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Old 02-17-2019, 09:57 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Working Saints Fellowship - Thanksgiving Day Conference 2018, Charlotte, NC

Minoru's speaking starts at 1:10.00 (one hour, 10 minutes 00 seconds)

At some point, Minoru opines that "The Recovery in North America should have 250,000 saints by today, and at least 1,500 churches"....then, after admitting that what little growth has taken place has been mostly Chinese/Taiwanese imported from Asia, Minoru gives his assessment of how and why growth in the Local Church has been so stagnant - The reasons: Rebellion from within, and opposition from without. Minoru "From 1975 to 1985 we had our first major rebellion and the rebellion stopped us dead in our tracks as far as our growth is concerned, and not only so, it took away a lot of the younger generation that came in during the late 60s-early 70s. They were actually blown out. Also in the mid 70s there came a torrent of opposition began from the direction of Christendom" Then Minoru went on to blame the book "The Mindbenders". Then he admits "from 1985 to today our growth rate has been anemic to say the best".

Eventually Minoru breaks out with "In the Recovery in the USA today, we have one major burden and that is called: Increase!" Not "God's Economy". Not "Eating and drinking Jesus". Not "Living a Godman life for the building up of the local church". Just numbers. Just the increase.

What Minoru didn't mention is that for the first 20 years, from 1975 to 1995, the Local Churches were under the full control and authority of Witness Lee. The stagnation occurred under Lee's leadership and "ministry". Furthermore, for this next period of time, from mid-late 90s to today, the Local Churches are still under the ministry of Witness Lee. And the stagnation has continued. Many have testified on this forum that the Local Church has basically lost their entire 2nd generation here in America. This is my observation as well. Most local churches which were established in the 70s and 80s are composed of the older generation. The majority of the younger ones are Chinese/Asian young people imported from the Far East.

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Old 02-17-2019, 11:31 AM   #2
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Default Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

It seems they can't think outside of the "box" of storms and rebellions when it comes to the lack of increase. Attempts have been made through programs such as GTCA, BFA, etc. to spread and gain increase. But they still do the practices of trainings, etc based only on Lee's ministry, with little or no change. RK has said when they fit different portions of the ministry together, there is new light.

The BBs don't seem to consider if their quarantine actions caused damage, heartbreak, etc to this part of the Body of Christ. But TC and DL(? In SA) also wanted to keep the sheep under their portion of the ministry. To be fair, it appears to be some reconsideration. MC has been saying that we are all one church. But as long as they stay in the box of the LSM, interpreted word, we are right based on the MOTA, I can't see any substantial new growth, at least in the USA. In other parts of the world, young people are attracted by these teachings they have never heard. But Christ uses what He can to regenerate men.
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Minoru has not a clue how to assess his own history of the LC. The first major error is the belief that Lee was the source of blessing. The second major error is that there ever was a rebellion in the Recovery.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
At some point, Minoru opines that "The Recovery in North America should have 250,000 saints by today, and at least 1,500 churches"..
This estimate of numbers based on what? One of Witness Lee's messages? I remember one: "If you would each go out and blah-blah-blah, surely you would each gain two new ones within the next blah-blah. Then, those two new ones would go out and each get two more. Then, within 15 years, the whole earth would be taken and the Lord will come back!" And we'd all give our "amens" and "Huzzahs". The Accountant strikes again.

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..then, after admitting that what little growth has taken place has been mostly Chinese/Taiwanese imported from Asia, Minoru gives his assessment of how and why growth in the Local Church has been so stagnant - The reasons: Rebellion from within, and opposition from without...

What Minoru didn't mention is that for the first 20 years, from 1975 to 1995, the Local Churches were under the full control and authority of Witness Lee. The stagnation occurred under Lee's leadership and "ministry"..
I think immediately of Daystar. Not a rebellion instigated from within but a "move" instigated by none else but Witness Lee. Not an external persecution by 'Christendom'. Everybody did what they were told (except Sal Benoit, who asked where the $$ went, but that's another story).

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Life Ebbs at Elden

An interesting thing occurred in Elden hall which now was one of four halls in Los Angeles. Witness Lee and John Ingalls had stayed there. Up until then, many had equated the blessing on Elden with having the ministry of Witness Lee and to a lesser extent the ministry of John Ingalls. By early 1973 I began to hear of the staleness and flatness of the Elden hall church meetings. I visited there and frankly most of the new churches were much more on fire and lively in Christ than Elden was. Elden still had the ministry, but it was clear the blessing was not there. I heard Witness Lee state on many occasions that he needed to leave Elden, and that the Lord needed a new start with his ministry.

