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Old 01-14-2009, 11:07 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

LSM’s PLAGIARISM—
An Initial Inquiry1

The New Testament Recovery Version is Living Stream Ministry’s flagship product. About half-a-million free copies have been distributed by Bibles for America, an LSM affiliate. LSM’s Recovery Version is the ultimate study Bible, the “900-pound gorilla” in its class, boasting2 “over 9,000 extensive footnotes.” The notes dwarf the biblical text.3 We are told,4 “Witness Lee wrote the footnotes, based on over 50 years of his studying the Bible and the best Christian writings throughout the centuries.” LSM declares they are the5 “crystallization…of the divine revelation …attained in the past 2,000 years.” LSM’s Ron Kangas, says,6 “The footnotes in the Recovery Version…are all-inclusive…Every positive element of vision in the Scriptures is included.”

Despite being “all-inclusive” and based on “the best Christian writings,” explicit references to Bible expositors and Christian scholars are rare in the Recovery Version. Only fifty footnotes— one-half of one percent—refer to Bible scholars or authors of “the best Christian writings.” Everything else is presented as Witness Lee’s own composition.7 W. Lee was a gifted minister, yet, by his own admission,8 he was not a trained theologian nor a scholar in biblical languages. “We did not study Greek,” W. Lee acknowledged,9 but relied instead on secondary sources; “we had dictionaries, lexicons, and concordances to help us,” he continued. No doubt “helpers” assisted W. Lee with the Recovery Version and other publications. Yet there is little evidence these helpers ever conducted original research on the Biblical text or its languages. Evidently, for the most part, both W. Lee and LSM’s editorial section relied on others’ primary research. Yet often, one looks in vain for references to primary sources in the Recovery Version. The same conundrum characterizes LSM’s other publications. This raises important questions about integrity in writing and publishing—has other scholars’ work been appropriated and integrated into LSM’s Recovery Version? If so, has it been adequately recognized and documented? More generally, do LSM’s publications—the Recovery Version, Life-studies, etc—incorporate the work of others beyond what their citations acknowledge? Has LSM engaged in plagiarism?

Plagiarism Described
“Plagiarism is the practice, whether intentional or not, of using someone else's words or ideas and presenting them as your own.”10 It is an act of fraud or literary theft, perpetrated by presenting others’ ideas or words as one's own without crediting the source. Statements, like “we stand on the shoulders of others” are inadequate. “Using someone else’s exact words without using quotes and attribution is plagiarism. Paraphrasing someone else’s words without… attribution is [also] plagiarism,” says Hartford Professor Burt.11 Changing the original wording doesn’t prevent plagiarism. Writers are warned,12 “If you have retained the essential idea of an original source, and have not cited it, then no matter how drastically you may have altered its context or presentation, you have still plagiarized.” Analyzing and synthesizing others’ work, then presenting ones own summary (with references) would not constitute plagiarism.

Plagiarism differs from copyright infringement. The latter involves the unauthorized use of material protected by copyright.13 The former is concerned with false claims of authorship. Hence works not covered by copyright can still be plagiarized if they are reproduced (perhaps with modifications) without attributing the original source. An obvious solution is quoting primary sources verbatim, with reference citations. Plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty and fraud.14 Offenders are subject to censure. In other fields (e.g., journalism), plagiarism is considered a breach of professional ethics.

W. Lee’s Aversion to Christianity’s Writings
Witness Lee attributed every interpretation in his Recovery Version to his mentor, Watchman Nee and through him to previous expositors. “The Recovery Version actually is not my version because my understanding of the Bible depends absolutely on Watchman Nee’s interpretation. Furthermore, Brother Nee’s interpretation depended upon the proper interpretations of all the saints in the past nineteen centuries,” he declared.15 Specific references to W. Nee are rare.

Apart from Watchman Nee, LSM-publications contain strikingly few specific references to other Bible scholars, expositors and teachers and even fewer recommendations. Witness Lee’s recommendation of Andrew Murray’s book, “The Spirit of Christ” is one of the rare exceptions.16 This may reflect W. Lee’s disdain for Christianity. He is on record declaring17 “Catholicism is demonic, and Protestantism is without Christ. They teach Christ’s name, but He is not there.” He also asserts that18 “Christianity today is stranded on the sands of superstition, superficiality, and lukewarm theology.” “Today’s theological writings hold the Lord back from going on…they are old,” W. Lee declared.19 Given these sweeping denunciations, perhaps it is not surprising that his published writings make no (positive) reference to contemporary Bible—commentators or theological scholars.20

Witness Lee also warned of the “risks” of studying older writings.21 Only a handful of expositors and scholars from previous generations are explicitly referenced; most of these date back to the nineteenth century or earlier. The Recovery Version’s notes refer to Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922) eighteen times, Dean Henry Alford (1810-1871) fifteen times, and John N. Darby (1800– 1882) thirteen times. In addition, Bengel, Conybeare, and Wuest are cited a couple of times.22 Together these citations comprise a mere fifty footnotes, out of a grand total of 9,000. Some notable Bible expositors and scholars from previous generations—Lightfoot, Moule, A. T. Robertson, Westcott, W. E. Vine, F. F. Bruce, for example—are conspicuously absent from citations in LSM’s Recovery Version and Life-study series.

The question arises—have the contributions of these expositors and other writers been adequately recognized? Has their work been integrated into and reproduced in LSM’s publications beyond what is explicitly acknowledged? This possibility is suggested by Witness Lee’s own comments; he says,23 “When I was writing the notes for the book of Luke…I used Dean Alford very much.” Yet W. Lee’s notes on Luke’s gospel contain only two brief references24 to Alford. These don’t seem to match the statement, “I used Dean Alford very much.” A full investigation is beyond the scope of this study; instead we report results from an initial inquiry. For convenience we focus on the use and attribution of Marvin Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, the source cited most frequently in LSM’s New Testament (Recovery Version). Among numerous LSM-publications we focus on their New Testament, Life-studies and the Conclusion of the New Testament.

To illustrate LSM’s inadequate attribution, consider the phrase “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). The Recovery Version note explains, “A rabbinical phrase, equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise.” [RcV., Luke 16:221]. This is not presented as a quote; neither is any source referenced. Yet Vincent has exactly the same sentence.25 This suggests “copy and paste plagiarism,” with Vincent as the source. The Life-study confirms this by citing him.26 But even this citation is inadequate—it is less than full disclosure. It doesn’t indicate this is a direct quote from Vincent. Our inquiry suggests that cases of citations being included in some LSM-publications and omitted elsewhere are rare. Usually the situation is more serious—primary sources are not cited either in the Recovery Version, Life-studies, or Conclusion series. The following examples illustrate our findings.

