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Old 04-25-2020, 08:20 AM   #1
Barnabas
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Default What do you think?

I have spent most of my life in the LC. Around 1978 a dear brother left us and sent a letter to explain. We were told by the leading brothers that this was a great offense to the body of Christ and we were advised not to read the letter. Some years passed and this brother came to a meeting and sat next to me. He gave me a warm greeting but I purposely ignored him. Afterwards my conscience was bothered so I spoke to the leading elder about it. He told me not to be bothered because this brother had offended the body of Christ, and needed to repent. However, I still felt the need to confess this sin to my brother so I began to pray, asking God to enable me an opportunity. A few years later God answered my prayer and we were face to face. We had lunch together and I asked him to forgive me of that sin. From that time our fellowship has been restored and I consider him one of my spiritual companions.

Throughout this time, about twenty years, he has brought up doctrinal differences. Because I considered these differences non essential to the common faith and of little concern to my relationship with the Lord and this brother, I paid little attention to them. But in the past two years he has placed great importance on them and is now admonishing me to embrace his views and most important, to renounce and leave the LC. When I was a young believer, out of zeal for what I heard and believed to be true of the LC, insisted that all should leave the denominations and free groups, and meet as the LC. The Lord dealt with that sectarian behavior years ago and now my only desire with Christians is to have fellowship.

Now I promised my dear brother that I would pray in detail about his demands, so after reading his long emails and praying daily for about a week, I was at a loss as to how to respond. Last night I told my wife it has been heavy on my heart and I did not know how to answer him. Then early this morning a simple response came alive in my heart. I will consider carefully if this is pleasing to the Lord before I write back to him and I would like to know what you dear saints have to say.
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Old 04-25-2020, 09:40 AM   #2
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Brother Barnabas, I was in the LC's in greater Ohio from the mid 70's, actively serving for 30 years. Leaving is a difficult decision. Perhaps one of the hardest you will ever make. This is a decision you should make with your wife and the Lord. I don't think you should be pressured into leaving. I was. During the Midwest quarantines, I was told by both the LSM/Anaheim side and the Titus Chu/Cleveland side that I must "take a stand for the truth." What truth? Their truth!

Truth is, that program has a way of manipulating their members for life. They make it almost impossible to follow the Lord directly. Think about that phrase, "offended the body." What does that even mean? Offended who? That phrase is meant to shut down all discussion, and place the blame on what really is a "whistle blower" of sorts, merely seeking accountability in the leadership. How does one repent for that? How can our conscience bother us for that?

I John 3 speaks to this. John mentions loving in deed and in truth, not in word or in tongue. Obviously he was speaking to saints troubled as you and I are. Then John says this is how we know we are in the truth, and our hearts will then have assurance. How can your heart have assurance, when you cannot love the brothers in deed and in truth. Being forced to be silent about matters troubling our conscience, then requires us to love in word and in tongue. Is not that just being a man-pleaser? But still if your heart blames you, God is greater than our heart and knows all. Then John provides another avenue in a test -- how is our boldness towards God?

Personally, when I left I was confronted with this same matter. In the elders/deacons meeting, I brought up the matter of loyalty to Anaheim vs. Cleveland. I asked some honest but pointed questions like, "who is loyal to the church here? Are we not the church OF the saints?" I was shut down. I was told to apologize to those who heard. Apparently I had "offended the body" while seeking what was best for the church. So I apologized to the other deacons, one by one, and that was my exodus.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:18 AM   #3
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Dear brother - I like what Ohio wrote . . . he certainly has significant experience under his belt in such things and the Lord has given him great insights. I don't know how the Lord will lead you in this matter. While some on here might encourage you to run as quickly from the LC as you can, I will not do that.

I will tell you that the Lord led me to another fellowship that had its roots in the local churches (the group was basically ostracized from the LC in the mid-80s), and my experiences of the Lord here have been very rich these past 20 years. This did not come without much angst and seeking of Him, but when we are most desperate, this is often when He comes through in the biggest way.