Eventually in 1974, Elden Hall was given up. The remaining saints in Elden moved to the city of Rosemead, and Witness Lee, John Ingalls, Max Rapaport and a few hundred others moved to Anaheim.

Anaheim never prospered and was a continual hole into which people and money were poured with no increase and no blessing. The Daystar experience was a great frustration to the move of the Spirit. In 1975, we were having a conference in Dallas. Before the meetings, we would pray in the large home on our property and then would walk across the parking lot to the large new hall we had just built. One evening I was walking with Brother Lee. He stopped, turned to me and then put his arm around my shoulder. (Never before and never since have I seen him embrace a brother. Thus, I realized he was about to tell me something very serious. He told me that he had made a terrible mistake with Daystar. He said that if he saw Brother Nee he would not know what to say since Brother Nee had warned him not to mix the church with financial matters or business. He then told me that he had once told Watchman Nee that he was not following him (Watchman Nee), but rather was following the truth and vision that Brother Nee taught. Furthermore, that he (Witness Lee) would not follow Watchman Nee if Brother Nee left the vision, but he (Brother Lee) would continue to follow the vision. He then looked me straight in the eye and charged me, “Brother Don, if I leave the vision do not follow me, but follow the vision.” I was a little speechless but I did manage to return the embrace and assure Brother Lee that I would remain true to the vision and the truth.

Daystar

Starting around 1972, Witness Lee expressed a concern for the financial suffering of the migrating saints and their need to be able to purchase proper meeting places. I was in a meeting of visiting elders and co-workers in which he introduced the Daystar business. He shared that his son Timothy had approached him about a business and that the business seemed to Witness Lee to be ideal for us (the local churches). The brothers and sisters could invest money, earn a nice profit of around 35%, and generate significant profit for the support of the new churches. He then spoke of manufacturing only the finest product. We could produce the product in Taiwan, which would help the believers there with employment and sell the product in the USA. He spoke at length concerning how the members of the churches should only invest their surplus and that he felt very positive that this was of the Lord. The business consisted of manufacturing and selling an expensive motor home. This was certainly a very different meeting than anything I had ever attended. I and others left with our heads spinning. I was bothered and asked James Barber what was going on. He replied that Witness Lee was God’s anointed and I should be very careful about criticizing. He declared that even if Witness Lee was wrong, God would bless the endeavor.

Shortly after this meeting, Witness Lee was scheduled to come to Houston for a conference in late 1972. I planned to attend. By that time I had left teaching for a sales job. The night before the conference I had a dream. I was sitting in the living room of Ben McPherson in Houston with Witness Lee. The other brothers in the room were very clear to me, as was where they were sitting. Suddenly, Witness Lee turned to me and said he wanted me to work for him in Daystar. In the dream, the Lord made it very clear I was not to take the offer. The next night there we all were, sitting in exactly the right seats. Witness Lee turned to me and offered me a job. Thank the Lord for the warning. I never worked for Daystar and never invested a dime.
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Working Saints Fellowship - Thanksgiving Day Conference 2018, Charlotte, NC

Minoru's speaking starts at 1:10.00 (one hour, 10 minutes 00 seconds)

At some point, Minoru opines that "The Recovery in North America should have 250,000 saints by today, and at least 1,500 churches"....

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In April of 1987 "Witness Lee's Statistics" were placed on a huge chart in Taipei. We were all assured that the entire world would be evangelized by 2000, when Jesus would return.

As with any mathematical / statistical modeling, it all comes down to "assumptions." Get those wrong, and anything can be predicted.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

It's hard for me to imagine sitting in the audience listening to Minoru and not thinking, "Okay, enough is enough. If that's the best he can do I've about had it."

Minoru sounds terribly desperate to me. Blaming a minor, long-forgotten book that came out 40 years ago? Blaming the boogy men of opposition and rebellion? Not accepting any blame himself or for the leadership? Oh my goodness, I'm not sure I've ever heard denial this deep.

I just have a hard time seeing how any rational person would accept such a word.

Increase? How? By selling what? The same product that has not sold for 40 years?

