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Old 05-04-2018, 10:09 AM   #1
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Question How I got here, and what is this place?

Hi, I was doing a google search on Bill Freeman whilst reading one of his books. Love to find out more about authors. This website was a link. I believe I did read the thread. However, I didn't know what any of it was about...the LCM, Lee and Nee (though I have heard of them). I'm always on the search for works from saints past....the Christian mystics...if you will, that draw by heart closer to Jesus and to his Bride.

So, I'm wondering what the purpose of this board is and is it fulfilling that purpose? This is all new information to me on a 'leg' of the church I've not explored before. What I'm looking for is the discussion and inspiration from the teachings of the movement.

I am curious to know if this denomination/fellowship is still active?
And, what works from these men of God and their followers do you recommend?
Is it a cult?
Are you here for it or against it?

Thanks for hearing me out,
Mrsflib
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #2
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I am curious to know if this denomination/fellowship is still active?
And, what works from these men of God and their followers do you recommend?
Is it a cult?
Are you here for it or against it?
I can't speak for everyone hear, and I myself aren't active a lot, but I've watched the forum for a while and here's what I get.

This forum is still very much active. It has a number of core contributors, with new members such as yourself arriving often enough to keep it interesting.
Few people here would "recommend" their work and in fact take issue with the focus on their work within the Local Church.
In general most people here is against the Local Church and would advise you to avoid it, though there are others who take a lot of time defending the alternative view.
Some people here would argue that it is a cult. Others would be use slightly softer language, but still think it dangerous.
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: How I got here, and what is this place?

Here's the problem I have with the 'mystical' thing today. It suckers you in, and at some point you are violating common sense, scripture, your conscience. Because your "feeling" says to.

In the local churches of LSM/Witness Lee they call it "flavor". If something has the right "flavor" they approve of it. It's wholly subjective that I can see, and men even with relatively "good" hearts (i.e. seeking God in Christ Jesus) can get fooled.

Now in the LSM/Witness Lee NoName Church they are all about "seeing the church" from what their documents show. Now they have the "four-in-one" God. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Church which is His Body and Bride.

Now instead of seeing Jesus they see themselves, the Church Glorious. Deceived is what I think. They have left the safeguard of the common fellowship and the common truth plainly revealed. The gospel has Jesus Christ raised from the dead on the third day, faith in this producing repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life.

If it was all about the Church His Body and His Bride then why did Luther leave the RCC? That is the RCC objection to Luther. "So what if we made mistakes. We are the church. Nobody comes to Jesus except by us." If Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for Her, then why does the Church love the Church? That's what I see in the LC meetings. It's all about the Hive, the Collective. One man's subjectivity (Nee) spread over thousands (Bill Freeman, Witness Lee, Titus Chu, Dong Yu Lan).

In Witness Lee's "Divine and Mystical Realm" you got pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo. I don't know about Bill Freeman, but his wife Patsy certainly drew some comments. Is that directly related to the esoteric pursuit? Probably.

Stay safe, friend. That's my take.

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. This is our faith. Don't leave it for mysticism. The resurrection is deep, deep, deep. You can never plumb it.
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:21 PM   #4
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Here's the problem I have with the 'mystical' thing today. It suckers you in, and at some point you are violating common sense, scripture, your conscience. Because your "feeling" says to.
I'm with you. Mysticism leads you to believe you have a unique revelation or knowledge that most others haven't received. In Christianity it's also known as gnosticism. With this special "revelation" you become isolated from the rest of the believers because now you "feel" more spiritual.

First it starts off with beliefs like "we need to free ourselves from the rest of ignorant Christianity". Then it snowballs into a belief that you need to free yourself from "religion" altogether because religion and spirituality cannot coexist. That's not what scripture teaches, btw (James 1:27). Before you know it you're free from Christ and the Holy Spirit.

There's also the "spirit" of Anti-Christ so it is possible to be very "spiritual" yet be following the wrong spirit.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:20 PM   #5
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I'm with you. Mysticism leads you to believe you have a unique revelation or knowledge that most others haven't received. In Christianity it's also known as gnosticism. With this special "revelation" you become isolated from the rest of the believers because now you "feel" more spiritual.

First it starts off with beliefs like "we need to free ourselves from the rest of ignorant Christianity". Then it snowballs into a belief that you need to free yourself from "religion" altogether because religion and spirituality cannot coexist. That's not what scripture teaches, btw (James 1:27). Before you know it you're free from Christ and the Holy Spirit.

There's also the "spirit" of Anti-Christ so it is possible to be very "spiritual" yet be following the wrong spirit.
Your statement about mysticism and Gnosticism is incorrect. Mysticism seeks oneness with God. Gnosticism rejects the physical world in favor of the supernatural. So mysticism is not "also known as gnosticism".

"Mysticism leads you to believe you have a unique revelation or knowledge that most others haven't received."

Each person has an individual experience of Christ. Even Paul had a different experience to Peter, etc. Each of the disciples had a unique revelation about Christ than the others. This is why there are 4 gospels - each one sees Christ from a slightly different perspective.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:30 PM   #6
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Your statement about mysticism and Gnosticism is incorrect. Mysticism seeks oneness with God. Gnosticism rejects the physical world in favor of the supernatural. So mysticism is not "also known as gnosticism".

"Mysticism leads you to believe you have a unique revelation or knowledge that most others haven't received."

