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Old 07-30-2020, 04:50 AM   #1
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Default I've been around the churchlife over 10 years now

Noah failed and was not covered and covered by different sons. We all have failed and are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We will be held accountable for every word too. I have come to this site from time to time over the last 12 years or so since meeting the saints in the LR. I've not engaged here prior but felt to address some points now.

Though you have 10000 guides in Christ you do not have many fathers for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. There is a major difference between the Roman Catholic fathers and the brothers taking the lead in the Lord's recovery as "fathers"...and I think most here know that. Go to a LC meeting and then a mass and it could not be more different.

Watch the fireside chats with Chris Wilde as a part of a panel (on youtube) and tell me are these brothers not shepherding the flock, healing wounds, caring for the church? Or just keep staring at the inside of the trash can...as seems to be the function of this thread.

A year has passed. I never knew Jo or her husband but clearly they did not get the care they needed which was tripartite care, love, listening ears, and words of life. I wept when I found out Greg took his own life and I never knew him. We are greatly saddened by this and regretful that this whole situation happened around a year ago.

Also, I meet in a church where there are saints who are mature and examples of fine Christian character and living...and I can't remember hearing a name besides Christ's in 99% of speaking in meetings I attend. We honor the 7 decades of labor by Witness Lee but good God, we dont pray to him or idolize him. If there is a recovery on the earth would not that recovery stand on the shoulders of all of church history? If it is not with this group where is it? Is it a division of this recovery? How could that be when God is a God of oneness?

I don't know "co-workers" in the recovery but from listening to their messages they don't lead me to anything extra Biblical. When I read Lee's writings (which is a lot of the time his speaking transcribed) there is a whole lot of Christ. You can use the Bible to argue nearly anything, you can use Lee's ministry to argue many things too...but the Lord's recovery today is prevailing as a place of oneness, despite any trash you want to sort through here.

I've been around the churchlife over 10 years now and am confident that though some here on this site have bible truth and knowledge, the prevailing factor here is division. How am I wrong in these observations?

Lord Jesus praise You as the tree of life! Lord Jesus we love You, cause us to turn to You, that in these dark times You will build the church and turn the age. Come dear Lord Jesus, the problems need to be dealt with. Take care of it all, gain Your dispensational instrument, descend with your mighty ones! Hallelujah praise You Lord Jesus! Care for all these in this thread and cause them to love You and care for Your Church, wherever they meet, and even build all the way up to Your coming. Thank You for Your mercy. Praise You Father.
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Old 07-30-2020, 08:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: I've been around the churchlife over 10 years now

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...
Watch the fireside chats with Chris Wilde as a part of a panel (on youtube) and tell me are these brothers not shepherding the flock, healing wounds, caring for the church? Or just keep staring at the inside of the trash can...as seems to be the function of this thread.
Unregistered,

After you register as a forum member, please contact Chris Wilde for us. Set up a ZOOM, or some such, meeting so we can join you all and discuss the questions and matters of concern we have raised on topic after topic for year after year.

So far, the Chris Wilde's of the world have refused to give us audience. We have been denied access to the shepherds except by public forum. We have website links, books and videos but no "one-to-one" dialog. We have questions or issues to discuss. What choice do we have? We have no alternative but to present our view as we see it from our side of the isle in an anonymous and open forum.

Staring at the inside of a trash can? You have no idea. Are these the words of a shepherd?

Thank you for posting on this forum. Why not meet with us face-to-face?

Thanks,
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: I've been around the churchlife over 10 years now

Thank you unreg for stopping by and posting comments and observations.

1. I agree that this forum is too divisive, but that's the nature of anonymous internet forums. People don't have the 'social lubricants' of smiling and gestures, and so misunderstanding of words is common, almost ubiquitous. I like to joke that if Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa were forum members they'd be 'flaming' one another soon enough.

