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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 08-10-2011, 10:52 PM   #1
ToGodAlone
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Default Combating LC Arguments

Long time no talk brothers and sisters

I apologize if it seems like all the topics I talk about are about "converting" LC members, but honestly, that's what's been pulling my heartstrings for awhile now so bear with me.

As you may be aware of, if and when you discuss other churches with current local church members, you'll probably run into many an argument advocating the Recovery over everyone else. Now, this probably comes in all kinds of flavors, but one that I have encountered the most personally is that the local church has more "life" than other churches. Now I'm not exactly sure what is meant by "life" here. I'm guessing that it refers to the sort of "family" that one gets ushered into upon joining any local church.

Now, we all know that there is no more "life" in the local church than there is anywhere else, unless life refers to pray reading, many shouts of "O Lord Jesus!", and extensive use of the the words "saint(s)", "meeting", and "economy". The only question is, how do we prove this to one who has never experienced anything outside of a local church meeting? Of course, it stands to reason that saying that they haven't actually experienced anything else and thus can't pass judgement on this kind of thing accurately would put this to rest, but remember, this is a lifetime of "indoctrination" we're dealing with here. But I'm sure I don't need to tell you that.

There are many other arguments besides this one obviously, so I open the question to you all, how do we address these arguments when they are presented to us?
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:49 AM   #2
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You will know by the fruit. The family, the children, these don't lie. This is why you are to choose an elder based on his ability to lead his family well. If the LC is truly full of life the blessing to the families and children will be obvious, likewise if they are not full of life.
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:53 AM   #3
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Tough topic. They like to think of their sense of "life" as fully objective — something as definitive as observing a rash on their skin. But it is actually quite subjective. It is about their feelings. I don't know if you ever sang the song to the old hymn "Since I Have Been Redeemed" that had lines like
The feelings do not change the fact
Jesus is Lord of all
In that particular case, the statement is true. But in most cases, it is feelings that dictate what they think is going on. One of the most troubling uses of feelings is how they use a "sense of death" as an excuse to ignore any report of unrighteousness or of error.

It is kind of the opposite side of what you are talking about. But it might be a sort of opening.

Ask why a sense of let-down is "death."

Ask why something true can be overlooked just because it does not give you a good feeling.

Point out that the disappointment of dealing with sin in anyone's life, from your children's disobedience, to the person that robbed you at gunpoint, to the spiritual leader discovered to be having an affair does not always have good feelings associated with it even though it is what must be done.

Ask on what basis running to hide behind "life" is the scriptural way to deal with sin or the way to determine correct thinking.

Ask them whether they don't have more than one feeling when they start to make those kind of "life" statements. Aren't they often burying a question that wonders if it is really right/righteous?

And if they use Lee's "a question ends with a snake" (or something like that) ask them where that nonsense came from.

It might be that you can begin to chink away at their lexicon. I once questioned someone on their use of the term "saints." It was said in a general-sounding way, but meant specifically. I asked whether that was meant to include all the Christians in the vicinity or only those in the person's assembly. They reluctantly had to admit that every Christian was a "saint" and that they had used it in a narrower way.

The key is often not a frontal assault, but just the offer of one small thing to consider. One thing to put a very small crack in their armor. Don't necessarily try to do too much at one time.

I've chinked away in small ways over the years with my parents (now only my dad since my mother's death). One time back in 2006 my wife and I spent a lot of time talking with them one evening. We realized that we probably did too much on that one event. But I recently got a question about it from my dad. And the opportunity to take a different approach. I pointed out that I had begun to read the passages that we had been taught certain things about. I wasn't thinking of defeating the LRC, just reading what I was reading. And suddenly something jumped out at me. It didn't say what I/we had been told it said. It actually said something very different. I gave a couple of examples. "1 Cor. 15:45 is not about the Trinity" was one of them. This is where I got an interesting response. I learned that he didn't think much of Lee's mixing up of the Trinity. And was disappointed that there was no place to ask reasonable questions and discuss. I would not suggest this forum. It is too deep and wild for someone not really ready to look outside his comfort zone. He needs to take it slow. And his answer may be to simply know the truth about some things and just continue to meet with the Christian community he has known for over 38 years now.

I worry a little about revealing some of this because there may be some that would try to discover who he is and report on his doubt and in it try to steal what remaining joy he has in the community even if not agreeing on every point of teaching. His thought is not exposing anyone or anything. That alone is mine. If the truth removes his joy then it will not simply be the result of one more unrighteous thing done by LRC thugs. But until them I am content to chink away at the armor.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:30 AM   #4
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You will know by the fruit. The family, the children, these don't lie. This is why you are to choose an elder based on his ability to lead his family well. If the LC is truly full of life the blessing to the families and children will be obvious, likewise if they are not full of life.
This is a dangerous place to be looking. It might be a way to demonstrate that they are in no better a place than anyone else. That would be because, assuming a large enough assembly to be a reasonable sample, there will be examples of the best and the worst. You/they can point to examples of wayward children. To tyrant fathers. To errors in leadership. But they will also pass errors off as simply about the person, and correct things will be attributed to "the church life."

It's that cognitive dissonance that was mentioned somewhere else.

The truth is that from the inside, we will know by the fruit of the individual. It is true that the church as a whole does have an aspect of fruit that is seen by the world. And they do not notice how uplifting the meetings are. They see the church in terms of what is displayed to the world. Things like despising good works. In the mean time, the fruit of many less lively groups is seen constantly in their service to the poor and needy. Surely those are not the only evidence of spirituality or lack of it. But a lack of such things does point to a lack on the part of the group.

Looking at how a father leads his family is an individual thing. It is not the group. Otherwise, we could assert that a group in which the overwhelming evidence is that fathers lead their families well, then we could pick any from its membership to be an elder — even without observing the trait in that one specifically.

So while showing lack of good families, or a preponderance of them may say something about what is going on in the church, it may also say something about the status along the Christian walk of a predominantly new group of Christians v an older group in another place.

The key to the LRC is not their families. That might be a symptom of something deeper. But unless you think the underlying problems will simply take care of themselves, you don't just treat the symptoms. You treat the root problem. You treat the teachings of unrighteousness and error. And those may exist in a place with a preponderance of healthy families. This is an oversimplification of a very complicated issue. If you can't point to why there are problems in the families, then you are simply asking someone to switch allegiance and possibly bring the root and branch that creates that fruit with them. You have to deal with the source, not just the fruit.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:55 PM   #5
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I wouldn't be looking and I would be offended by anyone who did. I would merely fellowship in such a way as to remind the member of the LRC that the proof of a meeting full of life will be born out in the family and the children. Let them make their own observations and conclusions. Maybe 6 months or 2 years later you will see this one opening up for more fellowship.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:54 PM   #6
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I suppose another relevant question to the topic would be, how do we show them that certain "truths" they believe in are not in fact truth? How do we back up claims about topics like the local ground, pray reading, and all that?
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:45 AM   #7
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You will see that the current practice is merely a superficial imitation. You don't have to say this, the LRC member will come to their own conclusion and probably take this message back to their meeting as well.
This assumes, of course, that the member doesn't already realize it is a "superficial imitation", and isn't already content to just watch it continue like it is...
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:28 AM   #8
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This assumes, of course, that the member doesn't already realize it is a "superficial imitation", and isn't already content to just watch it continue like it is...
If they are content with a superficial practice then how would you "combat" that? That is not your responsibility, everyone will have to give an account for how they dealt with the truth.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:58 AM   #9
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If they are content with a superficial practice then how would you "combat" that? That is not your responsibility, everyone will have to give an account for how they dealt with the truth.
Well no kidding. You see this in terms of "responsibility"; I think TGA is just hoping to help some people close to him.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:24 AM   #10
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Ray Graver wrote a short booklet on pray reading. In that booklet he quoted many spiritual men from church history talking about praying over the word, praying with the word, and speaking the word back to God in prayer.

As far as the truth on the ground of the church I would start by reading from TNCL from WN where he discusses this truth.
As ZNP has posted, Graver's compilation was very well done, and would definitely be suitable for general consumption by the Christian public. This is perhaps one of the greatest anomalies in the Recovery, since Graver went on to become one of the narrowest, most exclusive, WL-only and WL-promoting of all brothers. This shows how dramatically things have changed over the years.

Along these same lines, there is also a booklet called "The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches," dated 1978, which basically was written for outsiders. That booklet also exposes how narrow and exclusive things have become. Many old-timers tend to overlook the changes and cling, albeit vainly, to the original ideals of the movement. Those those "ideals" in the booklet may never have actually been practiced in full, the actual situation was at least closer to the original "vision."

Many in the GLA read (actually re-read) the booklet during the pre-quarantine skirmishes between Anaheim and Cleveland back in 2002-2006. Most of the GLA, taking cue from TC, side-stepped much of the deterioration in the Recovery by somehow believing WL was "always faithful to the vision," while the Blended Brothers, however, have misaimed. The facts show otherwise, but it became an easy "sell" for Cleveland leaders.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:41 AM   #11
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Along these same lines, there is also a booklet called "The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches," dated 1978, which basically was written for outsiders. That booklet also exposes how narrow and exclusive things have become. Many old-timers tend to overlook the changes and cling, albeit vainly, to the original ideals of the movement. Those those "ideals" in the booklet may never have actually been practiced in full, the actual situation was at least closer to the original "vision."
OK, but (weren't you hoping for at least an hour before the "but's" started ) -- you yourself have posted that serious changes were already underway at least a few years before '78, no?
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:50 AM   #12
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Ray Graver wrote a short booklet on pray reading. In that booklet he quoted many spiritual men from church history talking about praying over the word, praying with the word, and speaking the word back to God in prayer. If you could find that booklet (and I am sure both RG and BP would have copies, probably EM and KR as well) that would be a great place where you could start. I don't think anyone would have an issue with reading that book (either in the LRC or out of it) and once you do it will change your whole perception of what the term "pray reading" really means. You will see that the current practice is merely a superficial imitation. You don't have to say this, the LRC member will come to their own conclusion and probably take this message back to their meeting as well.

As far as the truth on the ground of the church I would start by reading from TNCL from WN where he discusses this truth. What you see is that the basis for the search for "this truth" was a way to overcome the divisiveness in Christianity, rather than lay the foundation for the most divisive group. To me, what makes this teaching harmful is the spirit of exclusivity. When you see that the spirit behind the teaching was to have a spirit that embraces all christians it is much easier to lay that teaching aside when it contradicts the objective.
My "issue" does not lie with why they believe those things, as I think the premise of local ground is not divisive, but how it has been applied is indeed quite divisive. What I have heard is that regarding the local ground that it was how it was back in the days of Paul (when he refers to the church in _______) and that is how it should be today. When I say how that is quite simply logistically impossible today, I have gotten the response that if God wants it to be that way it will be that way. Well then...why hasn't it? Clearly He does not want it that way, no? Alas the people are content to leave it at that and think about it no further. It upsets them. How do I pursue the line of inquiry farther when they are hesitant to listen? It almost seems rude to do so, but also vital to expose what the actual teachings have become and how they are not actually what they intended.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:19 AM   #13
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My "issue" does not lie with why they believe those things, as I think the premise of local ground is not divisive, but how it has been applied is indeed quite divisive. What I have heard is that regarding the local ground that it was how it was back in the days of Paul (when he refers to the church in _______) and that is how it should be today. When I say how that is quite simply logistically impossible today, I have gotten the response that if God wants it to be that way it will be that way. Well then...why hasn't it? Clearly He does not want it that way, no? Alas the people are content to leave it at that and think about it no further. It upsets them. How do I pursue the line of inquiry farther when they are hesitant to listen? It almost seems rude to do so, but also vital to expose what the actual teachings have become and how they are not actually what they intended.
Yes I understand that. But since I came to this teaching through WN, when I realized the logistical issues I ultimately shelved the teaching, rather than reject it, because I understood that the goal was practical oneness with all Christians. So I did reject the idea of using the teaching as a cornerstone for a new sect, since I knew that was contrary to the spirit of what had been sought. I think anyone who reads the genesis of this teaching will agree that the LSM and LRC are misapplying it today. Therefore they will reject the current form of this teaching.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
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OK, but (weren't you hoping for at least an hour before the "but's" started ) -- you yourself have posted that serious changes were already underway at least a few years before '78, no?
As I tried to communicate, the booklet was the "public face" on the movement, which had already begun to deteriorate from the inside out, that is starting at Anaheim and then infecting member churches. Whatever "fresh start" the ministry of WL had in America, the changes he initiated in Jan 1974 slowly ate away at all the good things of the Lord that existed in the LC's.