The Lord be with you, make you clear and guide you bro!
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Old 04-26-2020, 10:31 AM   #4
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Personally, when I left I was confronted with this same matter. In the elders/deacons meeting, I brought up the matter of loyalty to Anaheim vs. Cleveland. I asked some honest but pointed questions like, "who is loyal to the church here? Are we not the church OF the saints?" I was shut down. I was told to apologize to those who heard. Apparently I had "offended the body" while seeking what was best for the church. So I apologized to the other deacons, one by one, and that was my exodus.
Thanks for sharing this with me Brother. I have been praying very much for the Lord’s leading and to have fellowship with a Brother. I was hoping the dear brother I mentioned would be a help to me. Perhaps his pressure is timely, but I am only willing to be moved by one wind (John 3:8). I welcome your fellowship or anyone else reading this, if you feel led to contact me by personal message. I am not at liberty to post my personal experiences, but would like to share with you.
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Old 04-26-2020, 10:40 AM   #5
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Thanks for your kind reply to my post.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: What do you think?

Barnabas, I love your openness. The other brother should not be pressing you to leave the LC. You seem to be sensitive to the Lord, He will lead you. Put everything in His hands and tell Him you only want Him. It took me over a year to leave after seeing so much ugliness in the LC that broke my heart. I told the Lord He brought me in and He would have to be the one to take me out. I prayed day and night about this that year. Eventually the Lord spoke as clear as day that what I was in was not the "Recovery" as I had believed, but a narrow, sectarian, exclusive, elitist organization made up of sincere Christians. We left without making a big fuss. Immediately we were shunned by nearly all. Even mothers would not let their children play with ours. To this day, most will not respond to my reaching out to say hi. They believe I have a motive to poison them. So sad.
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:47 AM   #7
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Sad sad sad. These things ought not to be so in the body of Christ!
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:59 AM   #8
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It was really helpful for me to read the Gospel of John in light of the way many were treated when they left the Recovery. There was an overwhelming spirit of fear gripping these new followers of Jesus concerning being cast out of the Synagogue. Most Christians could never relate to this spirit of fear, but those in the LC's can! The Lord is the true Door, the True Pasture, and the Good Shepherd! He has not given us a spirit of fear, but has freed us from all religious bondage.
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:39 PM   #9
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Barnabas, I love your openness. The other brother should not be pressing you to leave the LC. You seem to be sensitive to the Lord, He will lead you. Put everything in His hands and tell Him you only want Him.
Thanks Brother, it is about Him. Since I am sure it was the Lord who led me to meet with the LC based on principles of oneness I saw in the Bible I believe it will be the Good Shepherd (John 9-10) who will lead me out. What I also need is fellowship.
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:43 PM   #10
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It was really helpful for me to read the Gospel of John in light of the way many were treated when they left the Recovery.
You are right about fear of leaving. There is also fear of not being led astray. I do trust the Lord, but not myself.
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Old 04-27-2020, 02:07 PM   #11
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Thanks Brother, it is about Him. Since I am sure it was the Lord who led me to meet with the LC based on principles of oneness I saw in the Bible I believe it will be the Good Shepherd (John 9-10) who will lead me out. What I also need is fellowship.
I'm happy to hear the Lord is leading you out of the Local Church. I met with the Local Church group in my area for a short time. After the mask fell off and I left, I too thought it was the Lord who had led me in. But after some time apart from the group, I realized even though I had my suspicions in the beginning I suppressed them and allowed myself to be led by my own desire for community. I mistook my own feelings for the Lord's leading. He did however allow me to go and meet with the group. Some good came out of it, I hope. I had the chance to witness and share my testimony of the Lord. I pray seeds were planted but in the end it taught me all the more the importance of prioritizing the personal relationship with Him first as to prevent from being misled in the future. While you can commend the oneness ideal within the Local Churches, you can also admire the same principle within communism. I'd rather not give any credibility to movements that are ultimately harmful if I don't have to. Just my .02. I do hope you're finding sufficient fellowship with Him in the time being. Perhaps that is what He is drawing you toward.
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:08 PM   #12
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You are right about fear of leaving. There is also fear of not being led astray. I do trust the Lord, but not myself.
Trapped and I will both readily admit that the fear of making decisions, especially "wrong" decisions, actually clouded our sight from seeing the path of the Lord. The Recovery seems to capture and prey on those who become indecisive over time. I was one. Most of the stories of my being manipulated during my decades in the LC's have not been told on this forum. Fortunately I have learned a few things since then.