So i apologize a lot, but not nearly enough, and try to remember the Lord's words "forgive us our trespasses, even as we forgive others" - in other words, try to give the other party the same interest and good will that you would hope they give to you. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt if they seem mistaken or unclear, or overly 'snippy'. I've survived on this forum for a few years and occasionally check out if I find I'm getting too antagonistic towards others, either on the forum or outside of it.

2. As far as 'sorting through trash', that's funny coming from the LC members, as all we got from Witness Lee was how awful the rest of Christianity was. Dark, fallen, deformed, Christless, Satanic, etc. Then when you point out their lacks, it's a shrug and 'Hey, nobody's perfect'.

3. As far as discussion, I've repeatedly raised questions that probably should be raised, and they never get addressed. Jesus taught, try to privately fellowship, and see if the Lord can address it. Then, "you have gained your brother". Then, if not, privately bring another as witness and try again. But at some point, "Tell it to the church". Pretty straightforward.

Many have borne record of attempts at honest and frank fellowship. But it was rebuffed, and the messengers were smeared as "rebels" and ejected. So there it is. Jo and Greg Casteel were long past the point of "tell it to the church", and they did nothing wrong in posting their findings and concerns.

And were their concerns addressed? No. Just more whitewash.

4. Case in point: Daystar. The DCP legal team put out a brief following the Casteel revelations, listing some 'facts' but only those helpful to the LC message. They never said how the money went to Timothy Lee, who was President of Daystar. Why does a minister allow church funds to go to the personal benefit of his immediate family? Even if Daystar didn't go belly-up and the money disappeared, and people were told to consider it a donation, just the fact that Timothy was looking for a bankroll for his latest project and Daddy went to the church members to 'invest' makes the whole enterprise stink. By Titus 1:6 Witness Lee wasn't qualified to be local church elder.

5. Why does the 'revelation' or 'truth' of the 'three parts of man' come from a woman, whose book is sold on LSM website, when women can't teach in church, as everyone knows, and Paul wrote in his epistle. Why did Watchman Nee have close female co-workers and mentors when LC women a hundred years later can't even have local leadership roles? Why the gross hypocrisy?

Etc. There are other points to be raised but this is a sample. My theme is not this or that point, but that such questions have no way to come forth in the LC. The 'oneness' is fake. It's based on asking no questions, even when they should be asked. Look straight ahead, pretend to be happy.

No different to me than the Jehovah Witness or SDA or Mormons or any other mind control cult with their unquestioning adherence to leadership dictates and proprietary 'recovered truths'. And yes there are some very nice Mormons out there, and nice Baptists and Presbyterians and Congregationalists for that matter. To me it's just manipulation, sometimes subtle but oftentimes quite overt.

And there IS a lot wrong with 'Christianity' and much of it should be discussed, publicly, but with respect and consideration and care. And there's also a lot wrong with the LC, as well. Until they realise this, and that they also need to repent and change, then they'll just harden and double down, and say they're being "attacked" and so forth, and they'll get worse and worse. But remember the option to repent is always there.

Peace and grace to you, and again I apologize for being such a poor messenger.
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Old 07-30-2020, 04:27 PM   #4
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Noah failed and was not covered and covered by different sons. We all have failed and are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We will be held accountable for every word too.

We honor the 7 decades of labor by Witness Lee but good God, we don't pray to him or idolize him. If there is a recovery on the earth would not that recovery stand on the shoulders of all of church history? If it is not with this group where is it? Is it a division of this recovery? How could that be when God is a God of oneness?
Hi unregistered, like you I was active and serving in the LC's for 30 years. After twice migrating to take the ground and start 2 new LC's, I completely intended to live out my entire life serving in the LC's.

You mentioned a God of oneness and division in the recovery. That's exactly what I faced when I left in 2005. LSM was planning to quarantine and cut out an entire region of the body of Christ. They had a divisive presence in every Midwest LC actively undermining the God-ordained elderships, and worked to destroy the loving oneness within all of these LC's established on the ground of oneness.