As I shared, many "old-timers" were attracted by the early ideals which were presented to the saints, most of which came from the ministry of WN, a well-respected minister, who was imprisoned and martyred for his faith. As the conditions at LSM and many LC's worsened over time, many stuck it out for numerous reasons, such as:
  • The hope that things would return to some "former glory," matching the ideals and joys of the early days, and reinforced by false promises from the leaders
  • Connections with friends and family within the Recovery, because people tend to stay far longer than they should when surrounded by familiar faces
  • Leaving encountered a whole host of fears, some of which are ministry falsehoods, and some of which are the inevitable resistance to change
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:00 PM   #15
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Would it be fair to say that by '78, as many as 50% of the married couples had met and married in the Local Churches?
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:32 AM   #16
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Would it be fair to say that by '78, as many as 50% of the married couples had met and married in the Local Churches?
I don't think that was the case in Houston. For example, RG, BP, etc. these brothers may have married after meeting WL, but they knew their wives, and met their wives prior to the LC.

Second, when new churches spring up, like Odessa, it is almost 100% with married saints who were married outside of the LC.

50% is really a large number when you consider this. For example, a gospel contact of ours in Houston, strong brother, married his HS sweetheart who he had known long before touching the LC.

I think it was probably closer to 35% for saints who truly were single in the LC and met in the LC and married in the LC.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:39 AM   #17
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I'm curious as to your takes on the topic of "enjoying Christ as the all inclusive...etc" and things like "blending", "mingling", and other such terminology.

Clearly you all have something to say about it, but in terms of the argument, what would you say?
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:02 AM   #18
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I'm curious as to your takes on the topic of "enjoying Christ as the all inclusive...etc" and things like "blending", "mingling", and other such terminology.

Clearly you all have something to say about it, but in terms of the argument, what would you say?
Enjoying Christ as the all inclusive, blending, and mingling were, in the end, what Witness Lee used to charm minds into following him & his ministry....They are good sounding images .... with a hook ... to the Living Stream Ministry.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:16 PM   #19
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This teaching, coming out of Texas in the wake of the so-called Max rebellion, laid the groundwork for the radical "oneness" zeal which accompanied the "new way."
So they all became, or were, reactionary around Witness Lee. Guided by the human realm/level. The Spirit nowhere to be found, as regards guidance. Witness Lee being their center of gravity. A movement of man, by man. The Lord might be found there. But then again, where is it the Lord can't be found?
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:23 AM   #20
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My "issue" does not lie with why they believe those things, as I think the premise of local ground is not divisive, but how it has been applied is indeed quite divisive. What I have heard is that regarding the local ground that it was how it was back in the days of Paul (when he refers to the church in _______) and that is how it should be today. When I say how that is quite simply logistically impossible today, I have gotten the response that if God wants it to be that way it will be that way.
You agree with the premise of local ground, but differ in its applicability, or relevancy, in today's world. How can there be one set of elders overseeing the spiritual life of every christian in Shanghai or Rome, for example? They respond that God wants it that way, so we gotta do it, logistics be bothered. "God's will equals our way", etc.

But the shared premise of both you and the LC folk regarding what "Paul to the church in ......." implies is perhaps based on a rather truncated reading of the Bible. Maybe you should not "combat" LC arguments so much, as rather have a conversation with God in His word, and then offer some insights to others (including the LC true believers) who are considering these questions.

I note, for instance, that Paul twice writes to a church in ........ and tells them to greet the church in someone's house. Now, is that house within the same metropolitan area as the church in ..........? If so, why does Paul approve of 2 churches in one city? Or, conversely, if the church in someone's house is located in another city, why doesn't Paul call it the church in ..........?

Maybe, the word ekklesia, here translated church, meant "assembly", or meeting. There can and eventually will be multiple gatherings in a large city. It is at least a plausible idea.

Also we have other authors using the word ekklesia in ways that do not translate well to "church". See Luke's citation of Stephen's "church in the wilderness" (Acts 8) and Hebrews chapter 2 quoting the Septuagint Greek "in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise..." from the Psalms. What did the word ekklesia mean 300 years before Christ?

My point is that in order to take the premise based upon "to the church in ......." as foundational to your premise (One church per city), you may end up with a rather contorted set of scriptures, as noncompliant and unhelpful verses have to be ignored or explained away.

LC folks seem to do this by translating ekklesia into church where convenient, and into assembly where it is not convenient to their idea. I don't see this as cutting straight the Word of the truth, so much as re-arranging it to fit your concepts.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:43 AM   #21
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You agree with the premise of local ground, but differ in its applicability, or relevancy, in today's world. How can there be one set of elders overseeing the spiritual life of every christian in Shanghai or Rome, for example? They respond that God wants it that way, so we gotta do it, logistics be bothered. "God's will equals our way", etc.

But the shared premise of both you and the LC folk regarding what "Paul to the church in ......." implies is perhaps based on a rather truncated reading of the Bible. Maybe you should not "combat" LC arguments so much, as rather have a conversation with God in His word, and then offer some insights to others (including the LC true believers) who are considering these questions.

I note, for instance, that Paul twice writes to a church in ........ and tells them to greet the church in someone's house. Now, is that house within the same metropolitan area as the church in ..........? If so, why does Paul approve of 2 churches in one city? Or, conversely, if the church in someone's house is located in another city, why doesn't Paul call it the church in ..........?

Maybe, the word ekklesia, here translated church, meant "assembly", or meeting. There can and eventually will be multiple gatherings in a large city. It is at least a plausible idea.

Also we have other authors using the word ekklesia in ways that do not translate well to "church". See Luke's citation of Stephen's "church in the wilderness" (Acts 8) and Hebrews chapter 2 quoting the Septuagint Greek "in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise..." from the Psalms. What did the word ekklesia mean 300 years before Christ?

My point is that in order to take the premise based upon "to the church in ......." as foundational to your premise (One church per city), you may end up with a rather contorted set of scriptures, as noncompliant and unhelpful verses have to be ignored or explained away.

LC folks seem to do this by translating ekklesia into church where convenient, and into assembly where it is not convenient to their idea. I don't see this as cutting straight the Word of the truth, so much as re-arranging it to fit your concepts.
How can there not be one set of elders in a city? In the US we have city govt, state govt and Federal govt yet they are all one because everyone has to abide by a single constitution. I don't see why if a congregation is faithful to abide by the NT their elders, pastors or leaders would not be one with those of any other congregation in that city doing the same thing. Obviously the building belongs to those that purchased it, and the donations to run that congregation would be administered by the leaders of that congregation, but why would elders and pastors of different congregations not be one?

Is there a legitimate basis in the NT for one congregation of Christians in a city to be distinct and separate from another congregation of Christians?

Just because we are limited by time and space does not mean that we have to be divided in nature. Everyone understands that the United States is "one country". If I am a citizen of this country I should be able to travel freely about within the country.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:30 PM   #22
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. What did the word ekklesia mean 300 years before Christ?
Ekklesia was the common term for the meetings of the Roman leaders...
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:37 PM   #23
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Ekklesia was the common term for the meetings of the Roman leaders...
I thought it was a common term for the meeting of Greek leaders, basically property owners.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:31 PM   #24
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Is there a legitimate basis in the NT for one congregation of Christians in a city to be distinct and separate from another congregation of Christians?
I thought I had made that point when I remarked that Paul repeatedly writes the church in .......... (I think it was the epistles to Colossae and Rome) and tells them to greet the church meeting in XYZ's house. Both groups are separate and distinct. Who is in charge? Paul? Elder Q, R, and S? Or God?

I vote for the latter. Any efforts at the former will eventually lead to General Haig-ish behavior ("I am in charge here") and eventual dissolution into factions. In other (spiritual) words, Babylon.

Better to receive one another in Christ Jesus, just as God the Father has done to us, and let God worry about "who is in charge".
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:43 PM   #25
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I thought it was a common term for the meeting of Greek leaders, basically property owners.
Yes and at any rate was in common use in gov'ment matters....by pagans leaders...

In other words, not a special word for Christians...used as an expediency. We've twisted the word into a new meaning....

Here's the Greek use, as you point out :

What Was the Ecclesia?:

Ecclesia (Ekklesia) is the term used for the assembly in Greek poleis. The ecclesia was a meeting place where the citizens could speak their minds and try to influence one another in the political process.

Where was the Ecclesia?:

Normally at Athens, the Ecclesia assembled at the pnyx (an open-air auditorium west of the Acropolis with a retaining wall, orator's stand, and an altar), but it was one of the jobs of the boule's prytaneis (leaders) to post the agenda and location of the next meeting of the Assembly. On the pandia ('All Zeus' festival) the Assembly met in the Theatre of Dionysus.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:20 PM   #26
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[Ekklesia] was in common use in gov'ment matters....by pagans leaders...

In other words, not a special word for Christians...used as an expediency. We've twisted the word into a new meaning....

Here's the Greek use, as you point out :

What Was the Ecclesia?:

Ecclesia (Ekklesia) is the term used for the assembly in Greek poleis. The ecclesia was a meeting place where the citizens could speak their minds and try to influence one another in the political process.

Where was the Ecclesia?:

Normally at Athens, the Ecclesia assembled at the pnyx (an open-air auditorium west of the Acropolis with a retaining wall, orator's stand, and an altar)...
I think a better question might be: What was the Ecclesia in the useage of the OT scriptures? The LXX uses the term several dozen times. See, e.g. Psalm 22:22 (quoted in Hebrews 2).

The useage in Roman politics and pagan religion is not irrelevant, but it is likely much less a source of meaning than the OT LXX.
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:29 PM   #27
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I thought I had made that point when I remarked that Paul repeatedly writes the church in .......... (I think it was the epistles to Colossae and Rome) and tells them to greet the church meeting in XYZ's house. Both groups are separate and distinct. Who is in charge? Paul? Elder Q, R, and S? Or God?

I vote for the latter. Any efforts at the former will eventually lead to General Haig-ish behavior ("I am in charge here") and eventual dissolution into factions. In other (spiritual) words, Babylon.