Each person has an individual experience of Christ. Even Paul had a different experience to Peter, etc. Each of the disciples had a unique revelation about Christ than the others. This is why there are 4 gospels - each one sees Christ from a slightly different perspective.
Do the four gospels teach 4 different Christ's? Isn't it the same death, burial, and resurrection in all four? Gnosticism/mysticism teach a different gospel altogether. With a different gospel comes a different Jesus and with a different Jesus comes a different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Since you use wikipedia as an authority in your arguments, here is a snippet from their website;

"Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception. In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine."
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:59 AM   #7
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Do the four gospels teach 4 different Christ's? Isn't it the same death, burial, and resurrection in all four? Gnosticism/mysticism teach a different gospel altogether. With a different gospel comes a different Jesus and with a different Jesus comes a different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Since you use wikipedia as an authority in your arguments, here is a snippet from their website;

"Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception. In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine."
It's not saying what you said. "mysticism.. is also known as gnosticism"
That's not correct. Mysticism is not the same as Gnosticism, they are different things.

Gnosticism does involve mysticism and that's what the wikipedia says. But mysticism is not Gnosticism. Christian mysticism has nothing to do with Gnosticism unless it denies Jesus coming in the flesh (in which case it is not Christian at all). But Gnosticism does involve mysticism. And there is no such thing as "Christian gnosticism" because they are mutually exclusive systems of belief.

To explain more clearly - mysticism is found in all religions and is a broad term. So there is Jewish mysticism, Christian mysticism, Muslim mysticism etc. But Gnosticism is another religion/belief system - and so there is Gnostic mysticism.
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:15 AM   #8
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Here's the problem I have with the 'mystical' thing today. It suckers you in, and at some point you are violating common sense, scripture, your conscience. Because your "feeling" says to.

In the local churches of LSM/Witness Lee they call it "flavor". If something has the right "flavor" they approve of it. It's wholly subjective that I can see, and men even with relatively "good" hearts (i.e. seeking God in Christ Jesus) can get fooled.

Now in the LSM/Witness Lee NoName Church they are all about "seeing the church" from what their documents show. Now they have the "four-in-one" God. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Church which is His Body and Bride.

Now instead of seeing Jesus they see themselves, the Church Glorious. Deceived is what I think. They have left the safeguard of the common fellowship and the common truth plainly revealed. The gospel has Jesus Christ raised from the dead on the third day, faith in this producing repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life.

If it was all about the Church His Body and His Bride then why did Luther leave the RCC? That is the RCC objection to Luther. "So what if we made mistakes. We are the church. Nobody comes to Jesus except by us." If Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for Her, then why does the Church love the Church? That's what I see in the LC meetings. It's all about the Hive, the Collective. One man's subjectivity (Nee) spread over thousands (Bill Freeman, Witness Lee, Titus Chu, Dong Yu Lan).

In Witness Lee's "Divine and Mystical Realm" you got pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo. I don't know about Bill Freeman, but his wife Patsy certainly drew some comments. Is that directly related to the esoteric pursuit? Probably.

Stay safe, friend. That's my take.

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. This is our faith. Don't leave it for mysticism. The resurrection is deep, deep, deep. You can never plumb it.
Paul the apostle was subjective. He was possibly the first major Christian mystic. He had trances, visions and wrote about his oneness with God. Unlike James who wrote about practical matters.

John who wrote Revelation was also a mystic, else the book would be quite less subjective than it is.

Actually I think that Lee, Nee and the local churches are far less mystic than Pentecostalism, for example. How many prophesying meetings start with "I had a dream or vision last night..." very few indeed... but these things are common in Pentecostal churches.
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:11 AM   #9
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Paul the apostle was subjective. He was possibly the first major Christian mystic. He had trances, visions and wrote about his oneness with God. Unlike James who wrote about practical matters.

John who wrote Revelation was also a mystic, else the book would be quite less subjective than it is.

Actually I think that Lee, Nee and the local churches are far less mystic than Pentecostalism, for example. How many prophesying meetings start with "I had a dream or vision last night..." very few indeed...
but these things are common in Pentecostal churches.
I never saw that.

I've been to hundreds of meetings.
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:25 AM   #10
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I never saw that.

I've been to hundreds of meetings.
No one ever shared about what God spoke to them or showed them ?
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:16 AM   #11
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No one ever shared about what God spoke to them or showed them ?
I see you have now changed your question to include all Christian gatherings.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:01 AM   #12
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It's not saying what you said. "mysticism.. is also known as gnosticism"
You conveniently left out this part, "Within Christianity, mysticism is also known as gnosticism".

In the context of religion, they are the same and interchangable.

None of the apostles were mystics. They didn't have to "practice" the presence of God. His presence is already in all those born of him.

Mysticism is New Age thought. This is not what Christ taught. It's a heretical belief meaning it leads you away for the Jesus of the bible and to another "Jesus" or gospel.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:05 AM   #13
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Totally agree with Evangelical.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:16 AM   #14
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Well this took off in a different direction! About mystics and how I meant it. I mean that our relationship with God, our interaction with Him is mysteriously beautiful. There are those saints both past and present who communicate well this other-worldly, transcendent relationship we call Christianity. Their works draw me closer to Jesus and more obedient to Him. Like; the N.T. writers, especially John, Tozer, Thomas Kelly, E. Stanley Jones and thousands of others. That's ALL I was saying.

Blessings,
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:36 AM   #15
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Well this took off in a different direction! About mystics and how I meant it. I mean that our relationship with God, our interaction with Him is mysteriously beautiful. There are those saints both past and present who communicate well this other-worldly, transcendent relationship we call Christianity. Their works draw me closer to Jesus and more obedient to Him. Like; the N.T. writers, especially John, Tozer, Thomas Kelly, E. Stanley Jones and thousands of others. That's ALL I was saying.

Blessings,
Fliberty
Welcome to the forum, Mrsflib!

Since this is your thread, you can take it any direction you would like.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:28 PM   #16
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Paul the apostle was subjective. He was possibly the first major Christian mystic.
If Paul's mysticism superseded that of Jesus Christ I would object. Witness Lee, by forcing the contents of his visions on others, showed that he was a fake. A fraud.