Did anyone of them ever consider that the reason they are not growing is because the Lord doesn't want them to?

Sounds like the walls are cracking to me.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Ten years ago they excommunicated most of the Midwest, which btw was the "most Caucasian" region in all of Recovery-Land.

Then they gutted Brazil, and most of the Portuguese-speaking world.

And Minoru Chen wonders why there is no growth?
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

"The rebellion stopped us dead in our tracks as far as the prevailing growth is concerned."

"not only so, we were stigmatized as a cult."

I was in Houston during this time and while I was on campus I was "stigmatized as a cult" and it did not stop our gospel move at all. We had a higher growth rate than the 50% he quoted from 65-75.

The growth of 6% and then 3.7% is due to Asian people.

Were they saved in this country or did they simply immigrate from Asia to the US?

We went to Russia in the 80s and today (34 years later) we have 4,000.

“We just begin our hard labor in Germany no more than 3 years ago”.


I am pretty sure we had a saints laboring in Germany back in 1980, perhaps Minoru forgot.

By comparison he says the ministry is unimaginable riches, off the charts.

That to me was stunning when he said this. How do you look at this data and still claim that you are rich? I was taken aback looking at this video, what a poor little meeting hall. Every place I meet has audio visual equipment. If you want to put up a chart you can, if you want to show statistics you can, but this really poor graph scribbled on the blackboard without even erasing the other stuff, why so poor? Is this what happens when you siphon off all the saints donations to pay for your legal attack dogs?

I would like to hear from the Amen. The faithful and true witness.

Minoru pretends to know the story from when there were just 30 saints in the US. Let's hear from the beginning of Creation: "I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked"

Can you imagine a new person coming into that meeting? It is a miserable, wretched meeting. No worship of the Lord. No praise, no testimony, just absurd guy on a chalkboard talking about how they should have had 500,000 saints by now. He clearly doesn't even know how wretched, miserable, poor and blind he is.

"I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see."

I hope we can all take the Lord's counsel to heart.

19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

I think all of us on this forum have been rebuked and chastened. Many of us have been zealous to repent, thank the Lord. I also think that many of us have heard the Lord knocking and opened to Him. Once again, thank the Lord.

22“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

This has to be some of the lamest excuse making I've ever heard.

Quote:
"The rebellion stopped us dead in our tracks as far as the prevailing growth is concerned."
Ooooooo, dose wascaly webels! Dey stopped us dead in our twacks!

Quote:
"not only so, we were stigmatized as a cult."
No, you were a cult.

Anyway, it seems to me the early church was called the "cult of the Nazarene" and they grew just fine.

What a pitiful display of whining, Minoru. I'm embarrassed for you.

"Hey guys, we've had some substandard growth for THE LAST 34 YEARS (!!!) so we might think about doing something about it. Anybody got any ideas?... Hey, wake up back there!"

You cannot make this stuff up, folks. You cannot make it up.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Two things LC apologists forget to mention in discussing their history of growth followed by non- growth. First, that Daystar was neither rebellion nor anti-cult attack but was 100% Witness Lee. "Then the Lord blew on it." Many have said that the air went out of the movement after Daystar. Second, what was happening around the LC that fueled the early growth. For example, a non-denominational church called Calvary Chapel in nearby Costa Mesawent from 20 in 1965 to several thousand in the early 1970s. Same demographic: young, eager non-traditional Christians. But to recognise this plain fact would weaken the LC narrative of God's sole move on earth.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Two things LC apologists forget to mention in discussing their history of growth followed by non-growth. First, that Daystar was neither rebellion nor anti-cult attack but was 100% Witness Lee.

"Then the Lord blew on it." Many have said that the air went out of the movement after Daystar.
The N.T. continually warns church leaders not to be "greedy of filthy lucre." ( see I Tim 3.3,8; Titus 1.7,11; I Peter 5.2) This word in Greek is the compound word "aischros-kerdos," or in English "shameful gain." To be blunt, Daystar was plainly "shameful gain."

There's no other way to spin this folks. Paul instructs Titus (1.11) about those "whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things they ought not, for the sake of sordid gain." That describes Daystar exactly. We have read reports that company officers quit because of financial illegalities -- WL felt he was "above the law." Households were divided. Operatives from LSM went about selling lies of easy money, only to lie again when the company went belly up.