Better to receive one another in Christ Jesus, just as God the Father has done to us, and let God worry about "who is in charge".
Well you have changed the discussion. I was pointing out there is no reason that they cannot be one, now you are saying it is a matter of being in charge. Jesus is Lord, as long as we all agree on that why do we have to argue about who is in charge?
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:31 PM   #28
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http://www.lsmradio.com/hearing-of-f...an04whatis.pdf

They use Bible verses all foot loose and fancy free, like the Jehovah's Witnesses ... how did I ever fall for something like Witness Lee?
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:33 PM   #29
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http://www.lsmradio.com/hearing-of-f...an04whatis.pdf

They use Bible verses all foot loose and fancy free, like the Jehovah's Witnesses ... how did I ever fall for something like Witness Lee?
I'm more concerned about what happened to you after you left.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:54 AM   #30
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Well you have changed the discussion. I was pointing out there is no reason that they cannot be one, now you are saying it is a matter of being in charge. Jesus is Lord, as long as we all agree on that why do we have to argue about who is in charge?
Maybe because there are those claiming to be in charge, and running amok...
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:20 AM   #31
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Maybe because there are those claiming to be in charge, and running amok...
So are you justifying that?
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:50 AM   #32
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Is there a legitimate basis in the NT for one congregation of Christians in a city to be distinct and separate from another congregation of Christians?
I am not sure what you mean by distinct and separate. The Monday night prayer meeting is distinct and separate from the college meeting on Friday night at Sister Yu's house. It seems good to me that there are a multitude of gatherings to praise and worship and beseech the Father's will.

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Just because we are limited by time and space does not mean that we have to be divided in nature. Everyone understands that the United States is "one country". If I am a citizen of this country I should be able to travel freely about within the country.
And I can freely go to the Baptist church or the Congregational church. As a confessing believer I am entitled to citizenship among the commonwealth of faith. But being limited in time and space means I can only be in one assembly at any given time. Does this seem to imply to you that I am not "one" with other christians? Or that I am "divided in nature"?

You are ZnP in NYC; I am ARN in Burlington VT. Yet Jesus commands us to be one, even as He and the Father are one. We are separate and distinct, as are our assemblies (even if I were in also NYC, I may meet in Yonkers and you in Queens).

My point was that Paul writing to the church in ........... and telling them to greet the church in XYZ's house doesn't seem to imply division to me, but rather multiplication. Multiplication of assemblies is inevitable, and probably is a good thing.

Conversely, as I have said before, "enforced unity" has a bad record, in the scriptures and beyond. See Daniel chapter 3, and Revelation 13, for example. And the historical examples are really too numerous to cite.

ToGodAlone wants to "combat LC arguments" but he seems to be sharing LC premises concerning the meaning of passages which may not be substantiated by a wider reading. When Paul wrote to the church in ........... it didn't necessitate something beyond, which wasn't clearly stated. The necessity, rather, seems to come from an expositor's agenda. ToGodAlone gives that agenda some divine basis. I do not, at least without more than "Paul to the church in .................."
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:07 AM   #33
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I am not sure what you mean by distinct and separate. The Monday night prayer meeting is distinct and separate from the college meeting on Friday night at Sister Yu's house. It seems good to me that there are a multitude of gatherings to praise and worship and beseech the Father's will.



And I can freely go to the Baptist church or the Congregational church. As a confessing believer I am entitled to citizenship among the commonwealth of faith. But being limited in time and space means I can only be in one assembly at any given time. Does this seem to imply to you that I am not "one" with other christians? Or that I am "divided in nature"?

You are ZnP in NYC; I am ARN in Burlington VT. Yet Jesus commands us to be one, even as He and the Father are one. We are separate and distinct, as are our assemblies (even if I were in also NYC, I may meet in Yonkers and you in Queens).

My point was that Paul writing to the church in ........... and telling them to greet the church in XYZ's house doesn't seem to imply division to me, but rather multiplication. Multiplication of assemblies is inevitable, and probably is a good thing.

Conversely, as I have said before, "enforced unity" has a bad record, in the scriptures and beyond. See Daniel chapter 3, and Revelation 13, for example. And the historical examples are really too numerous to cite.

ToGodAlone wants to "combat LC arguments" but he seems to be sharing LC premises concerning the meaning of passages which may not be substantiated by a wider reading. When Paul wrote to the church in ........... it didn't necessitate something beyond, which wasn't clearly stated. The necessity, rather, seems to come from an expositor's agenda. ToGodAlone gives that agenda some divine basis. I do not, at least without more than "Paul to the church in .................."
This is why I said we are limited by time and space. We can only be in one location at one time. This does not qualify as saying that we are divided.

You say that you can freely go to other denominations and worship with them. That was not the case when WN first wrote TNCCL. Many years ago, before cell phones and fax machines, you had to be a member of a church and be baptized in that church to take communion. To put that requirement on saints is to me to make yourself separate and distinct. Today you are right, the truth got out and most congregations are much more open about letting Christians visit, worship, fellowship and partake of communion.

Ironically, it is the LRC that has become less open and more separate.

"Enforced unity" is in my mind not oneness. Oneness is about fellowship. If you cut my finger off of the Body it is no longer able to fellowship with the Body. So if you can go to that Baptist church and that congregational church and fellowship I see no reason why you are not "one". Ironically, the only Christian group I am aware of that cannot do that is the LRC.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:17 AM   #34
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Oneness is about fellowship. If you cut my finger off of the Body it is no longer able to fellowship with the Body. So if you can go to that Baptist church and that congregational church and fellowship I see no reason why you are not "one"...
We as christians are in agreement on waaaaay more than we are in disagreement. When we see, collectively, the glory of the risen Christ, our petty differences in understanding, experience, and practice basically evaporate.

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Ironically, the only Christian group I am aware of that cannot do that is the LRC.
And ironically, the LRC is in agreement with 95+% of "historical christianity". They just seem to obsess over the 5%. Since leaving, I have reversed the equation. I realize that our commonalities as believers render "Baptist" and "Lutheran" moot.

When in the LRC, I would meet a christian on the street or at work, and all I could see were differences. Even if his/her experiences were evident, and he/she knew the Bible way more than me, I would think, "Hmph! They don't know about their regenerated spirit!" Or, "They don't meet on the proper ground". Etc etc.

So who was being inclusive, and who was being divisive?
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:00 AM   #35
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Brother ZNP, my suggestion is to post what is on your heart, and not try to win arguments. Some folks just love to challenge everything. It is just a trap. The way out, at least for me, is to write unto the Lord for the unseen reader. Let the other poster disagree, and then let the reader decide.
Great advice. I have just gone on summer vacation, had a little time to get mischievous and look how quickly I fall
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:36 AM   #36
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Great advice. I have just gone on summer vacation, had a little time to get mischievous and look how quickly I fall
Hopefully you don't get in the way of Irene.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:03 AM   #37
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I have heard one argument that in the LRC you have to adopt this practice or else you are not "one". Yet, this approach of attacking this practice is to me no different, just the other side of the pendulum...
Amen. It certainly can be, if the critique comes from you and not the Lord. Paul mocked the Corinthians for bearing well with those who beat them, while he needed to ask permission to counsel them(2 Cor. 11:20). So this approach has some precedent, but there is indeed a danger in an anonymous internet site where you can scorn with impunity (not saying OBW was wrong, or mocking, per se, just that you do indeed have a valid point).

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This thread is "combating LC arguments". Someone brought up pray reading and my response was to use RG's book as a place where you could meet and fellowship with this person. I feel that they would be open to the fellowship and it might help them to see that their practice, if it is the case, is mindless and not what was practiced by the saints of old.
I think a good way to combat LC argument is similar to what you say: find a source of common understanding and work respectfully from there. If you treat others with understanding and respect, it may be reciprocated, and your words may carry more heft than an "attack".

On the other hand, with this group, it may not. They may counsel you to pray until you 'get the revelation' (as I was told), when I indicated a lack of agreement. Then, when I persisted in my objections to the Lee line of thought, I was told that my heart was dark, that I harbored frustrated ambitions to be something, and was trying to draw off others of the flock. Things deteriorated from there.

Maybe OBW is already at that end point, and would rather dispense with the niceties. I don't know.

My point on combating LC arguments was as follows (see my discussion of 'Paul to the church in ..........'): don't take the premise of the LC expositors (Nee/Lee/BBs) for granted. Take a look for yourself at what the scriptures say. OBW is good at this. Most importantly, have a conversation with God in His word. God likes to speak. Sit there and wait for a revelation. If God seems to tarry, stamp your feet and shout a little. Demand to be fed from the Father of lights. You will get fed. Father likes to feed his children.

Then, you will have something to say. Not just to "combat LC arguments", but you will have something to say to your neighbor, your family, the clerk in the grocery store, your fellow college students or workers or whatever. Don't just try to figure out how to oppose the LC arguments. Find you what God has to say to you in His word, and then be faithful to speak that to others. You will do just fine.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:23 AM   #38
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I think a good way to combat LC argument is similar to what you say: find a source of common understanding and work respectfully from there. If you treat others with understanding and respect, it may be reciprocated, and your words may carry more heft than an "attack".

Then, you will have something to say. Not just to "combat LC arguments", but you will have something to say to your neighbor, your family, the clerk in the grocery store, your fellow college students or workers or whatever. Don't just try to figure out how to oppose the LC arguments. Find you what God has to say to you in His word, and then be faithful to speak that to others. You will do just fine.
Excellent points aron. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:47 AM   #39
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Hello dear ones. I have to admit that my respect for Ray Graver's book entitled Lord . . . Thou Saidst has plummeted since this discussion began. I still like the contents of the book, but the reason it was written was very disingenuous, to say the least. Based upon LSM's own words in the booklet entitled Pray Reading the Word, other Christians had PLENTY to be concerned about regarding LSM's version of pray-reading...
I do not understand this post. It seems that based on this testimony anyone in the LRC who ministered the word would be condemned because they did so within the LRC. I will say this from personal experience, I don't believe that RG had a disingenuous bone in his body. I am fully convinced that he believed every word he wrote, and that this had a profound impact on his own walk with the Lord. In considering RG I am very thankful that all judgement has been given to the Lord because I would never know how to sort out his life.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:49 AM   #40
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That is funny. I did hear that story in Houston but not from RG. He did not speak jokes like that while ministering. RG was quite puritanical.
And do you get the joke yet?
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:56 AM   #41
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And do you get the joke yet?
What are you saying I'm stupid? Well if I'm stupid you're, you're, you are disagreeable! So there!
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:08 AM   #42
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(as a High School teacher I have a high tolerance for minor irritants).
Serves you well around here.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:15 AM   #43
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The idea that Ray Graver wrote a book defending "pray reading" as a scriptural practice, yet was not actually trying to defend the prevailing practice of "pray reading", as practiced in the Recovery, is absolute nonsense.
It's good to see you exercise your 1st amendment right to post on internet forums.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:38 AM   #44
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Hence my surprise a year ago to learn that he is. RG has his strengths, no doubt about it, manna man would probably be better than me at describing them, but he is no theologian. You can be sure that thorny issues of doctrine are handled by RK or KR, not RG.
I was in Texas and I remember RG as "the enforcer." He was a bit of a drill sergeant. His thing in the 70s in Houston was "the high standard." So everything had to be done just so and perfectly. You couldn't just put out coffee and donuts. They had to be arranged beautifully as well. (That was before they put the kabosh on coffee and donuts because of Lee.)