Examples of LSM’s Plagiarism
Example 1: Jesus called a “Nazarene,” Matthew 2:233
Matthew 2:23 tells us Jesus grew up in Nazareth, fulfilling the word of “the prophets…He shall be called a Nazarene.” Concerning this the Recovery Version’s note includes the following:
The word prophets, in plural, indicates that this is not a particular prophecy but a summary of the significance of several prophecies, such as the one in Psalm 22:6-7….[Jesus] grew up in a despised town. All this made Him a Nazarene, a Branch—not a lofty branch of a stately tree, but a seemingly insignificant twig from the stump of Jesse. [RcV. Matt. 2:23,3 emphasis added. Reproduced in W. Lee, Conclusion of the New Testament, Message #27, p. 294 and Message #266, point 6]
Now compare this with Marvin R. Vincent’s comments on this verse in his Word Studies in the New Testament:
The prophets. Note the plural, as indicating not any one prediction in particular, but a summary of the import of several prophetic statements as Ps. xxii 6, 8…Jesus grew up at Nazareth…being despised. He was not a lofty branch of a stately tree…but an insignificant sprout from the roots of Jesse… [M. R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 22, emphasis added]
Striking similarities exist between the highlighted sections of these two quotes. The Recovery Version’s note is not an exact copy of Vincent, nevertheless the correlation is high. (Note that the correspondence needn’t be perfect to qualify as plagiarism.) Both identify “the prophets” with a composite of several prophetic statements, rather than one specific prophet’s prediction. Both cite Psalm 22 as an illustration. Both employ the particular phrase, “not a lofty branch of a stately tree”—a phrase not typical of W. Lee. Each contrasts this with a “(seemingly) insignificant twig (sprout) from the stump (roots) of Jesse.” The assertion that these two quotes are totally independent is beyond the bounds of reasonable possibility; the deduction that the pronounced resemblance reflects dependence is much more plausible. The exact reproduction of Vincent’s unique utterance is convincing evidence.27 Objective evaluators would infer that LSM has appropriated and incorporated Vincent’s work without ascription. We conclude that parts of LSM’s note are a close imitation, a paraphrase of Vincent’s writing.28 However, he is not cited. This same paragraph also appears twice in W. Lee’s Conclusion of the New Testament.29 In all these occurrences Vincent is never referenced. Let’s call this what it is—this is plagiarism.

Example 2: “Gehenna of Fire,” Matthew 5:22 8
Our second example, also from Matthew, concerns the phrase, “Gehenna of Fire,” (Matt. 5:20). The Recovery Version note contains the following:
Gehenna, valley of Henna, is equivalent to the Hebrew Ge Hinnom, valley of Hinnom…it is a deep valley near Jerusalem and was the refuse-place of the city, where all kinds of filth and the bodies of criminals were cast for burning. Because of its continual fire, it became the symbol of the place of eternal punishment, the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). [RcV. Matthew 5:22,8 emphasis added. Also reproduced in Life-study of Matthew, Message #17, p. 220, Conclusion of the NT, Message #99, p. 1069,]
Concerning this topic, M. R. Vincent writes,
The word Gehenna…is the Greek representative of the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom, or Valley of Hinnom, a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem…it became the common refuse-place of the city, into which the bodies of criminals, carcasses of animals, and all sorts of filth were cast. From its depth and narrowness, and its fire and ascending smoke, it became the symbol of the place of the future punishment of the wicked. [Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 40, emphasis added]
Again, note the resemblance between the highlighted portions. Both writings use the same six phrases as they relate Gehenna to the “valley of Hinnon,” “the refuse-place of the city,” Jerusalem, where “all kinds (sorts) of filth” and “the bodies of criminals” “were cast,” the fire of which “became the symbol of the place of the future (eternal) punishment.” Although some words vary and the sequence of phrases differs, the Recovery Version employs six phrases which are virtually identical to Vincent; it copies the sentence structure and embodies the thought of Vincent’s Word Studies, yet without giving credit. LSM could have quoted Vincent directly, attributing the quote to its author. This also applies to the Matthew Life-study and the Conclusion of the NT, where this paragraph is duplicated; Vincent is not cited there either.

Example 3: The Prodigal Son ate “carob pods,” Luke 15:161
The third example is the “carob pods” the Prodigal ate in the parable. The Recovery Version says,
The carob is an evergreen tree. Its pod…was used…to feed animals and destitute persons. An interesting rabbinical saying is that “when the Israelites are reduced to carob pods, then they repent.” A tradition says that John the Baptist fed on carob pods in the wilderness; hence they are called “St. John’s bread.” [RcV., Luke 15:16,1 emphasis added. Also in Life-study of Luke, Message #34, p. 293]
The corresponding section of Vincent’s Word Studies says,
Carob pods…It is also called Saint John’s bread, from a tradition that the Baptist fed upon its fruit in the wilderness. Edersheim quotes a Jewish saying, “When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they become repentant.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 1, pp. 386-7, emphasis added]
The two sources present the same three pieces of information about carob pods. [1] Tradition says John the Baptist ate carob pods in the wilderness, [2] hence it’s called Saint John’s bread, and [3] a Jewish rabbinical says, “when the Israelites are reduced to carob pods, then they repent.”30 The sequence of the three points differs, yet their content is essentially the same. If LSM’s note was the product of primary research, independent of Vincent, the vocabulary and syntax would be significantly different. It is not. This suggests LSM has paraphrased Vincent’s Word Studies; yet they don’t cite him. They could have quoted Vincent verbatim, referencing him as the author, or indicated they had paraphrased his work.

Example 4: “Present necessity,” 1 Cor. 7:261
Concerning Paul’s use of this phrase, the Recovery Version says,
The Greek word for present may mean also that the presence of a certain thing foreshadows and inaugurates something to come. Here the present necessity, or distress, indicates that more anguish is to come, as prophesied by the Lord in Matt. 24:8, 19, 21. [RcV., 1 Cor. 7:261 emphasis added. Also Life-study of 1 Corinthians Message #41, p. 364 & Message #43, p. 382]
Now, compare this to M. R. Vincent’s comments,
present may also express something which is not simply present, but the presence of which foreshadows and inaugurates something to come. Hence it may be rendered impending or setting in. [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 3, p. 220, emphasis added]
Again, objective observers would conclude that LSM has paraphrased Vincent’s commentary. Vincent’s particular phrase, “foreshadows and inaugurates something to come” is replicated in the Recovery Version. This phraseology is not typical of W. Lee. Again Vincent is not cited as the source either in the Recovery Version or the Life-study. To avoid the charge of plagiarism LSM ought to have quoted Vincent directly and cited him as the author, or indicated they had paraphrased his writing.

