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If you really Nee to know Who was Watchman Nee? Discussions regarding the life and times of Watchman Nee, the Little Flock and the beginnings of the Local Church Movement in Mainland China

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Old 03-27-2014, 12:30 PM   #1
Friedel
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Default Our Shared History

What follows here is by way of introduction. There are other brothers far more qualified than I am, brothers who had been there, who could provide much needed detail. However, I assume only the role of reporter and I look to the Lord to make these posts of benefit to all and fair to all concerned.

SOME ASPECTS OF THE HISTORY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH MOVEMENT

Introduction

Before we can come to understand the history of Witness Lee, Living Stream Ministry and the Local Church Movement, I believe it is important to very briefly go back to the history of Watchman Nee. More specifically, we need to in a few words examine Nee’s relationship with three different people because they had a profound influence on his life and subsequently would have an effect on Lee and eventually on members of the Local Churches.

The three people I believe are critical to the history of Watchman Nee are Margaret Barber, Jessie Penn-Lewis and Theodore Austin-Sparks. (There are others but for the sake of this history, these three stand out.)

It is not necessary to examine Margaret Barber’s individual history but suffice to say that she was the most profound influence on Watchman Nee’s earlier life. She nurtured within him a love for the Lord, she encouraged him to learn the lessons of the cross and she instilled within him a desire to be absolute for the Lord. He really appreciated her and often confessed that he was greatly indebted to her for his spiritual growth.

Margaret Barber also introduced him to the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis, albeit indirectly. She felt he was not yet ready for Penn-Lewis’ but he nevertheless ordered books directly from her. Penn-Lewis’ works must have had a major influence on Nee and along with the writings of Madame Guyon probably account for his “mystic” tendencies. War on the Saints, co-written by Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts came out seven years after the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905.

The Welsh Revival lasted about nine months and a hundred thousand people were converted but it is reported that within six months there was very little evidence left of the revival. The remaining fruit was extremely limited.

Penn-Lewis and Roberts collaborated on the writing of War on the Saints and this book probably had the most enduring influence on Watchman Nee in preparation for his writing of The Spiritual Man. Nee also read all he could by Otto Stockmayer on the questions of soul and spirit and the triumph over satanic power. He simply did not have the life experience to write the book and much of it was theory. The first volume of The Spiritual Man appeared in 1926 and he completed it in 1928, when he was 26.

However, it was his friendship with Theodore Austin-Sparks which had the most profound effect on his life. For the first time he had met a brother with whom he could fellowship on an equal basis. As a matter of fact, he wrote Sparks upon his return from England: “You know, with the brethren here, because of their juniority, everything I say goes, despite their seeking the mind of the Lord. As a younger man, regarding you as a senior brother in the same testimony, I think I need this fellowship in a very real way.”

The fellowship between Austin-Sparks during 1938–1939 was mutually rewarding. It was also during this time that they extensively discussed the matter of locality and Watchman Nee translated Rethinking the Work (later published as The Normal Christian Church Life) and it appeared in London just before he left in 1939 under the title Concerning Our Missions. (Witness Lee in later years claimed that Austin-Sparks did not print it because he realized “it had something against his [Sparks’] work”. In fact, Austin-Sparks was intimately familiar with the content and his publishing company, The Witness and Testimony published the book. He just had the spiritual maturity to accommodate his younger brother, although he disagreed with his views on the ground of locality.)

Nee spoke in Shanghai on 11 June 1940:

“Our position is that, in any place, all who are the Lord’s are therefore ours because we ourselves are His, and only those who are not His are not of us. If Hardoon Road [the meeting place in Shanghai] ever comes to be a method of working in which concern for the local churches gives way to a mere concept of ‘localism’ then may God have mercy on us and smash it, for it will cease to have spiritual value. We must never forget that all in whom the Lord has liberty are ours in Him, and that in any place it is not even a spiritual local church but the Body of Christ we are called upon to build up.”

This is only by way of introduction. As we trace the years from 1940 onwards, when Witness Lee started to come to the fore more and more, it will become abundantly clear that Theodore Austin-Sparks was probably the greatest thorn in his flesh. It was also his inability in later years to work and fellowship with Austin-Sparks that caused a lot of damage within many localities.

Nee and TAS never saw each other again and had limited correspondence by mail after 1939. (For further reading on these sections, I heartily recommend the anthology of poems by Margaret E. Barber, entitled, Anchored to Infinity, but ignore the exclamation on the back cover: No Margaret Barber, No Watchman Nee!; also Against the Tide, the Story of Watchman Nee by Dr. Angus Kinnear, the son-in-law of Theodore Austin-Sparks, who had also met Nee and had known him in London.
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:07 PM   #2
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Penn-Lewis’ works must have had a major influence on Nee
If so that was not a good thing. If anyone is to blame for killing the Welsh revival it would be Penn-Lewis. She thought it was demonic. And believed that demons could possess born again believers. She's actually called the Jezebel of the Welsh Revival.

From this kind of thought we get The Spiritual Man.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:15 PM   #3
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If so that was not a good thing. If anyone is to blame for killing the Welsh revival it would be Penn-Lewis. She thought it was demonic. And believed that demons could possess born again believers. She's actually called the Jezebel of the Welsh Revival. From this kind of thought we get The Spiritual Man.
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The Welsh Example
by Jon Hamilton

The great Welsh revival of 1904 is a shining example of a true move of God. It has been called the "pentecost greater than Pentecost." Sadly, the revival’s demise is also an excellent example of how Jezebel works against the church. In just two years, over 100,000 people were saved. Welsh society was revolutionized. Entire towns recorded no arrests for over a year. Places that formerly were hotbeds of vice suddenly became transformed. Police departments were forced to lay off idle officers. Professional sports teams disbanded because no one was willing to miss church for a game. Services continued virtually around the clock and there were demonstrations of God’s presence and power.

When God begins a work, he usually begins with a man. During the Welsh revival that man was Evans Roberts. Evans was only 26 years old at the time. Most of his leaders were only in their late teens and twenties. Evans was deeply devoted to the Lord, and his devotion to wait upon the Lord released a shower of blessings that was a marvel to the Church. Pastors and leaders from around the world streamed to Wales to behold it.

Many people became associated with the revival as it grew. Among these was a well-to-do woman named Jessie Penn-Lewis. For years Penn-Lewis had considered herself a Bible teacher, but she had never found a broad acceptance for her teachings. She had largely been rejected or ignored by most church leaders in Wales. At first, Jessie Penn-Lewis appeared as a friend and financial supporter to Evans Roberts. She gained his confidence, and began speaking into his life.

Long time friends of Evans Roberts expressed concerns that she appeared to isolate Roberts too much, but Roberts trusted Penn-Lewis completely. She began to minister certain messages to Roberts, which appeared to him to be profound corrections from the Lord. These filled him with condemnation. He was convinced her deep "truths" were things he needed to hear. Mrs. Penn-Lewis began to express her "concern" to Evans that with the revival’s great success, perhaps too much glory was going to Evans Roberts instead of to God. The thought of stealing God’s glory horrified the sincere young man. He began to think that perhaps others should lead for a while. Penn-Lewis convinced Evans Roberts to withdraw from public ministry, and to move into the Penn-Lewis home. Evans Roberts never returned to the ministry. The Welsh revival ended quickly and quietly.

After a short time in the Penn-Lewis home, Evans Roberts began experiencing severe bouts of depression. Often he was unable to leave the bed for days at a time. He appeared nervous and anxious. By today’s standards he was in severe clinical depression. It took a toll on his health. Meanwhile, Penn-Lewis began writing articles and letters in Evans Roberts’ name, and on his behalf. These were published in both Roberts and Penn-Lewis’ name, and eventually, in her name alone. According to many former close associates of Evans Roberts, some of the works attributed to him could not possibly have had his approval. Certain publications were highly critical of other movements, especially the newly emerging Pentecostals. Unfortunately, few people were able to see or speak with Evans Roberts. He was kept guarded in the Penn-Lewis home. He was completely dominated.

Evans Roberts spent many dark years of depression in the house of Jezebel. Mercifully, he eventually broke all ties with Penn-Lewis, but not until his health was broken and his ministry just a shadow of its former glory. Evans Roberts made contributions in two years of ministry, that most never see in a lifetime. His memory should be honored. Nevertheless, he is a sad reminder of the old proverb "Age and treachery will always defeat youth and enthusiasm." A revival that in 24 months saw 100,000 salvations and a glory some called greater than Pentecost, was destroyed by a single unwitting servant of Jezebel, seeking control in order to gain recognition and acceptance.
Is this how history views Jessie-Penn-Lewis? Obviously 99.94% of the folks in the Recovery have no clue who she was or what she has done.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:17 PM   #4
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What follows here is by way of introduction. There are other brothers far more qualified than I am, brothers who had been there, who could provide much needed detail. However, I assume only the role of reporter and I look to the Lord to make these posts of benefit to all and fair to all concerned...

Before we can come to understand the history of Witness Lee, Living Stream Ministry and the Local Church Movement, I believe it is important to very briefly go back to the history of Watchman Nee. More specifically, we need to in a few words examine Nee’s relationship with three different people because they had a profound influence on his life and subsequently would have an effect on Lee and eventually on members of the Local Churches.

The three people I believe are critical to the history of Watchman Nee are Margaret Barber, Jessie Penn-Lewis and Theodore Austin-Sparks..
Thanks for posting. No matter the response here (and it often seems like either indifference or criticism), if you post because you feel led by the Lord to share something, then trust that your word will not return void, but will please the Father and further His will.

Regarding Nee, you quoted his remarks from 1940. I would suggest not letting go of Nee until you see some of his later comments. What I saw quoted in Hsu from the later '40s and into the '50s was really shocking. What happened to Nee? Specifically, he told the 'co-workers' that they should know who was over them, and obey without question. "Line up with the person in front of you", he said. What about following the Spirit?

Secondly were his remarks concerning the church and the ascending Communist movement. Although we have the benefit of distance in both time and space, his remarks from today's vantage point seem utterly without Spirit. It seems as if he has constructed a maze, and he is completely lost. He is trying to guide the saints, but he himself has utterly lost the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is trying to move through an admittedly bad situation (the Communist Party is taking over), but his remarks reveal no inspiration or enlightenment, but simply a man trying to figure out how to go forward. A fallen, unenlightened, soulish man.

When I read those words from "Later Nee", they seemed to presage the "Later Lee", with his various moves and flows. Merely the concepts and purposes of fallen, soulish men.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:29 PM   #5
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Is this how history views Jessie-Penn-Lewis? Obviously 99.94% of the folks in the Recovery have no clue who she was or what she has done.
And to think, back in the LC I was a big fan of Penn-Lewis ... based on Lee's promotion of her.

The fool I was back then would never get along with who I am today. They don't even understand each other.
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Some have suggested that Jesse Penn-Lewis was almost the sole cause of the end of the Welsh revival.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:39 AM   #7
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Some have suggested that Jesse Penn-Lewis was almost the sole cause of the end of the Welsh revival.
Penn-Lewis attended Surrey Chapel along with Margaret Barber and Barber introduced Nee to her writings which became one of the major sources for The Spiritual Man. Nee later stated that he regretted writing the Spiritual Man because it was "too perfect a treatment". Ironically Lee warned us in Elden regarding the teachings of Penn-Lewis. Penn-Lewis was also friends with T. Austin-Sparks who held the same eschatological views of Govett and Panton and undoubtedly influenced Nee toward the same viewpoint.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:06 PM   #8
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Default JESSIE PENN-LEWIS AND EVAN ROBERTS

This post was unplanned as part of the overview of our history.

Since there has been quite some reaction to my first post on this thread and to Jessie Penn-Lewis and the Welsh Revival and about Evan Roberts in particular, and although it does not fall within the ambit of this topic, I think it still appropriate that I briefly mention something about Evan Roberts. It will help us to understand Penn-Lewis and her connection Watchman Nee, although they never met.

