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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 09-06-2014, 05:06 AM   #1
Igzy
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Default Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

I felt to repost these posts that I made about two years ago. They are a synopsis of the essential things I've learned about adapting to Christian life outside the LC.
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My desire for posting on this forum has always been simply to help people over the hump of being able to deal psychologically with leaving the LC. Mostly I have done this by arguing that many LC teachings and beliefs are unbiblical, illogical and untenable.

I hope that has been helpful, but I’d like to start a thread to provide some advice for people who are considering leaving or have left and are still having trouble moving on.

Here are some things which I had to learn the hard way. I think they will help you make the transition more easily:
  1. Pray. Pray a lot. The fact is most LCers don’t know how to pray for themselves or their family in a detailed and focused way. This has to be learned if you are going to move on. Get practical and specific with your prayers. Ask God to show you what is real and what is false. Ask him to protect you from spiritual attack. Ask him to fill you with peace and joy. Ask him about specific LC teachings which are holding you back. Ask him about the local ground, spiritual authority and any other teachings you have taken for granted. You’ll be amazed how he opens your eyes.

    There is one mediator between man and God--and it is not Witness Lee, the BBs, Titus Chu, or your former elders or small group leader. It’s Jesus. We have direct access to God. 1 John says we don’t need anyone to teach us. That means God himself will lead us. Call in this promise on your life. Pray about everything. God will answer.

  2. Get to know God. The LC mindset is not truly conducive to getting to know God. God is not a substance to be dispensed into your being. Throw that teaching in the trash. It’s keeping you from knowing God personally. God is a person we can get to know. Eternal life is knowing God. That means getting to know his thoughts, feelings and tendencies. He will communicate these to you if you stop thinking about him all the time as water, bread or a “dose.” Sure in a sense he is all these things. But they are all metaphors for what he is to us personally. First and foremost he is a person. Talk to him and think of him as a person as real and approachable as your wife or best friend. Because he is actually more so that than anyone.

  3. Read the Bible and throw away the footnotes. Read a lot of different Christian authors. Read carefully, but with an open, uncritical mind. Give God a chance to say something to you that you don't expect. Notice how all writers and teachers are a little different and are just expressing their points of view. Then realize that's all Witness Lee was doing, whether or not he thought so himself.

  4. Focus on the first and second commandments. Love God and love people. We all know we are supposed to love God. But LCers have a strange way of loving people. You can’t love people if you treat and think of them as aliens from another planet. I think the best thing for any LCer would be to have a gay couple move in next door and to hear God telling them to love and be good neighbors to that couple (this actually happened to me), to learn to see them as people just like you, because the fact is that’s how God sees them. God loves everyone. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Learn to look at everyone the way God sees them. Love the bum on the street. Love the guy with the bandana, tattoos and piercings. Stop calling them “the unbelievers.” Love Christians of all stripes. Stop calling them "those in Christianity." That’s just elitism and snobbery, and it is not Jesus.

  5. Banish fear and stay positive. Faith and fear have something in common. They both ask us to believe something in the future that we cannot see. Fear is the enemy's tactic. Faith is God's way. When you begin to notice fear creeping around, banish it, and stand in faith that God wants to set you free.

    Tell yourself that you are God’s child and he loves you and has a purpose for you. Don’t give in to negative self-talk or condemnation. Read positive Christian writers like Norman Vincent Peale, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen (yes, Joel Osteen!).

  6. Start at home. If you don’t love your spouse, your kids, your family, friends and neighbors, and serve them like Christ would, then forget about the church. God is practical. Our mission field starts with the person who sleeps with us, then moves to our kids, and so forth. Start there. Be a good spouse and parent. If you can’t do that the rest is just an act anyway. The good news is starting at home is life-sized. Anyone can do it.

  7. Find some new Christian friends and just love them in a simple way. You probably think you are a superior class of Christian and more transformed and so much clearer than all those poor, clueless non-LC Christians, don’t you? Boy, are you in for a shock. You are not near as transformed as you think. In fact, you probably aren’t much transformed at all. I don’t think I experienced any real transformation until recently in my life. Get humble and get some new friends and companions. Let God teach you through them. You might be surprised and probably will be.

  8. Forget about spirituality and high-sounding doctrines, and just live a life of love and service. The fact is the LC is all about being spiritual, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. For example, when the LC thinks of sacrifice they talk about “taking the cross” and the emphasis is all about crushing the self so you can even be more of a spiritual giant than you already think you are. But sacrifice is actually all about doing something for someone else’s sake, for their benefit. In other words, it’s about love. That’s what you should focus on.