As proof, we later learned that only the saints, the "investors," lost any money. The Lee family never lost a penny, in fact, it was reported that they alone walked away with a lucrative severance package. For "the Lord's work" the saints were told.

W. Lee never repented to the saints about Daystar. He only mentioned that he would be shameful one day facing W. Nee, who had warned him never to mix the ministry with business. Huh? What about the warnings of the Apostles in the scripture? Why do these warnings apply to others, but not to you?

In the aftermath of Daystar, one brother (Dick Taylor?) asked WL publicly about the many saints who were damaged because of the Daystar fiasco. He had hoped for some word of healing on behalf of the hurting saints. Lee responded curtly, "these ones have lost their virginity." And the reader should ask, "then who raped them, bruther Lee?"
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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In the aftermath of Daystar, one brother (Dick Taylor?) asked WL publicly about the many saints who were damaged because of the Daystar fiasco. He had hoped for some word of healing on behalf of the hurting saints.
Until the LC addresses its hidden history there will be little growth. Chinese family culture is strong, so the "ABC" second- and third-generation will remain to some extent. And new immigrants looking for familiar culture will be attracted, since the group is associated prominently with "global Chinese Christian leaders" WN & WL. Many of them probably won't bother to look too deeply.

But for most others, Minoru Chen histories are farcical Just So stories. And the fact that the "spin" is so far removed from actual historical reality, with so many witnesses, will actually drive people away. The disconnect is so glaring.

WL at one point said, "we were wrong". Wrong in the matter of receiving others, yes, but also in the matter of treating church members as means to an end. As chattel. There's no end that justifies such means. Certainly not the New Jerusalem! Does the NJ get built with manipulations and machinations? Does it get built with lackeys and sycophants "covering drunken Noah"? I daresay no.

The sad thing is, if you look at all those fresh faces pouring in, not only to the local church of Lee but also the Calvary Chapel and so many other venues during those heady years, what could have been. You look at what was, and what could have been, and it was lost for a motor home company.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

I've said it before and I'll say it again, If the LC didn't use fear to hold people there, everyone would have left long, long ago. Because no one in their right mind would put up with the lame duplicity if they didn't feel threatened to.
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Old 02-19-2019, 02:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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This has to be some of the lamest excuse making I've ever heard.
We were preaching the gospel on campus during the height of this Mind Benders / God men episode. In my experience it was helpful to the gospel work, not a hinderance. First, who knew about these books? Those in inter varsity and campus crusade. So anyone familiar with these charges would stay away from us, which was fine with me since our goal was to reach unbelievers. By staying away they saved us time. Second, you don't preach the gospel by putting out tracks saying "stay away from this person and that" so unless you actually met with inter varsity and campus crusade you didn't hear any of this, and they only had about 20 people at most meeting with them. Third, because of these books we never mentioned WL's name, never quoted his books, instead we simply used a little pocket NT and our personal experiences. I assumed anyone I spoke to would later hear about this (a feeling that was confirmed -- Intervarsity would see who we talked to and then talk to them privately). This provided a very positive contrast between a dead religion and a living faith.

So then, why does Minoru blame this when in fact it didn't harm the gospel at all? In my experience at Rice we had 1 brother my sophomore year (me) which became 2 that same year (MB) and then 3 the following year, and then 4 that same year and then 5. However, if you include Kerry Robicheaux we had 6 not 5. Plus we had David Campbell there who was very active preaching the gospel and shepherding us. I hesitate to include KR because he never participated in the gospel work. We spoke to people at lunch and it seems extremely unlikely even ridiculous that KR couldn't have fit us into his schedule (Rice doesn't have any classes during lunch so that everyone can eat together). Yet for 3 years never did he participate. DC preached the gospel every day and brought gospel contacts to the meetings virtually every week. So then, when you have a gospel meeting who would you ask to preach the gospel? Yep, KR. I knew many saints who were very active in sharing their faith with unbelievers, but it was never any of those that were asked to preach during the gospel meetings.