Example 5: “He made the universe (ages),” Hebrews 1:25
The Recovery Version explains why the Greek word for “ages (aeons)” is rendered “universe”:
Universe: “Lit. ages. The ages is a Jewish expression that means the universe. Ages here does not refer to the matter of time but to creation (the universe) unfolded in time through successive ages.” [W. Lee, RcV., Hebrews 1:2,5 emphasis added.]
Regarding this Marvin Vincent says,
Ages “does not mean times…but creation unfolded in time through successive aeons” (ages) [Vincent Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 4, p. 381]
The two quotations match. Both concur that, in this context, “ages” does not mean times, but “creation unfolded in time through successive ages (aeons).” Given the close resemblance, we ask—Who is quoting from whom? Obviously the Recovery Version is quoting Vincent’s 1887 Word Studies, rather than vice versa. Yet there are no quotation marks nor any reference to Vincent (or any other scholar) as the source. The striking similarity suggests Vincent’s work has been appropriated without attribution.

Example 6: “Eternal salvation,” Hebrews 5:93
The Recovery Version says,
Not everlasting salvation but eternal salvation, of which all the effects, benefits, and issues are of an eternal nature, transcending the conditions and limitations of time. [W. Lee, RcV., Hebrews 5:9,3 emphasis added]
Now let’s evaluate this against Vincent’s Word Studies:
Not everlasting salvation, but a salvation of which all the conditions, attainments, privileges, and rewards transcend the conditions and limitations of time. [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 4, p. 436]
Both commentaries reject the translation “everlasting salvation” as inadequate; both propose a salvation with characteristics transcending “the conditions and limitations of time.” That particular phrase only occurs once in the Recovery Version’s 9,000 footnotes—in Heb. 5:93 where it echoes Vincent’s phraseology. There are slight differences; the Recovery Version uses the terms, “effects, benefits, and issues,” where Vincent employs the words, “conditions, attainments, privileges, and rewards.” Yet the sentence structure and meaning are clearly the same. Changing a few words is not sufficient; an unattributed paraphrase of another’s writing is still plagiarism.31 LSM’s note incorporates Vincent’s thought and terminology without quoting or citing the source. To be ethical LSM should have quoted Vincent verbatim and credited him as author or indicted they had paraphrased him. As it now stands, objective observers will conclude LSM has appropriated Vincent’s commentary, yet without giving credit.

Example 7: “Elements of the world,” Col. 2:83
The Recovery Version explains the phrase “elements of the world” as follows:
Here it refers to the rudimentary teachings of both Jews and Gentiles, consisting of ritualistic observances regarding the eating of meats, drinking, washings, asceticism, and other matters. [RcV., Col. 2:8,3 Reproduced in the Life-study of Colossians, Message 21, p. 175, emphasis added]
Concerning this expression M. R. Vincent says,
Rudimentary teachings as in Heb. v.12; applicable alike to Jewish and to Gentile teaching. Ceremonialism—meats, drinks, washings, Essenic asceticism, pagan symbolic mysteries and initiatory rites—all belong to a rudimentary moral stage. [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 3, p. 486, emphasis added]
The two quotes are a close match. Both refer to “rudimentary teachings” of both Jews and Gentiles. The Recovery Version’s term, “ritualistic observances,” is a synonym for Vincent’s “ceremonialism.” The first four examples listed by Vincent, (“meats, drinks, washings, Essenic asceticism”) are duplicated in the Recovery Version’s enumeration—“eating of meats, drinking, washings, asceticism,” although the latter’s list is truncated (“pagan mysteries and initiatory rites” became “and other matters”). Yet Vincent is not referenced on this point; he ought to be.32

Example 8: “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” Col. 2:93
Concerning this important expression the Recovery Version includes the following:
This points to the physical body that Christ put on in His humanity, indicating that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ as One who has a human body. Before Christ's incarnation, the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him as the eternal Word, but not bodily. From the time that Christ became incarnate, clothed with a human body, the fullness of the Godhead began to dwell in Him in a bodily way; and in His glorified body (Phil. 3:21) now and forever it dwells. [W. Lee, RcV., Col. 3:9,3 Also reproduced in Life-study of Colossians, Message #18, p. 152 and Conclusion of the NT, Message #8, p. 80. Emphasis added]
The final clause—“in His glorified body now and forever it dwells”—is unique and not a phrasing typical of Witness Lee. Among the Recovery Version’s 9,000 notes this clause occurs only once—in Colossians 2:93. On the same point, M. R. Vincent previously wrote,
The fullness of the Godhead…dwells in Him as one having a human body…The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in His person from His birth to His ascension. He carried His human body with Him into heaven, and in His glorified body now and ever dwells the fullness of the Godhead. [Vincent, Word Studies in the NT, vol. 3, p. 487]
Both quotes interpret the adverb, “bodily,” as “One who has (having) a human body.” Moreover, the Recovery Version’s “in His glorified body now and forever it [the fullness of the Godhead] dwells” closely resembles Vincent’s unique phrase, “in His glorified body now and ever dwells the fullness of the Godhead.” The leading explanation is that LSM has integrated Vincent’s unique phraseology into the Recovery Version, yet without ascription.

Further examples echoing Vincent’s Word Studies could be enumerated. For example, the description of Christ’s constraining love as “shutting up to one line and purpose, as in a narrow, walled road,” (RcV., 2 Cor. 5:142) originates with Vincent, who uses this exact phraseology.33 These further examples are reported in Appendix B.

The cases documented above are sufficient to establish that LSM’s reliance on M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies in the Recovery Version goes significantly beyond the eighteen cases which are explicitly cited. LSM has appropriated and integrated Vincent’s work, yet without ascription. In some cases LSM quotes Vincent verbatim, yet without quotation marks or citation. Other times they paraphrase him, also without attribution. This is plagiarism. Marvin Vincent’s work is being misrepresented as Witness Lee’s own composition in LSM-publications.

LSM’s Appropriation from Other Expositors—Vine & Scofield

The examples enumerated above document LSM’s use of M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies without attribution. Here we illustrate their incorporation (without citation) of other scholars’ work, namely that of W. E. Vine and C. I. Scofield.

