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Old 04-06-2015, 04:06 AM   #1
aron
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Default Arthur M. Casci Testimony

Zealous and Misled: I Once Lost My Way, by Arthur M. Casci

Our Lord Jesus said, "If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." This verse still rings in my mind when I think of my experience more than 10 years ago.

It all began when a friend shared the Gospel with me. Though raised in a church-going family, I had rejected Christianity at age 18. When Jeff told me about the forgiveness of sins, I said, "Flake off." But a few weeks later I attended a Bible study and the Holy Spirit put faith into my heart. I repented and believed the Gospel; after 21 years of living, my new life began.

The "Jesus People" movement was at its peak, and I enjoyed the informal atmosphere of sitting on the floor, singing, and studying the Bible. I attended different churches but felt that they were dead and had abandoned Jesus. Like many my age, I was rebellious and distrusted any organization run by comfortable, middle-class adults. Zealous for Jesus, I could not understand why others were not as enthusiastic. This attitude, combined with my lack of a Biblical foundation, left me wide open to false doctrine.

One evening I stopped to visit a Christian friend who had some unusual visitors. They were young, "on fire," roving evangelists from an organization called "The Children of God." They did not believe that a Christian should hold a normal job, but rather should leave job, home, family, and goods to preach on the streets.

The next thing I knew, I had quit my job and prepared to leave with these young street preachers for Dallas, Tex., one of their outposts. Fortunately, some dear Christian friends I visited stopped me from going, thus preventing me from joining a cult (at least for the moment). But I was still plagued with a burning desire to serve Jesus wholeheartedly-and now I had no job.

Another friend, Randy, invited me to go with him to Akron, Ohio, to introduce me to another zealous organization. So, once again, I packed my few belongings and left. This time no one stopped me.

I will never forget my first encounter with this organization. In a meeting, they sang loudly, shouted out verses of Scripture, danced, and one by one gave strong testimony about what Jesus meant to them. I saw young and old, black, white, and Oriental people.

I immediately joined in the singing and shouting. Mentally I maintained a few reservations, but emotionally I was caught. The love, unity and volume of the service overwhelmed me. I thought to myself: Here are people who truly love Jesus and are not afraid to show it.

That night after the meeting, Randy introduced me to many of them. They immediately welcomed me and showed great concern. I asked to stay for a week or two as a trial period, and was housed in a large duplex with about 10 members, who said I could stay until I decided whether to join the group.

Nobody forced me to join. Nobody needed to. I was ripe for the picking.

The organization is known as the "Local Church." lf such a group were in St. Louis, they would call themselves "The Church in or of St. Louis." They take the name of their locality.

The organization is led by an elderly Chinese man, Witness Lee. Lee brought the movement to America in the early 1960's. Lee's co-worker, Watchman Nee, had started the movement in China. When the communists took over, Lee fled to Taiwan. Nee stayed behind and, after nearly 20 years in prison, died.

In its first decades, the movement stayed in the mainstream of "fundamentalism." They believed that the Bible was the Word of God. They believed in the blood atonement of Jesus for the sins of the world, the Resurrection, the second coming of Jesus, and the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. However, shortly before coming to America, Lee changed some teachings. Lee claims that when he crossed over to America, he dropped his doctrines in the Pacific Ocean and found a new way.

The foundation of Lee's doctrine is his understanding of the Trinity!. Lee teaches "modalism," the idea that there is one God who reveals Himself in three different modes or stages. One of Lee's analogies is that prior to Christ, God was like "raw wheat." At the incarnation, the raw wheat became "flour." Finally, when Christ returned to heaven, God became the "loaf of bread," or the Holy Spirit. This runs counter to orthodox statements of faith such as the Athanasian Creed, which teaches that God is one in substance, but three in person. Lee's teaching destroys the distinction of persons in the Godhead.

Lee's teaching on the person of Christ is also contrary to historic Christianity. Lee teaches that the incarnation "mingled" together Jesus' humanity and divinity. The Definition of Chalcedon teaches that the two natures of Christ form one person but are distinct and not to be mingled together. Lee makes the divine nature something less than God but more than man and the human nature something more than man and less than God. Lee forms a new creature, God-man.

Thus, to "be saved," Lee teaches that God's intention for man is to be mingled with God in the way Christ was mingled with God. To accomplish this, one must "call" on Jesus' name literally. lf one says the name of Jesus out loud, one becomes a believer, and can begin the process of becoming mingled with God.

Lee teaches a simple "technique" whereby one can be mingled with God-calling on the Lord and pray-reading. Calling on the Lord means chanting Jesus' name over and over in private and in group services. Using the mind is not encouraged; one should block out thoughts. I did this for periods of 15 minutes or more. "Pray-reading" involves reading the Scripture out loud; repeating the same versus but with different emhasis each time, also individually or in the group. As in chanting, one is encouraged not to think but merely to do.

Lee calls this "exercising the spirit" or "eating and drinking the Lord." Since he teaches that one becomes what one eats, one is eating Christ and thus being mingled with God. The aim is to do away with one's own self-life and to be transformed into this new God-man creature.

To be sure, Lee teaches that all this is not necessary if one wants only to enter heaven; however, he believes that going to heaven is not full salvation. Lee asserts that a select few or "remnant" will receive something more. Those who have mingled themselves thoroughly with God will be "overcomers" and enjoy 1,000 years with Jesus while those believers who were not mingled must stay in the grave until after the millennium. Lee claims that although people can become "overcomers" if not in his organization, it is highly unlikely. Thus, if one wants to experience God's full salvation, Lee's organization and method is the only way.

Another teaching central to Lee's system is submission and authority. Members must obey without question Lee's teaching and directives. I was told that even if I was given directions contrary the Word of God, I was to obey. Because God would honor my submission to the leaders, it would not be wrong.

Lee labels as "Satanic Christianity" all churches that are not under his rule. Lee assures members that outside the movement all are deceived. lf one leaves the movement, it is unlikely that one could lead a Christian life. I was told of some who had left and how their lives had consequently fallen apart. This created an even greater psychological dependence on the group. Outsiders were feared, because they may seek to remove one from the group.

My zeal for Lee's teaching catapulted me into responsible positions. Within six months, I headed a house of single men. I fervently recruited new blood and never missed one of the four to six weekly meetings I was expected to attend. Weekends were devoted to bringing in new converts and holidays to conferences in various places. These demands, plus a 40-hour-a-week job, kept me busy and exhausted.

The life style is semicommunal. Members do own private property; however, a strong sense of community and sharing of material goods is encouraged. Once one is in the organization, basic needs are met. With no anxiety for material needs, members are freed to better obey the hierarchy.

I recall that nearly 100 people were moved from California to Virginia in order to form a new group there. The organization cared for these members until they could reestablish themselves in the new locale. Moves such as these were common. Yearly, the leaders would ask for a certain number of members to move to a different city. Some were asked and others volunteered. It was expected that every few years one would be relocated.

In Christmas 1972, I faced the dilemma of choosing between going home to my parents or going to Detroit for a conference. I wanted to go home, but I was strongly encouraged to go to Detroit. An unspoken law of the group was that one should forget family and be committed to the cause. I remember my mother crying when I called, saying I would not be home for Christmas for the second year in a row. I went to Detroit for another wild weekend of singing, shouting, and teaching.

But through God's providence, this seemingly wrong choice turned around my life and my commitment. A middle-aged man taught about King David's repentant and teachable heart before God. The teacher encouraged us to have a similar disposition. Of course, the teacher meant that we should be willing to be taught by the movement and to do what we were told by our leaders. But what he said, the Lord used for good.

I returned from that weekend with a different attitude. I still had a strong commitment to the movement and did not then think about leaving. But I was determined to allow Scripture to speak to me and wanted to repent of anything in my life that was not in line with Scripture. This new change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, provided the impetus for my leaving the group.

During the next six months, I continued to be zealously active in the movement. I became one of the teachers in the young adults group that listened to taped lectures by Witness Lee, which came from our Los Angeles headquarters, and repeated the contents during our teaching periods.

I listened to the tapes, but simultaneously spent more private time in the Word. I would rise early to pray, to read, and to seek the Lord. I started doubting what I was being taught. I saw that I was to obey God rather than men and that, contrary to Lee my mind was good and God wanted to renew and use it. The chanting and pray-reading seemed strange to me in light of Scripture that taught God's good order and the right use of reason.

The lot was soon cast. One April morning, while living in Cleveland, I left. During the next two weeks, I nearly had a mental breakdown. I was paranoid and exhausted, not knowing exactly what to do, but armed with the promise that the Lord was my Shepherd and that He would never abandon me.

I went to a local community center to sort things out. The people there led me to a large old church with Christian men who helped college age men and women. I attended some of their meetings, the informal type I had attended previously.

One evening a young man read Romans 5:1, emphasizing that peace with God was possible by grace alone. Our striving to please God couldn't do it. Those words told me everything. All my zest and dedication had been attempts to please God and to win His approval. My tears flowed. At last I was at peace in His grace.

Arthur Casci is the pastor of the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Detroit, Michigan. He is open and willing to discuss his personal experience with The Local Church. He may be reached at the following address and phone number. This article was published in The Lutheran Witness magazine, August 1982. The author has given full written permission for the electronic distribution of his article.

Arthur M. Casci
Resurrection Lutheran Church
20531 Kelly Road Detroit, Michigan 48225
1-313-372-4902
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:25 AM   #2
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Default Zealous and Misled

I think Casci's title, "zealous and misled", is an entirely fitting summary of his testimony of his involvement in the LC. If you look at the young ones being filtered through the FTTA, and thenceforth out to "serve the ministry", what is the difference between them and young Mormons going into the MTC and thence to their missions? In the words of LSM prophet RK, "Absolutely nothing"!

http://www.mormonwiki.com/Missionary_Training_Center

They all serve the "ministry of the age", seeking to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and build up His unique Body. No difference that I can see. They all push a proprietary revelation, as the one speaking of God today. No compromise, no discussion: be absolute. This enthusiasm, this misled zeal, attracts the young people, who want to belong to something, and find definitive purpose and meaning in their lives. Here it is, folks, your handy-dandy one-stop shopping: just accept the revelation of God's Oracle and you are set for life. You never have to think again, just ask, "What would the Oracle want us to do?" which has been answered in long streams of books and pamphlets and hammered into you with innumerable training sessions. The answer is that you have been put here on earth to serve the ministry. This is the sole, unique, move of God on the earth today. Don't you want to be part of it?
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Arthur M. Casci Testimony

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.M.Casci View Post
The "Jesus People" movement was at its peak, and I enjoyed the informal atmosphere of sitting on the floor, singing, and studying the Bible. I attended different churches but felt that they were dead and had abandoned Jesus. Like many my age, I was rebellious and distrusted any organization run by comfortable, middle-class adults. Zealous for Jesus, I could not understand why others were not as enthusiastic. This attitude, combined with my lack of a Biblical foundation, left me wide open to false doctrine.
Here is the LSM version of what happened, from the "Local Church Controversies" website.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Church_controversies

Quote:
The local churches and the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee have been the subject of controversy in two major areas over the past fifty years. To a large extent these controversies stem from the rapid increase and spread of the local churches in the United States in the 1960s and early 1970s. In the 1970s they became a target of opposition of fledgling countercult ministries. Unsupported criticisms of anti-social behaviors led to three libel litigations. In addition, some criticized the teaching of Witness Lee on the nature of God, God’s full salvation, and the church.

By the 1960s the writings of Watchman Nee had become popular among evangelicals, including many in Campus Crusade for Christ. In 1968 Campus Crusade’s national field director Jon Braun, who had read Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Church Life, and all of the regional directors under him left Campus Crusade seeking the New Testament church. A short time later Braun joined a group led by Gene Edwards, a former Southern Baptist evangelist. Edwards had met with the local churches briefly before leaving to carry out his own interpretation of what the church should be.