Minoru sounds like someone who has no experience actually preaching the gospel. If he did he would know that the "opposers" did not hinder the gospel.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Minoru sounds like someone who has no experience actually preaching the gospel. If he did he would know that the "opposers" did not hinder the gospel.
You are probably right. But then again, Minoru isn't interested in the gospel. He is interested in adding numbers. He's not interested in people, he's interested in his movement.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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You are probably right. But then again, Minoru isn't interested in the gospel. He is interested in adding numbers. He's not interested in people, he's interested in his movement.
Minoru did much damage to the Midwest LC's.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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I've said it before and I'll say it again, If the LC didn't use fear to hold people there, everyone would have left long, long ago.
I agree. Fear has a great holding power. Fear of ostracism, fear of shaming, fear of the unknown - "Religious Babylon" waits outside the LC. Shall we review it again? Fallen, devilish, satanic Christianity.

But that fear is a double-edged sword. It breeds passivity, ennui, fatalism. And what do you think that does to the gospel impulse?

In my case, I remember being told, "Calling is the way". I even think there was a song. Just call. Then it was, "Pray-reading is the way". And so forth. All these ways, each with its promise of miraculous "metabolic transformation".

But my problems didn't go away. After years of corporate living, training after conference, I sought an audience with the senior brothers, one by one. To a man, they were in full avoidance/denial mode. They don't deal with problems well, in the LC. Just pretend it doesn't exist, maybe it will go away. So I decided the whole thing was a sham, and I left.

Now, to my point: what of those caught by the various proffered 'ways' when the illusions start to fade? When the pixie dust blows away and the LC masters harangue them for increase? They just shut down.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:50 AM   #18
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Now, to my point: what of those caught by the various proffered 'ways' when the illusions start to fade? When the pixie dust blows away and the LC masters harangue them for increase? They just shut down.
Yes, the symptoms in the LC are the natural fruit of its mindset.

God never intended for one human organization on earth to be in sole charge and control of his interests here. So once a group presumes to have such a status, a place which is "right even if its wrong," several things will proceed naturally and serially, and cannot be avoided:
  1. Wrongdoing: It's inevitable in any group eventually. Most groups, however, recognize, acknowledge and repent of such things, even to the point of disbanding the group. But since the LC is "right even if its wrong" they can only proceed to...

  2. Coverup: Hiding history, as some call it. This necessitates creation of a whole swath of warped teachings, like "covering Noah."

  3. Denial: Aka, "Who are you going to believe? Us or your lying eyes?"

  4. Oppression: Rank-and-file must be kept in line. Whistleblowers must be dealt with. External sources of light must be condemned.

  5. Corruption: Failing to lance the wound leads to the ultimate infection.

  6. Passivity and Shutdown: People who live in such a system must find a way to psychologically survive. Like those in a communist system, they learn to "talk the talk" in front of party leaders, but make their own way as best they can. The second generation takes this to the extreme, and so realizes "Why bother?" and leaves.

All this is the fruit of presuming to be "the Recovery." It follows like night follows day, and must happen, and has in every group in history which has embraced such a mindset.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

So, to those of you out there who still think "the Recovery" can be reformed, forget it.

As long as they presume their group is "the Recovery" they will have these problems of coverup, denial, oppression and corruption. They are unavoidable when such an attitude is assumed. To think otherwise is fantasy.

The individual LCs can reform and survive, as normal churches, but "the Recovery" cannot. It was doomed from the start. The seeds of its demise spring from its own DNA.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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You are probably right. But then again, Minoru isn't interested in the gospel. He is interested in adding numbers. He's not interested in people, he's interested in his movement.
Did you notice the response in the meeting when he called for increase? It was incredibly lukewarm. No amens, no one seemingly excited or even interested in "his burden". If the only increase they have had for last 30 years is children of saints and Asian immigrants everyone in that meeting has probably heard this same thing for the last 30 years.
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:30 AM   #21
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Did you notice the response in the meeting when he called for increase? It was incredibly lukewarm. No amens, no one seemingly excited or even interested in "his burden". If the only increase they have had for last 30 years is children of saints and Asian immigrants everyone in that meeting has probably heard this same thing for the last 30 years.
I still say the saints are precious, albeit duped victims here.

I remember 25 years ago WL telling the LC's that we had become Laodicea, and thinking to myself, "You are blaming us? Don't you have any responsibility here?"

LSM has absolutely no capital to reprove the saints in the LC's. The LC's would be far better off if LSM completely disbanded.
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Old 02-20-2019, 11:25 AM   #22
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Among other things, this shows that Minoru and other leaders in the LC really don't trust the Lord, or know Him at all. Heck, all you have to do is read the Bible to see that the Lord can do great and miraculous things for those who love Him. The idea that one book or one "rebellion" can stop God Himself from accomplishing His purpose is ridiculous. Anyone in that meeting listening to Minoru should see red flags waving and sirens flashing. My guess is that they're too beaten down from discouragement over the years to have any reaction at all.