During one conference he repented of "king high standard," or at least of focusing on it so much. But he always came across to me a kind of a pit bull. More will than mind, very determined and fairly intolerant. Like most LRC purists his problem wasn't that he didn't love the Lord, but that he loved "the Recovery" too much.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:39 AM   #45
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Also, if Ray was so broad-hearted, why did he and Benson begin traveling around the U.S. greatly emphasizing WL and telling churches that they had not done enough for "the apostle" [i.e. WL] and that they needed to "have an account with the apostle"? This was a huge step in turning the LC's into sectarian, narrow, LSM-ministry churches, which seems to be the polar opposite of the spirit of Lord . . . Thou Saidst.
Whoa, let's not get carried away here. I never meant to suggest Ray was "broad hearted" only that he didn't ask more of others than he asked of himself.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:40 AM   #46
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Well I stepped away for a couple of hours and I am glad I did, Ohio did a much better job than I could have done.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:43 AM   #47
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Whoa, let's not get carried away here. I never meant to suggest Ray was "broad hearted" only that he didn't ask more of others than he asked of himself.
And let's not be so touchy here. Get a clue and get over yourself. Your pompous attitude and your arrogance reek to high heaven.

I did not come up with the idea of Ray Graver being "broad hearted" from you, but from his book itself. If he really believed that so many other dear brothers and sisters throughout Church History had valuable portions to share with us, he never would have turned so quickly and exhorted the LC's to focus on Witness Lee only. Ray's study of the history of pray-reading should have led him to see that there is so much of value in other ministries. He should have seen that Witness Lee discarded a lot of rich points in other ministries in his claim to be "standing on others' shoulders". Instead, Ray became the biggest Witness Lee cheerleader in the Recovery. Ray bears a lot of responsibility for the extreme narrowness which have characterized the LC's since the 1980's.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:50 AM   #48
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This is true, which is why I still like you. You don’t stop until I can get to the punch line. Everything I have shared is relevant to the comment, but doesn’t establish that the word was designed for this purpose...
Good Lord! This has to be one of the WORST examples of "proof-texting" run amok that I have ever seen. This is ludicrous. Utter rubbish.

I know that all sounds harsh and I apologize for the tone, but someone had to say it, dear brother. The Bible is not our plaything! When we have mastered the PLAIN speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles - and there is a great deal of that in the New Testament - then maybe we can start trying to get clever and fancy with allegorizing and proof-texting. May we turn and become as little children and simply obey our Lord and Master.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #49
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Ok guys, let's get back to the topic of pray-reading in the Local Church. This book "Thou Saidst" is fair game, but all the issues surrounding Ray Graver may be getting a little off topic.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:19 AM   #50
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One thing I don't understand is that if the brothers and sisters were reading biographies in those days, why in the world were sisters like Thankful Jane and Max R's wife condemned for reading Christian biographies? Also, if Ray was so broad-hearted, why did he and Benson begin traveling around the U.S. greatly emphasizing WL and telling churches that they had not done enough for "the apostle" [i.e. WL] and that they needed to "have an account with the apostle"? This was a huge step in turning the LC's into sectarian, narrow, LSM-ministry churches, which seems to be the polar opposite of the spirit of Lord . . . Thou Saidst.
Good questions. Apparently these are contradictions which cannot be reconciled, forcing us into either of extreme positions.

I got lots of help researching Brethren history. How could JNDarby be so kind to the saints, sacrificing his life, visiting saints every day, keeping himself pure from evil, spending endless hours corresponding, etc. ... and then be so viciously cruel to other leaders, publicly shaming them, ridiculing them before the saints, writing circulars damaging their reputations, etc.? One Brethren historian summarized Darby in this way, "With JND there is so much good, and there is so much more wrong."

I believe the anomalies must be understood in the context of exclusivism, with its many descriptors. Brother ZNP alluded to these contradictions when he said ...
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So it may be that my understanding of that book was not its intended meaning, how could I know what RG intended? I am not omniscient. But I will say this, there were four things that RG shared as elder that left an indelible mark on me. All four of them had to do with standing on the Lord's word and having faith that God would honor His word. Second, my impression of RG was that he never asked more of anyone than he asked of himself. I do not believe that he was a hypocrite. What I do find easier to believe is that in his zeal to be absolute he was deceived. That is the most credible interpretation I have at the present. The biggest surprise for me in coming to these forums was to learn of the errors of BP and RG. WL was not a surprise, and I had already pegged PL by meeting him once without having to know any details.

I do not understand this post. It seems that based on this testimony anyone in the LRC who ministered the word would be condemned because they did so within the LRC. I will say this from personal experience, I don't believe that RG had a disingenuous bone in his body. I am fully convinced that he believed every word he wrote, and that this had a profound impact on his own walk with the Lord. In considering RG I am very thankful that all judgement has been given to the Lord because I would never know how to sort out his life.
RG and others really believe that WL was today's "Apostle Paul." As such, WL should be promoted and protected at all cost. Whatever is done to promote and protect "the Apostle," covers over all apparent anomalies. So, for example, if reading Christian biographies seems good for the Apostle and his "program," then RG promotes the reading of Christian biographies. If, however, the reading Christian biographies seems to discredit the Apostle and his authority, then RG condemns the reading of Christian biographies as being dangerous for the church.

Thus, in the recovery, they do not evaluate people or practices on their inherent value, but on how much value they are to the ministry. One day you promote the ministry, so they love you. The next day you "voice a concern" about the ministry, and they throw you under the bus. Never forget who is driving the bus!
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:48 AM   #51
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The fact that this book can be seen by anyone as a kind of "defense" of WL's form of pray-reading is what is so distasteful to me. All one has to do is read the little booklet published by LSM entitled Pray Reading the Word and then read RG's book Lord . . . Thou Saidst and one can readily see that the two are light-years apart. It just strikes me as one more example of how differently LSM presents themselves to outsiders to gain credibility with "Christianity" vs. how they actually believe and practice internally.
I definitely am with you on these points. I never knew RG in my early days in the Recovery, but after reading the book Lord . . . Thou Saidst, I had a favorable impression of him. Then I met him several times related to building church properties, and wondered about the discrepancy.

Concerning the contradiction between the "internal and external" appearances, I also have seen many families operate this way. Together they treat outsiders and guests so well, so one might get the impression that they are this way all the time. But within the family, when the outsiders are gone, they mistreat one another continually. Many LC leaders were this way -- charming to outsiders, nasty to each other.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:53 AM   #52
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I definitely am with you on these points. I never knew RG in my early days in the Recovery, but after reading the book Lord . . . Thou Saidst, I had a favorable impression of him. Then I met him several times related to building church properties, and wondered about the discrepancy.

Concerning the contradiction between the "internal and external" appearances, I also have seen many families operate this way. Together they treat outsiders and guests so well, so one might get the impression that they are this way all the time. But within the family, when the outsiders are gone, they mistreat one another continually. Many LC leaders were this way -- charming to outsiders, nasty to each other.
All of us are capable of good and evil. (I amaze myself sometimes in this capacity.) Ultimately, though our lapses into evil are evidence of deeper problems. We have to humble ourselves before the Lord for him to treat those issues. We are often unwilling to do this because we don't want to give up long-held convictions about ourselves or our beliefs. I.e. we are blind to what is really going on.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:56 AM   #53
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And let's not be so touchy here. Get a clue and get over yourself. Your pompous attitude and your arrogance reek to high heaven.

I did not come up with the idea of Ray Graver being "broad hearted" from you, but from his book itself. If he really believed that so many other dear brothers and sisters throughout Church History had valuable portions to share with us, he never would have turned so quickly and exhorted the LC's to focus on Witness Lee only. Ray's study of the history of pray-reading should have led him to see that there is so much of value in other ministries. He should have seen that Witness Lee discarded a lot of rich points in other ministries in his claim to be "standing on others' shoulders". Instead, Ray became the biggest Witness Lee cheerleader in the Recovery. Ray bears a lot of responsibility for the extreme narrowness which have characterized the LC's since the 1980's.
RG is a great irony. Right after the Philippians training he latched onto this idea that WL was "the apostle", etc. He was pushing this idea when the Irving hall was going up. He appears to be a simple brother who runs from theological debates and instead loves to spend 16 hours a day as a foreman on the Irving site. Yet in my mind he deserves credit (responsibility) for the entire MOTA teaching, though others have shown that WL was always prone to walk this path. His book presents a wonderful picture of saints praying over the word of God, yet as you have pointed out he is happy to push a practice that bears no resemblance to what he wrote about 30 years ago. He was very puritanical, once he commended John So because he was always seen with the top button to his shirt buttoned. Yet he hid his eyes and covered his mouth when JI shared about PL. They did a hatchet job on Jane as recounted in "the Thread of Gold", and sat in on a similar meeting with me where I was told I had 2 strikes against me. Yet he was quick to notice when I was acting strange my first year, learned that I was selling blood, and called me into a meeting with all the elders to get me to stop. I remember once, in Irving, we had had a disastrous time in trying to build one of the planters. So he called a meeting with me and the brother who had been building the planter (I was there because I was the crew chief). Inwardly I was thinking "thank God I didn't do this". Then Ray starts hitting his fist into his hand and saying "Who is responsible for this! That's what I want to know!" That's when it hit me, oh, I am. I may be called as a witness when he appears before the judgement seat, but thank God I won't be the judge.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:04 AM   #54
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And let's not be so touchy here. Get a clue and get over yourself. Your pompous attitude and your arrogance reek to high heaven.

I did not come up with the idea of Ray Graver being "broad hearted" from you, but from his book itself. If he really believed that so many other dear brothers and sisters throughout Church History had valuable portions to share with us, he never would have turned so quickly and exhorted the LC's to focus on Witness Lee only. Ray's study of the history of pray-reading should have led him to see that there is so much of value in other ministries. He should have seen that Witness Lee discarded a lot of rich points in other ministries in his claim to be "standing on others' shoulders". Instead, Ray became the biggest Witness Lee cheerleader in the Recovery. Ray bears a lot of responsibility for the extreme narrowness which have characterized the LC's since the 1980's.
Brother KisstheSon, you shocked me with your opening line to brother ZNP!

Let me try to explain this apparent contradiction regarding RG being "broad-hearted." Now I am only speaking generally, since ZNP and Igzy have first-hand contact with RG.

Let me address the portions in red, as I understand exclusivism in operation within the Recovery. RG believed there were many rich portions in the ministries of the saints now passed. Supposedly WN and WL have incorporated all of these portions in their ministry. After they came along, there is no more ministry of value in Christianity, hence he promoted WL and the Recovery unreservedly, thinking that was well-pleasing to God.

Thus is all misplaced religious zeal. If the rudder of our faith is the love of God poured out upon us, then replacing that rudder with a man and his ministry, just displaces us from the love of God. Hence, some have gone off-course to the point that killing is considered service to God!

Igzy's testimony confirms that certain dispositions are more vulnerable to the dangers of exclusivism. This is why I have long concluded that if WL were the great Apostle that many say he was, he would never have allowed these zealots to so promote and exalt him.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:54 PM   #55
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It's good to see you exercise your 1st amendment right to post on internet forums.
Thankfully I still have my 1st amendment rights, in spite of what you apparently think about them!

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:50 PM   #56
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As time passes I respect mainstream Christianity more and more.
Me too. I have my (outlandish) theories, of course, but I really love to go into the Grovers Corner Baptist Church and say, "Hey, I'm one of you guys." I can hardly describe how comforting and encouraging it is just to be one of the flock. That is 'special' enough. No need to go beyond what is the common faith.

There is a safety in the mass of common christianity. There is the accumulated wisdom and strength of thousands of years and countless souls, carrying us forward.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:01 AM   #57
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What are you saying I'm stupid? Well if I'm stupid you're, you're, you are disagreeable! So there!
No, that's not what I'm saying.

What I'm saying is that your own indefatigable nature, if you will, may keep you from seeing another side to their meaning.

