matter before them. They argued that this affair was exclusively under the jurisdiction of the church in Anaheim, and they had no business being involved. We felt, as we mentioned earlier, that it was more than local, and that since that they were leaders in the LSM operation, they could be consulted. (Taken from Speaking the Truth in Love, by John Ingalls)

For those interested in reading the full 61 page document here is the PDF
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:09 PM   #2
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ZNP,

I'd like to continue our conversation here concerning James. You have provided an extensive base of thought to springboard off of. I will try to keep my observations related strictly to James.

Before, I get into more detail here is one wording correction I suggest in your opening paragraph. I don't think you meant it the way it reads but could be misunderstood by some:

" But, you know you can trust James, after all, he is the brother of Jesus and the son of the virgin Mary."... would be better stated "and the son of Joseph and Mary (the Lord's mother)"

Mary was not a virgin in perpetuity and assumed the duties and obligations of a family after Jesus' birth including having children with her husband Joseph. If there is any special trust that can be attributed to James it would only be that he and the Lord Jesus had the same physical mother and maybe she shared some things with him after he believed like the virgin birth. His siblings did not even believe in Him growing up... not until after His resurrection. And though He met with James after His resurrection, we have no information about what was said. We may make some assumptions about that but it would be speculative.

I think you'll agree with the above but I just to make sure we start off with the same assumptions so we don't have to backtrack later.

Agree? If not, let's discuss.

thx
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:36 PM   #3
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Thanks. Just trying to emphasize that this woman was part of the heritage of faith in her own right.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:14 PM   #4
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Yep. I figured.

More later.

thx
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:40 AM   #5
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Any more?
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:15 AM   #6
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Any more?
Hi ZNP,

I read it but as a whole it’s conclusions have little to do with James or his epistle and that which does would require too much effort on my part.

I believe people should just read your article and draw theiir own conclusions based on its own merits.

However, if you have a specific question about James I’ll do my best to answer.

Thx
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:27 AM   #7
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Actually I have to agree with Drake. This thread really belongs over on the Blogosphere sub-forum.
And, as a matter of fact, that's where it's going right now.

ZNP, please continue with this line of postings over here. Thanks.

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Old 12-02-2018, 02:11 PM   #8
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Hi ZNP,

if you have a specific question about James I’ll do my best to answer.

Thx
Drake


1. In “The Bible — the Word of God, Chapter 20, section 1 Witness Lee said “Many words recorded in the Scriptures are the words of Satan, evil men, God's opposers, and even the nonsensical talk of godly men. Furthermore, all the words of the Scriptures were breathed out by God and recorded for a particular purpose. In Genesis 3 the purpose is to expose the subtlety of the enemy. In Acts 21 and in the book of James the purpose is to show us the possibility that a godly person may lack the clear, heavenly view of God's New Testament economy.”

Do you agree that the purpose of the book of James is to show us the possibility that a godly person may lack the clear, heavenly view of God’s New Testament economy?

2. Here we see that James charges the believers to keep the perfect law of freedom in relation to three things: bridling the tongue, visiting orphans and widows, and keeping oneself unspotted from the world. None of these is a crucial item in God’s New Testament economy. By this we see that James does not tell us to keep the perfect law of freedom in the New Testament practice. Rather, by charging us to bridle our tongue, visit orphans and widows, and keep ourselves unspotted from the world, he is speaking of Old Testament practices. (Witness Lee, Life Study of James, Chapter 13, Sect 3)

would you agree that the Lord’s new commandment to us in John 13:34 is a crucial item of God’s New Testament Economy?

Would you agree that presenting our members as servants of righteousness unto sanctification is a crucial item of God’s New Testament economy? Romans 6:19

Would you agree that our baptism by which we are separated from the world is a crucial item of God’s New Testament economy?