In 1969 Campus Crusade launched what became Christian World Liberation Front (CWLF) at UC-Berkeley as an attempt to reach the young people in the counterculture. Jack Sparks, a former statistics professor at Penn State and Crusade staff member, soon became the dominant figure in CWLF. Throughout the early 1970s Sparks and Braun, who knew each other through CCC, gave talks at CWLF gatherings against Witness Lee and the local churches to stem the loss of members to the (local) church in Berkeley. Braun, who had a bitter split with Gene Edwards and left his group, joined with Sparks and five other former Crusade leaders to establish the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO) with themselves as apostles. In 1979 six of the original seven NCAO apostles appointed themselves bishops of the newly formed Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC).

In 1974 three CWLF members founded a subsidiary countercult ministry, Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP). In early 1975 Sparks asked a young CWLF staff member, Alan Wallerstedt, to prepare a manuscript critiquing the teaching and practices of the local churches. Later that year Sparks tried to convert CWLF into a church and bring it under the authority of the NCAO. The large majority of members would not go along and CWLF split. Wallerstedt followed Sparks but completed the manuscript he had been commissioned to write for SCP. Thus, both the NCAO and SCP had copies of Wallerstedt’s manuscript.

In the summer of 1976 Peter Gillquist, the presiding NCAO apostle, became the head of the new books division at Thomas Nelson Publishers (Nelson), a respected Bible publisher. The first book Gillquist commissioned was The Mindbenders by Jack Sparks. Sparks was listed as the putative author but the chapter on the local churches was written by Braun, who, although he had never met with the local churches, blamed Watchman Nee and Witness Lee for his negative experience with Gene Edwards. Meanwhile, SCP was independently developing Wallerstedt’s manuscript into a book titled The God-Men. First editions of both The Mindbenders and The God-Men were published in 1977.

Responding to the strong demand for countercult publications after the Jonestown tragedy of November 1978, second editions of both books were published. Before and after each edition of either book was published, members of the local churches wrote letters of protest to the authors and publishers and attempts were made to contact them both personally and by phone. Nelson alone received approximately three hundred responses. InterVarsity Press, the publisher of the second edition of The God-Men, received a response including over five hundred pages of supporting documentation refuting the book’s charges.

The Mindbenders and The God-Men accused the local churches not just of theological error but of sociological deviance, including practicing authoritarianism, thought reform, isolation of members, deceptive recruiting, use of fear and humiliation to control members, and financial malfeasance. Following publication, members of the local churches became objects of harassment, physical assault, and attempted deprogrammings. In addition, members were dismissed from jobs and family relationships were damaged. In China the Three-Self Patriotic Movement commissioned two men to write a book to provide justification for a nationwide persecution against the local churches. The authors relied on The God-Men and its accusations in their writing. Over two thousand local church members were arrested, many were given extended sentences, and some were even executed.
Now, LSM clearly portrays Sparks et al as the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight, and this may ring at least somewhat true, but why was the Gang even shooting at all? I find LSM's admission to be rather telling. They say, "Responding to the strong demand for countercult publications after the Jonestown tragedy of November 1978", these works were birthed into the public consciousness. Witness Lee & Co became the cousins of Jim Jones and the People's Temple, according to reputable Christian presses like Thomas Nelson Publishers.

So, according to LSM, Witness Lee became popular because of the "rich ministry" which met the need of the age, but then came under attack because of the Jonestown tragedy? I would say, rather, that WL's ministry became popular for the same reason it eventually became a target of the countercult folks: because he offered something new and different. Look at Casci's comments at the top. The young people wanted something new. You can see it in their songs: "It may be with us you'll find a better way" (from: We love the Church life). This way was new, and different, therefore (to the young mind) must be better. Eventually when things got weird and people started drinking poisoned kool-aid out in the jungle, "new and different" was suspect in the public's eyes. The cultural pendulum now swung the other way. In the '60s WL & company made hay out of being new and different, but in the '70s those differences became suspect, and rightly so.

Quote:
The Mindbenders and The God-Men accused the local churches not just of theological error but of sociological deviance, including practicing authoritarianism, thought reform, isolation of members...
According to Casci, in the 1960s "sociological deviance" had its appeals. The adults were old and tired and square. Where was Jesus? He was sitting on a floor, in a circle, singing folk songs. But 10 or 12 years later when the cultural pendulum had swung back, and people became alarmed, and no longer thought mind control was a harmless fringe event, the Mind Benders and God-Men books now had some ammo. Whether or not they did a good job is irrelevant. LSM tries to have it both ways: that WL became popular because his ministry met the timely need, then it became unpopular because of wrong associations with cultish activity. No, it became popular because it deviated from the norm, and eventually it was publicly punished because it deviated from the norm.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:12 AM   #4
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Greetings,
This is Art Casci. I am stunned that my ancient is still in circulation. Just this morning I was contacted about your blog. It has been over 40 years since the "movement" and probably 20 since I have given it a thought. I will observe this blog an see if I have anything to offer. I am a pastor in the lutheran church missouri synod (the orthodox branch) and my walk wiyh christ has certainly taken a few turns since the movement days.

Interestingly enough, after the lee movement I was also part of the new covenant apostolic order for a while. I knew those men Braun etc. I was in Mansfield ohio and Ray Nethery who was a member of the ncao departed from them and I stuck with ray for a while but eventually to the lcms.

Feel free to contact me but I don't know how much help I can be.

Art
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Amcasci View Post
Greetings,
This is Art Casci. I am stunned that my ancient is still in circulation. Just this morning I was contacted about your blog. It has been over 40 years since the "movement" and probably 20 since I have given it a thought. I will observe this blog an see if I have anything to offer. I am a pastor in the lutheran church missouri synod (the orthodox branch) and my walk wiyh christ has certainly taken a few turns since the movement days.

Interestingly enough, after the lee movement I was also part of the new covenant apostolic order for a while. I knew those men Braun etc. I was in Mansfield ohio and Ray Nethery who was a member of the ncao departed from them and I stuck with ray for a while but eventually to the lcms.

Feel free to contact me but I don't know how much help I can be.

Art
Hello Art,

Thanks for the reply. Two things: first I wonder if you remember the song, "You love to call the young/to carry out your move/to leave the world behind/to have a change of mind/(Chorus)New, new, new/Your move is so new/Take us Lord, possess us to be channels for You" That song may have been after your time. But if you had a dollar for every time WL said "new" you could probably buy a house. Everything was made new, with him. Like the song, "New, new, new".

"He's [Christ] so new and fresh/available and dear" (Splendid Church Life). This was attractive to the young folks: who didn't want to be new? Conversely, who wanted to be old, and stale? But this sleight-of-hand maneuver allowed centuries of Christian understanding to be overturned on a whim of WL. Everything became new, even Christian understanding. For better and for worse. If he woke up and decided to vaporize traditional Christian teachings, 'poof' it was gone. And everybody cried "Hurrah!"

Secondly, if you feel at all inspired or care to remember, it would be helpful to get some of the details of some of those names that LSM mention in their version of the events, in the "Local Church Controversies" wikipage that I copied here. I'm pretty sure they only give part of the story. Anything you share likely hasn't been told publicly before. So for historical completeness you might help out here. It seems you have some personal experience with names that are fairly unknown to most here (and I'm pretty familiar with a lot of the online material).

Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
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I wonder if you remember the song, "You love to call the young/to carry out your move/to leave the world behind/to have a change of mind/(Chorus)New, new, new/Your move is so new/Take us Lord, possess us to be channels for You" That song may have been after your time.
I don't remember that song. Maybe it had come and gone before me (73 - 87).

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This was attractive to the young folks: who didn't want to be new? Conversely, who wanted to be old, and stale?
Yes, "new" is always attractive until you have been burned too many times by "new and improved" products.

But the real problem is that the whole thing was predicated upon the idea that old was bad, stale, dead and decaying. But there is nothing inherently true about that way of thinking. It is just one more cliché that we have to think past/through. New may be dead as it comes. It is just exciting. Old may be full of life. Just not always exciting. (And life does not equal exciting or outwardly joyous.)

And it is funny that a group that is claiming to be returning it all to the 1st century practices would be hollering so much about old=bad and new=good.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:19 PM   #7
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I remember a song to the tune of fulsom prison blues. I can't recall itall but I remember the line...we're locked in this prison the inmates sing and shout please don't eer let us out. Wow..that woke me up.

Enforce I get all wrapped up I thisbusness again, I want tosay that I have fond memories of many people: Gao Tomothy Liang, Pkiland Ellen Trimphour who nursed me to health when very sick, Tony Lyons, Tom McNaughton, Jim McNaughton. Thankfully did locate Phil Comfort and was able to talk to hin on the phone a few years back. If you can help me locate the McNaughtons I would be grateful and any others from Akron/Cleveland in 71-73. It brings me to tears when I think of them andi look forward to the grand reunion at the marriage supper of the lamb in his kingdom which has no end.
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:30 PM   #8
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Arthur M. Casci
Resurrection Lutheran Church
Goodness! Bro Arthur left the LC and went back to pre-UntoHim's orthodoxy. And back to the infancy of The Recovery ...
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Old 04-06-2015, 06:18 PM   #9
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Goodness! Bro Arthur left the LC and went back to pre-UntoHim's orthodoxy. And back to the infancy of The Recovery ...
I would say to the maturity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:36 AM   #10
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I would say to the maturity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
Amcasi,

Dave & Zeek (mostly on Alternative Views) out here, and myself, were in the C. in Detroit back in the early 1970s, when Ron Kangas was lead elder.

That's a long time ago. I don't remember a conference during those days. Can you remember much about it? Like who spoke and such, and how many were there?
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Old 04-07-2015, 01:39 PM   #11
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The conference I went to was in Chicago and not detroit. I don't recall speakers but I believe there was a hundred or so. A good bit of Akron went. Memory says it was the first conference I attended. I think I have it right...Christmas of 71.
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Old 04-07-2015, 04:27 PM   #12
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The conference I went to was in Chicago and not detroit. I don't recall speakers but I believe there was a hundred or so. A good bit of Akron went. Memory says it was the first conference I attended. I think I have it right...Christmas of 71.
Now that makes sense. If I remember, and maybe Zeek and Dave can chime in, it was John Ingalls speaking ... but I could be wrong about that. I didn't keep a list like Dave.
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Old 04-07-2015, 04:59 PM   #13
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John Ingalls - did he compile the hymnal and edited the early Stream publication?
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:56 AM   #14
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Now that makes sense. If I remember, and maybe Zeek and Dave can chime in, it was John Ingalls speaking ... but I could be wrong about that. I didn't keep a list like Dave.
I remember attending a conference in Chicago about that time but really don't remember who was speaking but John Ingals would be a logical choice. Of course, when he usually spoke Bill Mallon or another brother would accompany him and they would share the speaking responsibilities.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:00 AM   #15
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Enforce I get all wrapped up I thisbusness again, I want tosay that I have fond memories of many people: Gao Tomothy Liang, Pkiland Ellen Trimphour who nursed me to health when very sick, Tony Lyons, Tom McNaughton, Jim McNaughton. Thankfully did locate Phil Comfort and was able to talk to hin on the phone a few years back. If you can help me locate the McNaughtons I would be grateful and any others from Akron/Cleveland in 71-73. It brings me to tears when I think of them andi look forward to the grand reunion at the marriage supper of the lamb in his kingdom which has no end.
Do you recall Don and Carol O'Born, Harry Ahlers...but they migrated to Detroit from Akron in the summer of 1971?
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:00 AM   #16
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John Ingalls - did he compile the hymnal and edited the early Stream publication?
.
Yes.