    High-sounding doctrines can also make you think you are very spiritual, because you can see… The Vision. Don’t kid yourself. The general parameters of the LC vision are more or less correct. Yes, God is perfecting a people for his glory. But all the hoo-hah about The New Jerusalem is mostly just overkill and bling. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And when you really start caring about people you begin to lose interest in detailed studies of The New Jerusalem and that kind of thing because they are often a kind of spiritual masturbation. (Did he really say that?! Yes, I did.)

  9. Forgive and move on. Don’t hold grudges and don’t let past LC offenses steal your joy. Shake the dust off your feet. There is too much to live for to be bound to the past. Pray for your old friends in the LC.

  10. Pray. See step one. Keeping praying. Pray all the time. Pray about everything. You will be amazed to find out how much God truly cares about you and is on your side.

Stay positive and full of faith. I hope and pray you will find peace, joy and purpose in your post-LC life like you never dreamed of. With God's help I know you will.

"I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

I wanted to go on to talk about finding a new church after leaving the LC. I intentionally didn’t mention church much in my first post. The fact is, the view of the church is distorted in the LC, and in so doing the believer’s relationship to it is distorted as well.

The LC makes the believer’s involvement with the building of the church a matter of prime importance. But the Bible does not make this emphasis. In fact, Jesus himself barely mentioned the church. When the Bible does mention church-building, it is usually with the thought that God is doing the building, not us.

If you really go back and view the overall thought of the NT, especially the ministry of Jesus, you see that two main matters are stressed--first, our devotion and service to God, and second, our attitude and actions toward other people. Jesus focused on a holy life toward God and people. (Again, love God and love people.) But he barely mentioned the church as a thing or goal in and of itself.

This is not to say the church is not important, just that if you are supposedly taking care of the church while suing the pants off any other believer you please it’s clear you are way off the rails of what the NT is about. History and experience show that overemphasis on the church leads naturally to overemphasis and a defensive, even aggressive, posture about your particular church. This is precisely the error of the LC.

I think this is the reason Jesus did not talk about the church much, because to him the point is God and people, not God and some ideal institution.

Still, the Bible does reveal the church, so what is it about? The church is simply wherever believers are gathered in the Lord’s name. The church is all the believers through history. It’s also all the believers alive today. It’s also all the believers in the USA, and all of them in your city. And when thirty believers gather for worship and teaching in a rented storefront, that’s the church, too. None of us have the right or wisdom to look at a group of believers meeting and say they are not the church.

The church is a place where believers encourage and support each other, and grow together. It’s also a place where outsiders can observe these believers and their relationship with God. So in a sense, churches are ministry stations, that is of Jesus’ ministry. They do not exist for themselves, but for the sake of others, both believers and non-believers. And they come in all shapes and sizes.

After you leave the LC and are searching for a new church home, here are some things to think about:
  1. Expect all levels of devotion. You'll meet some very devoted Christians in your new church, and you'll meet some that rarely read the Bible. You'll hear about affairs and divorces and guys that go to Hooters on business lunches. In short, it will probably be the church in Corinth. Guess what? Corinth was still a church. Learn to operate under the big tent of the whole church. You really don't have a choice, unless you want to start another superstar exclusive church that tries to run off everyone who is not 100%, like the LC did. But then where would you be? Yep, right back where you started.

  2. Don’t expect the emphasis on The Church that you saw in the LC. Evangelical Christianity is called that for a reason. The emphasis there is on outreach and being a testimony. This is very healthy. Don’t expect to convert anyone to the Nee/Lee view of it all being about producing the Bride. Let God worry about the Bride and you worry about loving and serving people who need Jesus.

    And don’t be bothered if you find that churches emphasize particular works, like overseas mission work, etc. As long as they don’t make participation in such work a requirement of membership you shouldn’t have much to worry about. But don’t expect their emphasis to be The Building of the Church. For one thing, in evangelical circles these days this is looked upon as being inward-looking and self-centered. And the fact is, it is.

  3. Don’t expect the emphasis on spirituality you saw in the LC. By that I mean don’t start talking about things like “the Triune God in the tripartite man” and expect people to go “Ooooo, wow!” Rather, if you do that expect them to start backing away from you and saying, “Okeee, time to go.”