3. “For example in 2:9 and 10 he says, “But if you respect persons, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” This word indicates that James still practiced the keeping of the Old Testament law.” (Witness Lee, Life Study of James, Chapter 13, sect 3)

Do you think that the Lord’s command to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the Old Testament law?
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:57 AM   #9
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Do you agree that the purpose of the book of James is to show us the possibility that a godly person may lack the clear, heavenly view of God’s New Testament economy?

would you agree that the Lord’s new commandment to us in John 13:34 is a crucial item of God’s New Testament Economy?

Would you agree that presenting our members as servants of righteousness unto sanctification is a crucial item of God’s New Testament economy? Romans 6:19

Would you agree that our baptism by which we are separated from the world is a crucial item of God’s New Testament economy?

Do you think that the Lord’s command to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the Old Testament law?

Items 1-4 = Yes

Item 5 = No

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Old 12-03-2018, 07:10 PM   #10
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Items 1-4 = Yes

Item 5 = No

Drake
Then I guess we both sort of agree. Only difference is I am not sure that WL was a godly person, not for me to judge, but his exposition on James does demonstrate that he didn't have a clear, heavenly view of God's economy. So in that sense the book of James did expose that.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:55 PM   #11
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Then I guess we both sort of agree. Only difference is I am not sure that WL was a godly person, not for me to judge, but his exposition on James does demonstrate that he didn't have a clear, heavenly view of God's economy. So in that sense the book of James did expose that.
One could visit orphans and widows 24x7 and not build up the Body of Christ. There are many secular and religious groups that do just that, and its commendable... but if that is all they do then they have missed Gods purpose.

https://muslimfostercare.org/

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Old 12-04-2018, 06:02 AM   #12
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One could visit orphans and widows 24x7 and not build up the Body of Christ. There are many secular and religious groups that do just that, and its commendable... but if that is all they do then they have missed Gods purpose.

https://muslimfostercare.org/

Drake
When you bring a canary into a coal mine it is not to help you mine the coal. The canary protects you from a pernicious killer creeping in by warning you. These false prophets that we have been warned about will prey on the most vulnerable, the widows and orphans. As long as you are caring for them it is like bug repellant to those that would make merchandise of the saints. James says "pure and undefiled religion". If you are not taking care of widows and orphans it indicates you are not pure, you are not undefiled, but instead you are "spotted by the world".

Instead I would argue that being a hearer only and not a doer of the word, that is the far more common pitfall of Christians and they have missed God's purpose.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:38 AM   #13
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When you bring a canary into a coal mine it is not to help you mine the coal. The canary protects you from a pernicious killer creeping in by warning you. These false prophets that we have been warned about will prey on the most vulnerable, the widows and orphans. As long as you are caring for them it is like bug repellant to those that would make merchandise of the saints. James says "pure and undefiled religion". If you are not taking care of widows and orphans it indicates you are not pure, you are not undefiled, but instead you are "spotted by the world".

Instead I would argue that being a hearer only and not a doer of the word, that is the far more common pitfall of Christians and they have missed God's purpose.
Great post!

Once again the extremes of LSM have been exposed. When LSM threw Titus Chu under the bus and excommunicated the GLA, they also voiced their extreme displeasure that Midwest young people gatherings included "good works," such as visiting the sick, wrongfully condemning them as "dead works."
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:49 AM   #14
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Great post!

Once again the extremes of LSM have been exposed. When LSM threw Titus Chu under the bus and excommunicated the GLA, they also voiced their extreme displeasure that Midwest young people gatherings included "good works," such as visiting the sick, wrongfully condemning them as "dead works."
The charge to "keep the perfect law of freedom" -- the Lord's commandment to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is not an OT commandment, it is not the result of a blurry vision of God's NT economy, it is to keep the Lord's word. This is a very clear error in WL's ministry.

James takes this word and also the word to "love one another" and makes it practical. WL was very, very big on his disciples being "hearers of the word" and would gladly expound on these verses ad infinitum, but taught against being a doer of the word just like Drake said -- if you do that "you aren't building the kingdom" or "those are the works of dead religion", etc.