After John Ingalls exposed extensive corruption at LSM centered on Phillip Lee, he was banished (quarantined) by Witness Lee, and his name was removed from all LSM publications.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:30 AM   #17
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I remember attending a conference in Chicago about that time but really don't remember who was speaking but John Ingals would be a logical choice. Of course, when he usually spoke Bill Mallon or another brother would accompany him and they would share the speaking responsibilities.
I went to a conference in Chicago in 73 at which Bill Mallon spoke all the messages. I only remember his speaking of marriage, "get it over with." That was not too good for me a new one. I ended up appreciating him thru the years.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:35 AM   #18
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Do you recall Don and Carol O'Born, Harry Ahlers...but they migrated to Detroit from Akron in the summer of 1971?
Yes I remember O'Borns. Not sure about Harry Ahlers. O'Borns had a daughter named Crystal.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:02 PM   #19
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Yes I remember O'Borns. Not sure about Harry Ahlers. O'Borns had a daughter named Crystal.
All left the local church (Ahlers RIP), even the most committed faithful co-workers with Lee -- John Ingalls, Bill Mallon, Max Rapoport (sp-sic) ... all out ... all no longer under the spell of a personalty cult.

Proving, we tend to come to our senses sooner or later.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:24 AM   #20
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Thanks be to God!
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:54 AM   #21
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Splendid Church Life! ~ Hymn 1237

1 Splendid church life! His green garden! He has
brought us, praise the Lord,
To experience the Christ Who's growing here!
He is full of rich enjoyment to His saints in one
accord;
He is new and fresh, available and dear.

Chorus: I'm so happy in this lovely place,
In the garden growing in His grace!
There is no finer pleasure than to eat the
living tree
And to get the living water into me.

We told each other that Christ was "new and fresh" in the LCs. That is why the LCs were so attractive to so many young seeking people in the era of 1965 -1975. Christianity, i.e. everything not the LC, was presumed to be old and stale. Conversely, if it was not old and stale, but wasn't under the "ministry of the age" then it was wild and useless to God. Only the proper church life could please God by carrying out His will. So we could ignore centuries of Christian convention, and even the Bible itself if it wasn't "new and fresh" enough! Only "God's current speaking" mattered!

In the LCs Christ was "new and fresh, available and dear": turns out that Christ was so new and fresh that He no longer cared for the poor, the sick, and the hungry. "Don't waste your time", we were told. Instead, this "new and fresh" Christ was only interested in "good building material" for His Body.

And so forth. Turns out that "New and fresh" was really the same stale old package with a "new and fresh" sticker prominently emblazoned on it. It was just cheap marketing. Effective, in a way that would make PT Barnum proud, but false.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:59 AM   #22
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Splendid Church Life! ~ Hymn 1237
He is new and fresh, available and dear.
Give me Old and Stale. The old faith of the One Holy Christian Church and the stale bread of the body and blood of Christ in Holy communion.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:16 AM   #23
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We told each other that Christ was "new and fresh" in the LCs. That is why the LCs were so attractive to so many young seeking people in the era of 1965 -1975. Christianity, i.e. everything not the LC, was presumed to be old and stale. Conversely, if it was not old and stale, but wasn't under the "ministry of the age" then it was wild and useless to God. Only the proper church life could please God by carrying out His will. So we could ignore centuries of Christian convention, and even the Bible itself if it wasn't "new and fresh" enough! Only "God's current speaking" mattered!

In the LCs Christ was "new and fresh, available and dear": turns out that Christ was so new and fresh that He no longer cared for the poor, the sick, and the hungry. "Don't waste your time", we were told. Instead, this "new and fresh" Christ was only interested in "good building material" for His Body.

And so forth. Turns out that "New and fresh" was really the same stale old package with a "new and fresh" sticker prominently emblazoned on it. It was just cheap marketing. Effective, in a way that would make PT Barnum proud, but false.
During my first contact with the church in Cleveland, the meeting was definitely "new and fresh," and Christ definitely was "available and dear," which was totally in contrast to the catholic church I grew up in. I saw lots of "the poor, the sick, and the hungry" pass thru our doors, and get cared for by the saints. There was an incredible diversity in the church there -- black, white, asian, rich, poor, brilliant, and simple minds -- all loving Jesus, the common denominator which brought them all together.

Things changed. For the worse.

What caused the deterioration? Not the personal problems of the members. It was demands made by totalitarian leaders from Anaheim and/or Cleveland upon local leaders. They went from servant leaders to controlling abusive rulers. This forum is filled with their stories. Many of which I have told over the years.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:51 AM   #24
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During my first contact with the church in Cleveland, the meeting was definitely "new and fresh," and Christ definitely was "available and dear," which was totally in contrast to the catholic church I grew up in. I saw lots of "the poor, the sick, and the hungry" pass thru our doors, and get cared for by the saints. There was an incredible diversity in the church there -- black, white, asian, rich, poor, brilliant, and simple minds -- all loving Jesus, the common denominator which brought them all together.

Things changed. For the worse.

What caused the deterioration? Not the personal problems of the members. It was demands made by totalitarian leaders from Anaheim and/or Cleveland upon local leaders. They went from servant leaders to controlling abusive rulers. This forum is filled with their stories. Many of which I have told over the years.
I've shared on the deterioration which I observed, as well. WL arguing interminably with someone called the Bible Answer Man over the Holy Trinity. The 'Serving Ones' coming from Anaheim and declaring that we all needed to be vital. The FTTA trainer telling us, "Don't waste your time" with the poor. In Anaheim, the training attendees posing beside WL's chair on the podium, like it was a tourist attraction. The book Fementation of the Present Rebellion, full of shocking and offensive characterizations of "the rebels". Any pretense of charity, long suffering, and magnanimity had long since vanished under the strain of combat.

But where did this idea come from, that God needs to be new? When did God get old, anyway? We, on the other hand, certainly need to become new. We need to be born again, to enter the kingdom. We all know this. We have to be like little children, to see God, and we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. And we read where the One on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Fine, no problem conceptually, but where did the idea of a "new Christ" come in? Maybe we were just shouting too much and misapplied the pronouns, and WL wanting all things (including God) to be "new" let it slide. Or maybe he pushed it. But based on what?

Is there any basis for the "new and fresh" Christ being bandied about in our hymns? As compared to what, pray tell? Certainly we loved the idea. But where did this new and fresh Christ come from?
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:32 AM   #25
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Is there any basis for the "new and fresh" Christ being bandied about in our hymns? As compared to what, pray tell? Certainly we loved the idea. But where did this new and fresh Christ come from?
I will never hear the end of it. "There goes OBW again."

But "fresh and new" is appealing. But it is not promised. There is the verse that is included in a popular chorus that says "His mercies never come to an end . . . they are new every morning." But is "new" necessarily "bubbly" or outwardly "joyous"? Our living and responding to Christ/God/the Father/the Spirit should be new each day. But that does not mean bubbly or "fresh." It means current.

Like manna. Manna was old stuff. They ate it every day. ("Every day we say our prayer, with they change the bill of fare, all we ever get is gruel") They got upset about it because it was the same every day. But yesterday's manna was useless. You had to get new manna each day. After a while, it became "second verse, same as the first." Yet today's manna was not yesterday's manna despite the sameness of it.

Not too exciting or "fresh." Or was it? Maybe it was just as fresh as was needed. A new batch of the same stuff we had yesterday. And on and on for 40 years. Yes, manna gave way to variety when they got to plant their own crops. Wheat, barley, oats. And have more livestock. Goats, cattle, pigs (oops, no pigs) sheep, chickens (??). Given the vast food industry there, I bet they never ate the same thing more than once a . . . month. No maybe week. No maybe more like every couple or three days.

But we like new and fresh and think that those who are getting their "same" new every day are pathetic, or at least not joyous, or not "experiencing Christ" (at least not enough).

We still critique Christianity on Lee's terms and may not want the old stuff back as bad as Indiana does, but still somewhat.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:45 AM   #26
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A very fine resource that acts as a strong antidote to "New and fresh" is a little book titled "Ordinary" written by Michael Horton. The obsession with the "new and fresh" or "the next big thing" blinds one to the ordinary and obvious work of Christ that is ours each day. Our Lord has chosen to communicate His grace and mercy to us through "ordinary" means...preaching, baptism, holy communion, the mutual consolation of the brethren. When these are set aside for "praise bands", "O Lord Jesus" shouting, church growth techniques, etc.,we quickly become hounds chasing the wind and missing the great feast that Christ has plainly put before us. A simple sermon that properly distinguishes between Law and Gospel, a daily remembrance of baptism and faithful reception of the Lord's Supper...these are the tools that make us grow in godliness and not cranking up our emotions and craving novelty.

The only "movement" that has my attention these days is moving myself from my bed to the Divine Service where I hear the good news of forgiveness in Gospel preaching and receive the good news of forgiveness in the Body and Blood of Christ given to me in the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion.

Let me also add that at my ripe age I finally figured out that each day of my life is a miniature of my entire life. I rise in the morning, remember my baptism, present my body to Him, ask the Holy Spirit to enable me to serve my neighbor, give thanks for the day's bread both physical and spiritual and at the end of the day, I thank Him for the gifts, confess the sins of the day, receive absolution and put my head on the pillow and my sleep is a rehearsal for my rest in the grave. There you have my whole life in sum lived out each day. "Teach me to live so that I may fear the grave as little as my bed". (All Praise to Thee My God This Night).
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:54 AM   #27
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But where did this idea come from, that God needs to be new? When did God get old, anyway?

We, on the other hand, certainly need to become new. We need to be born again, to enter the kingdom.
God got "real old" in the temple. So old, in fact, that Jesus went in to liven that place up by flipping tables. Apparently He did that twice, maybe more.

God was also "real old" in the Catholic church I grew up in. I was devoted too. Named after my uncle O.F.M., baptized on the eighth day, 12 years parochial education, 6 years of Latin, first holy communion, confession, altar boy who knew both Latin and English, Sunday choir, yada, yada. Never once did I hear about being born again, seeing His kingdom, God becoming real to me, etc.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:02 PM   #28
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I will never hear the end of it. "There goes OBW again."

We still critique Christianity on Lee's terms and may not want the old stuff back as bad as Indiana does, but still somewhat.
Please speak for yourself. At least I can read Indiana's informative writings, your's however are more un-new, un-fresh, un-bubbly, and more critical than Lee ever was.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:12 PM   #29
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God got "real old" in the temple. So old, in fact, that Jesus went in to liven that place up by flipping tables. Apparently He did that twice, maybe more.
Within the last 30 years or so, history has shown Living Stream Ministry full time employees don't take kindly to brothers figuratively overturning the tables.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:24 PM   #30
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Within the last 30 years or so, history has shown Living Stream Ministry full time employees don't take kindly to brothers figuratively overturning the tables.
They also "killed" the prophets God sent to them.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:36 PM   #31
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The obsession with the "new and fresh" or "the next big thing" blinds one to the ordinary and obvious work of Christ that is ours each day.
I can say "amen" to that. It seems to me that even so much of the rhetoric I get outside the LCM is linked to being something in the kingdom. If you don't at least go on a short-term mission trip you are spiritually deficient. Spiritual life is about religious things. And so on. We are constantly taught that not being engaged in these outwardly religious activities is the equivalent of falling away. The "task" of living normal lives according to Christ is not given much press, yet it would seem that it is one of the primary ways that Christians outside of "leadership" express their faith.