It is estimated that one hundred thousand people came to the Lord during the Welsh Revival from November 1904 to August 1905. However, within a year very little remained to indicate that anything of that magnitude had happened.

Very soon after the brief but overblown Welsh Revival, Evan had one of his frequent nervous breakdowns, which was a pattern during his life. He was presently taken into their house by Jessie Penn-Lewis and her husband. It seems Evan Roberts was someone to be pitied. He often had breakdowns although Jessie kept working with him. He never did any public speaking again after the Welsh Revival, except say a few words at his father’s funeral.

Some claim Jessie Penn-Lewis had used Evan Roberts to promote her own work but the fact is that his erratic and eccentric ways also alienated him from many. He co-authored War on the Saints with Jessie Penn-Lewis, which appeared in 1912.

In November 1913 Evan Roberts startled everyone by declaring that he had received a private “Burden Message” from the Lord that the translation (rapture) of the believers were imminent.

The relationship with Jessie Penn-Lewis became strained soon after and he mainly kept to himself, taking care of the poultry and doing odd jobs around the house. Penn-Lewis around this time declared that “It is remarkable that Mr. Roberts has never been able to take part in the work again. His work has been carried on by others.”

As far as I know he probably lived with the Penn-Lewis’ family until about 1914, or maybe later. Jessie Penn-Lewis died in 1927. Evan Roberts died in 1951 and he led a quiet and secluded life after he had left the Penn-Lewis family.

Brynmore Jones wrote two separate biographies on Penn-Lewis and Roberts.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #9
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Okay bro Friedel, we covered that. Let's go on with your history presentations.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:09 PM   #10
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WITNESS LEE AND T. AUSTIN-SPARKS (the 1950’s) (PART 1)

I am actually not following a proper sequence with these postings since I should probably spend some time on the early years in Taiwan first, from 1949 onwards until Witness Lee’s departure to the United States. But let us leave that for a next posting.

Before I move on to a very significant aspect, namely the relationship between Witness Lee and Theodore Austin-Sparks, I wish to clarify a very important point.

We all assume that the Local Church Movement was started by Watchman Nee in China and then carried to the free world by Witness Lee. I believe this assumption is wrong.

What had started under the leadership of Nee in China was a unique work. I believe God had sovereignly used Watchman Nee to spread the gospel throughout the Mainland. What happened after that, when Witness Lee started taking over things in Taiwan (facts I will prove), was a totally different and distinctly new movement. This is proved by the fact that many of those who had been part of Nee’s “Little Flock” movement in China steadfastly refused to be ever part of Witness Lee’s Local Church Movement.

I believe we do Watchman Nee’s memory a disservice by grouping him together with Witness Lee, when we speak of the Local Church Movement. Witness Lee had also coined a unique phrase for his own movement, The Recovery, a phrase Nee never used to describe his Little Flock Local Churches. Therefore, when I refer to the Local Church Movement, I expressly exclude Watchman Nee. It was solely a Lee thing.

When it suited Witness Lee, he liked using only those parts of any situation he truly liked, preferring to leave out the pieces he didn’t like, thereby creating a super clean image of himself. He was the great master builder of his own deception. Over the years, many of his disciples became disillusioned (or preoccupied, as Ned Nossaman so diplomatically described the “dissenters” in 1989). In this way, Witness Lee was very successful in dominating, intimidating and manipulating every one that did not agree with him even slightly and also every one that he considered a “threat” to his own, perceived empire.

There is no doubt in my mind that he had regarded T. Austin-Sparks as such a threat, like he had also regarded Stephen Kaung and others as such. It therefore remained for him to put them down by discrediting them and everything they stood for. However, Austin-Sparks was a particular thorn in Lee’s flesh, a major obstacle. (I was surprised that even after studying the history of events in Taiwan and how Witness Lee had there hijacked everything by using the trainees and the training to gain control, some would still deem him an honest workman, cutting straight the Word of the Truth.)

Over the years, I have often considered the petty story of Austin-Sparks who had printed an appreciation in his magazine for the Christmas cards sent to him, since Witness Lee liked repeating it. I must ask: so what? Those who had sent Austin-Sparks Christmas cards had obviously enjoyed his ministry. Why could he not graciously thank them for sending it? Did he consequently then embrace the practice of sending Christmas cards, not that it matters? (Remember, we did not celebrate Christmas in any way in the Local Church!)

I do not want to elaborate but I believe Witness Lee had raised this insignificant and trivial matter to the level of a major issue, like he succeeded in doing with so many other matters. Surely, this is unimportant and does not warrant our deliberation. For freedom Christ had set us free – free to not be occupied with such trifling matters.

This legalism cloaked in its artificial spirituality is too awful, like a slow but deadly poison! Did Witness Lee not spend nine years with the Brethren of Benjamin Newton before he came into contact with Watchman Nee? It is hard to let go of certain teachings and practices once they become ingrained into your being. I have often said during the past few years that by looking back over my own considerable experience with the Local Church, I now see that Witness Lee’s “Recovery” is merely Revived Exclusive Brethrenism, centering on his person and teachings.)

Before I embark on my “defense” of T. Austin-Sparks, let me hasten to add that Witness Lee allowed no one of his peers to share his limelight, for fear of them stealing his thunder. There are quite a number of examples, such as Stephen Kaung, T. Austin-Sparks, DeVern Fromke and others. The way he treated brothers like John Ingalls, Bill Mallon and the like during the “rebellion”, and Don Hardy and Terry Risenhoover before them, speaks of the same. Witness Lee simply did not have the capacity or the inclination to graciously love his peers and to benefit from their fellowship. In addition, this particularly reprehensible and intolerant characteristic he fostered in many in his inner circle, did he not? Has any of you not witnessed or experienced this same approach by some of the New Beacons in the “Recovery”?

T. Austin-Sparks had a very fruitful relationship with Watchman Nee when the two met in London in 1938. At the time Watchman Nee stayed in London for about six months. They had wonderful fellowship and Watchman Nee found in Austin-Sparks someone of true spirituality and one with a thorough understanding of the Cross. (It had been said that Witness Lee had learnt about the lessons of the Cross from Watchman Nee but he was unwilling to learn them himself, as illustrated by the methodical, fleshly way he dealt with everyone who did not agree with him – more often than not he merely resorted to evil speaking, slander, innuendo and misrepresentation to eliminate “opposition”. Of the simple principle of the “second mile” and the “undercoat also”, as taught by the Lord Jesus Himself, he evidently knew very little. He simply refused to turn the other cheek, taking all and sundry to court and fighting back like a bobcat.) Although Austin-Sparks and Nee disagreed on the legalistic practice of the so-called “local church ground” (which Watchman Nee had originally picked up from the Exclusive Brethren), it did not affect their mutually rewarding fellowship. Interestingly, Nee and Austin- Sparks after that never had any significant correspondence by letter and never saw each other again.

Upon his return to China, Watchman Nee had written T. Austin-Sparks, lamenting his desire to have someone with whom he could fellowship like the two of them had been able to. Regrettably, there was not one in China who could meet this need, contrary to the claims of Witness Lee that he was so very close to Watchman Nee. (I am quoting from page 148 of Against the Tide, by Angus Kinnear, the biography of Watchman Nee. It makes for compelling reading unlike Witness Lee’s terrible effort, The Seer of the Divine Revelation. I believe that Witness Lee had once claimed there were more than 50 factual errors in Kinnear’s book but he never listed the errors anywhere and this claim could well have been one of his multitudes of misrepresentations.) Incidentally, an elderly brother who had known both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee very well, states that Watchman Nee did in fact not trust Witness Lee before 1949. This brother was a very close young co-worker with Witness Lee in Taiwan until 1959.

(Part 2 to follow.)

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Old 03-29-2014, 07:37 AM   #11
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This legalism cloaked in its artificial spirituality is too awful, like a slow but deadly poison! Did Witness Lee not spend nine years with the Brethren of Benjamin Newton before he came into contact with Watchman Nee? It is hard to let go of certain teachings and practices once they become ingrained into your being. I have often said during the past few years that by looking back over my own considerable experience with the Local Church, I now see that Witness Lee’s “Recovery” is merely Revived Exclusive Brethrenism, centering on his person and teachings.)
Friedel, please clarify this statement.

I'm not understanding this. Who are the Brethren of Benjamen Newton? Newton was expelled from the Brethren assemblies by Darby a half century before Lee was born. Newton had no Brethren assemblies of his own, nor did he travel to Northern China to start one.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:53 AM   #12
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Friedel, please clarify this statement.

I'm not understanding this. Who are the Brethren of Benjamen Newton? Newton was expelled from the Brethren assemblies by Darby a half century before Lee was born. Newton had no Brethren assemblies of his own, nor did he travel to Northern China to start one.
Lee stated explicitly that he had been a follower of the teachings of Benjamin Newton in a meeting at Elden Hall that I attended. In the same meeting he also talked about his experience of being a charismatic and speaking in tongues and Watchman Nee sending him a telegram that stated "not all speak in tongues. In the same meeting we were all given copies of the letter from the Church in Shanghai elders to the London brethren which awareness has posted on this forum.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:19 AM   #13
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Lee stated explicitly that he had been a follower of the teachings of Benjamin Newton in a meeting at Elden Hall that I attended. In the same meeting he also talked about his experience of being a charismatic and speaking in tongues and Watchman Nee sending him a telegram that stated "not all speak in tongues. In the same meeting we were all given copies of the letter from the Church in Shanghai elders to the London brethren which awareness has posted on this forum.
Lee also said that he learned all the O.T. types and prophecies from the Exclusive Brethren he met with for those years. It don't make sense since no Darby Exclusive would be caught dead with a teaching of Newton.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:36 PM   #14
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Friedel, please clarify this statement.

I'm not understanding this. Who are the Brethren of Benjamen Newton? Newton was expelled from the Brethren assemblies by Darby a half century before Lee was born. Newton had no Brethren assemblies of his own, nor did he travel to Northern China to start one.
WITNESS LEE AND THE “BENJAMIN NEWTON GROUP”

I heard and possibly read several times duringthe 24 years I was in the Local Church that Witness Lee claimed to have met with the Brethren of Benjamin Wills Newton for eight and a half years in China. How that came to be I have never considered until now.

It is not something I made up. Witness Lee often boasted about that. He often mentioned and/or quoted Govett, Godet (not with the Brethren), Pember, Panton, Lang, Andrew Murray (Dutch Reformed) possibly even Kelley (I suppose) and I am pretty sure he got much from Newberry regarding the types of the temple and the tabernacle as well as the festivals and the ordinances. He definitely got most of his church history from Andrew Miller. Fact is, he was thoroughly schooled in Brethren teaching. This included their sometimes fanciful eschatology.

With the Exclusive Brethren in London Darby was the traveling preacher (I once read that he at one point had never unpacked his suitcase for thirty years) while Newton stayed behind in Plymouth and took care of matters there, where he was the leading light for seventeen years.

The big split started in 1845 between Darby and Newton ostensibly over the matters of ministry and church government (where Darby did not agree with Newton) while in fact it was their different interpretations of the coming of the Lord that caused the final split in 1848. One of the other main factors was also a tract by Newton on the Person of Christ which Darby considered heretical and refused Newton’s apology.

Darby insisted Brethren across the globe excommunicate Newton. Most agreed but notably George Mueller and Henry Craik in Bristol refused and that was the origin of the Open Brethren. We therefore had the Exclusive (Closed) Brethren in Plymouth and the Open Brethren all over the world. However, although the majority in Plymouth sided with Darby at the time, many followed Newton.

Newton remained friends with Tregelles, Mueller and even Charles Spurgeon. He continued to teach and later built his own meeting hall in London until he moved to the Isle of Wight and died in 1899. I suppose that those meeting with him could have had “satellite groups” meeting everywhere, even in northern China. Some could have even gone there as Open Brethren missionaries while the Exclusive Brethren most definitely probably also had their “branches”.

Watchman Nee was certainly very well acquainted in China with the Brethren, their meetings and their practices. I know that from other sources.