So ask yourself, did giving money for the legal defense fund used to sue Christians, was that building the kingdom? How about giving money for Daystar? How about the money that went to fund Timothy Lee and Phillip Lee? Given the choice I would prefer that money had been used to care for widows and orphans.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:30 AM   #15
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When you bring a canary into a coal mine it is not to help you mine the coal. The canary protects you from a pernicious killer creeping in by warning you. These false prophets that we have been warned about will prey on the most vulnerable, the widows and orphans. As long as you are caring for them it is like bug repellant to those that would make merchandise of the saints. James says "pure and undefiled religion". If you are not taking care of widows and orphans it indicates you are not pure, you are not undefiled, but instead you are "spotted by the world".

Instead I would argue that being a hearer only and not a doer of the word, that is the far more common pitfall of Christians and they have missed God's purpose.
Of course doings and not just hearings are needed....the question here is what compels the doer and does the compelling force instigate anything else.

For instance, if I were to ask you to describe American football and you told me it consist of tens of thousands of fans screaming and yelling, eating hotdogs, popcorn, nachos, drinking beer and players trying to hurt each on the field then I would say you know something about American football but only on the surface... in reality you don’t really know the essence of football.

I wouldn’t go as far as afazio appeared to go in the main forum in finding fault with James, but she had a point that many problems in the early church could be sourced back to James and those he was shepherding because he was devoid of proper explanation (and presumably an understanding) of the essence of American football.

Thanks for the conversation... it really was civil and thought provoking rising above the usual canned speeches in the main forum.

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Old 12-04-2018, 07:59 AM   #16
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So ask yourself, did giving money for the legal defense fund used to sue Christians, was that building the kingdom? How about giving money for Daystar? How about the money that went to fund Timothy Lee and Phillip Lee? Given the choice I would prefer that money had been used to care for widows and orphans.
Ahhh, one of those "canned speeches" so dreaded by Drake. No wonder he has dismissed the book of James as relevant for the church today.

Building up the church. What does this really mean? Can loving widows and orphans because one loves the Lord also build the church? Or should that be condemned because the Muslims also have an orphanage? What about those verses on love, like love our neighbor as ourself? Is that not building? What is the real building then? Should not real building up result from all obedience to the Lord?

Lee and LSM have long convinced their adherents that "real" building is only accomplished thru them. Saints are even persuaded to leave LC's to find "real" building at LSM. (How many times did I watch that happen?) Does anyone really believe this? The only "real" building up occurs when LSM signs your paycheck? Of course, they will vehemently deny this, but when it "looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, ... "
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:47 AM   #17
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Of course doings and not just hearings are needed....the question here is what compels the doer and does the compelling force instigate anything else.

For instance, if I were to ask you to describe American football and you told me it consist of tens of thousands of fans screaming and yelling, eating hotdogs, popcorn, nachos, drinking beer and players trying to hurt each on the field then I would say you know something about American football but only on the surface... in reality you don’t really know the essence of football.

I wouldn’t go as far as afazio appeared to go in the main forum in finding fault with James, but she had a point that many problems in the early church could be sourced back to James and those he was shepherding because he was devoid of proper explanation (and presumably an understanding) of the essence of American football.

Thanks for the conversation... it really was civil and thought provoking rising above the usual canned speeches in the main forum.

Drake
I agree that the account of James in the book of Acts and inferred from Galatians is indicative of an error in the early church.

However, none of that is evidence of an error in the epistle of James. Instead the book of Acts also clearly depicts the error of Paul yet no one infers from that that his epistles are also in error. Likewise, the gospels reveal Peter's error and again no one then infers this error is in his epistles. You need to do much better than pointing out that James was involved in error in Acts to discredit his epistle.