When I read John Ingalls' testimony and account, titled Speaking The Truth In Love, based on the events surrounding the so-called "New Way," I learned about much corruption, dishonesty, sin, and unrighteousness at LSM. I knew deep down that these things were NOT of the Lord. All exclusive and elitist Recovery claims slowly evaporated after reading that book. Truth be told, we had become worse than all the denominations we regularly condemned.

I knew there would be lots of difficulty leaving the LC. I was "wrecked" for mainline Christianity, and so I had prayed for many years. At least by leaving my conscience was at peace. I no longer live in a man-pleasing, conscience-compromising, judgmental system. I wish our Local Church could have become just that, a "local church." But the program I was entangled with was not what I had signed up for. Granted, the Midwest area LC's were more biblical than the Blended LC's, but the abuses passed down from headquarters were just as trying.

Barnabas, perhaps your LC provides you with the love of God and the liberty of the Spirit. Ask yourself how you would be treated if you left. That says a lot.

The Lord bless you and your family.
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:14 PM   #13
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I'm happy to hear the Lord is leading you out of the Local Church. I met with the a Local Church group in my area for a short time. After the mask fell off and I left, I too thought it was the Lord who had led me in....I'd rather not give any credibility to movements that are ultimately harmful if I don't have to. Just my .02. I do hope you're finding sufficient fellowship with Him in the time being. Perhaps that is what He is drawing you toward.
Thanks Jo, the oneness I was referring to is the oneness in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus prayed for in John 17 and what Paul said we should endeavor to keep in Ephesians 4:3. Perhaps you could understand better if I had opportunity to share my testimony with you.

Also, you are absolutely right to say that this is to draw me into fellowship with our Lord. All things work for this purpose and I believe that if we miss fellowship with Jesus, we miss it all!
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:25 PM   #14
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Brother Trapped and I will both readily admit that the fear of making decisions, especially "wrong" decisions, actually clouded our sight from seeing the path of the Lord. The Recovery seems to capture and prey on those who become indecisive over time. I was one. Most of the stories of my being manipulated during my decades in the LC's have not been told on this forum. Fortunately I have learned a few things since then.
Thanks again Ohio for your willingness to share from your heart with me. Day and night I am before the Lord about this and I have asked the Lord to get to the root of any fear of leaving the LC to follow the Lamb. Your question to me will be realized and the Lord is preparing me for “come what may”. I do not have the assurance that my LC will give the love of God and liberty of the Spirit. We are very weak in these matters.
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Old 04-27-2020, 09:11 PM   #15
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I'm happy to hear the Lord is leading you out of the Local Church. I met with the Local Church group in my area for a short time. After the mask fell off and I left, I too thought it was the Lord who had led me in.
In my situation I know with absolute assurance that the Lord led me to the church in Cleveland. There were too many specific answers to prayers and wonderous miracles arranged by the Lord.