There are lots of Christian mystics out there. Not all of them are from God. Beware.

Another way to put it -- Jesus was a mystic; God raised him from the dead on the third day. Check. John was a mystic; he hung out with Jesus for 3+ years. Leaned on his breast, &c. Check. Paul had similar tendecies; he got the right hand of fellowship from the twelve. Check. Witness Who?
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:35 PM   #17
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If Paul's mysticism superseded that of Jesus Christ I would object. Witness Lee, by forcing the contents of his visions on others, showed that he was a fake. A fraud.

There are lots of Christian mystics out there. Not all of them are from God. Beware.
Aron, I'd argue that a Christian practicing mysticism isn't being Christian at all, or at the very least that their beliefs influenced by mysticism are not from God.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:52 PM   #18
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Aron, I'd argue that a Christian practicing mysticism isn't being Christian at all, or at the very least that their beliefs influenced by mysticism are not from God.
Jo S, I hear the Shepherd's voice when I read scripture. It is very inviting. It truly draws me.

I have no problem with a "personal touch" from the Lord. But if that produces bad fruit, you have been deceived. Judging others, calling scripture "fallen", lifting oneself above one's peers, I could go on and on. And they gather in homes and hold up this man's books, and read from them, as if somehow the contents impart some "secret sauce" into their lives.

Witness Lee isn't the only "prophet turned profit", either. As such it's probably instructional, in considering his case and the captive churches under his thrall. At least, folks should be warned.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:03 PM   #19
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Well this took off in a different direction! About mystics and how I meant it. I mean that our relationship with God, our interaction with Him is mysteriously beautiful. There are those saints both past and present who communicate well this other-worldly, transcendent relationship we call Christianity. Their works draw me closer to Jesus and more obedient to Him. Like; the N.T. writers, especially John, Tozer, Thomas Kelly, E. Stanley Jones and thousands of others. That's ALL I was saying.

Blessings,
Fliberty
Jesus spoke of His relationship with the Father. AND (sorry but I simply had to all-cap) He spoke of this relationship presaged in scripture. See e.g. Luke 18:31; 22:37; 24:44; Rom 1:1,2. . . I could spend the rest of my life looking at the Psalms alone. I haven't even started Isaiah!!

Nothing wrong with being a bit loopy. I enjoy it. But I don't make my subjective experiences the required basis of church fellowship. Witness Lee did, so I say beware of such starry-eyed folk. They may be looking at wandering stars.

As far as Bill and Patsy Freeman, I never met him nor read his work, but they say that Patsy was the power behind the throne. She ran the show, and Bill was the resident mystic-in-chief. I've heard this from several, who posted of their experiences there.

Question: was "Sister Lee" the real power behind the Lee Empire? Did she put a bee in Lee's bonnet regarding sons Timothy & Philip, to siphon off resources to the family? In LSM-land, they tell no tales. But I will say this, Lee was mystic-in-chief, and if you followed him, you got both the highs and the lows. I'll pass.

Let me give a hint: we never even knew "Sister Lee's" name. Witness was up front. She was behind the curtain doing something.

Patsy Freeman's error was that she didn't hide her meddling.

Anyway, that's where 'spirituality' will take you if you're not careful. So be careful. God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day. Like I said, you will never plumb this depth.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:34 PM   #20
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Jo S, I hear the Shepherd's voice when I read scripture. It is very inviting. It truly draws me.

I have no problem with a "personal touch" from the Lord. But if that produces bad fruit, you have been deceived. Judging others, calling scripture "fallen", lifting oneself above one's peers, I could go on and on. And they gather in homes and hold up this man's books, and read from them, as if somehow the contents impart some "secret sauce" into their lives.

Witness Lee isn't the only "prophet turned profit", either. As such it's probably instructional, in considering his case and the captive churches under his thrall. At least, folks should be warned.
I was referring to the practice of getting yourself into a state of some sort in order to hear his voice. Mysticism is more or less imposing your own will on the "lord" and forcing him to speak to you. When the Lord wants to speak to you, he will. And when he does, you'll know it.

If you need to work to get into his presence then you're getting into something else altogether. Those that have his Holy Spirit don't need to practice to hear his voice. Faith and trust in him is sufficient.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:35 AM   #21
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You conveniently left out this part, "Within Christianity, mysticism is also known as gnosticism".

In the context of religion, they are the same and interchangable.
There is no such thing as "gnosticism within Christianity". It's a different religion, as I explained before. Any gnostics within Christianity are not Christians. Also, gnostics accept the "gnostic gospels". The local churches definitely reject the gnostic gospels. This is further proof that the local churches are not involved with gnosticism.


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None of the apostles were mystics. They didn't have to "practice" the presence of God. His presence is already in all those born of him.
You have a point. Also, isn't His presence already in every person (not just those born of him)? Isn't God omnipresent ?

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Mysticism is New Age thought. This is not what Christ taught. It's a heretical belief meaning it leads you away for the Jesus of the bible and to another "Jesus" or gospel.
New age Mysticism is New age thought.
Christian mysticism is Christian thought.
Gnostic mysticism is Gnostic thought.
Islamic mysticism is Islam thought.
etc
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:55 AM   #22
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There is no such thing as "gnosticism within Christianity". It's a different religion, as I explained before. Any gnostics within Christianity are not Christians. Also, gnostics accept the "gnostic gospels". The local churches definitely reject the gnostic gospels. This is further proof that the local churches are not involved with gnosticism.

Gnosticism is a system of thought or philosophy that's exclusive to Christianity and incorporated in existing Christian theology. Similar systems or philosophies exist outside of Christianity but they are called different things. New Ageism, Buddhism, ect...Gnosticism isn't a seperate religion. Religion requires the worship of a specific diety or dieties.