Local Church practices were in many places based on the meetings of the Brethren, i.e. sisters and brothers sitting in two different groups often with a curtain separating them, sisters wearing head coverings (looking exactly like those of the Brethren), etc. (Strong Mennonite influence, as well.)

This is how much I can offer as explanation.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:52 PM   #15
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I heard and possibly read several times duringthe 24 years I was in the Local Church that Witness Lee claimed to have met with the Brethren of Benjamin Wills Newton for eight and a half years in China. How that came to be I have never considered until now.

This is how much I can offer as explanation.
Thanks, Friedel, I had heard the same stories. They just didn't make sense.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:15 PM   #16
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Lee also said that he learned all the O.T. types and prophecies from the Exclusive Brethren he met with for those years. It don't make sense since no Darby Exclusive would be caught dead with a teaching of Newton.
No Darby exclusive would have anything to do with Govett, but Nee and Lee embraced the worst teaching of both.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:20 PM   #17
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Lee also said that he learned all the O.T. types and prophecies from the Exclusive Brethren he met with for those years. It don't make sense since no Darby Exclusive would be caught dead with a teaching of Newton.
Through Watchman Nee's teaching Lee began to believe that denominationalism was unscriptural. In 1927, when elected to the board of the Chinese Independent Church, he declined the position and left the denomination. Lee then began to meet with the Benjamin Newton branch of the Plymouth Brethren where he remained for seven and a half years and was baptized in the sea by a local Brethren leader, Mr. Burnett, in 1930.[1] From Lee's memorial Biography on Wikipedia
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:55 PM   #18
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Part of the incentive for rejecting denominationalism was the desire to reject of foreign mission organizations, aka "imperialists." This may have been the most important catalyst in the establishment of the local ground doctrine. Note an interesting fact: The local ground doctrine has mainly been used, not as a unifying doctrine, but as a marginalizing doctrine. It has always been used to discredit unwanted Christian influences.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:01 PM   #19
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Part of the incentive for rejecting denominationalism was the desire to reject of foreign mission organizations, aka "imperialists." This may have been the most important catalyst in the establishment of the local ground doctrine. Note an interesting fact: The local ground doctrine has mainly been used, not as a unifying doctrine, but as a marginalizing doctrine. It has always been used to discredit unwanted Christian influences.
...and isn't it interesting that we see the first seeds of this movement in China "to reject foreign mission organizations" can be found in the bloody Boxer rebellion, which martyred thousands of saints.

The political propaganda churned out during this era by the Imperialist Chinese, just prior to Nee's birth in 1903, surely left an aftermath that would later color his own perspective. It must have, because he seemed to paint the work of the missionaries in his generation as evil. Any history of the Chinese churches that excludes the Boxer rebellion is (at best) an incomplete history. I would suggest that the propaganda of the Imperialist Chinese that lead to the Boxer rebellion profoundly shaped Nee's ecclesiology.

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"In the summer of 1900, 239 missionaries were martyred in China in what is known as the Boxer Rebellion. Of these, 189 were Protestant and 40 were Catholic. The two mission societies with the greatest toll of martyrs were the China Inland Mission, now called Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and The Christian and Missionary Alliance. The CIM (OMF) lost 79, and the C&MA lost 36. Each of these missionaries was committed to serving the Lord in China to bring hope and light to her millions.

Many things contributed to this mass slaughter of foreign missionaries, the largest ever such martyrdom in the history of Christian missions. China was in the throes of upheaval. The Manchu Dynasty, of Mongolian origin, was a very unpopular dynasty tottering on the brink of overthrow.

Discontent began to sweep through the land and threaten the Empress Dowagers dynasty. The people cried out for China to rid itself of all foreign influence, both Western imperialism and the Manchu dynasty. The Empress managed, however, to turn the people’s revolt against westerners and particularly missionaries. She convinced the people that the disasters in China were the result of turning away from the old Chinese religion for the new foreign one. The spirits were angry because ancestor worship was being neglected. Believing that Western bullets could not hurt them, and under the influence of drugs and Satan, the Boxers, mostly young men, set out to rid China of all foreigners. The Empress threw her lot in with the Boxers and decreed that foreigners in China be killed.

Not only were missionaries killed, but also numerous Chinese pastors lost their lives as well as more than 32,000 Christians."

for more on this, and stories of the some of the martyred Christians, click here: The Boxer Rebellion
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:54 PM   #20
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No Darby exclusive would have anything to do with Govett, but Nee and Lee embraced the worst teaching of both.
What's wrong with Govett?
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:58 PM   #21
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Through Watchman Nee's teaching Lee began to believe that denominationalism was unscriptural. In 1927, when elected to the board of the Chinese Independent Church, he declined the position and left the denomination. Lee then began to meet with the Benjamin Newton branch of the Plymouth Brethren where he remained for seven and a half years and was baptized in the sea by a local Brethren leader, Mr. Burnett, in 1930.[1] From Lee's memorial Biography on Wikipedia
How can Newton have a branch of Brethren?

And since when are the Brethren not a denomination?
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:05 PM   #22
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In one of Nigel Tomes articles, he brought out Watchman Nee was quarantined by the Exclusive Brethren for his fellowship with Sparks at Honor Oak.
Relating to Witness Lee, maybe Elden1971 can comment on it since I have been told previously the Stream/LSM publication The Economy of God are actually notes Lee took at a conference with Sparks as the speaker?
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:10 AM   #23
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In one of Nigel Tomes articles, he brought out Watchman Nee was quarantined by the Exclusive Brethren for his fellowship with Sparks at Honor Oak.
He had had the Lord's Table with the Brethren and then took leave from them for one weekend when he visited Honor Oak Road. The next day a young woman on a train excitedly told a friend about a charming young Chinese man who broke bread with them the previous day at Honor Oak Road. What she did not realize, was that another passenger across from her was an Exclusive.

Oops!
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:22 AM   #24
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My apologies! I did not notice Terry's attachment at first which tells in more detail the encounter on the train. Sorry.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:36 AM   #25
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WITNESS LEE AND T. AUSTIN-SPARKS (the 1950’s) (PART 2)

At the invitation of Witness Lee, Theodore Austin-Sparks had visited Taiwan twice in the 1950s: in 1955 (accompanied by Brother Poul Madsen, from Denmark) when the theme for the conference was The Persistent Purpose of God and again in 1957 when he was accompanied by his son-in-law, Dr. Angus Kinnear, when the theme was The Octave of Redemption, which is essentially the same as Witness Lee’s later teaching of the processed Triune God.

Over the years you must have often heard Witness Lee’s version of how he had acted as translator for Austin-Sparks on these occasions. He often gave his account of one particular incident during Message Nine of the conference in 1955 on The Persistent Purpose of God. Witness Lee loved to tell how he had stopped translating and actually continued the meeting himself, leaving TAS high and dry. I pointedly asked a former coworker of Witness Lee who was there and he told me what really happened:

“In Taipei, Witness Lee translated at every meeting. He also translated in other cities in Taiwan. Witness Lee told you a lie. When T. Austin-Sparks spoke about small church, small Christ, he almost stopped translating, but continued to the end and also translated the remaining messages of the conference. After the conference he sent off both brothers (Austin-Sparks and Madsen).” [My emphasis.]

From Witness Lee’s accounts I had the impression that this incident ended the conference and Austin-Sparks’ speaking, but that was not the case. In fact, Austin-Sparks had returned in 1957 for another conference.

Here follows the first section of Message 9 from the book The Persistent Purpose of God, by T. Austin-Sparks. It is the essence of this message Witness Lee afterwards referred to as passing gas. (It is somewhat long but it is necessary as part of the background.) It was also during this message he later claimed he stopped his translation, which was not true.

The House of God: The Greatness of Christ and His Church

We return this morning to that which was revealed to the Prophet Ezekiel; and I am sure that as you have read these six chapters (Ezekiel 40–6), you have found very great difficulty in getting a clear picture of the whole. I have tried many times to draw a plan of this house with all its details and its correct measurements. Up to the present time, I have not succeeded. That is not because it is impossible. I expect that there are some architects here this morning that might succeed, but I have come up against the Lord in this matter, or the Lord has come up against me. I have gotten my paper on my board, and I have gotten all my instruments, then again and again I have started on this plan, and I have not found that I could get very far. It was as though I was trying to do something that the Lord did not want me to do. I wonder if you have had that experience, if you have tried to do something, but you have just had no life in it at all. The thing becomes dead; and if you are spiritually sensitive, you just have to say, “Well, the Lord is not in this.” And that has been my consciousness every time I have tried to reduce this thing to a plan on paper. This is the point at which I begin this morning, because I believe that that contains a very important principle.

As we read these chapters, we find ourselves in the presence of a great mass of detail. It is very difficult to cope with all the details. If we were to try to deal with that in these sessions, we should find that we had undertaken an impossible task. For one thing, we would have to be here for quite a long time; and for another thing, we might begin to lose our sense of life in it. My point is this: it would be very easy for us to fall into the very mistake that we must most carefully avoid, and that is to resolve spiritual things into a technical system, to be taken up with the technique of the House of God. That is a very great peril! And I do want to emphasize that this morning.

Here this great mass of material and detail is altogether beyond our power to handle. If we were to resolve this into merely a technical system, we could easily destroy the life! I therefore urge you brethren to be very careful on this matter, be very careful not to reduce the House of God to a technique. Immediately if it is resolved into a system, then it is in danger of losing its life. That is the very thing that has happened again and again in the history of the Church. Before you get to the end of the Book of the Acts, you find that that thing is happening! The whole present system of Christianity was beginning; and, as you know, Paul wrote his last letters to Timothy to restore the spiritual nature of things. He sought to show that the offices of the church are not just offices; that is, elders are not officials, they are spiritual men.

The House of God is not a system – it is a spiritual House. In Timothy’s day, men had already begun to make spiritual things into an earthly system, and that has happened many times during the past centuries. God has done something of a spiritual character. He has given a fresh revelation of the spiritual nature of things, and for a time things went on in that spiritual life and then men took hold of it and reduced it to a fixed system. They brought it out of the heavenlies onto the earth; and, in doing that, they killed its spiritual life. That is the history of so many things in Christianity on the earth today. Many of them did begin in real spiritual life - they were in spiritual power – and out from them went a river of life. But then man took hold of them and organized them into a system and introduced a technical element into things; and, in doing that, they killed the life. I do urge upon you to be alive to that peril, and to guard very carefully against it, especially those of you who have responsibility in leadership.

Now we come back to the House of God as presented in Ezekiel. Of course, this whole presentation does show how exact and how careful God is. It shows how particular the Lord is about the smallest details. We recognize that is a law of the House. God is most particular about the smallest things. Every little thing has its own measurement – it is a measurement which is given to it by God. We are not allowed to make that smaller or larger; it must exactly express the Mind of the Lord. As we have said, there is a tremendous mass of detail here, but every part of it represents God’s particular concern to have things according to His Mind. We recognize that, but we must at the same time recognize that it is not a system that is presented. In this vision of the House, God was not presenting a system. He was not presenting an organization. He was presenting a Person. This is the Person of His Son. This is a spiritual House, not a system of truth, and the supreme characteristic of this House has to do with Life.

Let us look at that from both sides. LIFE will demand exactness in behavior, LIFE will demand exactness in order; but we can have the order without the Life. It is possible for the system, or the technique, to destroy the Life. It does not necessarily follow that because you have things according to the Bible in technique that you have them according to the Bible in Life. It is possible to resolve Christianity into a legal system, just as much as Judaea. The law of this House is Holiness of Life. We therefore have to come to view this temple in Ezekiel in an objective way. That is how Ezekiel first saw it. You will see that there were two views of this temple given to Ezekiel. First of all, he saw it as a whole, as from a distance; he was given to view it from the very “high mountain.” He saw it comprehensively in that way. He saw its broad outline, he saw its boundaries and its inclusiveness. And then the Spirit took him in, and he saw it from the inside. He was shown all the details from the inside. It is important that we see it in that way.

