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Old 12-21-2019, 02:47 PM   #1
MikhailianInception
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Smile A Christian Seeking Answers

Hi there,

I go by the name MikhailianInception. I'm just here because I have many questions about the Lord's Recovery/Local Church movement surrounding Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. I am new to this website. I had stumbled across this site during my research into this movement. I had also read a bit of Hank Hanegraaff's (Bible Answer Man) report on what they found in the Lord's recovery. I was in this movement for a few months in my last year of high school, but then I left due to what I felt to be sectarian and divisive behavior. Though I must admit that when it came to orthodoxy, for the most part, I still don't have problems with it. Except for secondary issues like Pre-Tribulation rapture and dispensationalism. I do not hold to those views as I do not really agree with a dispensationalist take on the Bible. It's only the orthopraxy that I have problems within the LC. I started a discussion here on this link, and you can find my list of questions and observations here - http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...ead.php?t=6494

I hope you are all having a blessed day, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Your Servant in Jesus' Name,

- M.L.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:29 PM   #2
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Here are my cards.

I am an (eastern) Orthodox Christian. I have never been a member of the LC, though I've had a fair amount of conversations with them in Orange County, California.

As to CRI and Hanegraaff, I also used to work for CRI and Hanegraaff, not long after Hanegraaff's coup to take over CRI after Martin's death.

I would tell you that you should put absolutely no stock in what Hank says on theological or philosophical matters. He has no earned degrees in any field and he has no competence in the biblical languages. All of his material is created for him by staff by and large (I witnessed this myself first hand.) or taken from other sources, and then read off a screen.

Hank drove out the vast majority of original researchers, people with actual degrees and field experience to aggrandize for himself profit. And the majority of those stand by their original assessment of the LC and Witness Lee.

The same goes for Fr. Jack Sparks and Fr. John Braun who did some of the original evaluations on the LC in the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.

I do not know whether Hank took a bribe to support the LC or whether he was duped by them. But I do know that when I worked there, Hank made deals in exchange for removing CRI's negative evaulation to do speaking engagements and we received financial contributions from those groups at the time.

You can see some of what I document here.

https://energeticprocession.wordpres...el-answer-man/

If you want to see what kind of person Hank is when he thinks he isn't being recorded, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=090a5t_Rv5c
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Old 12-21-2019, 05:20 PM   #3
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Except for secondary issues like Pre-Tribulation rapture and dispensationalism. I do not hold to those views as I do not really agree with a dispensationalist take on the Bible.
What eschatology do you hold then? I have not studied eschatology in sufficient depth to have a position in which I'm confident. So far, dispensational premillenialism is what I learned since I was raised up as a church kid.
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Old 12-21-2019, 05:41 PM   #4
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Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your response, brother! So, I am no expert, either. I just read here and there, and go through my Bible. The view I hold to is probably a Post-Tribulation. If I am not mistaken, the idea is that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ happen at the same time. I don't believe in a rapture that happens 7 years before Christ's coming, and then the tribulation happens.

As I get older though, eschatology is not the foremost thought in my mind. It is how do I best serve and love Christ during my time on earth? I remember John Wesley was once asked, "If Jesus were to come back tomorrow, what would you do?" Some Christians would probably respond by saying, “Yikes! I’d be getting on my knees, confessing every sin I know of, and cry out to God in panic mode!” But, not Wesley. He just gave a calm reply, “I’ll be doing whatever God’s been calling me to do this whole time. I’ll do my devotions in the morning, serve in the orphanage, work on the hymnbooks with my brother Charles, etc.” In other words, Wesley was just being faithful and being present with Christ. He was ready for Judgment Day. I think the true Christian does not fear Jesus’s coming. I think the true Christian wants Jesus’s coming!

When it comes to eschatology, I am reminded by Jesus' words in Matthew 24:36-44: “36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” I realized how the prediction game is completely out of question in this passage. There is no way to know, predict, or theologize the End Times. Jesus comes when you don’t expect it. Every generation has gone through wars and rumors of wars. Christians in World War II thought that Jesus was coming back in their time. It’s completely understandable as the Bible mentions wars to be one of the signs. But, there really is no way to know! Some may say that this is a cop-out explanation. In other words, we are just making excuses for why Jesus hasn’t come after two world wars and the millenniums of famine and disease. Perhaps that is the case. But, more importantly, we need to see the bigger picture. Maybe the bigger picture is to be in the present moment of our reality, and to be faithful with what we are given right now!

Much of eschatology is speculation. There's premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism, pre-trib, post-trib, etc. Who can tell which one is right or wrong? But, being faithful to Christ is what matters. How He comes or when He comes is secondary? When He does come, the only question He will ask us all on the Day, "Who do you say that I am?"

May the Lord bless you, brother, and keep you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy (Jude 24-25).