    Expect God to be presented as more personal and everyday. Experienced pastors aren’t stupid. They know that high-falutin’ spirituality sounds pretentious and makes new people uncomfortable. Expect things to be understated and referred to in everyday terms. You will hear more about “changed lives” than you will about “being infused with the divine nature.” Don’t let that bother you. God is working regardless of how it’s referred to.

  4. Don’t be bothered by the lack of “popcorn” testimonies. Despite the LC’s oft-stated belief that such a thing is necessary for the church to be built, the fact is, it isn’t. An LCer posted on the other forum that the church could not be built in “Christianity” because the “members of the Body” were not allowed to function there. By “functioning” he meant hopping up and saying something in a meeting, usually just regurgitating something that was taught. This kind of “functioning,” however, opens the door to all kinds of problems in large gatherings with many guests. We could argue all day whether it’s tenable, but what’s not arguable is that such a thing is required for legitimate churchhood. It isn’t. Expect to be free to share in Bible studies, Sunday schools, small groups and so forth. Don’t expect it, or worry about it, in larger meetings.

  5. Don’t expect people to talk about the message after the service. It just doesn’t happen much. People listen and take in the message seriously, but they rarely discuss it in depth afterwards. Don’t expect a lot of “I really enjoyed….” Rather, expect “How are the kids doing?” and more typical conversation. It’s just the way it is. Learn to be human and get to know your new friends.

    Also, don't expect everyone you don't know to look you in the eye and say "Praise the Lord!" Expect people to have the more typical behavior of not acting like they know you when they don't. It doesn't mean they don't love you, it just means they are normal. Just be friendly yourself and before long people will be greeting you, though probably not with a "Praise the Lord!" Get over it.

  6. Don’t expect your new pastor to expect you to get permission from him for every little thing. If you want to see a totally quizzical look, just ask your new pastor if it’s okay to go on vacation and miss couple of weekends of meetings. In short, don’t expect him to lord it over you the way LC elders did.

    If you want to start a work or ministry, I’m sure they will be supportive of it, though they may not want to work it into the Sunday morning rotation. This one messed with me for a long time. I was just uncomfortable “doing my own thing.” Yet, the only alternative was to get the church leaders fully onboard with it. (Not to mention to take time to even talk about it.) Finally, I realized they did not expect every legitimate work to be under the umbrella of their approval or notice. If I felt to start something, it was okay with them, but they couldn’t always dedicate church resources to it.

    This is actually quite liberating, not to mention normal. But it is very different from the way things are done in the LC. Which makes one wonder how LCers can make the claim that it's in "Christianity" where the members are suppressed. Such logic is just way over my head.
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

Very helpful and constructive. Thanks, Igzy.
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

Bro Igzy I didn't see anything about learning critical thinking.

Because in the local church thinking and reasoning are considered rebellion, the muscle of our brain becomes atrophied.

So after leaving we're in need of brain therapy and exercise. While in we allowed the LC leaders to do our thinking for us. Our brain got lazy. So we need to learn to think for ourselves.

This is not something that happens over night. It takes work and time. But no big deal. You threw all in, body, soul, spirit, and time, into the LC. Just rechannel that into learning to be a critical self thinker.

God gave us a brain for a reason. We couldn't talk or write without it. Same for the ancients. We have scriptures because they had brains, and used them.

Why insult God by not using the brain that he gave us?
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Bro Igzy I didn't see anything about learning critical thinking.

Because in the local church thinking and reasoning are considered rebellion, the muscle of our brain becomes atrophied.

So after leaving we're in need of brain therapy and exercise. While in we allowed the LC leaders to do our thinking for us. Our brain got lazy. So we need to learn to think for ourselves.

This is not something that happens over night. It takes work and time. But no big deal. You threw all in, body, soul, spirit, and time, into the LC. Just rechannel that into learning to be a critical self thinker.

God gave us a brain for a reason. We couldn't talk or write without it. Same for the ancients. We have scriptures because they had brains, and used them.

Why insult God by not using the brain that he gave us?
Of course. It took critical thinking for me to write my posts. Just make sure your critical thinking is informed by prayer.
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

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Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Of course. It took critical thinking for me to write my posts. Just make sure your critical thinking is informed by prayer.
Critical thinking informed by prayer? I'm gonna have to think about that for awhile?

Wouldn't that be inspired thinking?

How thinking is informed is right up the alley of critical thinking.

Example: How was Lees' thinking informed?
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Repost: Advice on Making Leaving the LC Easier

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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Critical thinking informed by prayer? I'm gonna have to think about that for awhile?
Just make sure you are praying about it, too.
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