The first thing that we see from this heavenly standpoint is the great size of this House of God. The whole area of the House was revealed to Ezekiel, and it is, as we saw yesterday, a very great thing. We must be very careful not to make Christ, or His Church, smaller than it really is. We must not make Christ smaller than God has made Him. We may not make Him just our Christ, our little Christ, the Christ that belongs to us, the Christ of our particular locality. We must be very careful that we do not make Christ smaller than what God has made Him, and we may not make the Church smaller than God has made it. This is not our little Church, it is not anybody’s little Church. This is much bigger than our thoughts: it goes much beyond our imaginations. This is a very Great Christ and a very great Church. [My emphasis.]

Here again we must guard against a peril; that is, the ever-present peril of reducing the size of Christ and the Church, reducing the Church to the measure in which we have seen it. The measure of the Church is not our measure of understanding it; the measure of the Church is not our measure of comprehending it. The prayer of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians concerning the Church was that they should have an enlargement of comprehension. He prayed that the Church might know “what is the breadth, and the length, and the heighth, and the depth.” This is a knowledge which surpasses all human knowledge. If there was one thing about the Apostle Paul more than another, it was just this thing: he was always overwhelmed with the Greatness of Christ, and the greatness of the Church.

So, we must see it like that and always guard against the peril of reducing Christ and the Church to our own size; that is, the size of our knowledge of it. You and I have yet to learn far more about the Lord and His Church than ever yet we have seen, and the realization of that fact should always save us from littleness. Here, then, is the compass of Great Fullness - this fills all things, and all things are to be filled into it. This House is to effect all things to the uttermost. That is what we come to when we come to the river. The river is the influence, or effect, of this House. It is what goes out from this House to the world, and it is to effect the whole world, so that stored up in this House there are all the potentialities to affect the uttermost bounds of the earth.

Now you will notice that this House, the whole dimension of the House, is square. It has four sides, and all the sides are equal. I am speaking now about the whole area of the temple; the whole temple area is one great square, four sides which are equal. You remember what we said about the number “four” when we were beginning. We pointed out that the number four is the number of creation. Four embraces the whole creation, and this House represents the new creation in Christ. Paul tells us that Christ is to fill all things and ALL things are to be filled into Him, or to use another phrase of Paul’s, in Ephesians 3:9, “to make ALL men see what is the stewardship of the mystery.”

Do take note of that, “To make ALL men see what is the stewardship of the mystery.” That does not necessarily mean that all men will accept it, or understand it. We must be very careful that we do not confine Church truth, as we call it, to just a few. We must not be those who say: “Now we are the people who have seen the Church, we stand on the ground of the Church, we hold the truth of the Church, we have seen the meaning of the Body of Christ. Many other Christians have not seen it, they do not stand on that ground; therefore, what conclusion do we draw? We must be the Church, and they are not!” You see, that is a very artificial conclusion. We have got to be very careful of that danger. There may be a difference in apprehending the truth, there may be a difference of position as to the Church, but the Will of God is “to make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery.” You cannot get outside of ALL MEN because that is the range of God’s Will, and we must enlarge our heart and our mind to God’s measure. You cannot make Christ too big. You cannot make the Church too big, provided it is God’s Church and not man’s church. So, here we have the comprehensiveness of Christ. I said that Paul was overwhelmed with that consciousness. He was constantly crying out over that tremendous overwhelmingness of the greatness of things. He spoke of all “the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His... ways!” – he spoke of “the exceeding riches.” Paul was overwhelmed with this greatness of Christ and His Church. What it amounts to is this: that the real apprehension of the Church of Christ will make us big in spirit, and not small. There is nothing that will save us from littleness more than a true apprehension of Christ. If we become little, or if the work becomes little in its mind, it has not really apprehended Christ. So that is the first thing that we see represented here in Ezekiel’s vision of the House. How great this House is. It represents the whole of a new creation. In the ages to come, it will fill all things; and all things will be affected by it. That is a glorious vision. We must, therefore, be very big people, big in spirit and big in heart. (End of extract from message.)

Witness Lee afterwards himself visited Austin-Sparks in London in 1958 and spoke at several meetings at Honor Oak Road.

However, he became more and more agitated over T. Austin-Sparks’ views and finally, towards the end of April 1959 at a Thursday night meeting in Taipei, Witness Lee publicly dissociated himself from Austin-Sparks. Speaking in the Shantungese dialect, he angrily stated:

1. He would never again work or have fellowship with T. Austin-Sparks.

2. He reviled and slandered Austin-Sparks, saying that his speaking was like “passing gas”.

3. He cursed himself, saying that if his refusal to work with Austin-Sparks causes divisions among individual saints and churches, he would go down to Sheol mourning! (Cf. Genesis 37:35.)

Everyone in that meeting was taken by surprise, shocked. Witness Lee’s face was red and he could not even pray to close the meeting. He promptly dismissed it at 8.55. The next day he fell sick and he was unable to speak at any meeting for another six months! Soon after, so history tells us, he visited the USA for the first time, preparing the way for his eventual move there. He more than likely realized that his time in Taiwan was almost up.

What was the fruit of the work of Witness Lee for the remainder of his life? Apart from many meetings, conferences and publishing numerous volumes of books, it is also characterized and overshadowed by his intolerant self-importance and pride, haughty self-promotion, acrimony and hostility, never-ending battles between churches and individuals, an endless list of divisions, cruel jockeying for control, insidious tales of woe, incessant conniving and maneuvering, the reprehensible conduct and appalling actions of his sons, malicious slander, backbiting, political in-fighting, indefensible evil speaking, heavy-handed treatment of so-called “opposers” and “rebels”, gross misrepresentation of the truth—all for the sake of holding on to power and by using ungodly methods of domination, intimidation and manipulation, which constitute idolatry and evil. O, naturally all this was done in the name of the Lord and of the “Recovery”.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:40 AM   #26
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THE TAIWAN YEARS (PART 1)

With all the posts about history now available on the forum, I believe this posting should suffice to provide the bridge between Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and from Taiwan to the USA. It is not at all the rosy picture Witness Lee had painted over the years; as a matter of fact, the facts of history tell a different story about what he had done with the mantle he had supposedly inherited from Watchman Nee.

Let me state at the outset that I do not claim to have the complete picture of events. Factors such as language, distance and the mere fact that survivors of these times are difficult to trace, hampered me greatly. However, if I had made a claim or had provided incomplete details, the problem lies with me alone; if anyone can correct me or provide better insight and more details, please forward it to me. I will gladly revise this post to include it all.

Introduction

In 1962, Brother Faithful Luke of Singapore visited Simon Meek in Manila. Luke and Meek were of the same age and had been very close co-workers with Watchman Nee in China. They both recalled attending Watchman Nee’s first training conference in Gu-Ling, Foo-zhou, in 1949. Although he was expected to be there, Witness Lee did not turn up and Watchman Nee was extremely disappointed. With a sigh he said to Luke and Meek: “Witness Lee has done many good things but he was unwilling to learn the way of the cross.” It was a crucial conference, yet Lee decided not to attend.

Brother Faithful Luke personally told this to my source in 1962. This person had been invited a year earlier by Simon Meek to the Philippines when the Church in Manila split. The churches in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and elsewhere, also experienced splits over the person and actions of Witness Lee. In fact, some of the Watchman Nee groups to this day refuse to acknowledge any ties with Witness Lee’s Local Church.

I found this on www.emanna.com (run by Living Stream Ministry): “Witness Lee received the Lord Jesus in a personal way in 1925 at the age of 19. Eight years later, he started serving the Lord full-time. He met Watchman Nee in 1932 and became his closest co-worker. He was sent by Watchman Nee to Taiwan in 1952 to continue their ministry; rather than both being imprisoned by the Communists. In 1962, he was led by the Lord to begin his speaking and writing for Him in the United States.”

I have already pointed out that it is my impression that Witness Lee grossly exaggerated and misrepresented his role as Watchman Nee’s heir and therefore the one responsible for carrying on working with the Local Churches elsewhere. He deftly created this perception and then forcefully assumed this “role” as God’s deputy authority on the earth today, as God’s oracle and as Watchman Nee’s designated successor to carry on the work Nee had started in China.

I have also stated before that Watchman Nee had not placed much trust in Witness Lee before 1949. In Shanghai during 1946-49 Watchman Nee made some very important decisions without consulting Witness Lee. The most Lee ever did, according to reliable sources who were there, Watchman Nee only sent him to preach the gospel everywhere and to edify the beginners.

Did Faithful Luke and Simon Meek lie or should we reject what we find on the LSM website?

What Really Happened In Taiwan?

As early as 1938 a brother from the mainland, Liu Kiang Yung went there to serve the saints on the island fulltime. In those days about 20 members met in a house on Shanghai Street for their meetings. It was also the permanent lodgings for the fulltime workers and had been donated by Watchman Nee to the assembly meeting in Taipei.

After the Communist takeover of China in the middle of 1948, many believers moved to Taiwan with their schools, universities, government agencies and the military. By the spring of 1949 there were about 150 people meeting in Taipei and many others were meeting in places all over the island. The house Watchman Nee had donated in Shanghai Road, Taipei, had by then become too small for meetings.

Two brothers then proceeded to buy a piece of property in Section Two of Taipei. They soon afterwards erected a wooden structure that could accommodate about 350 people but it quickly also became too small and they had to rebuild it to provide space for 800 people meeting. This is the current Assembly Hall 1, Taipei on Tien San Ban Liu.

At the beginning of 1949 Watchman Nee visited Taipei at the request of the believers there. He also established the eldership, consisting of five brothers of whom three were fulltime elders.

In April 1949 Witness Lee and his family moved to Taipei from Mainland China. It is reported that at the time Witness Lee was suffering much from depression, which is understandable given the political turmoil and how much he had previously suffered at the hands of the Japanese. To help him overcome his mental state he was encouraged by members of the assembly in Taipei to visit other localities. On these trips he was accompanied by some co-workers to visit saints in the southern part of Taiwan. Witness Lee soon overcame his depressed state and recovered his health. The reconstruction of the meeting hall was completed around the time.

The first conference for all Taiwan was called for August 1, 1949 and it was attended by about 300 people of whom about 200 were from the greater Taipei region. About 70 of these came from the central and southern parts of Taiwan. There were also between 30 and 40 others, members of other denominations, who attended the conference. Most, if not all of these people, had been living in Taiwan before the arrival of Witness Lee.

Those meeting in the local assemblies across Taiwan at this time numbered around 500. Between 150 and 200 of these could not attend this first conference.

Because of the rapid increase in numbers, many young people left their fulltime occupation to serve the believers. Many of these had either just graduated from college or were still studying. A need therefore developed to have a fulltime training to equip these new fulltime Christian workers to carry out their work. Several of the church members then asked Witness Lee whether he would be willing to take responsibility for the training.

About 100 people attended the training but not everyone was necessarily a fulltime worker. Since many of the trainees came from all over Taiwan, it gave Witness Lee much influence throughout the island. It is said that the trainees became Witness Lee’s “special disciples”. Initially the cooperation between all the local assemblies on Taiwan was very good but Lee’s control over the training gave him de facto control over the Local Churches.

Two Visits by T. Austin-Sparks Cause Division

Although Taiwan is an island surrounded by the ocean, it is a very open society, and the church members had the opportunity to communicate and have fellowship with other believers who were meeting in the denominations. And, many young people discovered that there are other groups who also work for the Lord. Their ideas were a little different from what they heard from their own church and leaders. So, many of them went to Witness Lee and asked for a chance to have some fellowship and communication with other groups.

Because of the repeated request Witness Lee eventually relented and he agreed to invite Theodore Austin-Sparks to visit Taiwan for some meetings. These meetings were received very well but it also started raising doubts in the hearts and minds of many believers about Witness Lee’s absolute authority.

Witness Lee later confessed privately and in public his regrets for inviting TAS to Taiwan. After the conference meetings by TAS in 1955 and again in 1957, several questions were raised and some believers decided to break away from Witness Lee’s group.