And I note that when I point this way, there is generally someone who decides that I am just grumpy rather than realizing that we don't have to be fresh, joyous, and bubbly to be everything that we are intended to be. Or that I am just picking on the LCM. Surely they are in there. But they are not alone.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:52 PM   #32
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I can say "amen" to that. It seems to me that even so much of the rhetoric I get outside the LCM is linked to being something in the kingdom. If you don't at least go on a short-term mission trip you are spiritually deficient. Spiritual life is about religious things. And so on. We are constantly taught that not being engaged in these outwardly religious activities is the equivalent of falling away. The "task" of living normal lives according to Christ is not given much press, yet it would seem that it is one of the primary ways that Christians outside of "leadership" express their faith.

And I note that when I point this way, there is generally someone who decides that I am just grumpy rather than realizing that we don't have to be fresh, joyous, and bubbly to be everything that we are intended to be. Or that I am just picking on the LCM. Surely they are in there. But they are not alone.
OBW...you got it. It is not just in the LC gatherings. It is a deep sickness in American Evangelicalism that we have to be doing the big thing. I like the statement, "James and John wanted to rule; Jesus wanted someone to wash the dishes!" Husbands love your wives, do whatever you do as unto the Lord with thanksgiving, children obey your parents and on it goes. Look at the "vocation" sections of Ephesians and Colossians and the list of vocations is very ordinary. Very few are called to be the Bible translator, etc. Most of us are people who go to work day after day and thus serve our Lord and our neighbor.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:43 AM   #33
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God got "real old" in the temple. So old, in fact, that Jesus went in to liven that place up by flipping tables. Apparently He did that twice, maybe more.

God was also "real old" in the Catholic church I grew up in. I was devoted too. Named after my uncle O.F.M., baptized on the eighth day, 12 years parochial education, 6 years of Latin, first holy communion, confession, altar boy who knew both Latin and English, Sunday choir, yada, yada. Never once did I hear about being born again, seeing His kingdom, God becoming real to me, etc.
I understand your point. When we are young we perceive the options of sin's fleeting pleasures versus the dullness of religious ritual. So when "new and fresh" comes along, where we can "enjoy God", why not? But my warning is that when we are young and lack discernment, the idea of a new and fresh God can be a cover for a different Christ (cf 2 Cor 2:11). Amcasci in his introductory essay which I copied from the web, mentioned this. The lack of discernment makes us easy marks for re-branding a "different Christ" into a "new and fresh Christ", which the Madison Avenue types would be envious of. So we need to beware.

That doesn't mean all our experiences were null and void. But we need discernment. We should preach discernment and not just zeal. Amcasci's title was "Zealous and misled" and if that could sum up a movement it probably does.

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The obsession with the "new and fresh" or "the next big thing" blinds one to the ordinary and obvious work of Christ that is ours each day. Our Lord has chosen to communicate His grace and mercy to us through "ordinary" means...preaching, baptism, holy communion, the mutual consolation of the brethren. When these are set aside for "praise bands", "O Lord Jesus" shouting, church growth techniques, etc.,we quickly become hounds chasing the wind and missing the great feast that Christ has plainly put before us.
I believe that that phraseology wasn't in the songs unless WL spoke it repeatedly from the podium. But how much did his obsession with the new, and our acqueiscence, allow us to be buffeted by strange winds? Various "moves" and "flows" were always coming along, with little fruit but much discouragement.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:55 AM   #34
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Here's the song I was thinking of earlier:

1. O Lord since time began
You've had one aim, one goal.
Your purpose will and plan
Is centered 'round all man.

New, new, new, Your goal is so new.
Take us Lord possess us to be channels for You.

2. You love to call the young
To carry out Your move,
To leave the old behind,
To have a change in mind.

New, new, new, Your move is so new,
We will be the people with this age-turning view.

3. Don't let us settle down,
Be occupied or set.
But living, open, new,
Fresh, empty, young in You!

New, new, new, Your life is so new,
You're the living One we wholly give ourselves to.

4. You long that Christ Himself,
Be known and realized,
Experienced, expressed,
In a full and living way.

New, new, new, our Christ is so new,
We are here for nothing on this earth but for You.


So two things come to mind:

First is when did Christ become so old, that He had to become so new?
Second, if this "new Christ" doesn't care about the poor, the sick, and the weak then He is probably a "different Christ" that Paul was warning us about. If this was a Christ where we said to the rich man "You sit here" and to the poor man, "You sit over there, under my footstool", then this was a different Christ that (James 2:1-4) warned us about. If this was a new Christ where we elevated men and made distinctions among ourselves, and then ignored righteousness when our elevated men (our "Moses" and "Noah") were found to be with feet of clay like the rest, what kind of Christ is this? All the excitement and shouting cannot cover a lack of discernment.

Just some things to think about. I'm not trying to present anything definitive here. Just thinking aloud. Asking questions.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:26 AM   #35
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The lack of discernment makes us easy marks for re-branding a "different Christ" into a "new and fresh Christ", which the Madison Avenue types would be envious of. So we need to beware.

That doesn't mean all our experiences were null and void. But we need discernment. We should preach discernment and not just zeal.
You make good points, but remember that our so-called "lack of discernment" is what allowed my heart to be open to the Lord in the first place, and enabled the Spirit of reality to guide me to new places which I had never before even imagined. Hence, it's no wonder that nearly 90% of those who have confessed to be born of the Spirit were actually too young to legally drink when they believed.

Witness Lee pulled a "bait and switch" in the LRM. Initially he brought us back to examine the scriptures for what they really said. Yes, indeed, this part of his ministry was mixed with leaven, but compared to his latter ministry, was far superior. Towards the end, however, his "interpreted" word had, for all intents and purposes, superseded God's own word. Thus our own spiritual discernment was hijacked by Anaheim. Fortunately for those of us in the GLA, we did have a counterbalance to most of Anaheim's craziness.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:30 AM   #36
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First is when did Christ become so old, that He had to become so new?
Had you grown up in my Catholic church, seeing those archaic pictures of Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Joseph, and more -- you would agree that Christ was a little "old."

The same thing happened to the Temple two millennia ago, which I wrote a little about. Perhaps you missed that post?
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:57 AM   #37
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Had you grown up in my Catholic church, seeing those archaic pictures of Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Joseph, and more -- you would agree that Christ was a little "old."

The same thing happened to the Temple two millennia ago, which I wrote a little about. Perhaps you missed that post?
I do see your point. But I'm still warning against one possible alternative to your "Old Christ" in that the proposed "New Christ" may not even be Christ at all! It's just worth considering. Of course the benign possibility for LC "new" this and that is that the Bible says it too. Surely Lee referenced the Bible regarding newness, in his messages. Or else the songs would not have been written at all. New this and renewed that, right up to the New Jerusalem. New, new, new.

But if our (experienced) Christ was old that doesn't mean that Christ Himself was old. Or that Christ Himself is now new. The songs state that second part quite plainly, and thus imply the first, to me. Maybe it got lost in translation; maybe WL said something from the podium and it got taken out of context and a song was put forth and sung. "A new Christ"... I notice, for instance, that the song in post #34 that I quoted, from the old "supplement book", never made it into the LSM hymnal.

Nonetheless we should be wary of different Christs coming along who are supposedly Christ made new... Christs who are full of themselves, who put others down, who criticize, and are litigious, opinionated, boastful, and so forth. Those "Christs" will no doubt tell you how "old" everyone else is, how they are so "rich" and so forth, full of "high peak visions" and "revelations to end the age". New indeed. Watch out for them. Be aware.
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:43 AM   #38
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Splendid Church Life! ~ Hymn 1237
He is new and fresh, available and dear.
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Give me Old and Stale. The old faith of the One Holy Christian Church and the stale bread of the body and blood of Christ in Holy communion.
Yer a funny guy Arthur ...
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:26 AM   #39
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Yer a funny guy Arthur ...

Thank you! I will take that as a compliment rather than sarcasm.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:19 AM   #40
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I do see your point. But I'm still warning against one possible alternative to your "Old Christ" in that the proposed "New Christ" may not even be Christ at all! It's just worth considering. Of course the benign possibility for LC "new" this and that is that the Bible says it too. Surely Lee referenced the Bible regarding newness, in his messages. Or else the songs would not have been written at all. New this and renewed that, right up to the New Jerusalem. New, new, new.
It all became frightfully tedious during the heyday of the "new way." Endless changes coming from Lee's "laboratory" constantly made yesterday's "new" become today's "old." Who could keep up with the daily changes? Regular conflicts occurred between the younger and "newer" zealots and the older, slower leaders. Lee and his lackeys seemed to love it. They courted those who thrived on change, while sifting those who paused a moment to consider the consequences. "New" became the mantra for ministry excitement, while abandoning all those who straggled behind.

Lee used "newness, oneness, and new Jerusalem" talk to promote his own self-serving interests. Lee abandoned any concept of local autonomy by downplaying the concept of "church" and playing up the one body. The local church you loved was "merely the procedure" to arrive at his goals, using the N.J. as a ruse to reach them. Oneness was held out as the proverbial "carrot" to advance robotic uniformity, extolling him in the place of honor.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:36 AM   #41
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But if our (experienced) Christ was old that doesn't mean that Christ Himself was old. Or that Christ Himself is now new. The songs state that second part quite plainly, and thus imply the first, to me. Maybe it got lost in translation; maybe WL said something from the podium and it got taken out of context and a song was put forth and sung. "A new Christ"... I notice, for instance, that the song in post #34 that I quoted, from the old "supplement book", never made it into the LSM hymnal. .
The Bible does say that if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. This is a word of "experience," and sometimes when we had this "experience," it was hard to tell whether Christ was new, we were new, or both. I never had the impression that this was any kind of "different" Christ. I still feel this thought of "different" applied to the LCM is just a bogey man to scare us on the forum.

Romans also says, "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." It does seem that Christ is in newness when we walk in Him.

I can go to a hundred different churches on Sunday and feel like there are a 100 "different" Christ's and/or gospels. The people are different, the message is different, the service is different, the building is different, the music is different, etc. etc. It all comes down to how we define "different." Neither LSM nor this forum uses a definition for "different" which I can agree with, and which agrees with Paul's initial use of the phrase in Galatians.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:23 PM   #42
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I still feel this thought of "different" applied to the LCM is just a bogey man to scare us on the forum.
Lee had a whole briefcase full of bogey man to scare and intimidate us into doing things his way. "Fragrance" was one, as in "this does not have the proper fragrance." Which in reality meant it wasn't according to his taste. Others included "natural," "human wisdom," "man's work," "religion," "proper church life," "tradition," "independent," "ambition," and a slew of others. Just think of any catchphrase he threw around and you can probably recall a time he used it to prop himself up and discredit someone else.

This is how he held us in line. Whenever we did anything he didn't like or which threatened his absolute authority, he would pull out one of these bogey men and we'd all cower like puppies who peed on the parquet. We really didn't know how or why our efforts came up short, and these maladies were vague and subjective enough to make disagreeing with him a waste of time. Call it plausible deniability. But when he started calling enjoying the Psalms "natural" warning bells should have gone off.

He and only he held the key to discerning these things, or so he led us to believe. Actually he was a brilliant manipulator. The only question is whether he did it cynically or sincerely. But there is no doubt he was a manipulator. Of course, all demagogues are.

Now Lee's successors use the same catchphrases to intimidate and control the masses. Do anything they can't control and be prepared to be called "natural," "ambitious," "infragrant," yada, yada, yada.
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:21 PM   #43
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Thank you! I will take that as a compliment rather than sarcasm.
Good.