Quote:
You have a point. Also, isn't His presence already in every person (not just those born of him)? Isn't God omnipresent ?
If God is omnipotent, does he have the ability to restrict himself if he chose to? The things that make you go, Hmmmm...

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New age Mysticism is New age thought.
Christian mysticism is Christian thought.
Gnostic mysticism is Gnostic thought.
Islamic mysticism is Islam thought.
etc
This would be more accurate;

New age Mysticism is New age thought.
Christian mysticism is gnosticism.
"Gnostic mysticism" is non-existent. There's no such thing and is a contradiction of terms.
Islamic mysticism is Sufism.

The one thing they all have in common is they're all systems that lead you away from the truth.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:46 PM   #23
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I'm with you. Mysticism leads you to believe you have a unique revelation or knowledge that most others haven't received. In Christianity it's also known as gnosticism. With this special "revelation" you become isolated from the rest of the believers because now you "feel" more spiritual.

First it starts off with beliefs like "we need to free ourselves from the rest of ignorant Christianity". Then it snowballs into a belief that you need to free yourself from "religion" altogether because religion and spirituality cannot coexist. That's not what scripture teaches, btw (James 1:27). Before you know it you're free from Christ and the Holy Spirit.

There's also the "spirit" of Anti-Christ so it is possible to be very "spiritual" yet be following the wrong spirit.
My experience with mysticism brought me closer to Christ and God. Sorry about yours. It did lead me into all kinds of mysticism, that was interesting but I didn't get into.
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:59 PM   #24
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My experience with mysticism brought me closer to Christ and God. Sorry about yours. It did lead me into all kinds of mysticism, that was interesting but I didn't get into.
Our definitions of Mysticism may differ so let me try to clarify what I mean when I use the term . I believe dictionary.com gives an accurate description.

According to their definition; Mysticism is "the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender."

The problem with using this method within Christianity is that you essentially turn the gaining of spiritual knowledge into a work. This is no different then systems in eastern mysticism which teach that enlightenment comes through the practice of meditation. It's the same approach.

As Christians, we receive knowledge through revelation by faith and not by contemplation. Faith gives control of what knowledge is given to a believer over to God. He choses when and what to reveal to his people. Working yourself into an elevated state of consciousness is basically you trusting in your own abilities and judgment.

You were right to assume I had experience with mysticism. Just like the fruit in the garden, to me it looked wonderful and tasted great but in the end it seperated me from the Lord.

At first I thought I was drawing closer to him judging by all this new "knowledge" I was receiving, but it was all a very convincing lie. Paul was right, Satan effectively masquerades as an angel of light. If you don't accept my testimony, then atleast test your own beliefs against mine in prayer and with scripture.

Through my own experience, I've come to realize that Gnosticism (meaning Christian mysticism) is to Christianity what Kabbalism is to Judaism. Both are the places you end up in when you turn away from the God of Heaven but desire to remain "spiritual".

Coincidentally I found that it's a desire to be "more spiritual" apart from God that traps you in these systems. Not that I wanted to be apart from the Lord, but as I started trusting more and more in my own abilities that became the inevitable result.

Having the Holy Spirit is all you need in being a spiritual Christian. For whatever reason, we tend to always complicate things and that includes our faith. Christianity is supposed to be really simple.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:25 PM   #25
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Great response bro Jo S.

"the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect" reminded me of "brother get out of your mind, and turn to you spirit."

When I was in the LC, Lee spoke of the Christian mystic Madame Guyon. Apparently both Lee and Nee thought a great deal of her. So I bought and read her book "Madame Guyon" <-click. It was okay.

Years after the LC I got into the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart.

Neither of them were Gnostics.

And I find meditation to be much like prayer. Methinks a little contemplation can help in the Christian walk.

But to each his own.

Thanks again Jo S. Blessings ...
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:43 PM   #26
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Gnosticism is a system of thought or philosophy that's exclusive to Christianity and incorporated in existing Christian theology. Similar systems or philosophies exist outside of Christianity but they are called different things. New Ageism, Buddhism, ect...Gnosticism isn't a seperate religion. Religion requires the worship of a specific diety or dieties.
If God is omnipotent, does he have the ability to restrict himself if he chose to? The things that make you go, Hmmmm...
This would be more accurate;
New age Mysticism is New age thought.
Christian mysticism is gnosticism.
"Gnostic mysticism" is non-existent. There's no such thing and is a contradiction of terms.
Islamic mysticism is Sufism.
The one thing they all have in common is they're all systems that lead you away from the truth.
Gnosticism is essentially incorporation of Greek philosophy (Platoism) into any religious system. Mysticism on the other hand is how one approaches their relationship with God. I think you are using the term gnosticism to refer only to the movement within Christianity (and earlier, in Judaism). Then, you are confusing this unorthodox movement with mysticism which has never been outcast from orthodox Christianity.

When we compare the beliefs and teachings of the Gnostics in Christianity they are miles apart from what Lee/Nee taught. Denial of the incarnation etc. Mysticism on the other hand is orthodox. There is nothing which mysticism teaches that contradicts the Bible. It doesn't challenge the nature of God or the incarnation. Contemplation and self surrender are both biblical concepts. The Bible mentions many types of prayer and mysticism is a different way of praying and approaching God, nothing more.

You can't just compare apples (gnosticism) to oranges (mysticism) and claim that because both are round fruits they are the same thing.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:12 PM   #27
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I am curious to know if this denomination/fellowship is still active?
And, what works from these men of God and their followers do you recommend?
Is it a cult?
Are you here for it or against it?