William E. Vine (1873—1949) was affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren; he authored a widely-used, four-volume Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (1st ed. 1939). LSM’s Recovery Version does not cite Vine. However, he is referenced a few times in The Conclusion of the New Testament.34 There are indications that he ought to be referenced more often and that LSM has incorporated his work without attribution. Consider, for example, LSM’s explanation of God as the “Architect and Maker” of the heavenly New Jerusalem (Heb. 11:10):
An Example from Vine—“Architect and Builder (Maker),” Hebrews 11:10
Witness Lee’s Conclusion of the New Testament contains the following exposition:
The Greek word rendered ‘Architect’ in Hebrews 11:10 is technites, an artificer, one who does a thing by rules of art; hence an architect. The Greek word translated ‘Maker’ is demiourgos and literally means one who works for the people. In general usage it came to denote a builder or maker. In Hebrews 11:10 both technites and demiourgos are used of God. The former speaks of God as the Architect, the Designer of the New Jerusalem; the latter as the actual Maker or Framer of the city. [W. Lee, The Conclusion of the NT, #6, p. 56, emphasis added]
This exposition contains three components—the meaning of the Greek words rendered “architect” and “maker (builder)” and their use in Heb. 11:10. Let’s examine each in turn, comparing LSM’s exposition with W. E. Vine’s.
1. Architect
LSM’s Conclusion says, “The Greek word rendered ‘Architect’ in Hebrews 11:10 is technites, an artificer, one who does a thing by rules of art; hence an architect.” Now compare this with W. E. Vine, who says, “Technites, an artificer, one who does a thing by rules of art…” [W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of NT Words, vol. I, p. 157, emphasis added] Notice that the highlighted 12-word definition of the Greek term technites is identical in both cases. Both use “artificer,” an archaic term. Vine is being quoted, yet without quotation marks or attribution.
2. Maker
LSM’s Conclusion says, “The Greek word translated ‘Maker’ is demiourgos and literally means one who works for the people. In general usage it came to denote a builder or maker.” Compare this with W. E. Vine, who says,35 “Demiougos, lit., one who works for the people…[it] came to denote, in general usage, a builder or maker, and is used of God as the Maker of the Heavenly City, Heb. 11:10.” [W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. III, p. 31, emphasis added] Again the highlighted portions match almost perfectly. LSM has copied Vine.
3. In Hebrews 11:10
The Conclusion says, “In Hebrews 11:10 both technites and demiourgos are used of God. The former speaks of God as the Architect, the Designer of the New Jerusalem; the latter as the actual Maker or Framer of the city.” The corresponding section in W. E. Vine says, “…Heb. 11:10. In that passage the first word of the two, technites, denotes an architect, designer, the second, demiougos, is the actual framer.” [W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. III, p. 31] The key terms architect-designer vs. actual framer (maker) are identical. Notice both expositions introduce the term “framer” at the same point.

Taking these three components together, the close resemblance suggests LSM’s exposition does not present their own primary research into the etymology of the Greek words, nor have they synthesized multiple primary sources. Rather, the near-perfect correspondence suggests LSM’s writers have merely paraphrased W. E. Vine’s published work, yet without any citation or attribution, thereby presenting it as their own original composition. They have not given credit where credit is due. Paraphrasing without ascription is a recognized form of plagiarism. Journal editor, Michael Grossberg calls this36 a “more subtle and perhaps more pernicious [form of plagiarism] than simply expropriating the exact wording of another author without attribution.”

An Example from Scofield’s Reference Bible
Cyrus I. Scofield (1843—1921) was an American Bible teacher. His annotated Reference Bible, first published in 1909, had wide circulation, popularizing Plymouth Brethren views. The notes in Scofield's study Bible incorporate John N. Darby’s dispensational theology, including the premillennial rapture of the saints. W. Lee spent seven years among the Plymouth Brethren. On occasion he expressed, in a general way, a qualified appreciation for their teaching. The LSM’s Recovery Version cites Darby’s writings and his New Translation thirteen times.37 Nevertheless, there are indications LSM’s dependence on Darby, Scofield and other Brethren writers exceeds what is acknowledged. Consider, for example, W. Lee’s explanation of “Gog and Magog”:

The Identity of “Gog & Magog,” Rev. 20:81
According to Revelation, after the 1,000-year kingdom, the nations, Gog and Magog gather for battle at Armageddon. Concerning this the Recovery Version says,
Gog and Magog, according to Ezek. 38:2-3 and 39:1-2, must be Russia. Ezekiel 38:2 (ASV) indicates that Gog and Magog are of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, which correspond with Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk. Ezekiel 39:2 (ASV) refers to these places as ‘the uttermost parts of the north.’… [RcV. Rev. 20:81 Reproduced in Life-study of Revelation, Message #57, p. 662, emphasis added]
The central point identifies “Gog and Magog” (based on Ezekiel 38 & 39) with the northern country of Russia and its cities, Moscow, and Tobolsk. Does this identification derive from original research conducted by Witness Lee or LSM’s editorial section? Probably not; the most likely source is the Plymouth Brethren. On this point, the Scofield Reference Bible has:
That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zech. 12:1-4; 14:1-9; Matt. 24:14-30; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:17-21, "Gog" is the prince, "Magog," his land. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel, and it is congruous both with divine justice and with the covenants… [The Scofield Reference Bible (1917) Notes on Ezekiel 38:2 “Gog”, emphasis added]
Notice that the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible’s essential points—identifying Gog and Magog as northern powers, headed by Russia with Moscow and Tobolsk (former capital of Siberia)—match the Recovery Version’s interpretation. Yet, LSM identifies neither Scofield, nor John N. Darby, nor any other Plymouth Brethren writers as the source of this interpretation. This ascription is lacking in both LSM’s Recovery Version and the Life-study of Revelation.

Conclusions

This article is about integrity—integrity in Christian writing and publishing. Secular authors and publishers are expected to adhere to a code of ethics. Christian authors and publishers should apply a higher standard (Matt. 5:20). Plagiarism violates this ethical code. It takes on various forms. These include38 “using someone else’s exact words without using quotes and attribution.” It may also entail38 “paraphrasing someone else’s words without…attribution,” or using another author's unique phrases and utterance without acknowledgment.39

Only fifty of the Recovery Version’s 9,000 footnotes—one-half of one percent—cite other writers. This “Initial Inquiry” documents multiple instances in which LSM publications have duplicated and paraphrased other scholars’ writing without ascription. In particular, in twenty-six instances LSM has appropriated and integrated Marvin R. Vincent’s work into its Recovery Version notes, Life-studies, and Conclusion of the New Testament messages, without attribution. In some cases LSM quotes Vincent verbatim, yet without quotation marks or citations. In other instances they paraphrase him, also without ascription. Both are forms of plagiarism. Marvin R. Vincent’s work is being misrepresented as W. Lee’s own composition. Other scholars’ writings—e.g., like W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words and C. I. Scofield’s Reference Bible —have also been used without assigning credit.