Your Servant in Jesus' Name,

- M.L.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:51 AM   #5
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Here are my cards.

I am an (eastern) Orthodox Christian. I have never been a member of the LC, though I've had a fair amount of conversations with them in Orange County, California.

As to CRI and Hanegraaff, I also used to work for CRI and Hanegraaff, not long after Hanegraaff's coup to take over CRI after Martin's death.

I would tell you that you should put absolutely no stock in what Hank says on theological or philosophical matters. He has no earned degrees in any field and he has no competence in the biblical languages. All of his material is created for him by staff by and large (I witnessed this myself first hand.) or taken from other sources, and then read off a screen.

Hank drove out the vast majority of original researchers, people with actual degrees and field experience to aggrandize for himself profit. And the majority of those stand by their original assessment of the LC and Witness Lee.

The same goes for Fr. Jack Sparks and Fr. John Braun who did some of the original evaluations on the LC in the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.

I do not know whether Hank took a bribe to support the LC or whether he was duped by them. But I do know that when I worked there, Hank made deals in exchange for removing CRI's negative evaulation to do speaking engagements and we received financial contributions from those groups at the time.

You can see some of what I document here.

https://energeticprocession.wordpres...el-answer-man/

If you want to see what kind of person Hank is when he thinks he isn't being recorded, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=090a5t_Rv5c
Hi Acolyte,

Thank you for sharing with me this link. Although it's a long read and I haven't started yet. I watched the YouTube video, which was pretty disturbing I did, however, read this on your website - https://energeticprocession.wordpres...cri-documents/

This letter contains some pretty damning stuff about Hank Hanegraaff. So, he was really that incompetent in terms of theology and apologetics? The letter also alleged that the way he treated his staff was like that of a tantrum.

Question for you: Did Hank Hanegraaff write "We Were Wrong" in the CRI journal (about the Lord's Recovery) to prevent his ministry from being sued? I know that's a theory I have because of the way the LC was suing Evangelical Churches for defamation. Was it a bribe?

Were you ever a part of the Lord's Recovery movement, Acolyte?

Thank you,

- M.L.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:55 AM   #6
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I do not know whether Hank took a bribe to support the LC or whether he was duped by them. But I do know that when I worked there, Hank made deals in exchange for removing CRI's negative evaluation to do speaking engagements and we received financial contributions from those groups at the time.
Thanks for confirming what we already knew.
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:19 AM   #7
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Hi Acolyte,

Thank you for sharing with me this link. Although it's a long read and I haven't started yet. I watched the YouTube video, which was pretty disturbing I did, however, read this on your website - https://energeticprocession.wordpres...cri-documents/

This letter contains some pretty damning stuff about Hank Hanegraaff. So, he was really that incompetent in terms of theology and apologetics? The letter also alleged that the way he treated his staff was like that of a tantrum.

Question for you: Did Hank Hanegraaff write "We Were Wrong" in the CRI journal (about the Lord's Recovery) to prevent his ministry from being sued? I know that's a theory I have because of the way the LC was suing Evangelical Churches for defamation. Was it a bribe?

Were you ever a part of the Lord's Recovery movement, Acolyte?

Thank you,

- M.L.
Yes, Hank was pretty clueless. I worked in the radio studio for about a year so I could see what was happening in real time. Shows had to be edited because Hank made major theological mistakes that the regulars on the show did not make. Or those shows had so many errors in them that their recordings were never made public.

And he is not formally educated. Everything is memorized, which is why if you get him off what he has memorized, he is helpless. This is why he doesn't do debates. He did one debate I think in 2011 on the date of Revelation and got annihilated. He can't debate because he can't construct an argument and he never bothered to become educated in that or any related field. To my knowledge he has one year of undergrad education at Calvin College and then dropped out.

For example, Hank used to always say that the members of the Trinity were "separate." Well that would make them three Gods. He knew practically nothing about church history as well. I recall one caller who was a Wiccan who called in and was blasting Hank about the Crusades. Hank didn't even know when they took place.

And then of course all the calls now are highly screened. And he has a computer he can look up material in advance and just read from or for the monologues he has a teleprompter, so it is all pretty much fake. The callers are real, but it is the same basic stuff over and over again. On top of that, the vast majority of the research staff have been eliminated by the late 90's

That letter was written by Mike Stephens who was the head of the Broadcast dept, so he was higher level staff so he got to see more of Hank behind closed doors, but other senior staff report the same thing. There are about another three dozen letters just like that.

Yes, I have read Elliot's piece, but I thought it was pretty weak. The irony is that Jack Sparks and Jon Braun who did the original work on the LC became Orthodox priests, and I know for a fact that they never changed their position about the LC. And of course, Hank's own church considers the LC as heterodox as well, and that is even if everything in the Journal piece is true and exculpatory.