The work of Witness Lee expanded rapidly which meant an increase in financial demands. In the beginning years very few meeting in Taipei had jobs paying well but as the membership grew, people with a better income joined and the income of the work subsequently also increased. Meetings had also started in other countries due to migration.

The finances were initially handled very informally. Fulltime coworkers were told to handle their own financial situation according to their own conscience before the Lord. Nobody took care of their living and their assignment and locality was determined by Witness Lee and those close to him. Everybody had to accept their assigned locality without murmuring. All financial contributions were controlled by the senior coworkers.

It did not take long for this arrangement to cause unhappiness and create friction. Many coworkers were forced to live very frugally, sometimes under extremely difficult circumstances. It was during this time that the senior co-workers made some questionable financial decisions.

(To be continued)
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:47 AM   #27
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Quote:
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In one of Nigel Tomes articles, he brought out Watchman Nee was quarantined by the Exclusive Brethren for his fellowship with Sparks at Honor Oak.
Relating to Witness Lee, maybe Elden1971 can comment on it since I have been told previously the Stream/LSM publication The Economy of God are actually notes Lee took at a conference with Sparks as the speaker?
Yes one of the elders present at the last Sparks Conference shared with us that Sparks spoke on The Stewardship of the Mystery which can be read at www.austin-sparks.net this later was published by Lee as The Economy of Gospel. Two other Sparks messages became Lee's works as well.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:54 AM   #28
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In 1962, Brother Faithful Luke of Singapore visited Simon Meek in Manila. Luke and Meek were of the same age and had been very close co-workers with Watchman Nee in China. They both recalled attending Watchman Nee’s first training conference in Gu-Ling, Foo-zhou, in 1949. Although he was expected to be there, Witness Lee did not turn up and Watchman Nee was extremely disappointed. With a sigh he said to Luke and Meek: “Witness Lee has done many good things but he was unwilling to learn the way of the cross.” It was a crucial conference, yet Lee decided not to attend.

Brother Faithful Luke personally told this to my source in 1962. This person had been invited a year earlier by Simon Meek to the Philippines when the Church in Manila split. The churches in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and elsewhere, also experienced splits over the person and actions of Witness Lee. In fact, some of the Watchman Nee groups to this day refuse to acknowledge any ties with Witness Lee’s Local Church.

I remember in a meeting in Elden Bro. Lee referring to Faithful Luke as "Unfaithful Luke" in a very facetious manner.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:09 AM   #29
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He had had the Lord's Table with the Brethren and then took leave from them for one weekend when he visited Honor Oak Road. The next day a young woman on a train excitedly told a friend about a charming young Chinese man who broke bread with them the previous day at Honor Oak Road. What she did not realize, was that another passenger across from her was an Exclusive.

Oops!
http://www.mybrethren.org/history/framchin.htm

The China episode report from the Brethren
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:26 AM   #30
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February 6, 1974
Mr. Gordon A. Rainbow,
I write to thank you for your kind letter of appreciation of the Watchman Nee Story, 'Against the Tide'.
I am most interested in what you write of the parallels between the later practice in China and the Brethren practices.
  • I myself had observed a little of this, but you make the point much clearer.
  • What is disturbing is the fact that these methods are being applied in a strongly authoritarian way by Witness Lee in the expansion of the 'Little Flock' work in the West and this is already producing a great deal of sorrow.
  • I feel it is most valuable if any who understand this would share in prayer for the brothers involved, that we may not have a repetition of the same in fresh terms.
  • I have, as you will have gathered, great confidence that God is in control of the Church within China, and believe that Nee was perhaps a prophet for this day in his own country.
  • I have however grave doubts about the wisdom of carrying across to the West, with its so different history, the methods designed by God for this day in China.
  • Perhaps I am wrong, but I fear mere imitation. God will, I trust, work afresh in our countries through His Spirit with means of His own choosing.

I much appreciate your expression of fellowship in Christ at this time and thank you for writing so fully and so interestingly. Yours in His eternal bonds, Angus Kinnear.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:57 AM   #31
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I remember in a meeting in Elden Bro. Lee referring to Faithful Luke as "Unfaithful Luke" in a very facetious manner.
I lived with an elder and his wife when I was young. One day they were discussing "Against the Tide" and said they had asked Witness Lee about some of the people in the book that they'd never heard of in the Recovery. They asked him who Faithful Luke was.

"He was not so faithful," they said Lee replied.

Ha, ha. We all had a good chuckle.

Little did we know at the time that "faithful" meant unquestioning allegiance to Lee.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:18 AM   #32
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I remember in a meeting in Elden Bro. Lee referring to Faithful Luke as "Unfaithful Luke" in a very facetious manner.
And, out of respect, I used to get bothered when some referred to him as "Wit-less" Lee.

What goes around comes around.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:33 AM   #33
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Penn-Lewis attended Surrey Chapel along with Margaret Barber and Barber introduced Nee to her writings which became one of the major sources for The Spiritual Man. Nee later stated that he regretted writing the Spiritual Man because it was "too perfect a treatment". Ironically Lee warned us in Elden regarding the teachings of Penn-Lewis. Penn-Lewis was also friends with T. Austin-Sparks who held the same eschatological views of Govett and Panton and undoubtedly influenced Nee toward the same viewpoint.
Robert Govett was the pastor at Surrey Chapel in the 1800s. He was then succeeded by David Morrieson Panton. After she had left England to return to China, Margaret Barber left the denomination and had unofficial ties with the Plymouth Brethren.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:57 AM   #34
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Robert Govett was the pastor at Surrey Chapel in the 1800s. He was then succeeded by David Morrieson Panton. After she had left England to return to China, Margaret Barber left the denomination and had unofficial ties with the Plymouth Brethren.

Letter One
The following letter appeared in The Dawn magazine, II, 1925-26, 285, in response to an article that had appeared in The Dawn called “Testing the Supernatural.”
Testing the supernatural
Dear Sir,
Your valuable article on “Testing the Supernatural” in the May Dawn has interested us deeply. Here in China demon powers are manifesting themselves in new ways; and even in the Churches there have been cases of evil spirits pretending to be Jesus Christ.
One case may be of interest. Last autumn, near Amoy, in a preacher's house one night, a voice was heard in the ceiling and a light appeared. The voice professed to be that of the former preacher who had lived in that house, and had died there twenty years ago. It soon became known all over the country-side that the old pastor was speaking from the roof of his former dwelling, to any who would go and hear, and crowds flocked day by day. The utterances were extraordinary:full of Scripture; exhortations to live a holy life were frequent; and people of evil character dare not go, because no sooner were they seated, than the voice would address them by name, and ask them to repent of their sins. In most cases, sins known only to the person and the spirit addressing them were revealed. There is a well known man in Amoy, a Chinese physician trained in America, and a real Christian. His fees were very high; and to his amazement, when he went to the house, the spirit called on him to repent of the sin of covetousness, and commanded him to reduce his fees. So great was the effect on him that he now treats poor patients for nothing and is in many ways a transformed character.
A brother who preaches the Gospel in the Amoy district came to see me and asked me if I did not believe that this spirit was really the voice of God. He said, “No one in Amoy, scarcely, doubts it; though a few missionaries perhaps may be a little sceptical.” I told him about testing the spirits, and advised him to use the test of 1 John 4:2. The spirit never becomes visible, but often a brilliant light is seen hovering over the house.
Ultimately the test was put by a worker we know and trust. After putting the test, there was silence for about half an hour; and then the voice said, “Read 1 Corinthians 13:13.” As you say in the article, the “not confessing” is sufficient proof of the origin of the manifestation. Many Chinese Christians have been utterly deceived; they well know the supernaturalism of heathenism, but it has never entered their heads that a demon could manifest himself in a Christian church, use Scriptural terms, exhort to goodness instead of evil, and press the reading of the Bible.

I am, etc.,
MARGARET E. BARBER
Pagoda Anchorage
Fukien, China
Letter Two

The following letter was sent to D.M. Panton regarding Brother Watchman Nee, a brother of 23 years of age. Permission has been kindly granted by Lewis Schoettle (Schoettle Publishing Company) to reprint this letter, the original of which is in his possession.

Pagoda Anchorage
S. China
April 2, 1926

Dear Mr. Panton,
I am sure you will be interested in Dr. Huang's letter. I sent him Govett’s “Race & Crown.” I only lent it as I have only that one precious copy. He has also the “Vanguard Reprints” which are so precious. Can I get the leaflets from Mr. Tilney? Nothing you ever printed was more valuable than those concise rich Bible Studies called “Vanguard Reprints.” Why not print one each month in The Dawn?
Please do not let Faithful Luke & Watchman Nee (Henry Nga is his home name) worry you with letters. It is so good & kind of you to have written once to them. They are likely to be tiresome. They write to Mr. Wright Hay or any Editor whose address they can get & do not understand how precious time is to a busy Editor. For many reasons I think you should not be feeling obliged even to answer their letters. These two young men are in great danger. They have a mental apprehension of God’s Truth which unless lived out will be their peril.
Three sisters & one brother [were] baptised here this week by Leland Wang. We have precious bands of village men & women coming for teaching. Faithful is splendid with personal work & this work amongst men & Miss Fek & Miss Ding are much used among the women.
Satan hates this witness. I feel his rage at times but Jesus is Victor & the Lord God is a sun & shield. The Lord will give grace (for today) & glory (Rapture!). So we press on. May you be shielded. We pray for you. May you be kept in God’s quiver! Yours ever gratefully
Margaret Barber.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:14 AM   #35
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Letter Two

The following letter was sent to D.M. Panton regarding Brother Watchman Nee, a brother of 23 years of age. Permission has been kindly granted by Lewis Schoettle (Schoettle Publishing Company) to reprint this letter, the original of which is in his possession.

Pagoda Anchorage
S. China
April 2, 1926

Dear Mr. Panton,

Please do not let Faithful Luke & Watchman Nee (Henry Nga is his home name) worry you with letters. It is so good & kind of you to have written once to them. They are likely to be tiresome. They write to Mr. Wright Hay or any Editor whose address they can get & do not understand how precious time is to a busy Editor. For many reasons I think you should not be feeling obliged even to answer their letters. These two young men are in great danger. They have a mental apprehension of God’s Truth which unless lived out will be their peril
This quote from Margaret Barbers letter to DMPanton has proven to be prophetic.

http://mebarber.ccws.org/letters/index.html
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:13 AM   #36
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These two young men are in great danger. They have a mental apprehension of God’s Truth which unless lived out will be their peril.
Wow! This is perhaps the most sobering statement I have seen on this forum. This is what the fruit of the Recovery is: mental apprehension, possibly, but no light, no life, no love.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:40 AM   #37
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Letter Two

The following letter was sent to D.M. Panton regarding Brother Watchman Nee, a brother of 23 years of age. Permission has been kindly granted by Lewis Schoettle (Schoettle Publishing Company) to reprint this letter, the original of which is in his possession.

Pagoda Anchorage
S. China
April 2, 1926

Dear Mr. Panton,

Please do not let Faithful Luke & Watchman Nee (Henry Nga is his home name) worry you with letters. It is so good & kind of you to have written once to them. They are likely to be tiresome. They write to Mr. Wright Hay or any Editor whose address they can get & do not understand how precious time is to a busy Editor. For many reasons I think you should not be feeling obliged even to answer their letters. These two young men are in great danger. They have a mental apprehension of God’s Truth which unless lived out will be their peril
This quote from Margaret Barbers letter to DMPanton has proven to be prophetic.

http://mebarber.ccws.org/letters/index.html
AMRKelly says these letters come from:
http://www.churchinmarlboro.org/introduction/barber.htm
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:25 AM   #38
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THE TAIWAN YEARS (PART 2)

Financial Disaster for Witness Lee

Witness Lee’s first financial crisis in Taipei occurred in 1959. He made some dubious investments with church money and a big amount was lost. After this investment failure the Local Church still owed a great deal of money to outsiders because of the nature of the financial transaction.