Thanks for hearing me out,
Mrsflib
My personal opinion (as I can only speak for myself) is that it is a cult, and it will damage you if you join. Its still very active, I think a lot of people in the group are really passionate about Jesus and I respect that but there's a price to pay - many really - for being in it. You become weird, you lose social skills, you are kept from the opposite sex, you are taught not to think for yourself etc there are lots of reasons why its a really unhealthy thing to be a part of. I've been out for about a year and I'm still recovering.

Many of the members love it and would gladly give their life to it (like I did years earlier), overlooking issues like the ones that motivated me to leave and call it a cult. Thats their decision and I don't feel the need to dissuade them.

One of my good friends recently returned to the group after years of calling it a cult and actively 'buries his head in the sand', refusing to listen to anything I have to say on the matter, only wanting to listen to 'life'. I think its sad, but he thinks it sad that I let the negative things stop me from enjoying the 'ministry'. He thinks I'm poisoned and leprous, I think he's brain-washed and ignorant. We can't get on well unless we promise to avoid discussing it.

Likewise, you'll see a lot of bickering on this forum. Lots of very different opinions, fueled by very strong emotions. Don't let it put you off.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:46 PM   #28
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Gnosticism is essentially incorporation of Greek philosophy (Platoism) into any religious system. Mysticism on the other hand is how one approaches their relationship with God. I think you are using the term gnosticism to refer only to the movement within Christianity (and earlier, in Judaism). Then, you are confusing this unorthodox movement with mysticism which has never been outcast from orthodox Christianity.

When we compare the beliefs and teachings of the Gnostics in Christianity they are miles apart from what Lee/Nee taught. Denial of the incarnation etc. Mysticism on the other hand is orthodox. There is nothing which mysticism teaches that contradicts the Bible. It doesn't challenge the nature of God or the incarnation. Contemplation and self surrender are both biblical concepts. The Bible mentions many types of prayer and mysticism is a different way of praying and approaching God, nothing more.

You can't just compare apples (gnosticism) to oranges (mysticism) and claim that because both are round fruits they are the same thing.
Here is an exerpt from gotquestions.org which is a statement that I agree with;

"Second, Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.” Gnostics claim to possess a higher knowledge, not from the Bible, but acquired on some mystical higher plane of existence. Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God."

I believe the teaching within the LC is called the "high peak truths".

This isn't about comparing apples to oranges. It's understanding that the apple has multiple parts which make up the whole.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:07 PM   #29
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Here is an exerpt from gotquestions.org which is a statement that I agree with;

"Second, Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.” Gnostics claim to possess a higher knowledge, not from the Bible, but acquired on some mystical higher plane of existence. Gnostics see themselves as a privileged class elevated above everybody else by their higher, deeper knowledge of God."

I believe the teaching within the LC is called the "high peak truths".

This isn't about comparing apples to oranges. It's understanding that the apple has multiple parts which make up the whole.
Just because gnostics take a mystical approach does not mean mysticism in Christianity is gnosticism. Note that the mystical approach in gnosticism is different - gnostics use mysticism to replace the literal truth of the Bible and do not take it literally. They deny John who wrote Jesus came in the flesh, directly contradicting the Bible. Christian mystics on the other hand, reinforce and uphold the objective truth of the Bible through subjective experience. In church history, the reason why gnosticism was deemed heretical in the church and mysticism wasn't, is because gnosticism contradicts the literal written Scripture and mysticism doesn't.

In order to discern the difference you should take note of the whole Gotquestions article:


First, it espouses a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good.

The Person of Jesus Christ is another area where Christianity and Gnosticism drastically differ. The Gnostics believe that Jesus’ physical body was not real, but only “seemed” to be physical

The Gnostics believe that Jesus’ physical body was not real, but only “seemed” to be physical, and that His spirit descended upon Him at His baptism, but left Him just before His crucifixion.

The Gnostics, on the other hand, use a variety of early heretical writings known as the Gnostic gospels, a collection of forgeries claiming to be “lost books of the Bible.”

Only if Lee taught these things could it be considered gnosticism, which he didn't.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:54 PM   #30
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This old article from 1904 presents a fair and balanced view of Christian mysticism, published in the "BAPTIST REVIEW
AND EXPOSITOR":

IS THERE A TRUE, CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM?
By PROFESSOR HENRY C. VEDDER, D.D.,
Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, Pa

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/...63730400100201

The author HENRY C. VEDDER was an American Baptist church historian.

A few excerpts:

There is then a solid Scriptural basis for mysticism,
a much stronger basis than could be furnished by any
accumulation of mere proof-texts. Its basis is, in fact,
the same as the basis of the Scriptures themselves, in so
far as these are a revelation from God, unless we are to
exhaust the word "revelation" of all real significance.

To deny the fundamental tenet or thesis of the mystic,
is to take out of the Bible all that is distinctively Christian,
and reduce the Christian religion to a purely naturalistic
basis.



This essential, fundamental doctrine of mysticism may
be put into the form of a simple thesis = it is possible for
man to have direct, immediate, intuitive knowledge of
God



If these criteria are fully recognized and faithfully
applied, there is no danger in mysticism, but great gain.
It founds the Christian life on the solid rock of personal
knowledge, while efficient safeguards are provided against
fanaticism. Such a mysticism is true, because its ultimate
principle is that which validates all truth, namely,
trust in the testimony of consciousness. It is Christian,
because it subordinates the experience of the individual
to the Scriptures and the Christian consciousness of the
ages.