Luk_6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:24 PM   #44
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I can go to a hundred different churches on Sunday and feel like there are a 100 "different" Christ's and/or gospels. The people are different, the message is different, the service is different, the building is different, the music is different, etc. etc.
One Jesus, Many Christs : How Jesus Inspired Not One True Christianity, but Many. ~ by Gregory J. Riley
http://www.amazon.com/One-Jesus-Many.../dp/B002SG6I4G

E Pluribus Unum
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:26 AM   #45
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One Jesus, Many Christs : How Jesus Inspired Not One True Christianity, but Many. ~ by Gregory J. Riley
http://www.amazon.com/One-Jesus-Many.../dp/B002SG6I4G

E Pluribus Unum
My post was an attempt to redefine what "another" means in our context, not more reading material from the mighty amazon.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:44 AM   #46
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Lee had a whole briefcase full of bogey man to scare and intimidate us into doing things his way. "Fragrance" was one, as in "this does not have the proper fragrance." Which in reality meant it wasn't according to his taste. Others included "natural," "human wisdom," "man's work," "religion," "proper church life," "tradition," "independent," "ambition," and a slew of others. Just think of any catchphrase he threw around and you can probably recall a time he used it to prop himself up and discredit someone else.

This is how he held us in line. Whenever we did anything he didn't like or which threatened his absolute authority, he would pull out one of these bogey men and we'd all cower like puppies who peed on the parquet. We really didn't know how or why our efforts came up short, and these maladies were vague and subjective enough to make disagreeing with him a waste of time. Call it plausible deniability. But when he started calling enjoying the Psalms "natural" warning bells should have gone off.

He and only he held the key to discerning these things, or so he led us to believe. Actually he was a brilliant manipulator. The only question is whether he did it cynically or sincerely. But there is no doubt he was a manipulator. Of course, all demagogues are.

Now Lee's successors use the same catchphrases to intimidate and control the masses. Do anything they can't control and be prepared to be called "natural," "ambitious," "infragrant," yada, yada, yada.
I first came across the concept of a religious bogey man when i was researching Plymouth Brethren history. Historians mentioned the Exclusives' use of the British expression "bug bear" in the closet, using fear to control children's behavior. My eyes were opened. Immediately i saw the connection with Lee. It served to release me from some of my deap-seated fears regarding the Recovery.

Yes, Lee was a master manipulator. One could say it is a gift from God to be used either for good or for evil. All gifted evangelists have employed this talent for good. Salesmen use this for their livelihood. Over the course of time, however, Lee's power to manipulate deteriorated for his own self-serving interests. He no longer brought people to the Lord, but rather brought them to himself. The Apostle Paul warned us of such with tears. (Acts 20.30)
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:57 AM   #47
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My post was an attempt to redefine what "another" means in our context, not more reading material from the mighty amazon.
Yeah. Dopey me. I should have explained myself ... and made the point I was hoping others would get.

And that is:

From the beginning, since Jesus, down thru the millenia, there's been many different Christ movements. Thus: One Jesus, many Christs.

And yes, as you pointed out, Paul warned and cried about the fact that he obviously knew was going to happen to the Jesus Movement; that it would arise "of your own selves."

And it happened. It was actually already going on. Christianity, as history attests, diversified. In the early days of the movement different gospels were flying all around. Thus, the heresy wars of the early church fathers. And thus, The First Council of Nicaea ... and the Roman Emperor Constantine ... and Christianity became the state religion.

But all efforts to contain the diversification of Christianity failed. Even burning at the stake and torture failed to do the job.

And the diversification of Christianity eventually exploded. Today there are over 33,000 sects of Christianity.

And Nee and Lee and their Recovery Movement is just one more sect among thousands.

I remember, we use to say, all of Christianity was a religion. But the local church movement wasn't religion at all, it was claimed. Ended up they, we, were more religious than the average bear, than the average Christian.

I think Arthur Casci makes a point. If yer gonna go for something like the Nee and Lee movement, just get it over with and go back to the Holy Mother Church. It's got the orthodox traditions going way back. And it's proven to be so zealous and devoted to Jesus that, they are, or have been, willing to kill and die for it.

Neither Nee nor Lee were that given.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:37 PM   #48
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If yer gonna go for something like the Nee and Lee movement, just get it over with and go back to the Holy Mother Church. It's got the orthodox traditions going way back. And it's proven to be so zealous and devoted to Jesus that, they are, or have been, willing to kill and die for it..
Seems to me you're conflating the orthodox church w/the RCC. They split over 1,000 years ago.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:45 PM   #49
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I can go to a hundred different churches on Sunday and feel like there are a 100 "different" Christ's and/or gospels. The people are different, the message is different, the service is different, the building is different, the music is different, etc. etc. It all comes down to how we define "different." Neither LSM nor this forum uses a definition for "different" which I can agree with, and which agrees with Paul's initial use of the phrase in Galatians.
Well I paint with a broad brush. Maybe too broad in this case. But you & I both agree that once WL got us to bite on the " new" concept, he could sell us anything. Every thing that he said was then by definition "new", and everybody else was old. New became subjective, a moving target, and it could be whatever he needed it to be.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:59 PM   #50
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Seems to me you're conflating the orthodox church w/the RCC. They split over 1,000 years ago.
I was thinking of whatever Arthur was speaking about when he stated:

"Give me Old and Stale. The old faith of the One Holy Christian Church and the stale bread of the body and blood of Christ in Holy communion."


I agree, however, that I'm not getting it yet.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:44 PM   #51
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Well I paint with a broad brush. Maybe too broad in this case. But you & I both agree that once WL got us to bite on the "new" concept, he could sell us anything. Every thing that he said was then by definition "new", and everybody else was old. New became subjective, a moving target, and it could be whatever he needed it to be.
What you say is true.

From my vantage in "greater Ohio," I have always resisted the notion that the LC's were cultic and preached "another" gospel. These are just not things I can say with a clear conscience.

Today I was outside walking with a neighbor who mentioned today was Easter for him, since he is a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. In the past I might have condemned them for "another" gospel, but I am no longer so sure of my judgments. They proclaim faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the way of salvation. Isn't that enough?
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:24 AM   #52
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I have always resisted the notion that the LC's were cultic and preached "another" gospel. These are just not things I can say with a clear conscience.
Yours is a conviction on the topic that I have vacillated on depending on the "difference" that is currently in front of us. My general conclusion is that Christ is Christ, but that there is something in the teachings of some groups that makes their description go from marginal to someone else. We are clear that some do not think Christ is even God. And some hem and haw about it, declaring that Christ is just the brother of Lucifer and/or some prophet. (Not a lot different than what the Moslems think.)

The LCM is not where those groups are. But they do define away parts of the historical Jesus and what he taught. The idea of maintaining a higher view of the righteous law was taught by Jesus, but to the LCM even the old version is declared as something to be avoided or ignored. If it is important it will flow out of "the dispensing." The Father and the Son may be one, but are not described as the same. But they might as well be as far as LCM teaching goes.

The LCM, from the time of Nee until now has been about the inner life teachings that Nee was steeped in early on. The inner life is not wrong if it is not the only "life" taught and lived. But for the LCM, that is just about all there is. Like those commercials about having an unbalanced diet where everyone is walking around slanted almost 45 degrees relative to the ground, there is a lot more to the full Christian life than what the inner-life people teach. And Nee and Lee took that teaching to a nearly ridiculous extreme.

No, they do not teach a different Christ. Yet so many aspects of what their "same" Christ teaches to us today does not look like what the rest of us are learning from Him. Theirs seems to be an abridged version. That might not be a big deal if it is The Teachings of Christ for Normal Living. But instead is seems to be Our Favorite Chapter From Christ's Words Reanalyzed for Isolated 'Church Life' Living. And then they spend a lot of time telling us how that paying attention to the rest of the stuff is evidence of being degraded.
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:35 AM   #53
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I was thinking of whatever Arthur was speaking about when he stated:

"Give me Old and Stale. The old faith of the One Holy Christian Church and the stale bread of the body and blood of Christ in Holy communion."


I agree, however, that I'm not getting it yet.
It may be "old and stale" in some people's minds, but at least we know how it relates to the Jesus that the Bible teaches.

It seems that it is only truly "old and stale" if you are needing "new and fresh" no matter where it comes from. While the message of Christ will continually have to be repackaged to meet different cultures (think Paul talking about the unknown God), especially as culture changes, the message inside of the package does not change. Yet it is as new as ever despite it constancy. It does not require a pep rally or a cheer-leading squad. It does not require that we chant any words, even the name of the Lord, until we "get into our spirits" (whatever that means).

Running from "old and stale" is one way to end out where the Christ that is followed is of uncertain pedigree. Where there is sufficient change in the thrust of His teaching that some might question whether we are talking about the same Christ.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:39 AM   #54
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How do we define "another gospel?"
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:46 AM   #55
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How do we define "another gospel?"
Read Galatians.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Gal 1:6-9
Paul's gospel was the gift of Christ crucified and resurrected. Crucified for our sins, resurrected to bring us to life. That's it. Another gospel in the case of Galatians is the gospel of working your way back to God, i.e. the gospel of salvation by works, not by grace.
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:00 AM   #56
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First is when did Christ become so old, that He had to become so new?

Second, if this "new Christ" doesn't care about the poor, the sick, and the weak then He is probably a "different Christ" that Paul was warning us about. If this was a Christ where we said to the rich man "You sit here" and to the poor man, "You sit over there, under my footstool", then this was a different Christ that (James 2:1-4) warned us about. If this was a new Christ where we elevated men and made distinctions among ourselves, and then ignored righteousness when our elevated men (our "Moses" and "Noah") were found to be with feet of clay like the rest, what kind of Christ is this? All the excitement and shouting cannot cover a lack of discernment.

Just some things to think about. I'm not trying to present anything definitive here. Just thinking aloud. Asking questions.
I felt that InOmnibusCaritas answered the question of the Pauline-warned "different Christ". So I'm content the let the matter drop.

But Amcasci's testimony is valuable because it opens a window into a time of great change in the United States, and in this time the LC as most of us knew it came into being. First off, it was a time of the Baby Boom generation. A large group of young people came of age. What was different about this generational cohort? Well, for one it was disproportionately large, thus the "Boom" part. As any of us know, when growing up we at some point make a transition from accepting and copying everything of our parents' generation, to questioning everything, and challenging it. Nothing new or remarkable there.

But in this era, the 1960s, a number of social issues were coming into a head. Looming over everything was the threat of nuclear annihilation, with a continual intransigence between the heavily armed Super Powers (U.S. vs. U.S.S.R.). Then there was the environmental crisis, with Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", Barry Commoner's "The Closing Circle", and so forth. There was the Women's Movement. The Civil Rights Movement. An unpopular war (Vietnam) taking over the public discourse.

All of this served to highlight the questioning of the status quo. So the popular verbiage of the day was, "Stick it to the Man", i.e. don't cooperate with the current power structure. They sometimes called it the "System", a tightly woven oppressive regime which controlled culture, commerce, religion, and politics. The process of actively resisting the "System" was called the "counter-culture". Hippies, Yippies, Dopers, rebels... "Tune in, turn on, drop out." Don't participate in "the System".

And my point was that WL made a lot of this: he continually denigrated the status quo, not just in civil society but also in religious society. He both claimed to be from orthodox Christianity, and yet rejected it completely. His disciples were isolated from, and hostile to, organized Christian religion, which they ironically claimed to purely represent! WL was simultaneously the leader of the most orthodox Christian group (so he said), and completely hostile to all forms of orthodox Christian expression. Even the Protestants were "daughters of the harlot".

So it's no surprise to me, looking back, that this was all seemingly wonderful to people like Casci and others. And not only with WL: look at what happened in Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa CA, with Chuck Smith. They grew from 20 people to 500 within 2 years. And it is no wonder that in the 1970s when the excesses of the unconventional ways occurred, notably Jim Jones and the Jonestown Guyana tragedy, that the cultural pendulum swung the other way and the "social deviance" of the LCs was scrutinized by the cult watching press.