Eventually LSM and DCP did carry out their totally unbiblical and divisive works throughout the entire region of LC's where I had invested my life. Their standard never was the scripture or the ground of oneness. Their standard was oneness with LSM and loyalty to the teachings of Witness Lee. These facts are absolutely undeniable, regardless of what LSM has told you. Since when is the ministry of any man, including Witness Lee, suitable justification to divide and destroy the work of God in dozens of LC's? Please read I Corinthians chapters 1-3 again to understand what I am saying.

And yes, life had somewhat become the inside of a garbage can. There was no more glorious church life. LSM pitted brother against brother and sister against sister. We had become merely pawns in a great battle, and only the spoils of war. Personally, I would have preferred yesterday's garbage to the blood-letting that LSM was hell-bent to shed in order to accomplish their corporate business plan.

I'm not sure why you opened with "Noah failed and was not covered." That seemed a little strange to read. The Bible mentions the failures of many historical characters, both good and bad, in order to teach us. David failed and he too was not covered. Peter also failed and was not covered. Alexander the coppersmith (2 Tm 4.14) had his failings. Witness Lee too had many failures which damaged a good number of God's beloved children. They were far worse than merely personal shortcomings to fall under the umbrella of "nobody's perfect."

This LCD forum exists to address the damages inflicted upon the body of Christ by the leadership, past and present, at LSM. We do acknowledge the many precious brothers and sisters in the Recovery at large. We were formerly in that number, but staying would have made us complicit with the sins at LSM. Sins which have never been repented for, rather covered up, and blame-shifted. Then LSM leadership has a longstanding history of both slandering and libeling those whose only "crime" was to obey their Lord and speak their conscience against these injustices.

Dear brother/sister, I recommend that you read the account of faithful brother John Ingalls, a founding pillar in the Recovery, whose factual account Speaking The Truth in Love chronicles some of these issues.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:33 PM   #5
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If there is a recovery on the earth would not that recovery stand on the shoulders of all of church history? If it is not with this group where is it? Is it a division of this recovery? How could that be when God is a God of oneness?

I don't know "co-workers" in the recovery but from listening to their messages they don't lead me to anything extra Biblical. When I read Lee's writings (which is a lot of the time his speaking transcribed) there is a whole lot of Christ. You can use the Bible to argue nearly anything, you can use Lee's ministry to argue many things too...but the Lord's recovery today is prevailing as a place of oneness, despite any trash you want to sort through here.

I've been around the churchlife over 10 years now and am confident that though some here on this site have bible truth and knowledge, the prevailing factor here is division. How am I wrong in these observations?
Hello,

Thanks for having the boldness to post here. But you are quite mistaken on several levels.

The LR is high-control, undo-influencing, abusive religious group, aka a "cult." It practices most of the classic techniques all cult-like groups use to control members and keep them in the group. None of the ostensibly positive things you mention excuse those abuses, so they are really irrelevant.

The LR puts fear of leaving in its members. That alone is reason enough to steer clear of it, though there are many more.

No cult admits to being one. No cult members believe they are in a cult, until the light goes on and they leave (at which point they will be considered deceived, poisoned, worldly, ambitious, etc, by the group and its members). Every cult member thinks their group is wonderful because deep down they are afraid of "thinking differently." It's called mind-control and it's real. There are thousands of such groups in the world. The LR is just one more.

By the way, we are the Church. It is completely unbiblical, not to mention divisive, to consider one's group "the Recovery." The Bible does not authorize viewing a subset of the Church in such a way. Every abusive group considers itself a special, unique movement above all others. It's nothing new, the LR has just put its own spin on a very old error.

I suggest you do some research on these type groups and ask yourself if the LR follows the same pattern of control. It is this abusive control that led directly to the death of Greg Casteel. That was not directly your fault I'm assuming, but it is the direct fault of those leaders who put that abnormal fear in him.