As Robert Plant once said, "______________________".

Will you fill in the blank?
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:49 AM   #58
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Sure, the guy who wrote lyrics about JRR Tokien's books. As Robert Plant once said "I once tried to be Elvis".
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:24 AM   #59
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Sure, the guy who wrote lyrics about JRR Tokien's books. As Robert Plant once said "I once tried to be Elvis".
Thanks, this is a new song for me, I'm enjoying it right now. Seriously.

Minoru Chen once told a room of hundreds of young people, at a summer or winter training, that The Lord of the Rings is "demonic". Was anyone else there? He explained the reason why, he warned us to avoid books, movies, or video games that have this kind of imagery. Tolkien's story has one prominent example of this, do you know what it was Minoru was referring to?
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:28 AM   #60
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P.S. I actually felt relieved at the time, not by anything Minoru said, but by the collective sighs that went up from the yp. It was kind of like, "Ahh, noooo, not The Lord of the Rings!" Was glad to know that I wasn't the only so-called spiritual young person who appreciated these stories.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:15 AM   #61
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P.S. I actually felt relieved at the time, not by anything Minoru said, but by the collective sighs that went up from the yp. It was kind of like, "Ahh, noooo, not The Lord of the Rings!" Was glad to know that I wasn't the only so-called spiritual young person who appreciated these stories.
Without J. R. R. Tolkien we probably wouldn't have C.S. Lewis.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:57 AM   #62
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Thanks, this is a new song for me, I'm enjoying it right now. Seriously.

Minoru Chen once told a room of hundreds of young people, at a summer or winter training, that The Lord of the Rings is "demonic". Was anyone else there? He explained the reason why, he warned us to avoid books, movies, or video games that have this kind of imagery. Tolkien's story has one prominent example of this, do you know what it was Minoru was referring to?
I had read through the Lord of the Rings multiple times before coming to the LRC. I can see why someone would say that it is "demonic" with orcs and Lord Sauron, etc. But I always thought he was just talking about WWII, except that the all seeing eye seemed to really look like the US dollar bill. Also the nine ring wraiths seemed to point to the fact that the US would just become the next Germany (the weakness of man). The ring that binds all the others is the ability to become invisible (NSA, spy satellites, U2 spy planes, stealth, etc). Personally I think there are a lot of parallels with the Bible (hobbits represent the little man, the simple folk, the Christians?), but like eating meat or drinking alcohol, if Minoru Chen's faith is so weak that this story would shake it, then I agree, he should not read the story.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:02 PM   #63
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I had read through the Lord of the Rings multiple times before coming to the LRC. I can see why someone would say that it is "demonic" with orcs and Lord Sauron, etc. But I always thought he was just talking about WWII, except that the all seeing eye seemed to really look like the US dollar bill. Also the nine ring wraiths seemed to point to the fact that the US would just become the next Germany (the weakness of man). The ring that binds all the others is the ability to become invisible (NSA, spy satellites, U2 spy planes, stealth, etc). Personally I think there are a lot of parallels with the Bible (hobbits represent the little man, the simple folk, the Christians?), but like eating meat or drinking alcohol, if Minoru Chen's faith is so weak that this story would shake it, then I agree, he should not read the story.
So what about when Minoru Chen is functioning as a religious leader. And he and others are actively teaching this "weakness" to thousands of others. Many of whom are buying it.

What do we say to that?
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:54 PM   #64
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So what about when Minoru Chen is functioning as a religious leader. And he and others are actively teaching this "weakness" to thousands of others. Many of whom are buying it.

What do we say to that?
I say that we who are strong should bear with those that are weak in the faith.
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:07 PM   #65
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I say that we who are strong should bear with those that are weak in the faith.
But I'm not strong. You don't have to be strong to realize that the guys who claim to be freed from the law, are actually putting laws on your head. You don't have to be strong to realize that the ones claiming "freedom in the spirit", are actively planting seeds of fear in you and your peers.

But more than anything, how do you "bear with those" who are your leaders, your authorities, those who assume the right to your respect, and the right to your ears when they open their mouths?
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:15 PM   #66
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But I'm not strong. You don't have to be strong to realize that the guys who claim to be freed from the law, are actually putting laws on your head. You don't have to be strong to realize that the ones claiming "freedom in the spirit", are actively planting seeds of fear in you and your peers.

But more than anything, how do you "bear with those" who are your leaders, your authorities, those who assume the right to your respect, and the right to your ears when they open their mouths?
I never once had an elder or leading brother come to my house and rummage through my books. What is the law, don't speak about Led Zeppelin or JRR Tolkien in a meeting? How is that any different than what Paul says where if a brother doesn't drink wine then I won't drink wine? You call it a law. Paul calls it brotherly love, "how am I walking in love if I stumble my brother?"
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:26 PM   #67
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I never once had an elder or leading brother come to my house and rummage through my books. What is the law, don't speak about Led Zeppelin or JRR Tolkien in a meeting? How is that any different than what Paul says where if a brother doesn't drink wine then I won't drink wine? You call it a law. Paul calls it brotherly love, "how am I walking in love if I stumble my brother?"
Who is being stumbled here, Minoru Chen, because some young people like Tolkien's books? Or the young people listening to him label Tolkien's books as "demonic"?
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:30 PM   #68
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Who is being stumbled here, Minoru Chen, because some young people like Tolkien's books? Or the young people listening to him label Tolkien's books as "demonic"?
The brother with the weaker faith is being stumbled. You decide who that is.
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:36 PM   #69
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The brother with the weaker faith is being stumbled. You decide who that is.
So after hearing Minoru say this, without a doubt at least a few of the young people put aside The Lord of the Rings, avoided the movies, etc.

Are you saying this is brotherly love they're showing to Minoru, to avoid offending him? Balderdash! It's religious law-keeping, with a healthy dose of fear.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:55 PM   #70
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So after hearing Minoru say this, without a doubt at least a few of the young people put aside The Lord of the Rings, avoided the movies, etc.

Are you saying this is brotherly love they're showing to Minoru, to avoid offending him? Balderdash! It's religious law-keeping, with a healthy dose of fear.
I saw the movies, but I didn't invite Minoru or others that I felt might be stumbled.

I have heard many things in Christian meetings, not merely in the LRC, that I feel it is best to not respond to. For example, I hear a lot of saints talk about "evolution" in a way that I feel is ignorant. Bottom line, JRR Tolkien is not a matter of the faith, therefore we should be general about it.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:46 PM   #71
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I saw the movies, but I didn't invite Minoru or others that I felt might be stumbled.

I have heard many things in Christian meetings, not merely in the LRC, that I feel it is best to not respond to. For example, I hear a lot of saints talk about "evolution" in a way that I feel is ignorant. Bottom line, JRR Tolkien is not a matter of the faith, therefore we should be general about it.
When Minoru says to hundreds of young people, "Ahhh, I tell you, brothers and sisters, that is something demonic!" (paraphrase), obviously he's not being general. You don't see this as putting a kind of law on people?
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:22 PM   #72
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You may not appreciate my tone, Z, but can't you acknowledge that the use of this verse to defend leaders and teachers opens the door to all kinds of nonsense?
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:30 AM   #73
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You may not appreciate my tone, Z, but can't you acknowledge that the use of this verse to defend leaders and teachers opens the door to all kinds of nonsense?
Is there any way to close the door? First, the complaint about Minoru having an issue with the book "Lord of the Rings" is, to my mind trivial. The book is not "sanctified". Second, if you want to read it, do so. His authority is limited to what is said and shared in the meeting hall for his one locality.

I think you missed my point earlier, if this sharing of his truly offends you then I have to side with Minoru on this one, you are clearly weak in faith and putting up restrictions on what you read is probably a good thing for someone shepherding a flock of young saints. On the other hand if this is evidence that Minoru is the weak one in the faith, then according to Paul we who are strong should bear with those that are weak.

Perhaps a personal testimony would be helpful. I have a movie that I really think is funny, it is called "Tremors". There are a couple of scenes in that movie that I think are classic and stand out as some of the funniest scenes in my mind. We had a couple over and we were going to let their kids see it with my kids. They freaked out. Their kids could not see horror films. I had never considered this to be a "horror" film, yet, to be fair to them, there is one shot that is scary. It is shown for no more than 1 second, so you could literally cut out 1 second of the movie and I feel that would greatly reduce the scariness. Though, to be fair again, there is a person eaten by the monster (this is a B movie and it is not very realistic, still I could see that as being a little too scary for someone's tastes). So we showed Bambi or some other movie that was acceptable to them, problem solved, big deal.

Now if you are shepherding a church, you have to take into account everyone, not just the "strong" among you. At home you are free to do as you feel led by the Lord. When people visit you should take into account their feelings.

So to answer your question, do I think that Minoru telling the saints not to read (which really means share about in the meetings since that is the limit of his authority) the Lord of the Rings is a case of legalism gone amuck. No, I don't. I think your getting offended by this is a case of hyper sensitivity and a lack of being able to see this case from Minoru's perspective.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:29 PM   #74
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Is there any way to close the door? First, the complaint about Minoru having an issue with the book "Lord of the Rings" is, to my mind trivial. The book is not "sanctified". Second, if you want to read it, do so. His authority is limited to what is said and shared in the meeting hall for his one locality.

I think you missed my point earlier, if this sharing of his truly offends you then I have to side with Minoru on this one, you are clearly weak in faith and putting up restrictions on what you read is probably a good thing for someone shepherding a flock of young saints. On the other hand if this is evidence that Minoru is the weak one in the faith, then according to Paul we who are strong should bear with those that are weak.

Perhaps a personal testimony would be helpful. I have a movie that I really think is funny, it is called "Tremors". There are a couple of scenes in that movie that I think are classic and stand out as some of the funniest scenes in my mind. We had a couple over and we were going to let their kids see it with my kids. They freaked out. Their kids could not see horror films. I had never considered this to be a "horror" film, yet, to be fair to them, there is one shot that is scary. It is shown for no more than 1 second, so you could literally cut out 1 second of the movie and I feel that would greatly reduce the scariness. Though, to be fair again, there is a person eaten by the monster (this is a B movie and it is not very realistic, still I could see that as being a little too scary for someone's tastes). So we showed Bambi or some other movie that was acceptable to them, problem solved, big deal.

Now if you are shepherding a church, you have to take into account everyone, not just the "strong" among you. At home you are free to do as you feel led by the Lord. When people visit you should take into account their feelings.

So to answer your question, do I think that Minoru telling the saints not to read (which really means share about in the meetings since that is the limit of his authority) the Lord of the Rings is a case of legalism gone amuck. No, I don't. I think your getting offended by this is a case of hyper sensitivity and a lack of being able to see this case from Minoru's perspective.
To paraphrase Igzy, I was talking about the way things actually are in the group called "the Lord's Recovery", not some ideal of the way things should be.

You think Minoru's authority is "limited to his one locality". You also think his authority is limited only to what is shared in the meetings. If this is true, you better go remind them, cause I think they forgot!

Others have done a better job than me in expressing the function the summer/winter trainings serve for the Recovery. For you to take what's spoken at the trainings out of that context, and instead place it in the context of how you think Christian groups are "supposed" to function...well I find that a little odd.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:12 PM   #75
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To paraphrase Igzy, I was talking about the way things actually are in the group called "the Lord's Recovery", not some ideal of the way things should be.

You think Minoru's authority is "limited to his one locality". You also think his authority is limited only to what is shared in the meetings. If this is true, you better go remind them, cause I think they forgot!