When you step back and look at it, none of it seems too surprising at all. That is why Amcasci's testimony is so valuable. It opens a window into a time in history.

And secondly, I wanted to make the point that the so-called "counter-culture" was just more culture. It formed as an alternative to an existing culture, but it was yet one more culture, with its own norms and behaviors. And likewise WL's "new Christ" was really just repackaged religion. An old gambit with a shiny new label. But it really was nothing new at all. It was just fallen man, reacting to fallen man. Same old, same old. I could see it on the faces of the LC faithful when the latest "move" came along, courtesy of the "oracle in Anaheim". Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:42 AM   #57
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Details and quibbling aside, I think a real way the LCM's Christ is different is his motivations.

The LCM portrayed Christ as a deity totally interested in "his purpose" and "his expression," and who was interested in people only to the extent that they helped him accomplish his long-term goals. The LCM portrayed Christ as one who lived, suffered and died as a man not out of love to redeem, but out of determination to produce "the processed God" to in turn produce "the Church" so he could get "glory," almost like he was just showing off.

The impression one gets from the LCM Christ is not that he loves people as an end in the themselves, but that he loves them as means to an end. Thus people were devalued and made disposable. The LCM Christ is rather like the Muslim Allah, in the end a bit indifferent toward people.

This is certainly a different Christ than the biblical Christ, who died for one reason, because he didn't want to see us end up lost. For all the LCM's supposed "light" from the bible, they still missed one of the most basic verses of all, John 3:16.
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Old 04-16-2015, 11:17 AM   #58
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The impression one gets from the LCM Christ is not that he loves people as an end in the themselves, but that he loves them as means to an end. Thus people were devalued and made disposable. The LCM Christ is rather like the Muslim Allah, in the end a bit indifferent toward people.

This is certainly a different Christ than the biblical Christ, who died for one reason, because he didn't want to see us end up lost. For all the LCM's supposed "light" from the bible, they still missed one of the most basic verses of all, John 3:16.
I think that I essentially said the same thing earlier. This "new and fresh" Christ seemingly no longer cared about the poor, the sick, the blind and the lame, and this "new and fresh" Christ seemingly didn't mind if some elevated themselves above the flock, and kept distinctions of persons to maintain "good order in the church", and this Christ seemed to overlook sin if it was among leadership, because to be scriptural we had to "cover drunken Noah", etc.

But if we're to be legalistic, who among us is without such sins, or defects? We must be broad and forgive, if we hope for God's forgiveness, in return. We must seek commonality, not differences. We must unite and not divide.

At the same time we do place value judgments on what's profitable in our spiritual journeys. We need to say "this is better than that", to some degree. The "new and fresh" processed and sevenfold intensified Christ was supposed to jet-propel us into some higher realm, whether dubbed "overcomer" or "mature" or whatnot (I remember the conference where the senior brother present asked the teen-agers if they wanted to be overcomers, or not. What were they supposed to respond!?).

And this supposedly new and better way was just the same old, same old, with a few new descriptors, many of which turned out to be recycled 19th century Sunday School lessons. Remember that song, "It may be with us you've found a better way"? In the supposed new and better way, the source was held to be the ministry of WL; it was instead WL siphoning off some of the Jesus Movement, and attaching his "new and fresh" labels.

But the difference, and any actual freshness, wasn't due to the ministry, but to the hundreds and even thousands of young seeking people. Zealous and ignorant, they were easy fodder for someone like WL.

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Details and quibbling aside, I think a real way the LCM's Christ is different is his motivations.
You could see the motives when money-making opportunities arose. The "old man" of this supposedly transformed servant quickly appeared. Pecuniary interests became paramount. Profit.
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:39 PM   #59
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I think that I essentially said the same thing earlier. This "new and fresh" Christ seemingly no longer cared about the poor, the sick, the blind and the lame, and this "new and fresh" Christ seemingly didn't mind if some elevated themselves above the flock, and kept distinctions of persons to maintain "good order in the church", and this Christ seemed to overlook sin if it was among leadership, because to be scriptural we had to "cover drunken Noah", etc.
Things changed when Lee changed.

In the early days, there were lots of stories of the "downtrodden" coming to Jesus and being marvelously saved. "Blanket Fred" was one such guy who came to those early meetings with nothing more than his blanket, and he sat in the front row, unshaved, unbathed, uncultured, etc. and Lee was apparently quite fine with it. He later reveled in the opportunity to bring such to the Lord.

Compare that to today's LC work. Ole "Blanket Fred" couldn't make it past the door usher checking badges. My how Lee had changed from those early days when the Spirit was moving in America. Which was the real Lee? Hard to say, but the older Lee got, the more demands he placed on any who would attend his high-priced lectures.

Jesus, however, never changed. His ministry started with that crazy Baptizer in the wilderness, and ended with that criminal thief on the cross.
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Old 04-16-2015, 05:24 PM   #60
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Jesus, however, never changed. His ministry started with that crazy Baptizer in the wilderness, and ended with that criminal thief on the cross.
As our pastor says, that'll preach!
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:21 PM   #61
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As our pastor says, that'll preach!
It's been a long time since anyone agreed with something I posted!

You caught me off guard.
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:26 AM   #62
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It's been a long time since anyone agreed with something I posted! You caught me off guard.
We like to mix it up a little here, just to keep you from getting too comfortable. Seriously, though, I felt that your words were an excellent summation of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The lepers, the sick, the blind, the lame, the poor. All of these were ministered to, again and again. These were truly the "lost sheep". But the Father's love came to them through Jesus Christ, as it has to us all. Peter neatly summed up the ministry that he observed for three-plus years: "...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil". (Acts 10:38) Jesus consistently went around doing good, and compassionately helping and healing those who couldn't repay Him. He just told them, "Give thanks to the Father, go in peace, and sin no more".

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Compare that to today's LC work. Ole "Blanket Fred" couldn't make it past the door usher checking badges. My how Lee had changed from those early days when the Spirit was moving in America.
One reason that the LCs love the so-called "campus work" today is that it does the pre-screening for them. If "Blanket Fred" doesn't make it past the admissions committee and into the University of Michigan, then he doesn't get a pamphlet from LSM.
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:11 AM   #63
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One reason that the LCs love the so-called "campus work" today is that it does the pre-screening for them. If "Blanket Fred" doesn't make it past the admissions committee and into the University of Michigan, then he doesn't get a pamphlet from LSM.
After studying the history of the Plymouth Brethren in Great Britain in the mid-19th century, i concluded long ago that "early-Lee" in the US closely coincided with OPEN Brethren (Groves, Chapman, Muller, Craik) ideals, while "later-Lee" corresponded with Exclusive Brethren (Darby, Wigram) exclusionary precepts.

Blanket Fred was a brilliant guy. I was close to his brother for years. Once Fred decided that counter-culture became too crowded for his liking, he cleaned up and returned to the culture of his roots in wealthy suburbia, which is exactly what the LCM has done.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:27 AM   #64
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Blanket Fred was a brilliant guy. I was close to his brother for years. Once Fred decided that counter-culture became too crowded for his liking, he cleaned up and returned to the culture of his roots in wealthy suburbia, which is exactly what the LCM has done.
My point in raising the whole 1960s social dynamics, which was so excellently put forth in Casci's testimony, is that the counter-culture was just another human culture. It rejected the "square" box of conventional culture, but it created its own box. Maybe differently shaped, but a box nonetheless. The counter-culture was a human reaction to human activity, which activity was of course largely a reaction to other human activity.

WL sold us that WN wasn't simply reacting to dormant Protestantism on Mainland China, but that WN's Little Flock was wholly a move of God. But it wasn't. It was merely another human reaction; Martin Luther had reacted to the RCC, the Brethren reacted to Luther's failings, and WN reacted to the Brethren. And so forth.

This perhaps touches on the problem of human behavior: we are unstable. One day long hair is in fashion, and short skirts. The next day it is short hair and long skirts. Back and forth we go. I made notice of Oprah Winfrey on another thread, how she lost weight and had a party on national television when she again could wear her old jeans. I watched it and felt, "She will gain it all back again." Why? Because the reason she gained the weight in the first place was still there: instability. The fact that she had a special show to celebrate her weight loss indicated unmet need. Up and down we go.... the roller coaster of life. I picked on her because she is one of the more successful people in the past 20 or 30 years, publicly. She went from nothing to a multimillionaire. But the instability remains, and the lacks.

Anyway, God was there, in the Jesus Movement of the 1960s. No doubt. Also in the LC variant of the Jesus Movement. Those glorious meetings were really glorious. But it also involved the move of humans, not just WL but you and me, and the instabilities and contradictions inherent in those actions. We reject culture, and rightly so, but we create a "new" counter-culture, which is merely more culture. So the "new Christ" of the LC was simply more of the same. Christ is always new, but our "new Christ", as a reaction to someone else's "old Christ", has the seeds of oldness built into it. Sooner or later they will appear.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:37 AM   #65
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Anyway, God was there, in the Jesus Movement of the 1960s. No doubt.
Really. How do you know that?

I remember the instability back then. I experienced it firsthand.

I had a friend that was in the Children of God. He came back from the west coast to visit family and friends. He told me all about the CoG and wanted me to come with him and join.

My instability, as you call it, was driving me. To me at the time I was faced with two choices. One to join the CoG, or two to join the Rosicrucian's.

I drove from Detroit to San Jose Ca, where the Rosicrucian University was. Long story short, I bumped into the church in Santa Cruz. The rest is history.

Was that God moving in the 60s? Was the CoG God moving in the sixties? The movement that arranged the brothers to sleep with a different sister each night? The movement that invented "Flirty Fishing?"

If not, what of the Jesus movement of the sixties was God moving? I got into the local church. Brought by a grifter from China selling cheap suits at flea markets. And that turned out to be a farce. Was that God moving in the sixties?

Down thru history there's been lots of such Jesus movements ... the fruit obviously of human instability, as you say, that came to naught.

The Welsh Revival, of early 20th c. is a popular example. The minister of that movement was Evan Roberts. He claimed direct visions from the Holy Spirit (bring anything to mind - ring a bell?).

But the one that it said to have inspired Watchman Nee's The Spiritual Man, Jessie Penn-Lewis, with her, War on the Saints shot that revival movement down, claiming it was not the movement of God, but a product of demon possession.

How can we know for sure what is a movement of God, and what is not?
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:28 AM   #66
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My point in raising the whole 1960s social dynamics, which was so excellently put forth in Casci's testimony, is that the counter-culture was just another human culture. It rejected the "square" box of conventional culture, but it created its own box. Maybe differently shaped, but a box nonetheless. The counter-culture was a human reaction to human activity, which activity was of course largely a reaction to other human activity.

WL sold us that WN wasn't simply reacting to dormant Protestantism on Mainland China, but that WN's Little Flock was wholly a move of God. But it wasn't. It was merely another human reaction; Martin Luther had reacted to the RCC, the Brethren reacted to Luther's failings, and WN reacted to the Brethren. And so forth.

This perhaps touches on the problem of human behavior: we are unstable. One day long hair is in fashion, and short skirts. The next day it is short hair and long skirts. Back and forth we go. I made notice of Oprah Winfrey on another thread, how she lost weight and had a party on national television when she again could wear her old jeans. I watched it and felt, "She will gain it all back again." Why? Because the reason she gained the weight in the first place was still there: instability. The fact that she had a special show to celebrate her weight loss indicated unmet need. Up and down we go.... the roller coaster of life. I picked on her because she is one of the more successful people in the past 20 or 30 years, publicly. She went from nothing to a multimillionaire. But the instability remains, and the lacks.