Going to your Football analogy: one aspect of American football is its value for fans (big money maker), one aspect is the coaching of the game (strategy and tactics), one aspect is the players training and health, and one very critical aspect is the referees. You cannot ignore any one of these aspects. If James is identifying where to "throw the flag" then that also is part of the game.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #18
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I agree that the account of James in the book of Acts and inferred from Galatians is indicative of an error in the early church.

However, none of that is evidence of an error in the epistle of James. Instead the book of Acts also clearly depicts the error of Paul yet no one infers from that that his epistles are also in error. Likewise, the gospels reveal Peter's error and again no one then infers this error is in his epistles. You need to do much better than pointing out that James was involved in error in Acts to discredit his epistle.

Going to your Football analogy: one aspect of American football is its value for fans (big money maker), one aspect is the coaching of the game (strategy and tactics), one aspect is the players training and health, and one very critical aspect is the referees. You cannot ignore any one of these aspects. If James is identifying where to "throw the flag" then that also is part of the game.
I haven’t concluded that James was in error in his epistle...just that ..it is lacking content concerning the New Testament economy and therefore its utility in building the Body of Christ is at best limited.

But you think otherwise... that’s fine. Therefore, since visiting orphans and widows is important and indicates a proof point of James’ practical understanding of Gods NT economy then .,. How many orphans widows have you visited in 2018 thus far?

Thx
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:27 PM   #19
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I haven’t concluded that James was in error in his epistle...just that ..it is lacking content concerning the New Testament economy and therefore its utility in building the Body of Christ is at best limited.

But you think otherwise... that’s fine. Therefore, since visiting orphans and widows is important and indicates a proof point of James’ practical understanding of Gods NT economy then .,. How many orphans widows have you visited in 2018 thus far?
Paul informs us that God's dispensation, or God's "economy," is not some thing we do, but is in faith, and the goal of Paul's charge is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and unfeigned faith. (I Tim 1.4-5)

This forum is filled with testimony about leadership at LSM which contradicts faith, violates a good conscience, and obviously points to mixed motives of the heart.

And Drake has the nerve to impugn James' epistle? Drake has the nerve to imply that his circle of associates fulfilled Paul's charge to Timothy?

Remember the words of Jesus, "Woe to you hypocrites."
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:12 AM   #20
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I haven’t concluded that James was in error in his epistle...just that ..it is lacking content concerning the New Testament economy and therefore its utility in building the Body of Christ is at best limited.
That is a very narrow view of the New Testament economy. You were the one that used the analogy of the NFL. A handbook to refs on how to officiate and the rules of the game are every bit as much a part of the game as a book from a great coach like Vince Lombardi on strategy, plays, and how to coach a team. Marketing the game is another aspect that cannot be ignored and yet totally different from these first two points. Finally, a book by a famous player on his training regimen is also part of the game.

Likewise I used the analogy of a canary in the coal mine. That canary is a critical component of the mining operation yet does not mine any coal. That is not an obscure analogy, every single building has to have fire alarm, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.

The New Testament economy clearly talks about false prophets. Jesus does in His ministry. Paul does in his ministry. Peter does in his ministry and James does in his ministry. The big complaint about James in Acts is that he was a false prophet, or involved in a cult, or was negatively associated with "Those of the concision". Surely a book on this is far better than the simple "you will know them by their fruit".

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But you think otherwise... that’s fine. Therefore, since visiting orphans and widows is important and indicates a proof point of James’ practical understanding of Gods NT economy then .,. How many orphans widows have you visited in 2018 thus far?

Thx
Drake
Approximately 40 of my students are homeless, and about 40 come from immigrant families, and a very large number are from single parent families. Thanks for asking. The church I meet with in Queens is very representative of the inner city population and therefore the numbers are quite similar. We have several outreaches. We no longer have a soup kitchen because we were sued and lost about 6 apartments next to the church. But we give out food every Sunday morning. Likewise we do have a number of opportunities to give when a member is about to lose their home or some other emergency.