To reframe the good professors conclusions in a simple way:

To deny mysticism is to deny the Bible itself since all authors of the Bible acquired knowledge through the direct revelation of God.
The Christian life should be founded on the rock of personal knowledge of God which in itself is a safeguard, not a danger.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:49 AM   #31
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My personal opinion (as I can only speak for myself) is that it is a cult, and it will damage you if you join. . . .One of my good friends recently returned to the group after years of calling it a cult and actively 'buries his head in the sand', refusing to listen to anything I have to say on the matter, only wanting to listen to 'life'. I think its sad, but he thinks it sad that I let the negative things stop me from enjoying the 'ministry'. He thinks I'm poisoned and leprous, I think he's brain-washed and ignorant.
The constant stream of negative assessments on "Christianity", from the most blatant ("satanic, devilish, deformed") to the more subtle ("not many Christians know that. . .") has several mutually reinforcing effects.

First, you think, Wow this guy must be really godly yo be able to criticize others like that. I mean, if he goes on long diatribes about religion then he must not be 'religious', right? Stands to reason....

Then your conscience gets damaged because you sit there day after day listening to what is essentially a stream of curses, without protesting or trying to defend the cursed in "Christianity". Your ability to either think independently, to reason, or to hear the Shepherd's voice becomes greatly hindered. You've become reprogrammed to hear only the 'ministry'.

Third, you become convinced "there is nothing out there", so like a person returning to an abusive relationship, you return to get more 'life'.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:14 AM   #32
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Just because gnostics take a mystical approach does not mean mysticism in Christianity is gnosticism.
It's the same as mystics using a gnostic approach in discerning their mystical experiences. So does that then make them a gnostic? The two cannot be seperated.

If I were to use the fruit analogy, what you are doing in your argument is skinning and pitting the apple and still calling it an apple. While technically true, you're not presenting the apple in it's entirety. Gnosticism and mysticism are parts of the same apple or, at most, different apples from the same tree.

These two terms are somewhat ambiguous to start off with so if you get too stuck on symantics, points are hard to get across.

Here is a statement from an article titled "Gnosticism and The Gnostic Jesus";

"Gnosticism is a philosophy that refers to a body of teachings that stress the acquisition of “gnosis,” or inner knowledge. This knowledge is not mere intellectual, but mystical knowledge; not merely knowing about something or someone, but a mystical knowledge that comes from within each of us. This special mystical knowledge allows us to discover an esoteric divine nature within each of us that is obscured by ignorance and false teaching about God and Jesus.""Furthermore, the Gnostics believe this knowledge is not in the possession of the masses, but only to the Gnostics (the Knowers) who truly understand its benefits and how to attain it. To the Gnostic, the masses are trapped in the ignorance of religious teaching and doctrine that serves to control and regulate the conduct of believers. The Gnostic, on the other hand, believes he has pierced through the ignorance and trappings of organized religion and has reached the core of special spiritual knowledge about God and the God-nature in each of us. The only problem is that this “core of special spiritual knowledge” of God and the God-nature is a “core of special spiritual knowledge” of their own creation."

Alot of what this article states about the characteristics of gnosticism sound eerily similar to the sentiments held within the LC.

You already openly acknowledge that mysticism is practiced within the LC. This above statement then highlights the LC's gnostic influences as well as showing mysticism and gnosticism go together hand in hand.

Quote:
In order to discern the difference you should take note of the whole Gotquestions article:

First, it espouses a dualism regarding spirit and matter. Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good.
You can make the argument that the LC's belief on Satan literally dwelling in our flesh lines up with this gnostic teaching very well.

"If we did not have such an evil thing as the flesh with us, we might not pray so desperately." -Witness Lee

Reading the above statement by Lee, my question would be; who is 'us' if not our body of flesh? Here, Lee is merely viewing flesh as an accessory that is "with us". What then makes up "us". Is it our Spirit?

Lee's teachings do emphasize getting into your spirit. He suggests that our minds and flesh are not good, only the spirit is good.

In Christianity, it's sin that dwells in our flesh and it's sin that is evil. Our literal flesh is just a vehicle. When God first created man, he was created "good" and that included his body. For a new creation in Christ or a born again Christian, our body is now a temple for the Holy Spirit. How then can something holy dwell in something that is evil?

In scripture the term "flesh" is used to point back to sin nature where as the gnostic understanding objectifies "flesh" and points it to matter. This lines up with the above gnostic teaching. Taken to an extreme, this is where the religious practices of asceticism and flagellation or penance comes from.

Again, if human flesh was objectively evil, how is it possible that the Holy Spirit operates through God's people? Did Jesus Christ and the apostles lay evil flesh on those that they healed?

Quote:
The Person of Jesus Christ is another area where Christianity and Gnosticism drastically differ. The Gnostics believe that Jesus’ physical body was not real, but only “seemed” to be physical

The Gnostics believe that Jesus’ physical body was not real, but only “seemed” to be physical, and that His spirit descended upon Him at His baptism, but left Him just before His crucifixion.
You can liken this belief to the LC's teaching that; First, Jesus before incarnation was spirit. He then was temporarily incarnated as a human being. And then after resurrection, Jesus returned to being a life giving spirit.

Scripture doesn't teach that humans were spirit before birth and neither teaches that any of us will ever be just spirit. So one can conclude that this teaching does not teach a fully human Jesus, only a Jesus that temporarily "seemed" human because no human operates or has ever operated in such modalities.

Furthermore, if it's stated that the only good part of us is our spirit (because our flesh is evil) then it's easy to conclude in error that Jesus shed his human flesh and ascended into heaven as a "life giving spirit" and that we to will one day be just as him, spirits. This belief would be considered gnosticism.

Quote:
The Gnostics, on the other hand, use a variety of early heretical writings known as the Gnostic gospels, a collection of forgeries claiming to be “lost books of the Bible.”
There were many gnostic communities in ancient times, not all of them shared the same beliefs and teachings. They did not have an exclusive set of scriptures that they all adhered to. The writtings discover at Nag Hammadi were only labeled "gnostic gospels" by they are not the official scriptures for all gnostics.