Video series on LR abuses: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2f...BIm2iFahxfe8Lw

Characteristics of High-Control Groups aka "Cults" - http://cultresearch.org/
  • The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  • The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
  • The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
  • The group has a polarized, us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
  • The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
  • The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
  • The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
  • Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
  • The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  • The group is preoccupied with making money.
  • Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
  • Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
  • The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave—or even consider leaving—the group.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:14 PM   #6
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Let me also add, we wouldn't have to "stare into the trashcan" if the LR would take out its trash. It's not simply a matter of disagreeing with the LR or thinking they are strange. It's a matter, manifestly, of people's lives being damaged. Some to the point of death. This is no exaggeration. For all you like about the LR, it is still hurting people, and will continue to do so until the trash gets taken out.

Again, I appreciate your frank and honest post.

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Old 07-30-2020, 07:58 PM   #7
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Hi Unregistered,

Welcome! Thanks for joining us in the trash can. I moved a rotten banana peel over so there's a place for you to sit down.

Several decades in the church for me. They were just fine, but with constant nagging concerns that I could never put my finger on. Then the thing turned over, shattered my foundations, and I saw the beast for what it was. Abuse after abuse after blame after shame after neglect after being set on fire and thrown into the abyss. All this poured out of the leading ones "shepherding the flock" when all they needed to do was show genuine, human love and concern. It wasn't the people that they loved, but the ministry they protected. They, with a combined probably 250 years in the church life and the ministry, were utterly and totally incapable of binding up wounds with oil, but only knew how to treat the sheep as trash to be discarded.

And so the trash finds its way here.

Noah failed as a family man in a family setting, at home (or....at tent, if you will). I'm not 100% sure but I don't think any or many of us on this forum are going around exposing family affairs that were confined to the four walls of anyone's home. If those family issues bled into the church life and caused damage to human lives in the church, that is fair game, as it should be. But Noah's failure was not a representation of how to handle problems in the church, whether it be a personal failure, deviated teaching, or false apostles. The New Testament shows us how to do that, and in spades. (By the way, Noah's failure has probably been read by more people in human existence than any other non-Biblical failure. God made sure he was totally uncovered. Ironic, huh?)

And what the New Testament shows is that these things have to be tested, discerned, confronted, exposed, and either kept or excised. The only way to "test all things" is to handle all things as part of that testing - both the good and the trash. There doesn't seem to be a real way in the local churches to handle the very serious and damaging aspects of the trash part of it, so places like this forum are here so that the work that every believer has been called to do can be carried out, however much we may fumble around and give each other slightly black eyes in doing so.

Yes, we are accountable to God for every word. But we are also not exempt in this life from that accountability to others in the context of the church. Sinning elders are to be publicly rebuked. Paul got frustrated with the Corinthians for putting up with the oppressive behavior of the false apostles that had come in, and gives them grief for not doing something about it. Paul rebuked Peter to his face for his gospel-contrary actions. Accountability is also here and now, because the effects of not being accountable can have long-lasting and damaging repercussions to those around us.

The RC "fathers" versus co-workers is, for me, a very minor point so I don't have much to say about that.

I personally do not think it is a coincidence that the fireside chats came within a year after Jo's facebook letter. My personal perspective on the chats is that there have been a lot of pots boiling over in the church which the leading brothers avoided and ignored for a long time, even amidst many cries for help. They simply couldn't keep the lids tied down any longer, particularly after the FB letter, and the chats have come as a public relations necessity to address a growing tide of pain that should never have been allowed to grow to the size it has become. I view it as a "CYA" move. The co-workers are trying to lance a massive boil, that was caused by their own actions, that they have tried to ignore for a long time, pretending they don't know where the boil came from.