This situation forced Witness Lee to compel the elders to sell a piece of church property in order to repay the debt. The piece of land was located at 19 East Road, Section 4. The saints had originally bought this piece of land to build a new meeting hall and a training center. Many of the believers were very unhappy with Witness Lee and he went to the United States for the first time where he stayed on the west coast.

While Witness Lee was away the coworkers back in Taiwan formed two sides: one group remained loyal to Witness Lee while the other group had serious misgivings about his activities. This split impacted heavily on the believers creating a lot of difficulty until some of his close followers begged him to return.

Witness Lee indeed returned to Taipei and quickly resolved to get rid of the coworkers who were unhappy with him. According to estimates thousands then left the congregation. Some put the number at about 30% of the total number meeting there while some estimates put the number of college students who had left at between left at between 80 and 90% of the total. (It is difficult to give exact figures because there is no official record available to provide details of the number of people meeting in Taiwan during those years.)

This “cleansing” created a permanent rift in Taiwan: those who were for Witness Lee and those who were against him.

Another Major Storm

Towards the end of the 1950’s there was much unhappiness in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia over Witness Lee’s authoritarian ways. Coworkers in these centers did not readily accept Lee’s absolute authority because he listened to nobody and made all decisions alone. Others who had contributed substantially to the coffers of the work and the local assemblies did not appreciate his financial dealings.

A total breakdown in trust had developed pretty quickly. The Philippines used to be very important to Witness Lee because some of the members of the congregations there were fairly wealthy and had financially contributed generously in the past. However, in 1960 the Church in Manila severed all ties with Witness Lee.

Witness Lee did not go to the USA in 1960 to open up a new frontier but he in fact was not very popular in Taiwan and the doors had closed to him in the Philippines. He had to find a new sphere of influence.

Witness Lee Returns to Taiwan to Seize Control Yet Again

During the years 1960–1965 the Local Churches in Taiwan suffered much. There was a lack of agreement and oneness between the co-workers. However, some faithfully carried on, trying to establish some growth in membership.

One year during the summer there was a camp in the Taipei area for young people. Many children also joined in the various activities and a period of rapid recovery and an increase in numbers ensued after years of infighting and divisions.

So Witness Lee organized a special international conference in Taipei in 1968, inviting people from all over Taiwan. About 160 members from the USA and Canada also attended, as well as about another 100 or so from various countries in Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe.

Those who had attended the conference were very impressed by what they had seen in Taiwan and went back to their own countries and implemented what they observed in Taiwan.

(One of the main reasons for the spectacular growth in membership was the fact that there was no single leader and all the fulltime workers just had to cooperate.

Another main characteristic is the atmosphere of liberty that prevailed. Members could share and express their own feelings. There was no central authority to dictate proceedings and there was no centralized teaching. Neither was there anyone who was there to give the one and only teaching to all the members.

A third factor was that co-workers could pursue what they felt the Lord had led them to do: some preached the gospel, others worked with children, others ministered to the sick. The focus also strongly fell on home meetings and the family.)

From 1970 Onwards

By 1975 the Local Church in Taipei had been divided into 22 meeting halls, 77 assemblies plus more than 200 home fellowships totaling more than 1,000 people.

The group that had suffered most because of Witness Lee’s “cleansing” in 1965 was the young people and college students. Most of the coworkers that were driven away at the time were the leaders among the young people and this had created a vacuum.

Between 1960 and 1965 there was not much fellowship between Taiwan and other countries in Southeast Asia but after 1968 this had changed. Other countries asked for workers to come and help them and consequently some went to Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Workers from these countries also went to Taiwan to join in the work there.

And, remember, during this time Witness Lee was in the USA.

The Glorious Atmosphere Did Not Last

During the summer of 1970 a special international conference was scheduled for Los Angeles. One hundred or so came from the Far East of which roughly 65 were from Taiwan. Most of them included the leading co-workers from Taiwan.

During that conference Witness Lee spoke out against the churches in the Far East, describing them as “outdated”. He compared them to the churches in the USA and told them that should follow their example by shouting and generally being loud. They eventually agreed that they were outdated and had fallen behind in their enjoyment and expression of the Spirit.

What had prompted Witness Lee to seek out the believers from the Far East for a taste of his “special treatment”? One can only guess. Was this a case of “divide and rule”?

The result was that when these coworkers returned to their home countries they introduced what they had observed in the USA. Where they had been quiet and reserved in the past, the meetings suddenly became loud and noisy. This caused conflict within the assemblies themselves and also irritated the neighbors. The churches in Taiwan were seriously damaged.

On the matter of the revised version of Against the Tide, I would very much like to see if the 50 perceived “errors” mentioned by Witness Lee were corrected in the updated version. That is, if he had ever conveyed those “errors” to Dr. Kinnear. (Witness Lee wrote that terrible so-called biography of Watchman Nee, call A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age. I have often maintained that he probably published that book so he could include the wedding picture of Watchman Nee and Charity Chang, with himself holding the marriage certificate as best man. I have established that he had been the best man but I have concluded that it was not because he had been Watchman Nee’s closest co-worker.)

I also once read that TAS was not one for small talk; he would seldom engage in discussions which had no meaning to him. He would then rather keep quiet.

What I really would like to discover (and that would explain many other things to me) is what it was in him that so affronted Witness Lee. If Watchman Nee found in him a true “match”, someone to which he could really open up his inner being, why would he have been such a stumbling block to Witness Lee? I would go so far as to suggest that had they (TAS and WN) maintained their fellowship it is quite possible Watchman Nee would have dropped his teaching on locality. But that is only my opinion.

SUMMARY

1. 1. When Witness Lee arrived in a very depressed state in Taiwan in 1949, it did not take him long to take over all the Local Churches by using the young people. That caused a storm.

2. 2. Then he had a failed business venture in Taipei, which cost the Local Church there a lot of money. It was a rebellion.

3. More or less at the same time or shortly after the fancy Japanese restaurant he and son Tim had started in Manila, put up with money from rich believers, failed. This caused the Local Church there to split. Another rebellion.

4. So he fled to the United States and to escape from the failed business ventures, he started another movement, which he labeled The Recovery. It went fine for a while until some people picked up his funny terminology, especially this God-man thing and they wrote books about it. So the next couple of years were dedicated to suing the authors and the publishers. A big storm.

5. About this time there was real turmoil in Taiwan after an international conference in the US. So he flew back, killed the turmoil by causing a split and returned to the US.

6. Meanwhile, Tim and/or Philip were siphoning money into Linko, DayStar and sports equipment at the World Trade Fair in Seattle, but fortunately he could use the lawsuits to deflect the unhappiness. Just a storm.

7. By the early 1980’s he realized he was in trouble: there was no blessing, Phillip was starting to make havoc with the Local Churches’ oversight and he decided: a new way. But he called it The New Way. The One-man Show for all Ages. He got at least 419 to initially follow him. The big storm was on the horizon.

8. So he devised a whole, intricate system, a system of error in the sleight of men, this New Way. In the meantime, Philip was making merry with new little branch offices and forcing himself upon sisters working in the office. He was dishing out hard liquor to young brothers working in the Office and showing them porn movies. At the same time he helped making $2.5 million disappear. Without warning the tropical storm had become the turmoil.

9. The choice for the oracle was simple: get rid of my troublesome, money-wasting sons or get rid of the rebels. Naturally, he chose the latter option.

10. He had deceived almost everyone, except the inner circle who knew the truth. He “fired” Philip from the office but naturally Philip still managed the board of LSM. Witness Lee was handling the turmoil with great cunning.

11. He had succeeded in keeping his sons safe and protected, he got rid of the rebels by quarantine, and he continued happily ever after. Any loss of money just went away, forgotten.

12. By this time any form of spiritual reality had left the organization. But dead or alive, the oracle still had some great things in his future: his own metal casket in his very own mausoleum, his own cemetery, a new lawsuit to deflect from the inadequacies of his systems of error, some more turmoil and division (like Dong in Brazil, Titus Chu in the Mid-West), a team working fulltime regurgitating his “vision” into new messages, a campus with its own dean, fulltime trainings (Witness Lee Duplication Centers) in several places across the globe, many faithful parrots repeating his very words and defending everything he ever said, the introduction of a new fashion item: God-Man socks, and still many parrots signing up regularly.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:09 PM   #39
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At the same time he helped making $2.5 million disappear.
This I had never heard before, but I'm not surprised. Friedel, since you apparently know about it suggests others do too and have never said anything.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:22 PM   #40
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AMRKelly says these letters come from:
http://www.churchinmarlboro.org/introduction/barber.htm
That makes no sense as the original was brought to the US from England and is in the possession of Lewis Schoettle. Anyone obviously can reproduce the reproductions but I personally know the Brother who has made numerous trips to England representing the publisher to acquire these and other original documents. He has mailed me a few of them.
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:10 PM   #41
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. . . the introduction of a new fashion item: God-Man socks . . . .
Wow!! Never heard of that one. Do they keep your feet dry and smelling heavenly?
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:03 AM   #42
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IN CLOSING

This is the last contribution of what I had collected. It consists of two testimonies I had received some years ago.

Testimony 1

The following testimony was supplied by an unnamed Chinese brother who had lived through much of the time under discussion:


Brother Lee often said that he is the closest co-worker of brother Nee. But the co-workers who were the closest to brother Nee were brother Gwan-See Wei, Steven Kaung, and Brother Chen-Hwa Yu.

1. When brother Lee started the work in Taiwan, the work was mostly financed by saints in the Philippines. Steven Kaung was sent by brother Nee to the South Pacific region (and Brother Lee to Taiwan). This meant that Taiwan’s early work was greatly helped by Brother Kaung.

2. One time, when Brother Lee came back to Taiwan from the Philippines, he was caught with gold bars by the customs. The official that did that investigation later became a brother in the Local Church. He had a copy of the statement (a statement of eight lines) that brother Lee wrote, stating the source of the gold.

3. After brother Lee established firm footings in Taiwan with the help from the churches in the Philippines, he went over to the South Pacific region and took over Kaung’s area. This forced Brother Kaung to go to the U.S.

4. Brother Kaung started his work in New York area, but when Brother Lee came to the U.S., he again set up a Local Church in New York and forced Brother Kaung to move away.

5. Taiwan’s work was started with the saints following Brother Nee’s ways. Brother Lee soon set up trainings in Taiwan to train his own people. This group of people clashed with the followers of Brother Nee and is one of reasons of the split when T. Austin-Sparks visited the island the second time.

6. During the early days in Taiwan, a “responsible brother” of the locality of Taiyuan (this was how brother Nee call the leading ones), who was the richest person in Shansi province, often said, “Brother Lee’s speaking are nonsense. Don’t believe his words.”

7. Brother Lee insisted that localities in Taiwan donate one-tenth of the offerings to his ministry.

8. The common practice of Brother Lee with a “disobedient” locality was to add new elders to that locality. This is done to weaken the voting power of the stubborn elders. We can still see this done in the churches under LSM.

9. Another common practice is to send coworkers to the stubborn locality to influence the stubborn leading ones.

10. A lot of people were taken for a ride through the lies, deception and misrepresentation of Witness Lee, including me. But no more. He was a charlatan.

Testimony 2

Someone also sent me this testimony about a sister who lived during the time of Watchman Nee. Her name was Miss Ho, Show-Eng. In Watchman Nee’s era, all unmarried sisters with a measurable stature of Christ were called “Miss So-and-so”, to show respect, i.e. Miss M.E. Barber.

Miss Ho was a very spiritual sister who devoted her life to the pursuit of Christ and kept herself a virgin. Watchman Nee respected her for her spirituality.