Quote:
Only if Lee taught these things could it be considered gnosticism, which he didn't.
I'll let others judge that for themselves.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:21 AM   #33
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To reframe the good professors conclusions in a simple way:

To deny mysticism is to deny the Bible itself since all authors of the Bible acquired knowledge through the direct revelation of God.
The Christian life should be founded on the rock of personal knowledge of God which in itself is a safeguard, not a danger.
A mystical experience is different from true spiritual revelation that comes from God. One is acheived while the other is given through faith.

Mysticism turns spirituality into a work where as Christianity relies on God's judgment and grace in whether he will provide us certain revelation or not.

If you have to work to have a supernatural experience, you're getting into something else altogether. Chasing after or working for spiritual or mystical experiences is not Christianity.
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Old 05-07-2018, 04:44 PM   #34
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A mystical experience is different from true spiritual revelation that comes from God. One is acheived while the other is given through faith.

Mysticism turns spirituality into a work where as Christianity relies on God's judgment and grace in whether he will provide us certain revelation or not.

If you have to work to have a supernatural experience, you're getting into something else altogether. Chasing after or working for spiritual or mystical experiences is not Christianity.
I agree if the goal is the spiritual or mystical experiences themselves, that will lead to something else. But the goal is clearly stated as the person of Jesus Christ, and God the Father. For those familiar with his teachings, Witness Lee provides safeguards against mystical experiences by focusing our attention on the spirit and God's Word and not our soul. For example, calling on the name of the Lord is to seek the Lord, not a mystical experience. Many times there is no feeling after calling on the Lord. Sometimes there is. Pray reading the Word is also to seek the Lord, there is often no mystical experience or feeling, though sometimes there is. As we pray read the Word only, our experience comes from the Word and not from our feelings.

Working to contact the Lord, meaning persistent and regular prayer, is simply obeying the scriptural commands to seek God and find Him. The Bible shows that we have responsibility to draw near to God, and seek God and find Him. This is a kind of spiritual work and requires exercise. There is no shortcut to this where we may sit back, relax, and expect God to visit us whenever He feels like it.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:23 PM   #35
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For example, calling on the name of the Lord is to seek the Lord, not a mystical experience. Many times there is no feeling after calling on the Lord.
Do you mean the LC's practice of chanting "Oh, Lord Jesus" five times in unison? I've experienced this phenomenon a few times first hand. However, I personally did not partake in it.

If you took a picture of those meetings that I was in, I'd be the one that looked like August Landmesser.

Quote:
Sometimes there is. Pray reading the Word is also to seek the Lord, there is often no mystical experience or feeling, though sometimes there is. As we pray read the Word only, our experience comes from the Word and not from our feelings.
You then believe that the sounds that are made from the pronounciation of the words themselves can trigger a mystical experience?

Quote:
This is a kind of spiritual work and requires exercise. There is no shortcut to this where we may sit back, relax, and expect God to visit us whenever He feels like it.
I'm sure scripture shows us neither Jesus Christ nor any of the apostles sat back and relaxed. Their works were a product of genuine faith and through that same faith, they received revelation yet they were not mystics. Mystics work toward an experience through practices rather than allow an experience to proceed from faith alone. A Christian's works have no direct correlation to their spiritual experiences.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:25 PM   #36
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Here is a statement from an article titled "Gnosticism and The Gnostic Jesus";

"Gnosticism is a philosophy that refers to a body of teachings that stress the acquisition of “gnosis,” or inner knowledge. This knowledge is not mere intellectual, but mystical knowledge; not merely knowing about something or someone, but a mystical knowledge that comes from within each of us. This special mystical knowledge allows us to discover an esoteric divine nature within each of us that is obscured by ignorance and false teaching about God and Jesus.""Furthermore, the Gnostics believe this knowledge is not in the possession of the masses, but only to the Gnostics (the Knowers) who truly understand its benefits and how to attain it. To the Gnostic, the masses are trapped in the ignorance of religious teaching and doctrine that serves to control and regulate the conduct of believers. The Gnostic, on the other hand, believes he has pierced through the ignorance and trappings of organized religion and has reached the core of special spiritual knowledge about God and the God-nature in each of us. The only problem is that this “core of special spiritual knowledge” of God and the God-nature is a “core of special spiritual knowledge” of their own creation."

Alot of what this article states about the characteristics of gnosticism sound eerily similar to the sentiments held within the LC.
Similarity does not make it the same. All religions are similar in many ways. When you compare the whole teaching of gnosticism as I have showed before, they are miles apart. For example - Gnostics do not uphold the Lord Jesus and God the Father. Christian mystics do. It's that simple.


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You already openly acknowledge that mysticism is practiced within the LC. This above statement then highlights the LC's gnostic influences as well as showing mysticism and gnosticism go together hand in hand.
It has never been denied that mysticism is practiced within the LC. But mysticism does not mean contacting an alternate reality or a Jesus who is a spirit only and not flesh and blood (the gnostic Jesus), but the realm of spiritual reality contained in Christ.

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Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
You can make the argument that the LC's belief on Satan literally dwelling in our flesh lines up with this gnostic teaching very well.

"If we did not have such an evil thing as the flesh with us, we might not pray so desperately." -Witness Lee
I have already proven by providing scholarly references from evangelical theology that the LC's belief on Satan aligns with the beliefs of the orthodox (not gnostic) early church and proper interpretation of Romans. Such evidence is hard for you or anyone to refute and so far has not been easily disproven on this forum.


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Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
Reading the above statement by Lee, my question would be; who is 'us' if not our body of flesh? Here, Lee is merely viewing flesh as an accessory that is "with us". What then makes up "us". Is it our Spirit?