As human beings themselves, yes, the co-workers can certainly provide responses that can sound caring and shepherding. I have not listened to all of the chats, as it is probably around 20 hours worth, but I have listened to enough. Some responses vastly over-spiritualize what are desperately human questions. Even the question about over-spiritualizing responses was responded to over-spiritually. Some responses wax on about Witness Lee. Some responses do show genuine care and for that I am thankful (I am thinking particularly of the concern they showed for the sister asking about a brother wanting to get sexual too quickly). There will always be some genuine care in every group, or else no one will stick around. Some responses were flat out lies since there are too many people now who know how certain volcanic situations of sexual predators and abuse were really handled by some of the very co-workers who claim everything was handled properly, which turns what sounds like a reassuring answer into a disingenuous display of image protection. Some responses took very, very real pain and mocked it as "delusional" when the source of that pain can be directly quoted from the ministry (I am thinking particularly of the one who asked about marriage being presented in the church as a prison). Some of their responses about marriage may seem so wonderful, but it completely ignored and invalidated the shameful way marriage has historically been spoken of and treated in the local church....thus not touching on the real problem. Some responses were accompanied by a flippant apology if the brothers had given a particular impression, but really should have been accompanied by a few months of them traveling around the globe to apologize in person to all the saints who were damaged for years by that well-known impression, and to hear the hurt that that impression inflicted on them.

I'm glad to hear that you wept when Greg took his life. This is the response of a Christian. The co-workers, however, condemned the Casteels to hell, called for the ground to open up and swallow them alive, called Jo leprous, said they can never be overcomers, and now continue to stand on stage arrogantly claiming to have no feeling and no fear about it, while laughing that they (the co-workers) are in good company with Moses. This, unregistered, is a small glimpse into what is really behind the scenes. It's image protection. It's darkness. It's whitewashed tombs and yet, remember, there are dead men's bones inside. The very moment when the so-called God's deputy authorities, who are supposed to be representing who God is to the church, cursed their perceived enemies rather than blessed and prayed for them, showed us the truth. What kind of impression does this give to so many who are watching them? And this wasn't a mistake. Of course the co-workers had countless hours of meetings and fellowship among themselves first about how to handle the situation. And their decision was cursing and threatening, publicly, in the name of God. If you don't know any co-workers, if you generally stay away from the elders, if you simply read the ministry, close your eyes to the concerning stuff, get out of your mind, don't have opinions, and shun knowledge, yes your church life may be wonderful. But it's a blinded wonderful, and it's an inward-facing, insular wonderful. And it's designed that way.

There can be many fine upstanding Christians in deviant groups. The two are not mutually exclusive. It doesn't mean those Christians aren't genuine. It just means they are deceived. I'm not sure anyone on this forum has accused any North American locality of praying to Lee or overt idol-worship, but the heart-worship is there in repeatedly drawing from his works as the only source of life supply. Every conference, every training, every speaking, every HWMR, every ministry reading, every prophesying meeting - the words of Jesus are always filtered through the mind of Witness Lee and Witness Lee alone. You personally may read other Christian works, but that is not what is taught in the local churches as a whole. The top leadership even views such innocuous things like Christian biographies as poison or a negative injection because it's not from Lee or LSM. No joke. This is their view and what they themselves inject into all the rest of the saints in the local church, and what drives their "policies" and teachings. There is idol worship of the ministry publications whether you see it or not. It may not be so apparent in your locality, but the ones driving the whole movement bow before them as if they were God Himself. You may not have encountered this, as you said you don't know the co-workers. A lot of what makes an abusive group abusive is related to the leadership, and if you don't have much experience with the leadership, you may have an idyllic view of something that isn't idyllic at all.

There is not "a recovery" on earth. We are not "for a recovery" as the Bible never exhorts us as such. There is no such thing as a "recovery" that you can be "part of". The recovery work, if you want to say there is one, is simply what goes on inside each child of God in their individual and personal walk with God, regardless of if they are associated with the local churches and Witness Lee, or have never heard of them and him. The earth is the place of God's recovery. Even the earth itself will be recovered. None of us can claim to be part of a recovery work that any other Christians are not "part" of. To look for a defined "recovery" that you can go join or leave is itself extra biblical.