Others have done a better job than me in expressing the function the summer/winter trainings serve for the Recovery. For you to take what's spoken at the trainings out of that context, and instead place it in the context of how you think Christian groups are "supposed" to function...well I find that a little odd.
My cousin used to review movies. His reviews were published in the paper and read by many more people than all of those in the entire LRC in the US. He was also gay and died of AIDS. His reviews were well written, literate, and also full of his opinions and biases. If he panned a movie and said it stunk and don't go see it, no one had any issue with it, so what. But here is a Christian leader speaking to a very small group of what 1,000 maybe 2,000 saints. He says "don't read the Lord of the Rings". Does he visit your house, find the book and say "sinner!". No. Does he get access to your financial records, look to see what books you have purchased and say "sinner!"? No. Since the Patriot Act the US govt does do this, legally.

How is it that you allow everyone else to impose their will, their ideas, their biases, their searches, their seizures, yet if a Christian leader so much as says 10 words it becomes a federal offense.

If Minoru Chen cannot express his opinion within the four walls of the church he is a leader of, then wouldn't that be much more worrisome! If the LRC tried to take away freedom of speech you would be outraged and shouting bloody murder, but you don't have the slightest issue with taking away his freedom of speech. I find that more than a little odd.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:48 PM   #76
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My cousin used to review movies. His reviews were published in the paper and read by many more people than all of those in the entire LRC in the US. He was also gay and died of AIDS. His reviews were well written, literate, and also full of his opinions and biases. If he panned a movie and said it stunk and don't go see it, no one had any issue with it, so what. But here is a Christian leader speaking to a very small group of what 1,000 maybe 2,000 saints. He says "don't read the Lord of the Rings". Does he visit your house, find the book and say "sinner!". No. Does he get access to your financial records, look to see what books you have purchased and say "sinner!"? No. Since the Patriot Act the US govt does do this, legally.

How is it that you allow everyone else to impose their will, their ideas, their biases, their searches, their seizures, yet if a Christian leader so much as says 10 words it becomes a federal offense.

If Minoru Chen cannot express his opinion within the four walls of the church he is a leader of, then wouldn't that be much more worrisome! If the LRC tried to take away freedom of speech you would be outraged and shouting bloody murder, but you don't have the slightest issue with taking away his freedom of speech. I find that more than a little odd.
If they teach that the faith is general and we should minister Christ to people instead of putting religious requirements on them, this is clearly more than Minoru just "expressing his opinion".

If on the other hand they are honest and say we use WL and WN's ministry when it is convenient, and we discard things that are inconvenient. Of course, everyone in this country has the right to do that.

I am not objecting to their rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, all I am objecting to is the hypocrisy and falsehood. They trumpet that they are the ones who are different from religion, ministering Christ instead of using religious requirements and fear to motivate people, yet this is but one of many examples of where they have ignored their own teaching concerning the generality of the faith.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:21 PM   #77
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If the LRC tried to take away freedom of speech you would be outraged and shouting bloody murder, but you don't have the slightest issue with taking away his freedom of speech. I find that more than a little odd.
Oh but brother I was there. I was in meetings where some new person stood up and said what everyone thought disagreeable, and I witnessed that he was shut down but a chorus of "Oh Lord Jesus" to drown him out.

Also, could you imagine what would happen to you if at one of Lee's conferences you stood up and started saying something like, "But Witness, your logic doesn't follow. You are teaching wrong things." You wouldn't have to walk out, you'd be carried out.

So don't tell me the local church practices freedom of speech. That's baloney.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:56 PM   #78
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Oh but brother I was there. I was in meetings where some new person stood up and said what everyone thought disagreeable, and I witnessed that he was shut down but a chorus of "Oh Lord Jesus" to drown him out.

Also, could you imagine what would happen to you if at one of Lee's conferences you stood up and started saying something like, "But Witness, your logic doesn't follow. You are teaching wrong things." You wouldn't have to walk out, you'd be carried out.

So don't tell me the local church practices freedom of speech. That's baloney.
Read the quote again, I didn't say the LRC practices freedom of speech. What I said, which you confirmed with your post, is that you will complain to high heaven about them not practicing freedom of speech, yet at the same time you have an issue with Minoru Chen's speech. You can't have it both ways. If you are for freedom of speech respect his right, treat others the way you want to be treated.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:58 PM   #79
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If they teach that the faith is general and we should minister Christ to people instead of putting religious requirements on them, this is clearly more than Minoru just "expressing his opinion".

If on the other hand they are honest and say we use WL and WN's ministry when it is convenient, and we discard things that are inconvenient. Of course, everyone in this country has the right to do that.

I am not objecting to their rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, all I am objecting to is the hypocrisy and falsehood. They trumpet that they are the ones who are different from religion, ministering Christ instead of using religious requirements and fear to motivate people, yet this is but one of many examples of where they have ignored their own teaching concerning the generality of the faith.
DC back in Houston, before he died, used to share with me that opinions are like onions because they make you cry. Here you have shown me that opinions are like onions because no matter how many layers you peel off there is still another layer underneath.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:20 AM   #80
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We should have freedom of correct speech.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:21 PM   #81
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Hi guys. I'm new to this but not without experience. I was a WWCG member for 17 years. It took another 17 years to turn my life around though, in saying that, there were other issues needing to be addressed.

Could someone recommend a book on combating LC arguments.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:02 AM   #82
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Hi Unregistered "Too",

By "WWCG" I'm assuming you are referring to "World Wide Church of God", a movement began by Herbert W. Armstrong?

I'm not sure many here have a lot of experience or knowledge of the WWCG or their teachings and practices.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:53 AM   #83
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Hi guys. I'm new to this but not without experience. I was a WWCG member for 17 years. It took another 17 years to turn my life around though, in saying that, there were other issues needing to be addressed.

Could someone recommend a book on combating LC arguments.
You're a little too vague but sounds to me like, you grew up in the WWCG, and somehow got involved with the local church, and now are seeking help getting free of that too.

Hey, I'm not as informed about the local church as others out here, but I've never heard of a book written that teaches how to combat LC arguments.

Is there one for the WWCG?

Anyway, I don't want to send you on your way empty handed.

This is not the only local church forum on the web. There's other's. There's even an old forum loaded with hidden LC history ... It's the old www.thebereans.net under "archive."

But any way, the web is probably the best answer to your question.

That said you might consider reading "Speaking the Truth in Love," by John Ingalls -> http://www.unfaithfulwitness.org/JohnIngallsBook.pdf

Also, google "spiders" down into these forums, so searching google for LC stuff may also help.

Here's a start :
https://www.google.com/#q=hidden+his...ss+lee&start=0

This might help too:
http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/lc.html
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:35 AM   #84
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Hi guys. I'm new to this but not without experience. I was a WWCG member for 17 years. It took another 17 years to turn my life around though, in saying that, there were other issues needing to be addressed.

Could someone recommend a book on combating LC arguments.
Hello "Unregistered Too": I differ in my interpretation of what you're saying about yourself and what you're asking; I take what you've written to mean that you don't have personal experience with the so-called "LC", but you DO have experience with another cultish group (WWCG), and want to know how to show someone the errors in LC theology that will help them escape it's trap, just as seeing the errors in WWCG theology helped you escape.

If that's right, then the best book I've read that does a good job of that is "The God-Men" by Neal T. Duddy. I quoted heavily from this now-out-of-print book on this forum (see "Apologists Speak Out" sub forum). The author and publisher had the proverbial pants sued off of him for their efforts by Witness Lee and the LSM. The case never made trial, because LSM delayed long enough and had limitlessly deep pockets thanks to the generosity of the "saints", whose donations were used to bankrupt the Christian defendant.

I found my copy on Amazon. There were more out there, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Check out the thread though, if you can't get one handy. The book respectfully lays out the case against LC theology, exposes the hypocrisy, and renders the indefensible exactly that....

....But if you show a current LC member that book, expect them to stuff their ears, screw their eyes tight shut, and run screaming "LORD JESUS!!" from the room as fast as they possibly can. That book, more than any other, has been demonized by LSM and is about as likely to get a cursory read from your average member as, say, the Satanic Bible.

God bless you in your ministry.. and do tell us more about yourself!

Ray
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:50 AM   #85
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Here's an old thread on Duddy :
Neil T. Duddy Speaks Almost Three Decades After the Litigation
http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/showthread.php?t=42223
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:18 PM   #86
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How would you combat "God made man to make man god in life and nature, but not in the God-head" ?
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:23 PM   #87
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How would you combat "God made man to make man god in life and nature, but not in the God-head" ?
You don't. You laugh at it.
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:28 PM   #88
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Wow, I have never read that interview with Duddy. He is quite candid and gives an overview of what happened in that lawsuit... not bitter, but brutally honest. That's a must-read, folks!

http://www.dialogcentret.dk/index.ph...tent&Itemid=36

"In The God-Men I wrote that we did not attempt to answer such questions as "Is Witness Lee a Christian?" Such a question is inappropriate. The nucleus of our book was to ask if the doctrine of Witness Lee and the Local Church present a picture of God, Christ, the human condition and Christian responsibility that is true to the content of biblical revelation. Now, drained of all resources and emotional strength after several years of battle with an uncompromising Local Church ideology, I still suggest that the question of whether Lee is a Christian or not is inappropriate. But I suggest that his own actions and the actions in court encouraged by his professional staff raise legitimate questions about his understanding of the compassion and mercy of God, and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ which is revealed in Scripture. He has avoided every possible avenue of negotiation and reconciliation in order to prove a point. And, he has used resources and experts beyond ordinary means to do so. What is he really protecting? What message is he really trying to speak in the world?" - Neal. T. Duddy, Nov. 27th, 2007.

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Old 12-23-2013, 10:22 PM   #89
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Wow, I have never read that interview with Duddy. He is quite candid and gives an overview of what happened in that lawsuit... not bitter, but brutally honest. That's a must-read, folks!

http://www.dialogcentret.dk/index.ph...tent&Itemid=36

"In The God-Men I wrote that we did not attempt to answer such questions as "Is Witness Lee a Christian?" Such a question is inappropriate. The nucleus of our book was to ask if the doctrine of Witness Lee and the Local Church present a picture of God, Christ, the human condition and Christian responsibility that is true to the content of biblical revelation. Now, drained of all resources and emotional strength after several years of battle with an uncompromising Local Church ideology, I still suggest that the question of whether Lee is a Christian or not is inappropriate. But I suggest that his own actions and the actions in court encouraged by his professional staff raise legitimate questions about his understanding of the compassion and mercy of God, and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ which is revealed in Scripture. He has avoided every possible avenue of negotiation and reconciliation in order to prove a point. And, he has used resources and experts beyond ordinary means to do so. What is he really protecting? What message is he really trying to speak in the world?" - Neal. T. Duddy, Nov. 27th, 2007.
The sentence I have in bold is an indication there was no desire for fellowship, for dialogue. No longing to talk with, but to talk at. This is one of the local church practices I lament of.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:40 PM   #90
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How would you combat "God made man to make man god in life and nature, but not in the God-head" ?
"He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will," (Ephesians 1:5)

"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

"so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:5)

"And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23)

Theme of these verses is "adoption of sons". If I was to adopt a son, legally he would be my son, but he would not have my life or my nature. Likewise as adopted sons of God we do not have the divinity of God nor do we have the nature of God. This is quite different from Jesus who is the son of God. Jesus was human, yet divine.
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:12 AM   #91
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How would you combat "God made man to make man god in life and nature, but not in the God-head" ?
The Bible never says it, and thus we should consider that very important. The church has never embraced it, which is also significant. Witness Lee has inferred from scripture what the scripture has never said.