Perhaps a few isolated cases could be assigned to coincidence—LSM’s writers just happened to use utterance identical to previous expositors. However, we have presented twenty-six examples where LSM quoted, paraphrased, or distinctly echoed Vincent’s Word Studies, yet without ascription. Such cases are so numerous they cannot be attributed to chance. The magnitude of the problem suggests this is a systematic pattern in LSM publications. What is the significance of these findings?

Some observers will seek to discount these results. They may retort that such cases represent a small percentage of the Recovery Version’s 9,000 notes, that LSM’s publications are derived from W. Lee’s spoken messages,40 that the points appropriated from others are minor41 and these older publications (Vincent, Vine, Scofield, etc.) are no longer copyright-protected. They may also assert that Witness Lee was not familiar with the “western concept” of plagiarism. Let’s briefly respond to these points.

This “Initial Inquiry” sought to establish that plagiarism occurred; it has not determined its extent. We focused on one writer—M. R. Vincent. The examples reported here may turn out to be just the “tip of the iceberg;” further study is needed. In the interim, perhaps those dismissing this issue as minor should consider Witness Lee’s principle, that,42 “In knowing a person we should not look at the big matters but at the small matters.” W. Lee applied this principle to Austin-Sparks’ periodical, A Witness and a Testimony and concluded42 “that there must still be some distance between him [Sparks] and us.” Applying the same principle to LSM’s publications, the “small matter” of plagiarism may also provide important insights.

Copyright has expired on older publications by Alford, Darby, Vincent, etc. Hence duplication doesn’t violate copyright laws. Nevertheless the issue of plagiarism43 remains. It is an unethical act of literary fraud. In the cases documented above, LSM has failed to identify statements that are actually quotes from scholars like M. R. Vincent and W. E. Vine; they have appropriating their work—by copying them verbatim or paraphrasing their compositions—thereby incorporating their writing into Recovery Version notes, Life-studies, etc., without ascription. This constitutes plagiarism. It violates the ethical standards of integrity expected of Christian writers and publishers.

Perhaps some think W. Lee was not familiar with “western standards” regarding plagiarism. However, we recall W. Lee criticizing a brother who attended his training and then (allegedly) wrote and published on W. Lee’s theme of “the divine romance.”44 W. Lee’s indignation demonstrates familiarity with the principles of intellectual property rights underlying plagiarism. Perhaps he was not aware of the intricacies of plagiarism. Nevertheless, Living Stream Ministry, as a Christian publisher, should be conversant with the ethical norms of publishing and apply them. Believers are exhorted to “Render to all the things due…honor to whom honor is due” (Rom. 13:7). In the present context, “giving credit where credit is due,” means identifying and accrediting quotations and paraphrases of other scholars, designating primary sources and ascribing credit to authors where it is due.45 LSM ought to remedy this situation.

Nigel Tomes,
Toronto, CANADA
December, 2008.

NOTES
1. Thanks are extended to those who commented on earlier drafts of this piece. As usual the author accepts full responsibility for the contents. The views expressed here are the author’s and should not be attributed to any believers, elders, co-workers or churches with whom he is associated.
2. Information from Bibles for America [BfA] which says, the New Testament Recovery version [NT RcV] “features interpretative aids such as over 9,000 extensive footnotes, 13,000 cross-references, maps, charts, and outlines…” [http://www.biblesforamerica.org/recoveryversion/] This article focuses exclusively on the New Testament—the New Testament RcV., New Testament Life-studies, Conclusion of the New Testament etc.
3. For example, the RcV. footnote on 2 Cor. 13:14 consists of approx. 1600 words--five pages of text in LSM’s Life-study--70-times the word-count of the verse!
4. BfA’s response to an FAQ states: “Who wrote the footnotes? Witness Lee wrote the footnotes, based on over 50 years of his studying the Bible and the best Christian writings throughout the centuries.” [http://www.biblesforamerica.org/aboutBfA/FAQs.aspx]
5. The quote in context reads: “This translation and the accompanying footnotes could be called the ‘crystallization’ of the understanding of the divine revelation which the saints everywhere have attained to in the past 2,000 years.” In “A Brief Explanation” to the NT Recovery Version by “Witness Lee and the editorial section, August 1, 1991, Anaheim, CA” [Emphasis added—indicates the abbreviated quote used in the main text above.]
6. RK, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 17. This quote in context reads: “Within this ultimate consummation everything is included. The footnotes in the Recovery Version of the Holy Bible are all-inclusive. The truth, the life, the light, the revelation, and the vision in these notes are inherited. These notes are not the work of one or two individuals. Every positive element of vision in the Scriptures is included in the up-to-date all-inheriting vision of the age. Thus there is no reason to go back.” [RK, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 17, emphasis added] A related statement by W. Lee reads: "The vision that the Lord has given His recovery is an all-inclusive one...in the history of the development of Christian doctrine, this entire set of truths finds its full recovery only among us. Such truths as selection, calling, regeneration, sanctification, renewing, transformation, conformation and glorification were not recovered much before us, and the recovery of these truths will not increase much after us. The set of truths has found its' full recovery among us." [W. Lee, The Vision of the Age, p. 79, emphasis added] Another of LSM’s “blended brothers” is on record saying: “The ministry of the age subsumes and includes all the foregoing ministries. The whole New Testament ministry has been recovered…” [EM, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 2, Feb. 2005, p. 137, emphasis added]
7. Take for e.g. BfA’s statement “Witness Lee wrote the footnotes…” (see note 4 above). The RcV. title page says, “New Testament outlines, charts, footnotes and references composed by Witness Lee.” (RcV., emphasis added)
8. W. Lee declared, “I did not study in a Bible institute or a theological school.” [W. Lee, Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 10] Note that all the NT RcV. footnotes (including those dealing with the NT Greek text) are attributed to W, Lee—“New Testament outlines, charts, footnotes and references by Witness Lee” [NT RcV. title page, emphasis added.] Note also BfA’s response to the FAQ: “Who wrote the footnotes? Witness Lee wrote the footnotes, based on over 50 years of his studying the Bible and the best Christian writings throughout the centuries.” (note 3 above)
9. W. Lee, Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 129. The quote, in context, reads: “In expounding any verse, we would go back directly to the Greek text. We did not study Greek, yet we had dictionaries, lexicons, and concordances to help us in our study.” [W. Lee, Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 129, emphasis added] The highlighted portions are quoted in the main text above. Perhaps it is worthwhile to contrast W. Lee’s Recovery Version with John N. Darby’s New Translation (1888). Darby’s translation of the New Testament also contains footnotes written almost exclusively by Darby, himself; many of these notes discuss the Greek NT text and vocabulary. However, John N. Darby (in contrast to W. Lee) could declare, “I know Greek and have studied the Greek New Testament.” [Max S. Weremchuk, John Nelson Darby—A Biography (1992) p. 189] In 1819 Darby graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland with “the highest honors in classics: the classical gold medal.” [Weremchuk, John Nelson Darby, p. 31] “The classics” include the Greek and Latin texts from ancient Greece and Rome.
10. This particular definition is from The Student's Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism, Department of Sociology, Western Washington University. It is also used at the University of Toledo, OH. [http://cesp.utoledo.edu/mritchie/Courses/cmhs5010/plagiarism.pdf] Notice that this is an objective definition; it is not based upon subjective criteria such as the writer’s “intentions.” This section draws from www.Plagiarism.org, the entry for “Plagiarism” in Wikipedia the Council of Writing Program Administrators, http://www.wpacouncil.org/node/9, and the article by Professor Burt (see the next footnote). “According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own, to use (another's production) without crediting the source, to commit literary theft, to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.” [From www.Plagiarism.org]
11. “PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, CN September 28, 2004, p. 3 According to NZ Professors Marshall & Garry, all the following examples constitute Plagiarism: [1] Copying the words from another source without appropriate reference or acknowledgement. [2] Changing the words of material from another piece of work and representing it as your own. [3] Copying the ideas from another piece of work without appropriate reference or acknowledgement. [4] Copying short sentences (less than 50 words) from another source without appropriate reference or acknowledgement. Source: “How well do students really understand plagiarism?” by Dr Stephen Marshall (University Teaching Development Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) & Dr Maryanne Garry (School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferenc...2_Marshall.pdf
In yet “another type of plagiarism, [writers] will try and blend together another's words with their own (Wilson 1997). If this is just using the standard academic terms for a particular subject, then this is part of the process of mastering the language of a discipline, if it is taking an author's unique phrases it becomes plagiarizing.” [“Proper Acknowledgment?” Julianne East, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia (emphasis added) http://jutlp.uow.edu.au/2005_v02_i03a/east005.html]