Lee's teachings do emphasize getting into your spirit. He suggests that our minds and flesh are not good, only the spirit is good.
This means the fallen sinful flesh, not the physical flesh. Again, Lee's interpretation of "the flesh" is correct and matches Paul's usage of the term, as proven by the scholarly work of Dr Burrowes (I showed in the other thread discussing Satan).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
In Christianity, it's sin that dwells in our flesh and it's sin that is evil. Our literal flesh is just a vehicle. When God first created man, he was created "good" and that included his body. For a new creation in Christ or a born again Christian, our body is now a temple for the Holy Spirit. How then can something holy dwell in something that is evil?

In scripture the term "flesh" is used to point back to sin nature where as the gnostic understanding objectifies "flesh" and points it to matter. This lines up with the above gnostic teaching. Taken to an extreme, this is where the religious practices of asceticism and flagellation or penance comes from.

Again, if human flesh was objectively evil, how is it possible that the Holy Spirit operates through God's people? Did Jesus Christ and the apostles lay evil flesh on those that they healed?
The part highlighted in bold is exactly why Lee's teaching is not Gnostic.
Lee is not talking about our literal physical flesh. The term flesh as used by Lee means the fallen self and the sinful elements of our human nature.
This is documented throughout his books and ministry material.

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Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
You can liken this belief to the LC's teaching that; First, Jesus before incarnation was spirit. He then was temporarily incarnated as a human being. And then after resurrection, Jesus returned to being a life giving spirit.
The LC does not teach this and these allegations have never stuck, even on this forum because they are so easily disproven. Lee and the LC affirms that Jesus came in the flesh and remained in the flesh after resurrection and ascension, satisfying the test of 1 John 4:2. The LC affirms the eternal incarnation of Christ.

For proof, see first sentence of third paragraph here:

https://www.ministrybooks.org/books....=984TJOTAIU1OS

I can be helpful and tell you where the exact difference lies between the LC and orthodoxy (open for debate). The difference is in the understanding of the relationships between the person of the Trinity, not the fundamental nature of the Son. The Trinity says the Son is not the Father, Lee says the Son is the Father based on a literal interpretation of Isaiah "everlasting Father".

Also, Lee's meaning of "Jesus becoming the Spirit" does not mean what you think. It means that Christ's experiences of the cross were infused into the Holy Spirit. Jesus as a fully incarnated man in a fleshly resurrected physical human body does not change back, to or from flesh and spirit at all. Also, the Spirit does not become human but remains 100% divine nature.

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Scripture doesn't teach that humans were spirit before birth and neither teaches that any of us will ever be just spirit. So one can conclude that this teaching does not teach a fully human Jesus, only a Jesus that temporarily "seemed" human because no human operates or has ever operated in such modalities.

Furthermore, if it's stated that the only good part of us is our spirit (because our flesh is evil) then it's easy to conclude in error that Jesus shed his human flesh and ascended into heaven as a "life giving spirit" and that we to will one day be just as him, spirits. This belief would be considered gnosticism.
I am happy to say that the LC teaches none of this.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:37 PM   #37
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Do you mean the LC's practice of chanting "Oh, Lord Jesus" five times in unison? I've experienced this phenomenon a few times first hand. However, I personally did not partake in it.

If you took a picture of those meetings that I was in, I'd be the one that looked like August Landmesser.

You then believe that the sounds that are made from the pronounciation of the words themselves can trigger a mystical experience?
The Bible reveals many different types of prayer. This type of prayer is not an incantation but a prayer to invoke the presence of Christ using the name of Jesus. It is scriptural because the phrase "call upon the name of the Lord" is throughout the bible and means a literal calling upon His name.

It is safe to do so because
a) we know that Jesus is alive (praying to a dead saint on the other hand will surely open to demonic experiences).
b) we know that the name of Jesus is all powerful and above every other name (it is the only name we can safely call).
c) we know that when we ask God for a fish he won't give a stone (God is faithful to answer, and we have His divine protection and faithfulness).


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You then believe that the sounds that are made from the pronounciation of the words themselves can trigger a mystical experience?
There is no such superstitious belief. It is the words which are said which matter and the heart of faith when we say them. It is prayer.


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Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
I'm sure scripture shows us neither Jesus Christ nor any of the apostles sat back and relaxed. Their works were a product of genuine faith and through that same faith, they received revelation yet they were not mystics. Mystics work toward an experience through practices rather than allow an experience to proceed from faith alone. A Christian's works have no direct correlation to their spiritual experiences.
In the LC, mystic means experiencing Christ by seeking Him by faith. Now, experiencing Christ does not mean experiencing a feeling. This experience is registered in our spirit and typically goes by unnoticed. But we believe by faith that some spiritual benefit has been gained, even though we don't feel anything. The goal is Christ, not experiences. A real mystic as you describe (i.e. one who seeks experiences) would be disappointed and likely seek a pentecostal church.

To use an analogy to describe the difference, consider a plant which sucks up the water to obtain life and grow. We would be like the plant which simply sucks up the water and grows, not feeling anything about the water, and not seeking water but growth. A plant is satisfied with water and does not demand orange juice or Coca Cola just because it tastes better. This is because the plant has no feeling or taste about the water, it simply receives the water and grows.

A mystic as you describe would be like a plant which seeks different kinds of water because it has some taste and preference. The plant would seek orange juice one day and coca cola the next because it tastes better. The goal of the plant would be to obtain whatever kind of liquid tastes better to it, not growth.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:23 PM   #38
Jo S
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Default Re: How I got here, and what is this place?

Ok, Evangelical. I'll leave it at that and let us both get a breather.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:53 PM   #39
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Default Re: How I got here, and what is this place?

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Ok, Evangelical. I'll leave it at that and let us both get a breather.
Ok Jo, good idea, and, nice to discuss with someone objective for a change.
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