The Bible also teaches that we will know by the fruit. Where is the good fruit from those who espouse this teaching? LSM has become the most litigious ministry in the history of the church. We got trainees screaming in the streets, "I am a baby God!" What good fruit ever came out of these "god-men?" They condemn all their brethren outside of their membership, and then quarantine the others who were once members.

And they wonder why the whole of Christianity considers them a "new age cult," except for Hank Hannegraaff and CRI who were, of course, well paid to write otherwise.

They have publicly stated that "returning to the pure word of God is a tactic of the enemy," so how can God even correct them from the scriptures? The ones God raises up to correct them, like John Ingalls et. al., have all been rejected and slandered as the prophets of old.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:21 PM   #92
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I suppose another relevant question to the topic would be, how do we show them that certain "truths" they believe in are not in fact truth? How do we back up claims about topics like the local ground, pray reading, and all that?
I'm not sure who the "them" is in your question but my own view is that unless a current LC system member is emphatically trying to impose his/her views on you then it is more or less pointless to engage in argument. Why? It can ruin relationships and cause hurt feelings that may never heal in your lifetime.

I don't discuss the LC system with my relatives and friends that are in it not because I can't effectively dismantle their positions but because I love them and value our relationships and respect their right to worship and practice their religion according to what they believe.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:20 PM   #93
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I don't discuss the LC system with my relatives and friends that are in it not because I can't effectively dismantle their positions but because I love them and value our relationships and respect their right to worship and practice their religion according to what they believe.
I understand how you feel. Alienating relatives whom we love is painful for all involved. These are people you have a history with, people who still care deeply for you. Far easier to let bygones be bygones and keep your truths to yourself.... But, lovingly and without condemnation I have to ask, what did Jesus do?

What did Jesus do when, as an adult, he met the Pharisees under whom he very like learned in the Temple when he was still a child (Luke 2:41-52)? Did he love them and value his relationship with them and respect their right to worship and practice a religion according to what they believed? When Nicodemus came to him in the middle of the night, seeking and looking to pay him honor with these words: "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him", did Jesus just smile at the man? I believe He actually insulted him with his responses: "Truly truly I say to you, unless a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." His answer implied that Nicodemus was blind to Godly things, and couldn't discern squat.

I think we easily forget what "love" really requires us to do (and hey, I'm under the gun here as much as anyone else, so please don't take this as a personal attack) - but just imagine that what you believe is really real. That understanding the gospel message really will make the difference for your eternity. Do you allow the ones you love to miss the message because you don't want to alienate them? Is that really love?

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Old 01-02-2014, 07:03 PM   #94
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I understand how you feel. Alienating relatives whom we love is painful for all involved. .. But, lovingly and without condemnation I have to ask, what did Jesus do?

........... Do you allow the ones you love to miss the message because you don't want to alienate them? Is that really love?
One thing I saw in the gospels several years ago which has stuck to me to this day is that Jesus knew how to answer every person. He reached out to everyone differently.

For example, To Nicodemus, He did tell him he needed to be born again. To the woman at the well, he told her to worship God in Spirit & in Truth, after convicting her of adultery. He did not slam her. Neither did He pick up a rock to stone the woman who was caught in adultery. With others He simply healed them of their diseases and they believed. How about the woman who bled for 12 yrs and was healed by touching the edge of the Garment Jesus wore?

Yes..there was the time He said to Peter His disciple "Get thee behind me Satan!!"

The Lord does not use the same formula in reaching people. How quickly we forget that. So many times I will see the same ole, same ole altar call in churches using the same ole, same ole, sinners prayer to get saved.

In an earlier post I mentioned one of my favorite scriptures:
Colossians 4:5-6

Quote:
Quote:
Walk (conduct yourselves) in Wisdom towards those who are without, redeeming the time, (making the most out of every opportunity). Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus anoint us with the Wisdom we ALL need, that our speech would be graceful & respectful, seasoned with salt (for flavor) especially mine, so we know how to answer every person we encounter, to the Glory & Praise of our Great & Awesome God.

Blessings & Shalom,
Carol
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:29 PM   #95
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But, lovingly and without condemnation I have to ask, what did Jesus do?

What did Jesus do when, as an adult, he met the Pharisees under whom he very like learned in the Temple when he was still a child (Luke 2:41-52)? Did he love them and value his relationship with them and respect their right to worship and practice a religion according to what they believed? When Nicodemus came to him in the middle of the night, seeking and looking to pay him honor with these words: "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him", did Jesus just smile at the man? I believe He actually insulted him with his responses: "Truly truly I say to you, unless a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." His answer implied that Nicodemus was blind to Godly things, and couldn't discern squat.

I think we easily forget what "love" really requires us to do (and hey, I'm under the gun here as much as anyone else, so please don't take this as a personal attack) - but just imagine that what you believe is really real. That understanding the gospel message really will make the difference for your eternity. Do you allow the ones you love to miss the message because you don't want to alienate them? Is that really love?
My preferred question is: What would Jesus have me to do?

In any event I think we may be talking about two different things. In the examples you give the parties Jesus is addressing are not Christians. The friends and relatives I have in the LC system are Christians. In my relationships with them (and other Christians) I like to apply this wise word: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity." I do not like to proclaim the "gospel" of: my-favorite-way-to-do-church, my-preferred-practices, you're-doing-it-all-wrong, etc.

To use another example: when I was growing up I had some friends who were Old Order Mennonites. Very nice people. Salt of the earth. One time I spent a weekend on a friend's farm. No electricity. No cars. No tractors. This was their practice. Was it my place to "correct" them on how I think God really views such things? I didn't think so then and I still don't. I enjoyed their company and accepted their kind hospitality graciously. (BTW best bread ever!)
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:34 PM   #96
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My preferred question is: What would Jesus have me to do?

In any event I think we may be talking about two different things. In the examples you give the parties Jesus is addressing are not Christians. The friends and relatives I have in the LC system are Christians. In my relationships with them (and other Christians) I like to apply this wise word: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity." I do not like to proclaim the "gospel" of: my-favorite-way-to-do-church, my-preferred-practices, you're-doing-it-all-wrong, etc.

To use another example: when I was growing up I had some friends who were Old Order Mennonites. Very nice people. Salt of the earth. One time I spent a weekend on a friend's farm. No electricity. No cars. No tractors. This was their practice. Was it my place to "correct" them on how I think God really views such things? I didn't think so then and I still don't. I enjoyed their company and accepted their kind hospitality graciously. (BTW best bread ever!)
What I would say is don't stumble fellow brothers and sisters. For example if you like to drink red wine and have non-drinking guests, don't stumble them by drinking red wine. If you have a vegan guest, don't stumble them by serving a non-vegan meal.
Where I happen to meet or don't meet is according to the vison I have. Previously in a locality or two I had met with, it was not spiritually or mentally healthy to hear Christians in my city and former local church attendees run down verbally. Just not a healthy environment to meet in, but that does not mean I don't love the brothers and sisters. I do. The point is not wanting to say anything that would result in stumbling a brother or sister.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:08 PM   #97
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What I would say is don't stumble fellow brothers and sisters.
I agree we should be careful about this matter. As long as others are not trying to impose their non-essentials on us we should respect their right to worship according to their conscience and interpretation of the Bible.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:10 AM   #98
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I agree we should be careful about this matter. As long as others are not trying to impose their non-essentials on us we should respect their right to worship according to their conscience and interpretation of the Bible.
My standard of whether or not to make an issue of something is if I sense the brother or sister is not on the narrow path that leads to life. If you read Paul's epistles you get a sense that he only made issues of things when he felt that believers were on the broad road that leads to death.

For example, he expressed fear to the Galatian believers that Christ would profit them nothing (Gal 5:2) and that he had labored in vain (Gal 4:11) after they accepted circumcision by practicing the ceremonial laws of the OT that had already been fulfilled by Christ. And to the carnal Corinthian believers he was afraid that they had believed in vain (1 Cor 15:2) and questioned if they were really saved (2 Cor 13:5). These are also the two groups of believers where Paul raised the most ruckus.

But then when it came to things like sabbaths, holy days and other non-essentials, he couldn't care less (Col 2:16).

That said, I've been learning to do this extremely gently (2 Tim 2:25), because unlike Apostle Paul, I'm not their spiritual father. And I've also been learning sometimes it's better to just pray for a person than say something which could stumble them further.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:34 AM   #99
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My standard of whether or not to make an issue of something is if I sense the brother or sister is not on the narrow path that leads to life. If you read Paul's epistles you get a sense that he only made issues of things when he felt that believers were on the broad road that leads to death.
The difficulty with this standard of "sensing" are the parameters whereby "narrow" and "life" are measured. They can be become very subjective, as they say "life is in the eyes of the beholder," or was that "beauty."

Regardless, using the Recovery as our backdrop, it becomes all too apparent how the standards of "narrow" and 'life" can become distorted for self-gain.

I believe the better standard is love. Like Paul has told us, love is the more excellent way.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:03 AM   #100
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The difficulty with this standard of "sensing" are the parameters whereby "narrow" and "life" are measured. They can be become very subjective, as they say "life is in the eyes of the beholder," or was that "beauty."

Regardless, using the Recovery as our backdrop, it becomes all too apparent how the standards of "narrow" and 'life" can become distorted for self-gain.

I believe the better standard is love. Like Paul has told us, love is the more excellent way.
But love is the hard way. Are we really expected to love all our crazy neighbors? There's some really unlovable ones out there.

Even loving family isn't easy.

And the local church even has a history and practice of pitting family against the LRC, and each other.

The brother that went from the C. in Ft. Lauderdale to Anaheim, eventually moved to Maine, where he and his wife were from. His wife's brother was an elder there.

When the elders there determined that he was against following Witness Lee, they made his wife divorce him.

It crushed him, and broke him.

Where was he going from there?

I reconnected with him while this was going on. He was crying on the phone. And declared to me, without prompting, that the gospels were eyewitness accounts, and Jesus was all he had left, his only hope.

I didn't hear from him for awhile. My next contact with him found him lost in the bottle. He was self medicating his pain. All I could do was love him.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:36 AM   #101
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My standard of whether or not to make an issue of something is if I sense the brother or sister is not on the narrow path that leads to life.

For example, he expressed fear to the Galatian believers that Christ would profit them nothing (Gal 5:2) and that he had labored in vain (Gal 4:11) after they accepted circumcision by practicing the ceremonial laws of the OT that had already been fulfilled by Christ. And to the carnal Corinthian believers he was afraid that they had believed in vain (1 Cor 15:2) and questioned if they were really saved (2 Cor 13:5). These are also the two groups of believers where Paul raised the most ruckus.
I'm not sure how you are arriving at this "sense" or how exactly you are defining "narrow path" but in the examples you use Paul was addressing adding to and subtracting from the gospel. In Galatians the practice of circumcision was being added to the gospel and in Corinthians the resurrection was being subtracted from it. And not just at an individual level but at the level of an entire church and region of churches.