I don't think the shift was due to the threat of litigation. I think Paul Young got duped, I think Hank saw an opportunity for include a group he could squeeze in and make some money at the same time. That is his typical MO in my experience.

If memory serves, CRI's income spiked in 2009 to 9 million from about 5. I don't know in this case where that extra 4 million came from, but I do know when I was there int he early 1990's that when a deal was made, members of a given group would flood CRI with donations. It was a convenient way to cloak the transfer of funds.

And no, I was never a member of the LC.
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:51 AM   #8
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Is Haneraaff still even on the radio? I haven't heard him here in the Phoenix area for some time. The call-in "answer" brother who I now hear frequently on local Christian radio is Steve Gregg (The Narrow Path), who is pretty doggone good and who I find much more palatable. Bro Steve seems to have a pretty in-depth knowledge of scripture and I agree with him about 95% of the time. (which makes him alright in my book! )
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:36 AM   #9
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Is Haneraaff still even on the radio? I haven't heard him here in the Phoenix area for some time. The call-in "answer" brother who I now hear frequently on local Christian radio is Steve Gregg (The Narrow Path), who is pretty doggone good and who I find much more palatable. Bro Steve seems to have a pretty in-depth knowledge of scripture and I agree with him about 95% of the time. (which makes him alright in my book! )
Yes, he has a handful of radio stations left. As to Steve Gregg, I have no idea what his qualifications could be. Honestly, if you read good books, then you don't need such persons.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:44 AM   #10
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Yes, he has a handful of radio stations left. As to Steve Gregg, I have no idea what his qualifications could be. Honestly, if you read good books, then you don't need such persons.
IMHO - someone with a living relationship with the Lord who also knows how to rightly divide the word, far outweighs someone with a degree! If they have both, then that's great.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:24 PM   #11
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IMHO - someone with a living relationship with the Lord who also knows how to rightly divide the word, far outweighs someone with a degree! If they have both, then that's great.
Well the former is rather subjective. Second, holiness doesn't make someone knowledgeable. Mary was holy and yet she made mistakes when it came to knowing things. In the realm of knowledge, demonstration is king. Training puts one in a position to provide reliable demonstrations.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:39 PM   #12
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Put the matter this way. The reason why have silly sects like the LC is because people put way too much stock in subjective appeals rather than what someone could in fact demonstrate through clear reasoning whether that be principled arguments or historical arguments.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:56 PM   #13
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Well the former is rather subjective. Second, holiness doesn't make someone knowledgeable. Mary was holy and yet she made mistakes when it came to knowing things. In the realm of knowledge, demonstration is king. Training puts one in a position to provide reliable demonstrations.
The Pharisees were quite knowledgeable about scripture, but not knowing the Author very well caused them to err significantly.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:14 PM   #14
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The Pharisees were quite knowledgeable about scripture, but not knowing the Author very well caused them to err significantly.
If my memory serves me, Jesus was on record saying, "You err, not knowing scripture." Not, "You err, knowing scripture but not subjectively knowing the Author of scripture."

The truth is that people have such feeble and faint knowledge of scripture that they are easy prey for charlatans and con-men like Hanegraaf and Lee, who also don't know scripture but can make a living pretending they do. In Hank's case, a nice living - I've seen the numbers.

Here's an interesting question - how many hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of hours of free labour did Witness Lee get, all to prop up his self-publishing business? As crass and money-grubbing as HH appears, in reality he has nothing on WL, whose minions feted HH out of the petty cash box.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:21 PM   #15
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If my memory serves me, Jesus was on record saying, "You err, not knowing scripture." Not, "You err, knowing scripture but not subjectively knowing the Author of scripture."

The truth is that people have such feeble and faint knowledge of scripture that they are easy prey for charlatans and con-men like Hanegraaf and Lee, who also don't know scripture but can make a living pretending they do. In Hank's case, a nice living - I've seen the numbers.
Yes, but don't you think that's the implication? He said many times that they didn't really know God. And how about this - "You search the scriptures but you will not come to Me?"
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:38 PM   #16
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Yes, but don't you think that's the implication? He said many times that they didn't really know God. And how about this - "You search the scriptures but you will not come to Me?"
Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God." ~Matt 22:29

I think the implication is ignorance. But its ignorance of the worst kind, that of those who think they aren't ignorant, simply because they can cite a few more verses than the unlettered folk. Relative to most Galileans they aren't ignorant (cf Acts 4:13), but Jesus isn't most Galileans. "And they were astonished at his teaching", not merely in its subjective passion but in its wisdom.