The church I meet with now is fairly large, but began as a small group meeting. It grew incrementally but consistently over the years. There were numerous problems along the way, but they kept growing. I know of at least two other churches in this city that are exactly the same - they started small, then grew over the years. Why? Because they loved the Lord and followed Him as best they could, and the Lord kept adding new people in response to their faithfulness.

If the church I meet with were to run into a long season of barrenness and fruitlessness, I know exactly what the reaction of the leaders would be. They would humble themselves, repent for their sins, fellowship with each other and the congregation in love, and seek the Lord concerning the cause. But they would also not look at numbers alone to validate their identity. Their attitude would be, "If the Lord wants to prune us, or wants us to learn some kind of lesson, then we will do our best to submit to Him. This is His church, not ours."

Something happened years ago that helped me decide that this church was for me. A pastor said openly at a weekend service, "If this church isn't helping you grow in your faith, and follow the Lord, please don't feel obligated to stay. Our desire is that you love the Lord and follow Him. We do not want to keep you for ourselves. There are many great churches in this city, and we will recommend them for you. We have no desire to keep you here if this isn't the best place for your Christian walk." He was completely sincere. I've known several people at this church who then moved on to a different church for various reasons, and they were sent away with blessing. It's no wonder to me that the Lord keeps adding new people. There's no control or fear-mongering. Instead there's love: love for the Lord, His word, His people, and the community around us. People here have the freedom to follow the Lord for themselves, and they stay because they want to. For me, the comparison with the "local churches" is like night and day.

Maybe Minoru and his fellow leaders should try a new approach.
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:34 PM   #23
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

Hi Visitor,

Welcome, and thanks for the encouraging and sane post!

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Maybe Minoru and his fellow leaders should try a new approach.
No "maybe" about it. They should. They probably should attend a "training" by your pastors on how to lead a church.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:06 PM   #24
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

What's sad to me is that Minoru places the burden squarely on this segment of saints' shoulders, and then essentially says "go do it" and sits down.

The problem is they've created a system where no one can initiate anything or try anything new. They are stuck with what hasn't worked but yet can't have an opinion about anything or suggest anything. The saints are trapped looking to "the brothers" to initiate and drive everything, but those brothers are also trapped in what hasn't worked. The whole thing is self-defeating. I doubt anyone walked out of that meeting actually burdened for "the numbers".
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:17 PM   #25
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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The problem is they've created a system where no one can initiate anything or try anything new. They are stuck with what hasn't worked but yet can't have an opinion about anything or suggest anything.
This is exactly right.

10-15 years ago some brothers in Ohio (John Myer et. al. using contemporary Christian music, skits, song-writing, relevant messages, good works, etc.) tried to initiate something, anything *new.* The Blindeds in Anaheim soundly castigated and quarantined them, using Lee's own teachings, as an example for all to see.

When it comes to increase, Minoru Chen is absolutely the Blind leading the blind.
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:58 PM   #26
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

The problem is LSM. If you start something new how is that going to lead to selling LSM books? I discovered this in the FTTT, we had a very successful gospel program at the graduate school in engineering in Taipei. We brought in 18 brothers over a single semester, and these were abiding fruit. They came to home meetings, and church meetings. There were 4 full timers working on that campus.

The problem was we didn't use LSM books. They had to change the narrative so that the growth was due to Truth lessons or some other book designed for home meetings.

Guess who wrote these? KR and EM, two brothers that I knew from Houston who had never participated in the gospel. That was 1987-1988. Any increase since then?
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:57 AM   #27
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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Minoru: "From 1975 to 1985 we had our first major rebellion and the rebellion stopped us dead in our tracks as far as our growth is concerned, and not only so, it took away a lot of the younger generation that came in during the late 60s-early 70s. They were actually blown out."
I'd like to focus on one particular "rebellion" as an example of what is at play here. The so-called "Sister's Rebellion". What was their crime? Drawing others unto themselves? Being "spiritual sisters" (RK's derogatory term)? Okay, then why base your movement prominently on the thoughts and activities of Jessie Penn-Lewis, Madame Guyon, Miss Margaret Barber, Miss Elisabeth Fischbacher, Mary McDonough, Ruth Lee et al.... ?