My experience with those relatives and friends I have in the LC system is that they are genuine believers and consider me as such. The core gospel message we believe is the same. Of course I already know how they "do church" and what their favorite ministry is but they never mention it to me and certainly never impose it. How we say grace before we have meals is different but they even adjust to our way when visiting us - which of course we don't expect them to do.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:28 PM   #102
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I'm not sure how you are arriving at this "sense" or how exactly you are defining "narrow path" but in the examples you use Paul was addressing adding to and subtracting from the gospel. In Galatians the practice of circumcision was being added to the gospel and in Corinthians the resurrection was being subtracted from it. And not just at an individual level but at the level of an entire church and region of churches.
Yep those are just examples I cited and don't really apply to the LC since they believe in the core gospel. For example, although I differ with their view on the trinity and Jesus replacing the role of the Holy Spirit, I don't think it affects their salvation so I wouldn't make an issue of it.

I don't adhere to free grace doctrine: the belief that you are assured eternal life at the moment of conversion but lean more towards Lordship salvation (I hate that term by the way). When I mention narrow way that leads to life vs broad way to death I really mean whether or not you're on a path that leads to eternal life. I believe when Paul mentions the kingdom of God in his epistles, it includes the reward of inheriting eternal life.

For example he relates inheriting the kingdom of God to the resurrection of the righteous unto eternal life in 1 Cor 15:50-52.

The writer of Hebrews also shares this view:

Hebrews 3:14
For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Since we can only obtain eternal life through Christ, we have to "hold our original confidence firm to the end" do so.

So things that would prevent a believer from inheriting the kingdom of God in scriptures would be part of my rubrick for taking action:

1 Cor 6:9-10
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

That said I agree with Ohio and other posters that love prevails in the end, and it's better to win someone over with love than to "raise an issue". Maybe raising an issue would be a last resort measure, but everything must be done out of love and gentleness regardless.

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My experience with those relatives and friends I have in the LC system is that they are genuine believers and consider me as such. The core gospel message we believe is the same. Of course I already know how they "do church" and what their favorite ministry is but they never mention it to me and certainly never impose it. How we say grace before we have meals is different but they even adjust to our way when visiting us - which of course we don't expect them to do.
I agree LC adheres to the core gospel though I would differ with them on their view of free grace. That's why I don't really make an issue of non-essential doctrines when I talk with former LCers including family.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:59 PM   #103
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Yep those are just examples I cited and don't really apply to the LC since they believe in the core gospel. For example, although I differ with their view on the trinity and Jesus replacing the role of the Holy Spirit, I don't think it effects their salvation so I wouldn't make an issue of it.

I don't adhere to free grace doctrine: the belief that you are assured eternal life at the moment of conversion but lean more towards Lordship salvation (I hate that term by the way). When I mention narrow way that leads to life vs broad way to death I really mean whether or not you're on a path that leads to eternal life. I believe when Paul mentions the kingdom of God in his epistles, it includes the reward of inheriting eternal life.
BearBear, I think that the LC as you have come to know it is a result of bad teachings and bad practices. Those dear saints years ago never used so-called "free grace doctrine" as a license for a loose and lazy lifestyle. It is my belief that the ministry basically has killed much of the healthy desire for God within the saints. LSM became a ministry of condemnation while all the time preaching Christ, life, Spirit, etc. The saying, "do what they do, not what they say" comes to mind.

What do they expect would happen when they constantly harp that the "greatest sin" is ambition. We heard that after every "storm," which was quite a frequent occurrence. I always marveled when Witness Lee spoke of us becoming Laodicea, and yet took zero responsibility for what happened. Most of the older saints like me were indoctrinated with fear lest they initiate anything from "the self," and thus the safest course of action was to do what you are told to do, all the while you endeavor to get more "training." We always needed "more training." That to me was a breeding ground where "free grace doctrine" could run rampant.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:16 PM   #104
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I reconnected with him while this was going on. He was crying on the phone. And declared to me, without prompting, that the gospels were eyewitness accounts, and Jesus was all he had left, his only hope.

I didn't hear from him for awhile. My next contact with him found him lost in the bottle. He was self medicating his pain. All I could do was love him.
You have a crown awaiting you Harold !!! God bless you brother...abundantly.

Carol
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:36 PM   #105
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I didn't hear from him for awhile. My next contact with him found him lost in the bottle. He was self medicating his pain. All I could do was love him.
awareness, I sure appreciate your desire to connect with all these lost and wounded ex-LC members. May the Lord bless you!
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:13 PM   #106
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BearBear, I think that the LC as you have come to know it is a result of bad teachings and bad practices. Those dear saints years ago never used so-called "free grace doctrine" as a license for a loose and lazy lifestyle. It is my belief that the ministry basically has killed much of the healthy desire for God within the saints. LSM became a ministry of condemnation while all the time preaching Christ, life, Spirit, etc. The saying, "do what they do, not what they say" comes to mind.

What do they expect would happen when they constantly harp that the "greatest sin" is ambition. We heard that after every "storm," which was quite a frequent occurrence. I always marveled when Witness Lee spoke of us becoming Laodicea, and yet took zero responsibility for what happened. Most of the older saints like me were indoctrinated with fear lest they initiate anything from "the self," and thus the safest course of action was to do what you are told to do, all the while you endeavor to get more "training." We always needed "more training." That to me was a breeding ground where "free grace doctrine" could run rampant.
I'm sorry for those of us who were heavily invested in the LCs and left deeply wounded. I pray God can eventually heal everyone's hurt through forgiveness. I can't relate to this directly personally since I was just a lay member whose involvement at most consisted of serving young people off and on in my later years in the LC, but I count my parents among those who left deeply hurt.

You're right everything cannot be pinned on free grace. My own assessment of the main culprit would be Witness Lee's centralization of power-- which was only magnified by the combination of unbiblical doctrines and teachings which led to the unhealthy system we see today.

I'm going to step into my theological armchair and propose a formula which could explain the situations you described (after the anointing of the Holy Spirit left the LCs due to acceptance of unrepentant sin by Philip Lee):

Centralization of power under one man + Deputy authority + Free grace + Only One Church Allowed Per City => a system where fear of man trumps fear of God, sin is overlooked when practiced by the leadership fueling division by members jockeying to be the one true church of their respective cities.

My parents told me of this scenario that was oft-repeated among full timers in the LCs: in every dispute most full timers would always side with those who were politically more powerful even when they knew what they were doing wasn't righteous. This led the righteous full timers to fend for themselves and eventually get marginalized. Eventually you are just left with sycophants in the ministry and increasing wickedness from idols of self-ambition and self-preservation. The root could be traced to a lack of love, but also an environment where believers fear unrighteous authority more than they do God (which they show when they choose pleasing men over the righteousness of God).

It's also probably not a coincidence that the Plymouth Brethren experienced similar division and strife because the formula stated above largely applies to them also (maybe minus deputy authority since that originated from MBarber/WNee?)

When I look at my own church I just can't see the same things happening as easy. My pastor told me many stories where he made selfish decisions in the church, but his conscience would eventually bother him so much, and the fear of hell would frighten him to the extent that he would quickly repent and right the wrong. If you have a leadership in place where they believe that even small lies would send them to hell, it results in an environment where wickedness is less likely to be tolerated and people will hold each other accountable.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:15 PM   #107
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My parents told me of this scenario that was oft-repeated among full timers in the LCs: in every dispute most full timers would always side with those who were politically more powerful even when they knew what they were doing wasn't righteous. This led the righteous full timers to fend for themselves and eventually get marginalized. Eventually you are just left with sycophants in the ministry and increasing wickedness from idols of self-ambition and self-preservation. The root could be traced to a lack of love, but also an environment where believers fear unrighteous authority more than they do God (which they show when they choose pleasing men over the righteousness of God).
I would agree 100% with your parents. In order to continue in this envirnonment, a brother has to be one who shows partiality. To be partial is to be respectors of persons. If a brother tries to remain impartial by choosing the righteousness of God, he will be noticed.

On a note of contrast, when I was meeting with a particular local church, the lead elder would say the church (in reference to the locality) is not a democracy. While the community church where I have met the past few years, the pastor does not impose his Brethren upbringing. Rather defers to the elders as a council.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:58 PM   #108
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Centralization of power under one man + Deputy authority + Free grace + Only One Church Allowed Per City => a system where fear of man trumps fear of God, sin is overlooked when practiced by the leadership fueling division by members jockeying to be the one true church of their respective cities.

My parents told me of this scenario that was oft-repeated among full timers in the LCs: in every dispute most full timers would always side with those who were politically more powerful even when they knew what they were doing wasn't righteous. This led the righteous full timers to fend for themselves and eventually get marginalized. Eventually you are just left with sycophants in the ministry and increasing wickedness from idols of self-ambition and self-preservation. The root could be traced to a lack of love, but also an environment where believers fear unrighteous authority more than they do God (which they show when they choose pleasing men over the righteousness of God).
Great observations and summary.

And all those workers who sided with the more politically powerful will swear that they were only "standing for the truth."

Can you say more about your folks? Since you were less vested than they were, your departure was much easier.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:16 PM   #109
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Great observations and summary.

And all those workers who sided with the more politically powerful will swear that they were only "standing for the truth."

Can you say more about your folks? Since you were less vested than they were, your departure was much easier.
They were shepherding a LC attached to Titus Chu. Some funky stuff went down and long story short they got bitten pretty hard. The LC broke into two pieces, one went off to Titus Chu's camp and the other that my parents are shepherding is independent now with ~15 members. I can go into more detail but I should ask my parents first how much they're willing to share.

If my parents were not in a position of responsibility they would have probably left for another church. They're staying now for the sake of the members and obviously there are some complications. They're not so much of an LC anymore but just a group of christians who are meeting together. I think they've left the LC system in their hearts.
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:09 PM   #110
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I'm going to step into my theological armchair and propose a formula which could explain the situations you described (after the anointing of the Holy Spirit left the LCs due to acceptance of unrepentant sin by Philip Lee):

Centralization of power under one man + Deputy authority + Free grace + Only One Church Allowed Per City => a system where fear of man trumps fear of God, sin is overlooked when practiced by the leadership fueling division by members jockeying to be the one true church of their respective cities.

My parents told me of this scenario that was oft-repeated among full timers in the LCs: in every dispute most full timers would always side with those who were politically more powerful even when they knew what they were doing wasn't righteous. This led the righteous full timers to fend for themselves and eventually get marginalized. Eventually you are just left with sycophants in the ministry and increasing wickedness from idols of self-ambition and self-preservation. The root could be traced to a lack of love, but also an environment where believers fear unrighteous authority more than they do God (which they show when they choose pleasing men over the righteousness of God).

...

When I look at my own church I just can't see the same things happening as easy. My pastor told me many stories where he made selfish decisions in the church, but his conscience would eventually bother him so much, and the fear of hell would frighten him to the extent that he would quickly repent and right the wrong. If you have a leadership in place where they believe that even small lies would send them to hell, it results in an environment where wickedness is less likely to be tolerated and people will hold each other accountable.

I also 100% agree with this assessment.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:35 PM   #111
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I also 100% agree with this assessment.
The LC is a Chinese guanxi network disguised as a Christian church. Why do you think Lee put his unspiritual sons in positions of power and privilege? Because it's a guanxi network. "Verily I tell you, they have their reward in full"

Why did most of the LC co-workers allow this, against NT edicts? Because it's a guanxi network. It's not about "give to those who can't repay you in this age, and you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous", it's about getting yours in this age. That is what a guanxi network is all about. Leveraging connections and reciprocal obligations, to gain immediate and temporal benefit.

And if you break the guanxi network you're out forever. There is no reconciliation. Notice that those few LC leaders who stood against it, who spoke truth to power with the NT text, were summarily expelled and never came back. The holding power, the fear-source of the guanxi, is that if you go against it you're done. So if the guanxi can successfully disguise itself as "the kingdom of God" it gains enormous power over people.
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