Regarding this forum, you may mistake disagreement and discussion as a "prevailing factor of division". The local church teaches that opinions and knowledge and using your mind are all of death and division, so it makes sense, given your decade in it, that what are actually very normal things - reasoning, discussion, debate, wrestling, sharp contention, looking from every angle - appear to you as division. It's not. It's a better training than any semi-annual training you'll ever get. Because you get to use your mind (which is made in the image of God by the way, not something you are supposed to "get out of"), to try to comprehend the things of God.

"The Lord's recovery is prevailing as a place of oneness". From that statement it is clear that you certainly have been in it for many years. But remove Witness Lee as the uniting factor, and you will find out how quickly the oneness prevails. Yes, the local churches are one around every word that Witness Lee said. But that isn't the church. The top leadership in the local churches literally say "we have burnt all the bridges to Christianity and will never build them back again, the further away the better"......which is nothing but a self-amputation from the Body of Christ. The local church oneness is division, defined.

As Cal laid out so well, much of what I wrote above - the lack of love, the twisting of Scripture (covering of Noah), the "why do you talk about the negative" (where the people who bring up the problems are made to be the problem, rather than the actual problems being the problems), the prevention of being allowed to actually test all things, the cursing and threatening of the ones at the top against anyone who speaks up about the truth, the focus on whatever Witness Lee said, taught, wanted, thought, breathed, the thought of being the recovered church or having recovered teachings (nothing new under the sun for aberrant groups), and viewing the most divisive group as some kind of bastion of oneness - all these are things that point directly to the local churches as being one big fat cult. There's more than that too, but I'm keeping it within the categories you brought up in your original post.

I hope you'll dialogue further.

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Old 08-01-2020, 02:12 PM   #8
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Just as an addendum, having looked at the questions from the latest fireside chat.....

The questions actually show just how desperate the situation in the local churches is. "Desperate" is probably the word I would use to describe the emotions behind many of the questions.

Uh oh. I used the word "emotions". How unspiritual! But somehow, the Biblical record is of a God who has emotions, and His Son who had emotions, and His people, made in His image, who also have emotions. So it's important in our human life to pay attention to emotions, because they can reveal a lot about what's going on inside of us.

Question 1 from FSC #13: "As I go on with the Lord, I see more and more how my natural man is only fit for death and burial. It feels like He only made me in order to replace me with Christ. Which to me sounds like He only loves Christ, and not me. So, what is the Lord referring to, when He tells me He loves me?"

This is a great representative question that probably resonates with a lot of church kids. The God church kids were shown was a God who loves all the parts of them that are ------ not them! All the parts of them that are Christ. All the parts of them that have been replaced with something else. But the parts of you that are still you? "Bleechhhh," God says. Apparently.

But this is so dead wrong. The love of God is the overarching landscape of the entire Bible, and yet we've got saints who are trying to have a relationship with this god who doesn't love them in the way they were made to be loved by Him.

I didn't listen to the co-workers' response just yet as I've had my fill of listening to them for now, and I hope they didn't bunt that incredibly basic and fundamental question, but instead really leaned into it to try to begin to dispel what has been decades of this kind of impression imparted to young ones. But the fact remains that the existence of the question itself shows the impression that has been given in the local churches for a long time: God doesn't wholly love you; He only loves the you that is not you.

It's tragic. And it actually is a reversal of the gospel. It's an inside-out representation of who God is and what He is.

Many of the other questions could easily have been written by people with my moniker, Trapped, because that's how many of them come across. People who are trapped. Unable to make a move without permission. Bound up by rules and practices that are unscriptural. Collapsing under the weight of the imposed requirements of the church life. Many of them show that these believers are wrestling internally with all the ways they don't measure up, rather than resting in the knowledge that they are accepted by God, and Jesus has done it all.

This knowledge, that this is the situation with the believers in the local churches, is why this forum exists. Because the trash is what these believers are buried under, and are desperately digging to come out from under so they can breath again. But in this case, they can't dig out from the trash unless they know what the trash is. So we process the trash for those who make their way here and read, and who can hopefully be helped by finally having words put to what's been oppressing them for so long.
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