But this does not mean the Lord wanted me to stay. I have always said that it was the leaders who ruined the LC's, and hurt many a child of God. I trusted the older brothers more than my own family, and they took advantage of that trust. They played God with others' lives. They placed their power, their pride, and their program above their people. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord can lead us into the LC and can lead us out of the LC.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:27 PM   #16
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In my situation I know with absolute assurance that the Lord led me to the church in Cleveland. There were too many specific answers to prayers and wonderous miracles arranged by the Lord.
I'm not invalidating your experience or anyone else's here, but I know there are people in the same boat as I was in that haven't yet been able to come to terms with the fact that it wasn't the Lord that led them into the LC's.

I too had circumstances that came to pass that if you were to ask me then I would have told you that I was certain they weren't mere coincidences and had to be from the Lord.

This brings up the point of the danger of following after signs and wonders because, after all, scripture does say that even the elect will be deceived if it were at all possible.

We tend to have the proclivity to chase after signs and wonders without properly vetting our experiences. Rather than praying and asking God whether they are from Him, we automatically make assumptions based on our subjective feelings. It's a tough lesson to learn but it's a necessary one.
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:58 AM   #17
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I'm not invalidating your experience or anyone else's here, but I know . . .
Sounds exactly like what you are trying to do . . .


Next time just be honest about it.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:28 AM   #18
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I'm not invalidating your experience or anyone else's here, but I know there are people in the same boat as I was in that haven't yet been able to come to terms with the fact that it wasn't the Lord that led them into the LC's.

I too had circumstances that came to pass that if you were to ask me then I would have told you that I was certain they weren't mere coincidences and had to be from the Lord.

This brings up the point of the danger of following after signs and wonders because, after all, scripture does say that even the elect will be deceived if it were at all possible.

We tend to have the proclivity to chase after signs and wonders without properly vetting our experiences. Rather than praying and asking God whether they are from Him, we automatically make assumptions based on our subjective feelings. It's a tough lesson to learn but it's a necessary one.
I'm with bro Ohio on this one. In 1974 I was strongly brought back to the Lord while I was in living in my Ohio hometown, and while calling out to Him very desperately one night while all alone. After He flooded me with His presence, I prayed that He would lead me to be with those that loved Him in this fresh and wonderfully living way I was experiencing right then. Through some very interesting circumstances, I wound-up hitchhiking across country and was lead in an amazing one week, 2000 mile journey (I can give all the remarkable details if you like), to walk right into "CJs Old Garage" on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley CA. I was greeted by a long-haired brother who asked, "What are you looking for - Jesus?" I knew instantly that this was home and where He'd brought me to in a direct answer to that prayer.

Eventually He lead me away from the California LCs, and I wound-up with my new family in LC gatherings in southern Ohio. And as our brother "Ohio" has pointed out several times, the Ohio churches were not nearly in the close orbit to Anaheim as many others were. Then in 1988 he lead our family out of the LCs completely and across country again, before everything blew up in the Ohio churches.

BTW - He reminds me frequently that He is still being faithful to that prayer!
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:40 AM   #19
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"What are you looking for - Jesus?" I knew instantly that this was home and where He'd brought me to in a direct answer to that prayer.
Sounds like quite an adventure, StG! However I must say, statements like these worry me now-a-days. 1 Thess 5:21
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:41 AM   #20
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Sounds like quite an adventure, StG! However I must say, statements like these worry me now-a-days. 1 Thess 5:21
Worries you in what way bro?
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:21 AM   #21
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I'm with bro Ohio on this one. In 1974 I was strongly brought back to the Lord while I was in living in my Ohio hometown, and while calling out to Him very desperately one night while all alone. After He flooded me with His presence, I prayed that He would lead me to be with those that loved Him in this fresh and wonderfully living way I was experiencing right then. Through some very interesting circumstances, I wound-up hitchhiking across country and was lead in an amazing one week, 2000 mile journey (I can give all the remarkable details if you like), to walk right into "CJs Old Garage" on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley CA. I was greeted by a long-haired brother who asked, "What are you looking for - Jesus?" I knew instantly that this was home and where He'd brought me to in a direct answer to that prayer.