When I first came into the church in Houston there was a brother there named Mike Collins, he was a mentor to me. I would often go to his house and virtually every night he would be fixing someone's car. Usually widows and poor members of the church. They couldn't pay him money so they would usually bring food and buy the part that he would replace. I would sit in the driveway and hand him tools.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:00 AM   #21
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Hi ZNP,

So you are living what you believe and teach concerning orphans and widows... and for that I tip my hat to you. I also observe you restrain your tongue in the forum.. also commendable. The Lord reward your faithfulness.

I look at it this way.... and what I observe by Brother Lee's kind and careful handling of JAmes' epistle I also think he thought in a similar way.... that is, if you only had the book of James then you would be missing the main and central revelation concerning God's purpose for the Church and the building of the Body of Christ. It may seem I am dismissive of James' contribution but my view is the broadest one..... also I dont consider James to have been leading an evil cult.

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Old 12-05-2018, 12:25 PM   #22
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Hi ZNP,

So you are living what you believe and teach concerning orphans and widows... and for that I tip my hat to you. I also observe you restrain your tongue in the forum.. also commendable. The Lord reward your faithfulness.

I look at it this way.... and what I observe by Brother Lee's kind and careful handling of JAmes' epistle I also think he thought in a similar way.... that is, if you only had the book of James then you would be missing the main and central revelation concerning God's purpose for the Church and the building of the Body of Christ. It may seem I am dismissive of James' contribution but my view is the broadest one..... also I dont consider James to have been leading an evil cult.

Drake
I agree that the gospels and epistles of Paul are the main portion of the NT revelation.

I disagree with WL that James was keeping OT practices, teaching OT laws, or was unclear in his vision of the NT. I disagree that sending the letter to "the twelve tribes in the dispersion" indicated James was off, rather it indicated the Jews were having a tough time with the NT revelation and James had a burden for them.

I do agree in an ironic way that the purpose of James is to reveal those that don't have a clear view of the NT economy, but don't agree with the understanding I had in the LC that the person was James. I believe he is expanding on the basic principle the Lord gave that "you will know them by their works".

I also feel that James was specially prepared for this ministry, no one better to tell us not to be a respecter of man's person.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:50 PM   #23
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I agree that the gospels and epistles of Paul are the main portion of the NT revelation.

I disagree with WL that James was keeping OT practices, teaching OT laws, or was unclear in his vision of the NT. I disagree that sending the letter to "the twelve tribes in the dispersion" indicated James was off, rather it indicated the Jews were having a tough time with the NT revelation and James had a burden for them.

I do agree in an ironic way that the purpose of James is to reveal those that don't have a clear view of the NT economy, but don't agree with the understanding I had in the LC that the person was James. I believe he is expanding on the basic principle the Lord gave that "you will know them by their works".

I also feel that James was specially prepared for this ministry, no one better to tell us not to be a respecter of man's person.
Ok ZNP.

We have different viewpoints and to some degree based on this dialogue I moved a little closer to your viewpoint. Appreciate the sincere and civil dialogue.

Thanks
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:43 AM   #24
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I think some are disturbed that I use Hitler as an example of a cult. There are far too many similarities between what Hitler did in Germany and what cults do. He was clearly a cult figure, he was clearly given a special status similar to a "false Christ" or a "false prophet" or a "Minister of the Age". He focused on teenage children and this resulted in a cult like following with remarkable loyalty five or ten years later during the war.

So my point is not to compare the Local Church and Witness Lee to the Nazis and Hitler. Rather, my point is to compare the NT teaching on false prophets and false Christs to both of these groups to give two different but equally valid examples of how a false prophet can be identified and of the very real damage that they do.

Also, I think the example of Hitler demonstrates how this is a much bigger issue that can have very negative effects to everyone on earth, not just those who are hoodwinked. This is what will happen at the end of the age with the AntiChrist and False prophet, so in this respect this demonstrates how critical is this book of James to help us identify and respond to these false prophets.
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