Now, look at what was actually happening on the ground in those days, what caused the initial growth in the USA. There is a 133-page ebook put out by Calvary Chapel showing what was going on all around Witness Lee and his self-obsessed ministry. Click here for the link, it's at the bottom of the page.

http://calvarycca.org/history/

Notice the similarities in the gospel outreach to the "glory years of the LC". Spontaneous joy overflowed onto the streets. Nobody was badgering members for 'increase'. This was a move of the Lord, independent of the self-styled MOTA, which he then co-opted for his own vanity projects, and ruined.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:18 AM   #28
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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The problem is LSM. If you start something new how is that going to lead to selling LSM books?
So let me get this straight...

LSM squelches innovative gospel methods that work or might work in order to sell Witness Lee's books which teach methods that don't work?

Have I got that right?
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:27 AM   #29
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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The problem is LSM.
Read the actual history of the LC's, not the spin put out by LSM.

When WL was "a" minister among many others, back in those early days, the increase and joy were abounding. After Lee took over as "the" MOTA, abolishing all other ministries, the anointing and the increase went flat.

WL's own LC (at Elden Hall in LA) then "had a name that they were living, but were dead." Same thing happened in Anaheim.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:38 AM   #30
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

This is a very instructive thread with so much help, not only as from members of a forum, but as from members in the Body of Christ, which we are. I didn't know who to quote.

Www.lordsrecovery.us/LettertoMinoru2018.pdf

I addressed beleaguered brother Minoru last Sept 23 in a letter I sent to him. Basically I am saying to him that without deep, thorough repentance there will not be the revival they seek. They have been fully unaccountable for all things Witness Lee and LSM that were destructive and have buried their consciences as a result, appeasing it only with focus on the Blueprint he left for them to fulfill. Something he himself couldn't fulfill and admitted to in one of the final high peak messages - "when the Lord put me in quietness before Him". 1994
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:39 AM   #31
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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So let me get this straight... LSM squelches innovative gospel methods that work or might work in order to sell Witness Lee's books which teach methods that don't work? Have I got that right?
At the time you couldn't know that their methods didn't work, only that they were trying to ascribe the increase to the use of their books which was a completely bogus claim. The only way to push that narrative was to bury any legitimate discussion of what we actually did.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:41 AM   #32
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This is a very instructive thread with so much help, not just from members of a forum, but from members in the Body of Christ.
I think that is the right attitude.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:00 AM   #33
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

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1. I was in Houston during this time and while I was on campus I was "stigmatized as a cult" and it did not stop our gospel move at all. We had a higher growth rate than the 50% he quoted from 65-75.

2. MC: "The growth of 6% and then 3.7% is due to Asian people."

Were they saved in this country or did they simply immigrate from Asia to the US?

3. MC: “We just begin our hard labor in Germany no more than 3 years ago”.

4. Rev 3:22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
1. The young American people were questioning, 1965-75. The Vietnam War was a fiasco. Civil Rights, Women's Rights, the Environmental Crisis, Watergate. So "wisdom from the East" had a lot of attraction. Watchman Nee seemed like a bona-fide 'orthodox' Christian and he was 'mystical'. So young Americans got God without the traditional religious box. Jesus People and their ilk streamed in. The "face of the LC" in the USA was Caucasian (with a healthy mix of other 'peoples and tongues'). The local churches were arguably 'local', i.e. representative of the local folks.

2. Here's a website of what's more representative of LSM-affiliated local churches today: big city, several large unis nearby (MIT, Harvard, BU, BC).

http://www.churchincambridge.org/?page_id=18

On the web page it shows 10 young people playing basketball, hanging around the court and talking. 8 of them are Asian, 2 are black (I won't use the more pc "African-American" because they may be college students from Ghana or Kenya).

These young LCers are likely recent immigrants (grad students from China), or second-generation Asians (so-called "ABCs"). Where did all the Caucasians go? 40 years ago, the "face of the LC" in the USA was quite different. What happened?

What happened is that American culture is chock-full of questioning. The young especially want to challenge the status quo. This initially drew many of them in, 1965-75. Then they met Asian culture head-on: "Don't question". In Asian culture to question, especially openly, is disrespectful. But supposedly, the LC culture was free of human taint, so when WL told us, "Don't question - a question mark is shaped like a serpent", we (some of us, anyway) took it as from God. It wasn't. It was rather the imposition of an alien culture in disguise.