12. From www.Plagiarism.org
13. There are, of course, the “fair use” provisions of copyright legislation (protection).
14. Recent high-profile US cases include [1] Stephen E. Ambrose (Professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans) best-selling author of The Wild Blue (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Ambrose was accused of copying passages from Thomas Childers’s Wings of Fire, (Addison-Wesley in 1995). [2] Doris Kearns Goodwin, best-selling historian, author of The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys (Simon & Schuster, 1987) was accused of plagiarism. Material and quotes in Goodwin’s book appear to be taken from other books, including Lynne McTaggart’s biography of Kathleen Kennedy. Goodwin acknowledged that in 1987 her publisher paid McTaggart an undisclosed sum to settle the accusations of plagiarism. Both authors are featured in David Callahan’s book: The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead. Source: “PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, Sept. 28, 2004,
15. W. Lee, The Ten Critical ‘Ones’ for the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Ch. 1 The following is an example of an explicit reference to Watchman Nee’s writing in W. Lee’s, Conclusion of the NT: “Brother Watchman Nee says, ‘In creation, the Son is the Firstborn of all creation.’ He is also the beginning (the First One) of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14). For in His eternal plan, before the foundation of the world, God ordained that the Son should become flesh to accomplish redemption (1 Pet. 1:20). Therefore in God’s plan the Son is the First One among the creatures’ (p. 97, The Present Testimony, No, 34, published in March-April, 1934).” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the NT, # 25, p. 274]
16. According to his own words, W. Lee said, “I have rarely referred you to some other writings.” One of the rare exceptions to W. Lee’s aversion to recommending others’ writings is Andrew Murray’s book The Spirit of Christ. W. Lee declared, “In my speaking I have rarely referred you to some other writings. I did this purposely. Books such as Andrew Murray’s The Spirit of Christ, however, I did have and still have the peace to refer you to.” [W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other Writings” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 14, emphasis added] Generally only LSM publications were endorsed. The flagship NT Recovery Version reflects this reluctance. References to others are scarce. W. Lee refers to Andrew Murray’s book, “The Holy of Holies” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 132. Occasionally W. Lee referred to other writings—James McKendrick’s Seen and Heard, William Law’s Power of the Spirit, Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God, Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, Mary McDonough’s God’s Plan of Redemption and Pember’s Earth’s Earliest Ages. Govett and Panton were also cited on occasion. The general impression, however, was that these authors’ insights have already been incorporated.
17. W. Lee, The Stream Magazine, vol. 14, no. 4 (November 1976) p. 12
18. W. Lee, The Triune God’s Revelation and His Move, pp. 97-99 quoted by MC, The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) pp. 35-6
19. The quote in context reads, “Today’s theological writings hold the Lord back from going on in His recovery. I am not saying that all the books in the past are not good. Some of them may be good, but they are old,” [W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other Writings” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 13, emphasis added] The emphasized portion is quoted in the main text above. LSM President, Benson Phillips echoes this view saying: “Everything in the publications circulated among Christians today is old. However, in our publications everything is new.” [BP, The Ministry, Vol. 9 No. 3 (March 2005) p. 118, emphasis added]
20. This includes contemporary theological dictionaries, for example, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) by Gerhart Kittel & Gerhard Friedrich, editors (translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley) One-volume abridged version, by Eerdmans (1985) or The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (DNTT) by Colin Brown (editor) 4-volumes in English (1975).
21. See W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other Writings” in Elders’ Training Book 4, pp. 10-13. W. Lee discouraged local church-members from studying older works, saying, “in the older writings, we may be able to find different terminologies and expressions, but there is no new item concerning the truth.” [Elders’ Training, Book 4, p. 13] He warned of the “risks” of being “occupied with the wrong things.” Many “old writings are very good, but some of them are not good and are misleading, distracting, holding back, and some even destroy the faith,” W. Lee cautioned [Elders’ Training, Book 4, p. 10]. In contrast LSM’s publications were endorsed, because “we have a pure system of publications which comprise all the main things of the divine, spiritual, and heavenly things.” [Elders’ Training, Book 4, p. 15] Hence while not explicitly prohibiting others’ writings, W. Lee adopted a paternalistic attitude, advising, “you had better not go to others’ books until you have finished the course of the Life-study Messages and the Recovery Version with the footnotes.” [Elders’ Training, Book 4, p. 21] Young people were told to “spend five years to study all the publications the Lord’s recovery has ever put out,” [Elders’ Training, Book 4, p. 12] before considering others’ writings. LSM’s “blended brothers” have reinforced this attitude of discouraging local church members from studying past Christian writers. For example, LSM’s Ron Kangas is on record saying, “…we may in fact be out of date. It is possible to be occupied, fascinated, or even enamored with certain periods in Church history….it can replace the needed desperate seeking of the up-to-date vision of the age. In any age…the Lord has a move…He desires to carry out. Therefore He has a ministry of that age with a minister of that age. To that minister with that ministry the Lord releases from the Word the vision of that age, the vision of the age.” [RK, The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, p. 11, emphasis added] Later in the same message, Ron Kangas declared, “The vision that the Lord has given us in His recovery is the ultimate consummation of all visions…Hence, we should not be preoccupied with John Calvin, Count von Zinzendorf, or John Nelson Darby. We appreciate them, and we inherit all they had. However, we need to be in today’s recovery…Every positive element of vision in the Scriptures is included in the up-to-date all-inheriting vision of the age. Thus there is no reason to go back. We should be in today’s recovery.” [RK, The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 8, Sept. 2005, pp. 16-7, emphasis added]
22. The relevant footnotes are reproduced in Appendix A. Quotations from LSM’s publications reproduced here are covered by the fair use provisions of copyright.
23. W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other…” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 14