Anyway, God was there, in the Jesus Movement of the 1960s. No doubt. Also in the LC variant of the Jesus Movement. Those glorious meetings were really glorious. But it also involved the move of humans, not just WL but you and me, and the instabilities and contradictions inherent in those actions. We reject culture, and rightly so, but we create a "new" counter-culture, which is merely more culture. So the "new Christ" of the LC was simply more of the same. Christ is always new, but our "new Christ", as a reaction to someone else's "old Christ", has the seeds of oldness built into it. Sooner or later they will appear.
My my my I liked that quote! How we enjoyed the ride for a few years. It was fun, enjoyable. We had a dozen pretty good guitarists, one tremendous pianist, and electric base. What more could you want? We sang "What a happy day" a thousand times. But where was the reality? WL was so bent on changing 'truth' to 'reality'. Confidence scammers always hit what they're selling insisting it's not what it appears.
When problem after problem occurred, it was just hidden so the scam could ride on as our brother Phillip Lin so nobly wrote. And in my area it is pretty well still hidden to quite a host.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:39 AM   #67
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How can we know for sure what is a movement of God, and what is not?
That is a good question. But how can we know anything? In reality, we cannot. We are impermanent creatures; how can we know of permanence? Of the things that abide, and remain?

Ultimately it becomes, for me, a matter of faith. I do believe that there is a world, that it is round, that it has history. In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Etc. And there's a narrative, in our hands, of the man Jesus. By faith I receive it. I believe it. And likewise it seems that the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead has similarly operated among men, since those days. However, the problem is, how much is God, and how much is man? That, I cannot answer. As Orson Welles said of Paul Masson wine, "We judge no wine before its time". Jesus was judged, and raised; He's the Victor. You and I, and the rest, our time is not yet, so judgment still waits.

Nonetheless, I do believe God has moved among humanity, at least in part, and it seems to have occurred in the "Jesus Movement" of the 1960s. Those young people who swelled the ranks of the LCs also swelled the ranks of the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, and other burgeoning groups, were responding to God's call. And yes there was some really weird stuff as well. Both you and Casci have testified of being almost caught by the CoG... "my feet nearly slipped' (Psa 73:2). And the Calvary Chapel's leading light of the young generation, named Lonnie Frisbee, was so charismatic that he couldn't keep his hands off the parishioners, both male and female, and died of AIDS in 1993.

Yet who can judge? We all fail. That's one thing that seems solidly established in this swirling world of impermanence. But it still pleased God to send His Son. That I do know. If anything is real, that's real.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:00 PM   #68
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Things changed when Lee changed.

In the early days, there were lots of stories of the "downtrodden" coming to Jesus and being marvelously saved. "Blanket Fred" was one such guy who came to those early meetings with nothing more than his blanket, and he sat in the front row, unshaved, unbathed, uncultured, etc. and Lee was apparently quite fine with it. He later reveled in the opportunity to bring such to the Lord.

Compare that to today's LC work. Ole "Blanket Fred" couldn't make it past the door usher checking badges. My how Lee had changed from those early days when the Spirit was moving in America. Which was the real Lee? Hard to say, but the older Lee got, the more demands he placed on any who would attend his high-priced lectures.

Jesus, however, never changed. His ministry started with that crazy Baptizer in the wilderness, and ended with that criminal thief on the cross.
I, an old man, really liked that post.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:04 PM   #69
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Bringing this forward. Interesting view of how the LC caught so many young people circa 1965-70.

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The "Jesus People" movement was at its peak, and I enjoyed the informal atmosphere of sitting on the floor, singing, and studying the Bible. I attended different churches but felt that they were dead and had abandoned Jesus. Like many my age, I was rebellious and distrusted any organization run by comfortable, middle-class adults. Zealous for Jesus, I could not understand why others were not as enthusiastic. This attitude, combined with my lack of a Biblical foundation, left me wide open to false doctrine.

One evening I stopped to visit a Christian friend who had some unusual visitors. They were young, "on fire," roving evangelists from an organization called "The Children of God." They did not believe that a Christian should hold a normal job, but rather should leave job, home, family, and goods to preach on the streets.

The next thing I knew, I had quit my job and prepared to leave with these young street preachers for Dallas, Tex., one of their outposts. Fortunately, some dear Christian friends I visited stopped me from going, thus preventing me from joining a cult (at least for the moment). But I was still plagued with a burning desire to serve Jesus wholeheartedly-and now I had no job.

Another friend, Randy, invited me to go with him to Akron, Ohio, to introduce me to another zealous organization. So, once again, I packed my few belongings and left. This time no one stopped me.

I will never forget my first encounter with this organization. In a meeting, they sang loudly, shouted out verses of Scripture, danced, and one by one gave strong testimony about what Jesus meant to them. I saw young and old, black, white, and Oriental people.

I immediately joined in the singing and shouting. Mentally I maintained a few reservations, but emotionally I was caught. The love, unity and volume of the service overwhelmed me. I thought to myself: Here are people who truly love Jesus and are not afraid to show it.

That night after the meeting, Randy introduced me to many of them. They immediately welcomed me and showed great concern. I asked to stay for a week or two as a trial period, and was housed in a large duplex with about 10 members, who said I could stay until I decided whether to join the group.

Nobody forced me to join. Nobody needed to. I was ripe for the picking.

The organization is known as the "Local Church." lf such a group were in St. Louis, they would call themselves "The Church in or of St. Louis." They take the name of their locality.

The organization is led by an elderly Chinese man, Witness Lee. Lee brought the movement to America in the early 1960's. Lee's co-worker, Watchman Nee, had started the movement in China. When the communists took over, Lee fled to Taiwan. Nee stayed behind and, after nearly 20 years in prison, died.

In its first decades, the movement stayed in the mainstream of "fundamentalism." They believed that the Bible was the Word of God. They believed in the blood atonement of Jesus for the sins of the world, the Resurrection, the second coming of Jesus, and the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. However, shortly before coming to America, Lee changed some teachings. Lee claims that when he crossed over to America, he dropped his doctrines in the Pacific Ocean and found a new way.

The foundation of Lee's doctrine is his understanding of the Trinity!. Lee teaches "modalism," the idea that there is one God who reveals Himself in three different modes or stages. One of Lee's analogies is that prior to Christ, God was like "raw wheat." At the incarnation, the raw wheat became "flour." Finally, when Christ returned to heaven, God became the "loaf of bread," or the Holy Spirit. This runs counter to orthodox statements of faith such as the Athanasian Creed, which teaches that God is one in substance, but three in person. Lee's teaching destroys the distinction of persons in the Godhead.

Lee's teaching on the person of Christ is also contrary to historic Christianity. Lee teaches that the incarnation "mingled" together Jesus' humanity and divinity. The Definition of Chalcedon teaches that the two natures of Christ form one person but are distinct and not to be mingled together. Lee makes the divine nature something less than God but more than man and the human nature something more than man and less than God. Lee forms a new creature, God-man.

Thus, to "be saved," Lee teaches that God's intention for man is to be mingled with God in the way Christ was mingled with God. To accomplish this, one must "call" on Jesus' name literally. lf one says the name of Jesus out loud, one becomes a believer, and can begin the process of becoming mingled with God.

Lee teaches a simple "technique" whereby one can be mingled with God-calling on the Lord and pray-reading. Calling on the Lord means chanting Jesus' name over and over in private and in group services. Using the mind is not encouraged; one should block out thoughts. I did this for periods of 15 minutes or more. "Pray-reading" involves reading the Scripture out loud; repeating the same versus but with different emhasis each time, also individually or in the group. As in chanting, one is encouraged not to think but merely to do.

Lee calls this "exercising the spirit" or "eating and drinking the Lord." Since he teaches that one becomes what one eats, one is eating Christ and thus being mingled with God. The aim is to do away with one's own self-life and to be transformed into this new God-man creature.

To be sure, Lee teaches that all this is not necessary if one wants only to enter heaven; however, he believes that going to heaven is not full salvation. Lee asserts that a select few or "remnant" will receive something more. Those who have mingled themselves thoroughly with God will be "overcomers" and enjoy 1,000 years with Jesus while those believers who were not mingled must stay in the grave until after the millennium. Lee claims that although people can become "overcomers" if not in his organization, it is highly unlikely. Thus, if one wants to experience God's full salvation, Lee's organization and method is the only way.

Another teaching central to Lee's system is submission and authority. Members must obey without question Lee's teaching and directives. I was told that even if I was given directions contrary the Word of God, I was to obey. Because God would honor my submission to the leaders, it would not be wrong.

Lee labels as "Satanic Christianity" all churches that are not under his rule. Lee assures members that outside the movement all are deceived. lf one leaves the movement, it is unlikely that one could lead a Christian life. I was told of some who had left and how their lives had consequently fallen apart. This created an even greater psychological dependence on the group. Outsiders were feared, because they may seek to remove one from the group.

My zeal for Lee's teaching catapulted me into responsible positions. Within six months, I headed a house of single men. I fervently recruited new blood and never missed one of the four to six weekly meetings I was expected to attend. Weekends were devoted to bringing in new converts and holidays to conferences in various places. These demands, plus a 40-hour-a-week job, kept me busy and exhausted.

The life style is semicommunal. Members do own private property; however, a strong sense of community and sharing of material goods is encouraged. Once one is in the organization, basic needs are met. With no anxiety for material needs, members are freed to better obey the hierarchy.

I recall that nearly 100 people were moved from California to Virginia in order to form a new group there. The organization cared for these members until they could reestablish themselves in the new locale. Moves such as these were common. Yearly, the leaders would ask for a certain number of members to move to a different city. Some were asked and others volunteered. It was expected that every few years one would be relocated.

In Christmas 1972, I faced the dilemma of choosing between going home to my parents or going to Detroit for a conference. I wanted to go home, but I was strongly encouraged to go to Detroit. An unspoken law of the group was that one should forget family and be committed to the cause. I remember my mother crying when I called, saying I would not be home for Christmas for the second year in a row. I went to Detroit for another wild weekend of singing, shouting, and teaching.

But through God's providence, this seemingly wrong choice turned around my life and my commitment. A middle-aged man taught about King David's repentant and teachable heart before God. The teacher encouraged us to have a similar disposition. Of course, the teacher meant that we should be willing to be taught by the movement and to do what we were told by our leaders. But what he said, the Lord used for good.

I returned from that weekend with a different attitude. I still had a strong commitment to the movement and did not then think about leaving. But I was determined to allow Scripture to speak to me and wanted to repent of anything in my life that was not in line with Scripture. This new change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, provided the impetus for my leaving the group.

During the next six months, I continued to be zealously active in the movement. I became one of the teachers in the young adults group that listened to taped lectures by Witness Lee, which came from our Los Angeles headquarters, and repeated the contents during our teaching periods.

I listened to the tapes, but simultaneously spent more private time in the Word. I would rise early to pray, to read, and to seek the Lord. I started doubting what I was being taught. I saw that I was to obey God rather than men and that, contrary to Lee my mind was good and God wanted to renew and use it. The chanting and pray-reading seemed strange to me in light of Scripture that taught God's good order and the right use of reason.

The lot was soon cast. One April morning, while living in Cleveland, I left. During the next two weeks, I nearly had a mental breakdown. I was paranoid and exhausted, not knowing exactly what to do, but armed with the promise that the Lord was my Shepherd and that He would never abandon me.

I went to a local community center to sort things out. The people there led me to a large old church with Christian men who helped college age men and women. I attended some of their meetings, the informal type I had attended previously.