Eventually He lead me away from the California LCs, and I wound-up with my new family in LC gatherings in southern Ohio. And as our brother "Ohio" has pointed out several times, the Ohio churches were not nearly in the close orbit to Anaheim as many others were. Then in 1988 he lead our family out of the LCs completely and across country again, before everything blew up in the Ohio churches.

BTW - He reminds me frequently that He is still being faithful to that prayer!
Sounds like you have had a few exciting times traveling afar much like the father of our faith Abraham! (Acts 7.2-3; Heb 11.8))
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:35 AM   #22
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Brothers, it looks like our brother Barnabas is processing his situation as best he can, with what light the Lord has shown him, and most importantly, he has taken great measures to assume the best from the other brother. He has taken on the heart and mind that they are both fellowshipping with each other in good faith. No matter the controversy, no matter how fierce and bitter our disagreements may be, the Lord can do so much more with an open and soft heart, rather than a hardened heart that assumes the worst in another person. We're all old guys here. Haven't we heard and seen enough to know this is true?

All this being said, I don't think you brothers (Ohio and StG) are giving Jo S the benefit of the doubt that he is trying to discuss these matters in good faith. His experience is different than ours. If it's one thing we've learned from our Local Church experience is that different is neither good nor bad - it is just different. Another thing we (hopefully) learned was that brothers who have experienced something different, and are bold enough to tell us about it, are not our enemies! So let's not treat them as if they were, OK?

And let's resist the temptation of blowing up this thread by getting into a debate about the debate. Barnabas and the others following this thread deserve better. Thanks for your understanding.
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:02 PM   #23
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Sounds exactly like what you are trying to do . . .


Next time just be honest about it.
Somehow I missed this post earlier so let me quickly address it and then I'll leave things there in respect to the original poster.

The testimony I gave is true. I can't speak to your experience but I can offer a differing perspective that provides contrast to the majority view.

So if me introducing a differing perspective through my own testimony makes you uncomfortable, well that's what challenging views are supposed to do but don't assume you know my heart. If you take it personal, however, then you can take it up with me over PM before your assumptions turn to resentment and I'd be happy to discuss things there.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:07 PM   #24
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Barnabas, by the time I left, I had been appointed an elder in a small locality in So. CA for a few years. The first thing the Lord exposed was my lifting up of Witness to almost an idol. When I saw Lee's true nature, I was shocked to the core. The Lord showed me that my devotion was a mixture. Yes, I loved the Lord, but I had allowed the "Recovery" to compete with Him in my affection. I realized that for many years I had buried deep within things I saw and heard in the church and ministry that grieved me. I just figured it was me that was wrong. Then I started waking up fearing I was trapped in a cult. So it was a long process to eventually get the Lord's speaking it was time to leave. Once my wife and I left, I heard the speaking that He was going to remove all the outward stimulus for a while, so I could get to know Him alone better than I have ever known before. So no more speaking in front of large crowds with loud amens for support, no more being part of the "elders club" who got to go to special meetings with Bro. Lee, etc. Instead, all I had was the Lord and His word, my wife and family, and a few believers I knew. I have never looked back. I have no regrets. I am thankful for my LC days, learned a lot, learned many lessons, know now what to avoid, etc. The Lord is faithful to lead you. He is your Shepherd.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:20 PM   #25
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Barnabas, by the time I left, I had been appointed an elder in a small locality in So. CA for a few years. The first thing the Lord exposed was my lifting up of Witness to almost an idol. When I saw Lee's true nature, I was shocked to the core. The Lord showed me that my devotion was a mixture. Yes, I loved the Lord, but I had allowed the "Recovery" to compete with Him in my affection. I realized that for many years I had buried deep within things I saw and heard in the church and ministry that grieved me. I just figured it was me that was wrong. Then I started waking up fearing I was trapped in a cult. So it was a long process to eventually get the Lord's speaking it was time to leave. Once my wife and I left, I heard the speaking that He was going to remove all the outward stimulus for a while, so I could get to know Him alone better than I have ever known before. So no more speaking in front of large crowds with loud amens for support, no more being part of the "elders club" who got to go to special meetings with Bro. Lee, etc. Instead, all I had was the Lord and His word, my wife and family, and a few believers I knew. I have never looked back. I have no regrets. I am thankful for my LC days, learned a lot, learned many lessons, know now what to avoid, etc. The Lord is faithful to lead you. He is your Shepherd.
Thanks Kyle, when I saw my peers and even younger brothers make it to the top, I realized that if I followed their example to embrace all of WL’s ministry I may have also had a chance, but I had too many doubts and just could not accept everything said in the LC. It was a suffering to me because I so much desired to be able to fellowship with the spiritual brothers and go to WL’s special meetings, but I just could not get “clear” on all the teachings and ways of the LC
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:29 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
I have spent most of my life in the LC. Around 1978 a dear brother left us and sent a letter to explain. We were told by the leading brothers that this was a great offense to the body of Christ and we were advised not to read the letter. Some years passed and this brother came to a meeting and sat next to me. He gave me a warm greeting but I purposely ignored him. Afterwards my conscience was bothered so I spoke to the leading elder about it. He told me not to be bothered because this brother had offended the body of Christ, and needed to repent. However, I still felt the need to confess this sin to my brother so I began to pray, asking God to enable me an opportunity. A few years later God answered my prayer and we were face to face. We had lunch together and I asked him to forgive me of that sin. From that time our fellowship has been restored and I consider him one of my spiritual companions.