Now the second-generation Caucasians have left, because they were told that to question was "rebellion". So they said, "Okay, bye". But the second-generation Chinese stayed because it fit their culture. And the recent Asian immigrants of course like seeing a welcome and familiar culture. For them it's the best of both worlds: fully Western (Judeo-Christian) and fully Eastern.

The Chinese-flavored non-local church of Witness Lee in Cambridge... that's not a name, but a description, as their own website states. I daresay it's a more accurate description than the one they give themselves.

3. You began your 'hard labour' in Germany decades ago. The previous work was wiped out, not because of rebellion, but because the illogical idea of following an a non-local alien warlord and calling yourself a "local church" was exposed, and the Germans are nothing if not logical. So they bailed, en masse.

4. The whole idea of the exercise is to repent. We are fallen creatures, even when redeemed and regenerated, or "saved". Peter is my representative sample. His errors didn't end on the day of resurrection, when Jesus breathed into him and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit"; not even on the day of Pentecost, when tongues of flame burst over his head, and he spoke and thousands got saved. Later, we read that he was so "full of the Holy Spirit" that sick people would lay down nearby, hoping his shadow would pass over them (Acts 5:15,16).

Yet he still erred, as we do all - so, repent. Is MC taking the lead to repent, or is he just standing there, bullying people? Btw, WL taught us that "repent" meant not to feel sorry but to change your way, your systematic pattern of behaviours. Is the LC leadership willing to repent? Are they really willing to lead? Produce then fruit worthy of repentance.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:50 PM   #34
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1. T
4. The whole idea of the exercise is to repent. We are fallen creatures, even when redeemed and regenerated, or "saved". Peter is my representative sample. His errors didn't end on the day of resurrection, when Jesus breathed into him and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit"; not even on the day of Pentecost, when tongues of flame burst over his head, and he spoke and thousands got saved. Later, we read that he was so "full of the Holy Spirit" that sick people would lay down nearby, hoping his shadow would pass over them (Acts 5:15,16).

Yet he still erred, as we do all - so, repent. Is MC taking the lead to repent, or is he just standing there, bullying people? Btw, WL taught us that "repent" meant not to feel sorry but to change your way, your systematic pattern of behaviours. Is the LC leadership willing to repent? Are they really willing to lead? Produce then fruit worthy of repentance.
Amen, Aron!
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Old 03-04-2019, 03:48 AM   #35
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

The other thing to consider in the flat growth situation is this: people are promised transforming experience. They will ''masticate God" and "assimilate God metabolically". Eventually they will "become God in life and nature (but not in the Godhead - no, that would be heretical)".

So where's the evidences that LCers are being transformed any more than the Presbyterians? Or Southern Baptists, or whomever? Whatever signs of life, or the Spirit's move, or however one might sense God's 'amen', where is it? I just see book-peddling, and bland assurances with nothing behind them. The initial joy at shouting slogans fades after a few years. What remains? What grows?

Where's the reigning in life above and beyond what they're getting down at Podunk Community Church? PCC may seem tepid but the LCs even moreso. Listless, aging, and shrinking. If it weren't for the influx of Asians it would be most dire.

Now, who wants to go out and "lose their face" and sell such a programme? Nobody. Thus the remonstrance of MC and other ministry hacks.
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Old 03-04-2019, 08:21 AM   #36
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Default Re: Minoru Chen: "Growth in The Local Church in USA flat since 1985"

What strikes me about this group is how, other than a few isolated clues, you wouldn't know if this video was made in 2018 or 1978. They still even have the old blue chalkboard.

I don't know if anyone remembers, but the reason they got the blue chalkboard was to use as a background for when they were videoing Witness Lee's speaking in the 70s. The one in Anaheim was huge, and he could even walk back and forth and the background in the video would still be largely blue.

But here we are, 40 years later, and they are still using the blue chalkboard.

This is a case study of a group in complete stasis. It really should be studied by someone at a university or something. It's astounding.

Same chalkboard. Same suits. Same grave demeanors. Same phraseology. Same appeals to the imaginary "Lord's Recovery." Same story. Same approach. Same results.

Growth implies change. But these people refuse to change, so they don't grow.

When are they going to get a clue?
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