Knowing that Witness Lee was a great organizer but lacking in spiritual stature, Nee sent Miss Ho along with Witness Lee to Taiwan with the intent to balance him but Lee promptly surrounded himself with “Yes-men” and isolated Miss Ho from any real ministry. She was only given opportunity to minister to women in the LC. Soon, the sisters realized the spiritual caliber of Miss Ho and gladly received her ministry. Shortly after, some of the brothers heard about this precious jewel and began to look to her for help. However, Witness Lee tried his best to isolate her. Not only did Witness Lee not want her help, he did not want her to help others either, keeping her in the outer fringes of the church life.

Once she made a comment about Lee’s doctrine of Oneness in a graphic and allegorical way: She folded a piece of paper and then cut out a rabbit. Unfolding the paper, a series of rabbits appeared, all uniform in size and shape. The moral of the story was that Lee’s teaching merely produced uniformity, not true unity.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:44 AM   #43
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That makes no sense as the original was brought to the US from England and is in the possession of Lewis Schoettle. Anyone obviously can reproduce the reproductions but I personally know the Brother who has made numerous trips to England representing the publisher to acquire these and other original documents. He has mailed me a few of them.
So who is this Church in Marlboro? And why do they have such an unusual affinity for things Nee? Are they Neeites?
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:32 AM   #44
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He [Lee] was a charlatan.
It's about time we started telling this truth.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:36 AM   #45
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Wow!! Never heard of that one. Do they keep your feet dry and smelling heavenly?
Imagine socks with the Nike swoosh or Puma or Skechers. Replace their logo with GOD-MAN.

Will you wear it?
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:47 AM   #46
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Imagine socks with the Nike swoosh or Puma or Skechers. Replace their logo with GOD-MAN.

Will you wear it?
Rastafarians would buy them up. They greet people with jah mon, meaning you are a god-man to them. Then to get in touch with Jah they'd burn a big fat spliff ... and sit around showing off their GOD-MAN sneakers. Rastafari.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:50 AM   #47
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That makes no sense as the original was brought to the US from England and is in the possession of Lewis Schoettle. Anyone obviously can reproduce the reproductions but I personally know the Brother who has made numerous trips to England representing the publisher to acquire these and other original documents. He has mailed me a few of them.
I would look suspiciously at any claim by amrkelly.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:52 AM   #48
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Wow!! Never heard of that one. Do they keep your feet dry and smelling heavenly?
I had a training-issued LSM tie and tie clip.

Maybe I should sell them on ebay.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:00 AM   #49
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I would look suspiciously at any claim by amrkelly.
I might be misrepresenting him. But the Church in Marlboro was a good find ... methinks.

You and I need to talk some time bro Ohio.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:10 AM   #50
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I might be misrepresenting him. But the Church in Marlboro was a good find ... methinks.

You and I need to talk some time bro Ohio.
Ominous words.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:18 AM   #51
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These two young men are in great danger. They have a mental apprehension of God’s Truth which unless lived out will be their peril
This quote from Margaret Barbers letter to DMPanton has proven to be prophetic.
After reading Dr. Lily Hsu's book, that's the image that newly entered my head. That, clearly Nee was more than capable of a mental apprehension of God's Truth ... but failed to live them out in his private life ... and it came to his peril.
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #52
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Ominous words.
Nothing but love bro, nothing but love ....
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:52 AM   #53
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Here's a more likely case to explain M.E. Baber's statement concerning Nee and Faithful Luke, about them having only a mental apprehension of God's Truth. (Y'all shouldn't listen to images that pop into my head.)

This comes compliments of my good friend Andrew Kelly, a wonderful brother in the Lord (I've been Skypeing with him).

M.E. Barber's private letter was written in 1926. (This private letter didn't become public until James Reetzke made it public in 2000.)

Dr. Lily Hsu points out that:

"Though Miss Barber was his enlightened teacher, yet Nee did not respect her that much. As early in 1926, Nee was rude to her just for some trivial thing. Nee said: I did not quite agree with her, and I said to her, “You just like to make big assertions and outlandish remarks. This is your temperament.”(25)

One or two months later, Nee found out that she was right. Several years later, Nee went back to Pagoda Anchorage. Kinnear said: But when, back at Pagoda, he harangued Margaret Barber on the wrongfulness of her taking Bible classes for young men, she listened politely but kept her counsel.(26) On that occasion, Nee strictly followed the discipline of the Brethren that women must not teach whatsoever. He thought it was inappropriate for her to teach Bible classes for young men. Had he forgotten, or refused to acknowledge his spiritual growth was from the help of Barber? Nee did not view Barber as his mentor anymore. Apparently he did not need any help from her and there was no further connection between them since then. That was actually a great loss to Nee."
Notes:
25.Nee, “Not being Stumbled,” in The Resumption of Watchman Nee’s Ministry, CWWN Vol. 57, Chapter 4, Sect. 2.
26.Kinnear, Against the Tide, p.104-105.
Hsu M.D, Lily M.; Roberts M.A M.T.S, Dana (2013-04-02). My Unforgettable Memories:Watchman Nee and Shanghai Local Church (Kindle Locations 3735-3738). Xulon Press. Kindle Edition.


So Nee and Barber had a falling out, and she responded accordingly as she thought after being betrayed by Nee.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:22 PM   #54
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We must be very careful not to make Christ, or His Church, smaller than it really is. We must not make Christ smaller than God has made Him. We may not make Him just our Christ, our little Christ, the Christ that belongs to us, the Christ of our particular locality. We must be very careful that we do not make Christ smaller than what God has made Him, and we may not make the Church smaller than God has made it. This is not our little Church, it is not anybody’s little Church. This is much bigger than our thoughts: it goes much beyond our imaginations. This is a very Great Christ and a very great Church. [My emphasis.]
This quote provided from T.A. Sparks seems remarkably similar to something Witness Lee would have ministered on prior to 1974.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:41 PM   #55
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This quote provided from T.A. Sparks seems remarkably similar to something Witness Lee would have ministered on prior to 1974.
Yes, he probably would have said that. But I don't think it would have meant what you or I thought it meant. It would still have had his intent to make his little church be the only one that was aligned with that really big Christ. It would not mean that we are all within the umbrella of Christianity in a somewhat equal way.

We wouldn't have heard him say it in those days, but I think he meant that from days before he left mainland China. In hindsight, he was already teaching somewhat that way back in Taiwan before he had to leave town.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:16 AM   #56
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some of the Watchman Nee groups to this day refuse to acknowledge any ties with Witness Lee’s Local Church.
Does anyone know of the recent move by Dong Yu Lan in Taiwan? I heard that a big conference was held there not too many months ago, and a lot of the heavy hitters from Brazil were there. Several thousand attended, I heard. Who did the Brazilians meet with in Taiwan? With Watchman Nee groups or disaffected Witness Lee groups?

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I found this on www.emanna.com (run by Living Stream Ministry): “Witness Lee received the Lord Jesus in a personal way in 1925 at the age of 19. Eight years later, he started serving the Lord full-time. He met Watchman Nee in 1932 and became his closest co-worker. He was sent by Watchman Nee to Taiwan in 1952 to continue their ministry; rather than both being imprisoned by the Communists. In 1962, he was led by the Lord to begin his speaking and writing for Him in the United States.”
Look how the bolded quote on 'emanna' has changed. Here is what it says today:

"Prior to the Communist takeover in 1949, Witness Lee was sent by Watchman Nee and his other co-workers to Taiwan to insure that the things delivered to them by the Lord would not be lost."

Not only has the date changed, but now the ''impending imprisonment of them both'' idea is no longer mentioned. The first quote, from Friedel's copy, assumes that Nee knew he was going to be imprisoned, and made plans, including the sending of Lee elsewhere. That seems convenient, in retrospect, given that he was later imprisoned. But was it really assumed by Nee at that time that he would end up in prison? Were the words & movements of Nee in 1949-52 those of an incipient martyr or rather of someone who was seeking accommodation with the Communists instead? I find that the "rather than both of them being imprisoned" theme, which I'd heard when I was in the Lee movement, to be too convenient. Interesting that they've dropped this line from the official record.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:19 AM   #57
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"Prior to the Communist takeover in 1949, Witness Lee was sent by Watchman Nee and his other co-workers to Taiwan to insure that the things delivered to them by the Lord would not be lost."
This is the version of events which I heard repeated over and over while I was in the Recovery. It focused on all those exclusive teachings which had been recovered in China and needed to be preserved and spread throughout the "whole inhabited earth."

I believed this because I never heard anything to the contrary. Same as the story about how Lee was led by the Lord to bring the riches of the Recovery to the US. They all made great story lines for a docu-drama.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:17 AM   #58
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This is the version of events which I heard repeated over and over while I was in the Recovery. It focused on all those exclusive teachings which had been recovered in China and needed to be preserved and spread throughout the "whole inhabited earth."

I believed this because I never heard anything to the contrary. Same as the story about how Lee was led by the Lord to bring the riches of the Recovery to the US. They all made great story lines for a docu-drama.
I believe Don Hardy will address this issue in his soon to be distributed testimony. We have discussed this privately many times and it will come as no surprise to most on the forum that Lee's version of events differs dramatically from the first hand accounts of others that were there.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:19 AM   #59
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Does anyone know of the recent move by Dong Yu Lan in Taiwan? I heard that a big conference was held there not too many months ago, and a lot of the heavy hitters from Brazil were there. Several thousand attended, I heard. Who did the Brazilians meet with in Taiwan? With Watchman Nee groups or disaffected Witness Lee groups?



Look how the bolded quote on 'emanna' has changed. Here is what it says today:

"Prior to the Communist takeover in 1949, Witness Lee was sent by Watchman Nee and his other co-workers to Taiwan to insure that the things delivered to them by the Lord would not be lost."

Not only has the date changed, but now the ''impending imprisonment of them both'' idea is no longer mentioned. The first quote, from Friedel's copy, assumes that Nee knew he was going to be imprisoned, and made plans, including the sending of Lee elsewhere. That seems convenient, in retrospect, given that he was later imprisoned. But was it really assumed by Nee at that time that he would end up in prison? Were the words & movements of Nee in 1949-52 those of an incipient martyr or rather of someone who was seeking accommodation with the Communists instead? I find that the "rather than both of them being imprisoned" theme, which I'd heard when I was in the Lee movement, to be too convenient. Interesting that they've dropped this line from the official record.
I recently read that Lee begged to go to Taiwan. It wasn't as if, the Senior Apostle of the Lord was sending the junior apostle of the Lord.

Lee always spun the top so he was on it.

I think when Nee stated "Christians lie" he was thinking of Witness Lee.

And I think when we talk of Nee and Lee we should remember we're speaking of two different people.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:58 AM   #60
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http://www.afaithfulwitness.org/warn...2014-03-10.pdf

[QUOTE=aron;32338]Does anyone know of the recent move by Dong Yu Lan in Taiwan? I heard that a big conference was held there not too many months ago, and a lot of the heavy hitters from Brazil were there. Several thousand attended, I heard. Who did the Brazilians meet with in Taiwan? With Watchman Nee groups or disaffected Witness Lee groups?
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:01 PM   #61
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I recently read that Lee begged to go to Taiwan. It wasn't as if, the Senior Apostle of the Lord was sending the junior apostle of the Lord.
It still seems suspicious to me, that the 'emanna' site has spun the Witness Lee top off in a different direction. No longer is the impending imprisonment of Nee hanging over Lee's departure in 1952; instead the emanna account now has Nee sending Lee off in 1949 to continue the work.

Maybe that's the problem, when you spin: you have to keep adjusting it to make it stay upright.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #62
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It still seems suspicious to me, that the 'emanna' site has spun the Witness Lee top off in a different direction. No longer is the impending imprisonment of Nee hanging over Lee's departure in 1952; instead the emanna account now has Nee sending Lee off in 1949 to continue the work.

Maybe that's the problem, when you spin: you have to keep adjusting it to make it stay upright.
And ... who's making the changes, and from what source? Or is whoever making the changes just improvising ... and embellishing???