Throughout this time, about twenty years, he has brought up doctrinal differences. Because I considered these differences non essential to the common faith and of little concern to my relationship with the Lord and this brother, I paid little attention to them. But in the past two years he has placed great importance on them and is now admonishing me to embrace his views and most important, to renounce and leave the LC. When I was a young believer, out of zeal for what I heard and believed to be true of the LC, insisted that all should leave the denominations and free groups, and meet as the LC. The Lord dealt with that sectarian behavior years ago and now my only desire with Christians is to have fellowship.

Now I promised my dear brother that I would pray in detail about his demands, so after reading his long emails and praying daily for about a week, I was at a loss as to how to respond. Last night I told my wife it has been heavy on my heart and I did not know how to answer him. Then early this morning a simple response came alive in my heart. I will consider carefully if this is pleasing to the Lord before I write back to him and I would like to know what you dear saints have to say.
I am very thankful to the Lord for all the responses to my post. What motivated me to write was a deep need of fellowship and the result is a deep exercise to hear our Lord’s voice and follow Him. I have received all of your fellowship in love, and Joe’s advice to prove all things (1 Thes. 5:21). I still have not been able to write back to my dear friend, but I believe the Lord will give me the right things to say to him in love.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:37 AM   #27
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Default Re: What do you think?

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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
I am very thankful to the Lord for all the responses to my post. What motivated me to write was a deep need of fellowship and the result is a deep exercise to hear our Lord’s voice and follow Him. I have received all of your fellowship in love, and Joe’s advice to prove all things (1 Thes. 5:21). I still have not been able to write back to my dear friend, but I believe the Lord will give me the right things to say to him in love.
Each of us had the need to validate the feelings of our inner conscience concerning the Recovery. We all had many unanswered questions. The message we constantly heard repeated in the Recovery did not match our inner "truth meter." We often silenced the gnawing suspicions thinking we must be "the only one."

I hope and pray that some of this discussion is helpful to you. Once we are delivered from the ministry demands of having "no opinion," the ideas start to fly, and things can get messy at times. I sometimes take consolation in the old adage, "iron sharpens iron." We really should allow all of our own cherished beliefs to be challenged, i.e. "test all things," until we are reduced to those which we are willing to die for.
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