One evening a young man read Romans 5:1, emphasizing that peace with God was possible by grace alone. Our striving to please God couldn't do it. Those words told me everything. All my zest and dedication had been attempts to please God and to win His approval. My tears flowed. At last I was at peace in His grace.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:58 PM   #70
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I think Casci's title, "zealous and misled", is an entirely fitting summary of his testimony of his involvement in the LC. If you look at the young ones being filtered through the FTTA, and thenceforth out to "serve the ministry", what is the difference between them and young Mormons going into the MTC and thence to their missions? In the words of LSM prophet RK, "Absolutely nothing"!

http://www.mormonwiki.com/Missionary_Training_Center

They all serve the "ministry of the age", seeking to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and build up His unique Body. No difference that I can see. They all push a proprietary revelation, as the one speaking of God today. No compromise, no discussion: be absolute. This enthusiasm, this misled zeal, attracts the young people, who want to belong to something, and find definitive purpose and meaning in their lives. Here it is, folks, your handy-dandy one-stop shopping: just accept the revelation of God's Oracle and you are set for life. You never have to think again, just ask, "What would the Oracle want us to do?" which has been answered in long streams of books and pamphlets and hammered into you with innumerable training sessions. The answer is that you have been put here on earth to serve the ministry. This is the sole, unique, move of God on the earth today. Don't you want to be part of it?
Thank you for pointing this out!! I have some Mormon clients and was very surprised to hear about a 2 year "mission" for their young people that sounded very similar to the FTT! It's also when the military wants you to join their ranks- such an impressionable age!

It's sad that Christians are buying into the same tactics instead of relying on the Holy Spirit. Instead, certain people have an agenda and they employ these tactics under the guise of a "Bible school" where ultimately- they just need a certain percentage of those people to end up as full-timers. Which, would be hard to accomplish without the added thought reform practices in the FTT!

Wake up people, this is happening.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:29 PM   #71
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Thank you for pointing this out!! I have some Mormon clients and was very surprised to hear about a 2 year "mission" for their young people that sounded very similar to the FTT! It's also when the military wants you to join their ranks- such an impressionable age!

It's sad that Christians are buying into the same tactics instead of relying on the Holy Spirit. Instead, certain people have an agenda and they employ these tactics under the guise of a "Bible school" where ultimately- they just need a certain percentage of those people to end up as full-timers. Which, would be hard to accomplish without the added thought reform practices in the FTT!

Wake up people, this is happening.
There are alot of similarities between the LSM churches and Mormons - maybe thats why Witness Lee said this, "A number of times I have been asked something like this:

“Brother Lee, you say that the ministry is unique. This means that there is just one ministry. When you say that there is one ministry, that the ministry is unique, do you mean that your ministry is this unique ministry?” Some of those who question me like this may have the concept that I think of myself as someone like Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. I always answer this question by saying, “No, I definitely do not mean that my ministry is the unique ministry.”"
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:36 PM   #72
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There are alot of similarities between the LSM churches and Mormons - maybe thats why Witness Lee said this, "A number of times I have been asked something like this:

“Brother Lee, you say that the ministry is unique. This means that there is just one ministry. When you say that there is one ministry, that the ministry is unique, do you mean that your ministry is this unique ministry?” Some of those who question me like this may have the concept that I think of myself as someone like Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. I always answer this question by saying, “No, I definitely do not mean that my ministry is the unique ministry.”"
This is where I get really frustrated. Granted, I get some of his wording might be "lost in translation" and that's a reasonable excuse SOMETIMES. But at some point- "say what you mean, and mean what you say."

I don't know if I've ever read someone's writings that seem so contradicting. Everything gets so convoluted it's hard to even point out his errors in doctrine bc somewhere else, he seems to prove himself wrong. I've read some of the doctrinal debates on here and its just overwhelming. There's a big problem when you're not clear with what you mean and WL either intentionally or unintentionally talks in circles and is VERY UNCLEAR.

If he said, "No, I definitely do not mean that my ministry is the unique ministry," like LofT is saying- it's just completely hypocritical.

How can WL say that and also determine that there can only be ONE publisher (LSM) in the Lord's Recovery?? That fact alone sort of disproves his claim that he doesn't see HIS ministry as "THE UNIQUE MINISTRY."

Also, WHY are other churches quarantined and members excommunicated, slandered, and accused of "building up something for themselves," by publishing and printing their own material, if WL didn't believe that his was the "unique ministry." There's really no need to go to all that trouble of stopping other people from doing the exact thing he was doing. Unless, of course- he did see his ministry as "the unique ministry." If he really said the quote above, it's no wonder people suspend all logic, blindly follow, and stick their nose in the sand when issues come up. You'd be a total hypocrite to believe what WL says, and then support actions in the LC that blatantly contradict his statements.

WL would have made a great politician. The practice of saying whatever you need to in the moment and trusting nothing will actually change isn't a newfound occurrence. Most people, citizens and church members alike, will just blindly follow "laws", continue to trust, and not care enough to "speak up" against the blatant hypocrisy....

MOST people

(sorry to hijack the thread)
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:48 PM   #73
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I don't know if I've ever read someone's writings that seem so contradicting. Everything gets so convoluted it's hard to even point out his errors in doctrine bc somewhere else, he seems to prove himself wrong.
Lee contradicting statement and talking in circles is precisely what allows those fallen to the teachings of Witness Lee to justify their found position. I remember sitting in a meeting when a sister began to bemoan the LSM way of speaking - that weird, yet ever present tonality - during a prophecy. She said at first it bothered her, then laid out how she had justified it being OK, in her opinion.

I was reading this recently, reminds me of many LSM church members - Self-justification has costs and benefits. By itself, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It lets us sleep at night. Without it, we would prolong the awful pangs of embarrassment. We would torture ourselves with regret over the road not taken or over how badly we navigated the road we did take. We would agonize in the aftermath of almost every decision: Did we do the right thing, marry the right person, buy the right house, choose the best car, enter the right career? Yet, mindless self-justifcation, like quicksand, can draw us deeper into disaster. It blocks our ability to even see our errors, let alone correct them. It distorts reality, keeps us from getting all the information we need and assessing issues clearly.

That inability (or unwillingness) to see errors is a glaring issue within the LSM churches. Like the author says, it can draw us deeper into disaster... It draws many of those within the LSM churches to the creature, rather than the creator.
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:38 AM   #74
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That inability (or unwillingness) to see errors is a glaring issue within the LSM churches. Like the author says, it can draw us deeper into disaster... It draws many of those within the LSM churches to the creature, rather than the creator.
THe problem with the LSM programme is not in the ingrained Asian culture. It's that the culture is sold as heavenly culture, and not in need of any correction.

So the ingrained cultural biases are not critically examined, and their erroneous effects are free to ripple through the network. The butterfly flapping its wings one place creates a tornado somewhere else. And everyone wonders where the tornado came from.

Interesting that when Hank Haanegraff went to China on the LSM dime he noted two strong tendencies to the believers: ignorance and zeal. See his notes in the "We were wrong" issue. Not too different from what Arthur M Casci summarised.
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:29 AM   #75
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Lee contradicting statement and talking in circles is precisely what allows those fallen to the teachings of Witness Lee to justify their found position. I remember sitting in a meeting when a sister began to bemoan the LSM way of speaking - that weird, yet ever present tonality - during a prophecy. She said at first it bothered her, then laid out how she had justified it being OK, in her opinion.

I was reading this recently, reminds me of many LSM church members - Self-justification has costs and benefits. By itself, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It lets us sleep at night. Without it, we would prolong the awful pangs of embarrassment. We would torture ourselves with regret over the road not taken or over how badly we navigated the road we did take. We would agonize in the aftermath of almost every decision: Did we do the right thing, marry the right person, buy the right house, choose the best car, enter the right career? Yet, mindless self-justifcation, like quicksand, can draw us deeper into disaster. It blocks our ability to even see our errors, let alone correct them. It distorts reality, keeps us from getting all the information we need and assessing issues clearly.

That inability (or unwillingness) to see errors is a glaring issue within the LSM churches. Like the author says, it can draw us deeper into disaster... It draws many of those within the LSM churches to the creature, rather than the creator.
Scarily accurate. I experienced this yesterday with trying to talk to a family member still in the church. It’s a real thing.
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:33 AM   #76
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THe problem with the LSM programme is not in the ingrained Asian culture. It's that the culture is sold as heavenly culture, and not in need of any correction.

So the ingrained cultural biases are not critically examined, and their erroneous effects are free to ripple through the network. The butterfly flapping its wings one place creates a tornado somewhere else. And everyone wonders where the tornado came from.

Interesting that when Hank Haanegraff went to China on the LSM dime he noted two strong tendencies to the believers: ignorance and zeal. See his notes in the "We were wrong" issue. Not too different from what Arthur M Casci summarised.
Interesting. I’ve wondered how much Hank Hanegraff profited from his “closer look” at the local church.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:20 PM   #77
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I don't know if I've ever read someone's writings that seem so contradicting. Everything gets so convoluted it's hard to even point out his errors in doctrine bc somewhere else, he seems to prove himself wrong. I've read some of the doctrinal debates on here and its just overwhelming. There's a big problem when you're not clear with what you mean and WL either intentionally or unintentionally talks in circles and is VERY UNCLEAR. . .

WL would have made a great politician. The practice of saying whatever you need to in the moment and trusting nothing will actually change isn't a newfound occurrence.
New poster Steel was saying how much he appreciated Ed Marks' talk on Psalm 68. I got curious & dusted off my RecV. At one point (vv 21 -23) the psalm was talking about dipping his feet in the enemy's blood, crushing his head, &c. The footnote talked about Jesus defeating Satan.

But elsewhere in the Psalms, the footnotes pan such violent imagery because the NT principle is to bless and forgive your neighbour!! I kid you not! So which is it?
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Old 02-12-2018, 03:34 PM   #78
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New poster Steel was saying how much he appreciated Ed Marks' talk on Psalm 68. I got curious & dusted off my RecV. At one point (vv 21 -23) the psalm was talking about dipping his feet in the enemy's blood, crushing his head, &c. The footnote talked about Jesus def
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wriu..._6XvHZld1k7gwZ

Deathly boring.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:22 PM   #79
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Perhaps in your opinion. Last I checked... You are but just one member of the Lord's very large, and very diverse... One body.
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Old 03-14-2018, 04:33 PM   #80
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Interesting. I’ve wondered how much Hank Hanegraff profited from his “closer look” at the local church.
Haha one time in Shanghai the brothers invited me to this fancy hotel for a lunch with HH. He struck me as unpleasant, aloof and totally unapproachable. Anyway there were about 20 brothers there and we had fellowship about stuff - one of the brothers owned the hotel, so because of his riches he was kind of a leading one, even though he hadn't been solid for very long.

Anyway they were totally wining and dining him. Lavish af.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:11 AM   #81
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. . . .one of the brothers owned the hotel, so because of his riches he was kind of a leading one, even though he hadn't been solid for very long.
Bradley,

Have you ever heard the term 'guanxi network'? That's what this looks like. We are told that God is not a respected of persons (i.e. money, authority, position, status) but the guanxi network very much recognises and uses these things - they are intrinsic to the process of network building.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:14 PM   #82
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New poster Steel was saying how much he appreciated Ed Marks' talk on Psalm 68. I got curious & dusted off my RecV. At one point (vv 21 -23) the psalm was talking about dipping his feet in the enemy's blood, crushing his head, &c. The footnote talked about Jesus defeating Satan.

But elsewhere in the Psalms, the footnotes pan such violent imagery because the NT principle is to bless and forgive your neighbour!! I kid you not! So which is it?
Apparently whatever was "flowing from the throne of God, to Him" AKA whatever WL was in the mood to write about.
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:57 AM   #83
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Bradley,

Have you ever heard the term 'guanxi network'? That's what this looks like. We are told that God is not a respected of persons (i.e. money, authority, position, status) but the guanxi network very much recognises and uses these things - they are intrinsic to the process of network building.
Isn't that very much related to "good material" trainees are taught to seek out. Not only finding ones who have "vision for the ministry" but are also having high income potential.
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