I'm an extremely ignorant man. But I'm not so ignorant, today, that I allow a charlatan to tell me that I'm wise. Lee duped me, once. You know what they say, "Fool me once..."
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:10 PM   #17
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Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God." ~Matt 22:29

I think the implication is ignorance. But its ignorance of the worst kind, that of those who think they aren't ignorant, simply because they can cite a few more verses than the unlettered folk. Relative to most Galileans they aren't ignorant (cf Acts 4:13), but Jesus isn't most Galileans. "And they were astonished at his teaching", not merely in its subjective passion but in its wisdom.

I'm an extremely ignorant man. But I'm not so ignorant, today, that I allow a charlatan to tell me that I'm wise. Lee duped me, once. You know what they say, "Fool me once..."
They didn't know God, and Jesus said if they had, they would have known the One He sent. Without knowing God, they couldn't rightly divide scripture.
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:14 PM   #18
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The Pharisees were quite knowledgeable about scripture, but not knowing the Author very well caused them to err significantly.
Well, I never said that knowledge was a sufficient condition for being correct. My point was that it helps to weed out all kinds of mistakes, not that it weeds out every kind of mistake. this is why your example doesn't touch my point, which was if people would put more stock in things that could be demonstrated rather than subjective claims of the Spirit doing this or that, we would not have the LC and other sects.

Act 17:2

And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

1Ti 4:16

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:35 AM   #19
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They didn't know God, and Jesus said if they had, they would have known the One He sent. Without knowing God, they couldn't rightly divide scripture.
I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Jesus didn't say, "You know scripture but don't know God", or "You know scripture but don't rightly divide it."

Scripture revealed God, and Jesus as incarnate Word did as well. But if they knew scripture they would have recognized Messiah, plainly foretold. There are many positive instances of this in the gospels, from the infancy narratives on up. The epistles confirm this. ~Rom 1:2

The crime of the Pharisees wasn't that they were ignorant but that they thought that they were wise. This conceit allowed them some place among their fellows, but it became a major stumbling when they met Jesus.

"Lord, when did we see you sick?"

"When you saw these, the least of my brothers".

Scripture plainly showed how to treat the poor and the feeble. It's in many of the "low" and "natural concepts" sections that Lee dismissed. He wasn't interested in "works" but in "grace", or his version thereof. But the scripture clearly showed grace, in Jesus reaching out to those who society rejected as unfit and unclean. It was foretold, it was fulfilled, and it was expected that we would follow.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:52 AM   #20
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My point was that knowledge helps to weed out all kinds of mistakes, not that it weeds out every kind of mistake. This is why your example doesn't touch my point, which was if people would put more stock in things that could be demonstrated rather than subjective claims of the Spirit doing this or that, we would not have the LC and other sects.
I was immersed in the LC for years, and under the thrall of their thinking. But I had several conversations on the way out (not realising they were 'exit interviews' at the time) which illuminated what I was dealing with.

You see, I'd recently begun "enjoying God" outside of the LSM literature. I'd actually been in experientially immersed scripture apart from what they called the "interpreted word" of Witness Lee's commentaries. I'd sensed Jesus' Holy Spirit there, and was now sharing this new enjoyment in a meeting. ("He's new and fresh, available and near" went the LC song) As I shared, the group leader's face became grim, and he silently looked ahead. The other ones froze, paralyzed. I didn't realise at the time but I'd strayed off ministry ground.

I thought the whole affair odd at the time, even strikingly so, but it wasn't until years later that I began to appreciate to what extent that scripture in the LC was merely used to support ministry doctrines. There were a number of 'special verses' in the LC, of which most readers here will be familiar. These "prove" the LC themes. Then the mass of scripture is covered, in order to be lined up. And whatever scripture couldn't be lined up got dismissed as "fallen" and so forth. (Which portion of scripture was a lot larger than most appreciated)

And underneath the doctrine were a few immutable themes:

1. Don't ask questions
2. Do what you are told
3. Even when leadership is wrong, they are right.
4. Etc

Scripture in this case was merely a prop. Waved when useful, ignored or even rejected when not. So, for example, "oneness" in LC parlance actually meant, Obey leadership. Being "in spirit" meant repetitively shouting verses, footnotes, song stanzas, outline bullet points. And so forth. This forum exists because the "real LC" needed to be teased out of its entanglement with scripture.

Back to Acolyte4236 point above. Knowledge of scripture in and of itself doesn't guarantee success in the Christian journey. But it affords a kind of protection, or defense, against shysters like Lee and Hanegraaf, who'd drag us off. And that's a good thing. The journey continues.
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:49 AM   #21
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Good testimony of your experience, Aron - "enjoying God" outside of LSM!

We've brought this up a lot in my ekklesia - I believe we need three things to go on in our walk with Him:

1. 1 on 1 time with the Lord
2. His Word
3. Fellowship with the saints

Without any of these three aspects, before long my ship is headed for the rocks.
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