24. The two brief references to Dean H. Alford in the Recovery Version’s notes to Luke’s gospel are: [1] Luke 2:42 note #1 “At the age of twelve, a boy was called by the Jews "son of the law" and first incurred legal obligation (Alford)…” [2] Luke 23:3 note #1 “This answer is to be understood as a ‘distinct affirmation’ (Alford).” These don’t seem to do justice to W. Lee’s statement, “I used Dean Alford very much.”
25. Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 398
26. W. Lee, Life-study of Luke, Message 37, p. 320 says: “The words ‘Abraham’s bosom’ are a rabbinical phrase, equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise (M. R. Vincent).” Note however this is still inadequate. Rather than merely citing M. R. Vincent, the Life-study ought to indicate that this is a direct verbatim quote. This should be indicated by quotation marks and the reference information—M.R. Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 398. The MLA Handbook on plagiarism says “Presenting an author’s exact wording without marking it as a quotation is plagiarism, even when you cite the source.” [Quoted in Timothy Noah, “Historians Rewrite History,” Chatterbox, MSN Slate, .] This situation characterizes the Life-study’s treatment of Vincent on this point. The Recovery version footnote, which omits all mention of Vincent, further misrepresents this statement by presenting it as the original composition of W. Lee.
27. LSM’s reproduction of Vincent’s unique utterance—“not a lofty branch of a stately tree”—is particularly convincing evidence of plagiarism. This matches Professor East’s description of yet “another type of plagiarism, [writers]…try and blend together another's words with their own…if it is taking an author's unique phrases it becomes plagiarizing.” [“Proper Acknowledgment?” Julianne East, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia (emphasis added) see note 11 for full reference]
28. Recall the definition of Professor of Communication, Elizabeth V. Burt, that “Paraphrasing someone else’s words without using attribution is plagiarism.” [PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, CN September 28, 2004, p. 3]
29. W. Lee, Conclusion of the New Testament, Message #27, p. 294 and #266 (point 6)
30. Vincent documents one source of this saying as “Edersheim,” i.e., Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (1876).
31. Recall the statement, “If you have retained the essential idea of an original source, and have not cited it, then no matter how drastically you may have altered its context or presentation, you have still plagiarized.” [From www.Plagiarism.org] Professor Burt concurs saying, “Paraphrasing someone else’s words without using attribution is plagiarism.” [PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, CN September 28, 2004, p. 3]
32. Even though LSM has paraphrased only part of Vincent’s sentence, prima facie it is still plagiarism. Professor Michael Grossberg, editor of the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY says that “Plagiarism also includes the limited borrowing, without attribution, of another person's distinctive and significant research findings, hypotheses, theories, rhetorical strategies, or interpretations...” [“Plagiarism and Professional Ethics—A Journal Editor's View” Michael Grossberg, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY, Vol. 90, No. 4, 2004, emphasis added]
33. RcV., 2 Cor. 5:142 Vincent says: “The idea is not urging or driving, but shutting up to one line and purpose, as in a narrow, walled road.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. III, p. 320] See “Example #26” in Appendix B The expressions duplicated from Vincent represent only part of the RcV’s description of Christ’s constraining love. Nevertheless, since they are not identified by quote marks or a reference to Vincent, this is still plagiarism. The U.S. Naval Academy’s history department, for example, “states that…writers must indicate ‘all use of another’s word, even if they constitute only part of a sentence, with quotation marks and specific citation.’” [Quoted by Burt “PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, CN September 28, 2004, p. 4, emphasis added]. “A Harvard University Handbook for a Freshman Composition course informs students that “If, in your essay…you …don't use quotation marks at least for the words [part of a sentence duplicated from another source] you are plagiarizing even if you do cite [the source].” [Note in the case under discussion--2 Cor. 5:142 the source is not cited]. This quote from the Harvard Handbook in context reads: “In one common scenario, the student gets careless while taking notes on a source or incorporating notes into a draft, so the source's words and ideas blur into those of the student, who has neither the time nor the inclination to resist the blurring.…If, in your essay on plagiarism, after reading the [previous sentence] you observe that "at a certain point in the writing process the student has neither the time nor the inclination to resist the blurring of his source's words into his own" but don't use quotation marks at least for the words in the middle of the sentence, you are plagiarizing even if you do cite [this] booklet.” [Harvard University Handbook for a Freshman Composition course] Note in the present case--2 Cor. 5:142 the source is not cited.
34. For example W. E. Vine is referenced in W. Lee’s Conclusion of the NT to explain the divine attributes of goodness and longsuffering: Good (Luke 18:18-19) “In Greek it is agathos, describing ‘that which being good in its character and constitution, is beneficial in its effect’ (Vine).” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the NT, #10, p. 97] Longsuffering (Rom. 2:4) “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and it is associated with mercy (Hogg and Vine).” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the NT, #11, p. 109]
35. Vine also says: “Demiougos, a maker, properly signifies one who works for the people…which came to signify a maker, Heb. 10:11” [W. E. Vine, An Exposition of NT Words, vol. I, p. 254]
36. Journal of American History Editor, Michael Grossberg quotes (and then comments) “The "Statement on Plagiarism" by the American Historical Association (AHA)…defines plagiarism broadly to include more subtle and perhaps more pernicious abuses than simply expropriating the exact wording of another author without attribution. Plagiarism also includes the limited borrowing, without attribution, of another person's distinctive and significant research findings, hypotheses, theories, rhetorical strategies, or interpretations, or an extended borrowing even with attribution. And the statement warns that, while the most obvious abuse is the direct appropriation of another person's language, "more subtle abuses include the appropriation of concepts, data, or notes all disguised in newly crafted sentences, or reference to a borrowed work in an early note and then extensive further use without attribution. All such tactics reflect an unworthy disregard for the contributions of others." [“Plagiarism and Professional Ethics—A Journal Editor's View” Michael Grossberg, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY, Vol. 90, No. 4, 2004, emphasis added]