And what a laugh. If so "the things delivered to them by the Lord would not be lost" what's that say about the Lord, and His ability to deliver? Aren't they saying the Lord loses His keys?
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:26 AM   #63
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Margaret Barber also introduced him to the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis, albeit indirectly. She felt he was not yet ready for Penn-Lewis’ but he nevertheless ordered books directly from her. Penn-Lewis’ works must have had a major influence on Nee and along with the writings of Madame Guyon probably account for his “mystic” tendencies. War on the Saints, co-written by Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts came out seven years after the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905.

The Welsh Revival lasted about nine months and a hundred thousand people were converted but it is reported that within six months there was very little evidence left of the revival. The remaining fruit was extremely limited.

Penn-Lewis and Roberts collaborated on the writing of War on the Saints and this book probably had the most enduring influence on Watchman Nee in preparation for his writing of The Spiritual Man. Nee also read all he could by Otto Stockmayer on the questions of soul and spirit and the triumph over satanic power. He simply did not have the life experience to write the book and much of it was theory. The first volume of The Spiritual Man appeared in 1926 and he completed it in 1928, when he was 26.

However, it was his friendship with Theodore Austin-Sparks which had the most profound effect on his life. For the first time he had met a brother with whom he could fellowship on an equal basis. As a matter of fact, he wrote Sparks upon his return from England: “You know, with the brethren here, because of their juniority, everything I say goes, despite their seeking the mind of the Lord. As a younger man, regarding you as a senior brother in the same testimony, I think I need this fellowship in a very real way.”
1. WN was exposed to unbalanced and extremely subjective writings by Penn-Lewis when he was a young and impressionable believer. This consciously shaped his early Christian life, and unconsciously affected it thereafter.

2. WN began to minister when he was inexperienced, and lacking any oversight. G.H. Lang of the British Brethren had once said that a person shouldn't write books before the age of 50, because they simply lacked life experience to prove whether things were so. But WN was publishing books in his twenties, a few years after his conversion. WL also remarked his surprise on such "advanced" books (mostly transliterations of European [Penn-Lewis, Guyon] tomes on spirituality) produced by such a young person.

3. The reason WN advanced so far, so fast, was because at that time there was no indigenous alternative to the Western-dominated church, so the localist "brethren" impulse left him, and others, in a spiritual void. WN immediately found himself in an environment where, as he put it "everything I say goes", and this disease was to plague him for the rest of his Christian journey. Eventually WL was able to convince us all that this "everything I say goes" was the Normal Christian Church Life.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:49 AM   #64
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3. The reason WN advanced so far, so fast, was because at that time there was no indigenous alternative to the Western-dominated church, so the localist "brethren" impulse left him, and others, in a spiritual void. WN immediately found himself in an environment where, as he put it "everything I say goes", and this disease was to plague him for the rest of his Christian journey. Eventually WL was able to convince us all that this "everything I say goes" was the Normal Christian Church Life.
So WN was well aware that his audience was willing to accept anything he said without any push back. This was the perfect environment for things to go awry, especially if there was no effort to put checks and balances in place. He confided in TAS regarding this, but did WN ever take any steps to correct this problem himself? Perhaps the deputy authority teaching came out of a need that he developed to maintain the same kind of audience.

It's also interesting how his book, The Spiritual Man, was produced when he was only 26. That should be enough for most people to realize that it wouldn't be a good idea to put too much trust in such writings, especially his earlier ones. Unfortunately, it seems his audience at that time saw him as some sort of spiritual guru, and his LC followers now also accept everything he taught uncritically.
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Old 12-04-2015, 10:57 AM   #65
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So WN was well aware that his audience was willing to accept anything he said without any push back. This was the perfect environment for things to go awry, especially if there was no effort to put checks and balances in place. He confided in TAS regarding this, but did WN ever take any steps to correct this problem himself? Perhaps the deputy authority teaching came out of a need that he developed to maintain the same kind of audience.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet WN was genuine when he admitted the relief he got from fellowship with TAS. Suddenly the burden to be "God's Deputy" was off, and he could be free. But ultimately the lure of temporal power was too much, and ensnared him. In China he was "reputed to be something" (Gal 2:6), and couldn't escape the grip of social expectations. (By contrast see Jesus: "Man, who appointed Me as judge over you?")

And in LC lexicon, anyone unwilling to be abjectly servile to "God's Deputy" got accused of being ambitious, and drawing others after themselves. My, how the worm turned.
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Old 12-04-2015, 11:14 AM   #66
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I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet WN was genuine when he admitted the relief he got from fellowship with TAS. Suddenly the burden to be "God's Deputy" was off, and he could be free. But ultimately the lure of temporal power was too much, and ensnared him. In China he was "reputed to be something" (Gal 2:6), and couldn't escape the grip of social expectations. (By contrast see Jesus: "Man, who appointed Me as judge over you?")

And in LC lexicon, anyone unwilling to be abjectly servile to "God's Deputy" got accused of being ambitious, and drawing others after themselves. My, how the worm turned.
It's probably correct to say that WN wasn't seeking to be viewed as a "MOTA", as eventually became the case. For whatever reason (probably mostly cultural), it seems he was awarded an audience with little or no thought to do anything but follow a leader. Maybe initially this was a point of frustration for him because it's not what he had in mind, especially at such a young age. But like you said, eventually the lust for power just became too strong. When the opportunity presents itself and comes so easily, it's hard to refuse.

I think that in general, the same could be said about WL. Maybe he wasn't necessarily seeking power at first, but in the U.S., he found a group of people who wanted a leader, and likewise, the temptation was too great. Where I would find fault with WN/WL is that when the cheerleaders began to appear on the scene with the intention to uplift their leader to an unprecedented level, there was no attempt to stop such behavior. You can't blame WN or WL if they were promoted by others, but if they made no effort to stop the promotion, then they bear guilt as well.
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:21 PM   #67
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It's probably correct to say that WN wasn't seeking to be viewed as a "MOTA", as eventually became the case. For whatever reason (probably mostly cultural), it seems he was awarded an audience with little or no thought to do anything but follow a leader. Maybe initially this was a point of frustration for him because it's not what he had in mind, especially at such a young age. But like you said, eventually the lust for power just became too strong. When the opportunity presents itself and comes so easily, it's hard to refuse.

I think that in general, the same could be said about WL. Maybe he wasn't necessarily seeking power at first, but in the U.S., he found a group of people who wanted a leader, and likewise, the temptation was too great. Where I would find fault with WN/WL is that when the cheerleaders began to appear on the scene with the intention to uplift their leader to an unprecedented level, there was no attempt to stop such behavior. You can't blame WN or WL if they were promoted by others, but if they made no effort to stop the promotion, then they bear guilt as well.
No minister would rewrite church history and develop this teaching about how God, "in every age raises up an oracle to further recover the truths," unless he himself desires to be set up as such.

Publicly, especially when starting out, Nee and Lee would speak of themselves in self-abasing terms, e.g. "humble servants," but after enduring a few "storms" that tended to shake their thrones, they then decide to follow the safer route, and allow loyal toadies to sing their praises, lest one day they crash.
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Old 12-04-2015, 03:54 PM   #68
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No minister would rewrite church history and develop this teaching about how God, "in every age raises up an oracle to further recover the truths," unless he himself desires to be set up as such.

Publicly, especially when starting out, Nee and Lee would speak of themselves in self-abasing terms, e.g. "humble servants," but after enduring a few "storms" that tended to shake their thrones, they then decide to follow the safer route, and allow loyal toadies to sing their praises, lest one day they crash.
I would lean more towards the MOTA concept and spin on church history as being a convenient way to skirt criticism. I'm no expert on Nee, but I would be willing to bet that a lot of his erroneous teachings originated when he was faced with controversy. If I'm not mistaken, Spiritual Authority was released around 1949, the same time period after which he had just been under church disciple following his business failings. Was that coincidence, or his attempt to find a way to regain confidence from church members using disingenuous means?

Here is the issue I see: when WL left for Taiwan, it was likely viewed as nothing more than a reaction to the communist takeover, an attempt by WN to spread his coworkers out a little bit to ensure that their "little flock" movement survived. By the time WL had his business failure in Taiwan and skipped town to head to the U.S., it seems the narrative was the the Lord had used the communist takeover to "spread his Recovery" to Taiwan and then the U.S. It seems that these spins always developed in the context of these situations where there was some type of controversy. In other words had WL not had a business failing in Taiwan, there would have been no need for him to leave, and thus "the Lord" would have never "moved" to the U.S. That is the LC history as it is told, and I would bet that it would be told a different way had circumstances been different.

I would say the same thing with what happened in the mid 2000's. That is when I really became familiar with the MOTA concept. And what do you know, this concept was important to the BB's, mainly because it gave them an excuse to deal with Titus. Had they not been attempting to rationalize the One Publication edict and quarantine would the MOTA concept have been so terribly important? Anyways, I'm not saying that WN and WL didn't have this mindset from the very get go, but I think that just as importantly, their own failings generated the need to promote themselves in such a manner.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:16 PM   #69
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Default Re: OUR SHARED HISTORY

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By the time WL had his business failure in Taiwan and skipped town to head to the U.S., it seems the narrative was the the Lord had used the communist takeover to "spread his Recovery" to Taiwan and then the U.S. It seems that these spins always developed in the context of these situations where there was some type of controversy. In other words had WL not had a business failing in Taiwan, there would have been no need for him to leave, and thus "the Lord" would have never "moved" to the U.S. That is the LC history as it is told, and I would bet that it would be told a different way had circumstances been different.
Another way they could "spin" controversy in their favor was to couple it with some new teaching or practice. In other words, the MOTA was always on the cutting edge, but the rest of us resisted change, and thus pushback developed. Kind of like that commercial for G.E. where the alien baby named "IDEA" was rejected by all until General Electric accepted it -- supposedly these "ideas are frightening because they threaten what is known, the natural born enemy of the way things are."

Hence Nee was put out because of his burden to evangelize China, Lee was attacked because of his "new way" burden to evangelize the whole earth and release "high peaks," Lee was chased out of Taiwan in the '50's because he released "calling on the Lord" or some such.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:35 PM   #70
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Another way they could "spin" controversy in their favor was to couple it with some new teaching or practice. In other words, the MOTA was always on the cutting edge, but the rest of us resisted change, and thus pushback developed. Kind of like that commercial for G.E. where the alien baby named "IDEA" was rejected by all until General Electric accepted it -- supposedly these "ideas are frightening because they threaten what is known, the natural born enemy of the way things are."
This leadership style of WN/WL seems indicative of their immaturity as leaders. As WN said "everything I say goes", meaning that he never had to work to build up the respect of his audience like most leaders have to do. It would seem that the constant activity, "moves" and messages were all to keep everyone from seeing the shortcomings of themselves as leaders.

They both knew very well that there were others who were possible "competition" so the way to get around this was to always be on the cutting edge, as a MOTA.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:58 AM   #71
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Default Re: Our Shared History

This is such a good thread, and so informative, that it should be brought to the fore periodically. The first 40 posts have a lot of background on the formation of this movement, both in the Orient and the USA. Until you get clear what spirits are at work here behind the scenes, you're hindered in getting free from their influence.

Two examples come quickly to mind: first is that the LC/Recovery/Little Flock was greatly influenced by women, from Ruth Lee (Nee's editor) to Peace Wang to ME Barber to Mary McDonough (three parts of man) to Jessie Penn-Lewis and Madame Guyon. Yet women cannot have influence in the contemporary LC because. . . well, they're not supposed to. . . ?

Second, Leland Wang was clearly in the lead in the early days, and Nee didn't discover the "Deputy Authority" principle until Wang was safely off the scene, removed over doctrines and practices. Then Nee's closest co-workers were women (Ruth Lee et al) and he was supreme. Suddenly "Authority and Submission" was paramount. Suddenly doctrines and practices didn't matter - one must submit to the Deputy God.

Witness Lee sold us a story, that by the time Christianity came to China it was hopelessly corrupted; the "virgin soil" there brought it back to a proper condition before God. What a self-serving lie - the Chinese had 5,000 years of culture and they got right to work. What a sham he perpetrated.
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