37. See Appendix A, Section A5, where these references are reproduced.
38. “PLAGIARISM AND SCHOLARSHIP Based On A Review Of Scholarly And Popular Literature” by Elizabeth V. Burt, Associate Professor of Communication, Notes for Library Symposium “Plagiarism—Whose Words Are They” at the University of Hartford, CN September 28, 2004, p. 3
39. La Trobe Professor, Julianne East, says, In yet “another type of plagiarism, [writers] will try and blend together another's words with their own (Wilson 1997). If this is just using the standard academic terms for a particular subject, then this is part of the process of mastering the language of a discipline, if it is taking an author's unique phrases it becomes plagiarizing.” [“Proper Acknowledgment?” Julianne East, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia (emphasis added) http://jutlp.uow.edu.au/2005_v02_i03a/east005.html]
40. Most LSM-publications derive from W. Lee’s spoken messages. We don’t expect a minister’s spoken messages to reference all his sources. However, the Life-studies are edited transcripts of those messages. During editing primary sources should be recognized and quotes attributed to their authors. Moreover the Recovery Version footnotes were prepared as written compositions, prior to the Life-study trainings and revised multiple times. Therefore quotes should have been attributed to their authors; primary sources ought to be acknowledged and references included.
41. The cases documented here represent a small percentage of Recovery Version footnotes. However, they significantly increase the number citations of scholars which ought to be made beyond the mere fifty notes in today’s Recovery Version. Our investigation suggests that the number of citations to Vincent’s Word Studies would more than double if every reference incorporating his work was identified. Moreover, these results are the findings of “An Initial Inquiry,” focusing mainly on a single source—Vincent’s Word Studies. Further investigation is required to determine if the works of other scholars—Alford, Darby, Trench, Robertson, Lightfoot, Moule, Westcott, F. F. Bruce, etc (not to mention contemporary scholars)—have been appropriated and incorporated into LSM’s publications without attributions. This could be done using current plagiarism-detection computer programs which check compositions against a database of prior publications. LSM-publications [e.g. RcV. notes, Life-studies] could be checked against databases which contain the writings of Alford, Darby, Trench, Robertson, Lightfoot, Moule, Westcott, F. F. Bruce, Vincent, Vine etc. Prior to conducting such a study it is premature to conclude that the incidence of plagiarism by LSM is minor and insignificant. Further investigation is needed. In the interim we have demonstrated that plagiarism has occurred.
42. W. Lee, The Vision of the Age, p. 67. The context of the quote deals with W. Lee’s response to the proposal that T. Austin-Sparks be invited to visit the Far East local churches. The context reads: “Then I told them that for many years we had learned a certain thing before the Lord: In knowing a person we should not look at the big matters but at the small matters. It is not very easy for a person to expose his flaws in the big things; the problems are always with the small things. Brother Austin-Sparks published a bimonthly magazine called A Witness and a Testimony. In the January 1955 issue there was a column acknowledging the Christmas cards that he had received from readers. His magazine was altogether on spiritual subjects, yet there was such an acknowledgment. This was a small point. By the Lord’s leading, we had completely dropped the celebration of Christmas, but Brother Austin-Sparks, whom we had always respected so much, published an acknowledgment thanking his readers for Christmas cards. From this small matter I could tell that there must still be some distance between him and us.” [W. Lee, The Vision of the Age, p. 67, emphasis added] This principle was applied by W. Lee to Austin-Sparks. Sparks’ publication, A Witness and a Testimony, which contained an acknowledgment for Christmas cards received. Based upon this “small matter” W. Lee counseled against inviting Sparks to the Far East.
43. “Plagiarism is an ethical misdeed, but not necessarily a legal violation.” Michael Grossberg, “Plagiarism and Professional Ethics—A Journal Editor’s View,” The Journal of American History 90:4 (March 2004), p. 1333. It is using another author’s composition (or an imitation) without ascription and thus misrepresenting it as one's own original work. This latter statement is based upon the “Plagiarism” entry in Wikipedia and the website www.Plagiarism.org
44. W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message 1, p. 1. This was an historic occasion; W. Lee introduced the New Testament Life-study series with this message. He began by saying “The Bible is a romance. Have you ever heard this before? It may sound secular and unreligious. However, if you have entered into the deep thought of the Bible, you will realize that the Bible is a romance, in the most pure and the most holy sense, of a universal couple.” [W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message 1, p. 1.] If I recall correctly, W. Lee’s indignation stemmed from the fact that this brother (allegedly) stole (plagiarized) his idea (theme), without acknowledging its source, not that he was exactly duplicating his (W. Lee’s) spoken or published message(s) on “the divine romance.” Both of these unethical actions—appropriating someone’s ideas or their words (without attribution)--are forms of plagiarism
45. It may be that, as a result of LSM’s teachings, the ethical norms of the LSM-faithful have been influenced to the extent that they no longer affirm the ethical values which underlie the concept of plagiarism, like “giving credit where credit is due.” Consider, for example, the implications of the following statement by LSM-editor, Ed Marks: “Bro. Lee was the minister of the age, and his ministry was the ministry of the age. It is shameful for any leading one to say that he or another brother besides Brother Lee raised up the church in his locality….Witness Lee. He was the one who raised up the churches across the whole earth.” [EM, The Ministry, vol. 11, No. 2 (Feb. 2007) p. 238, emphasis added] Note the implication that “all the credit” for raising up a local church is to be attributed to Witness Lee, the “Minister of the Age” and not to any other believer (e.g. “leading one,” elder, worker, etc.) who labored in that locality. The LSM-faithful may feel that “all the credit” for every published work (regardless of the author and the time period) should be assigned to Witness Lee as the “Minister of the Age.” Under this (“divergent”) set of ethical norms, all forms of plagiarism in the name of W. Lee are fully justified!

APPENDIX A -- AUTHORS CITED IN LSM’s RECOVERY VERSION NOTES

A1 CITATIONS OF MARVIN R. VINCENT (1834-1922) IN RcV. (18)
The Word Studies in the New Testament by Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922) was first published in 1887 in four volumes. 18 citations in the NT RcV.
Luke 6:38 #1
381 "The gathered fold of the wide upper garment, bound together with the girdle, and thus forming a pouch" (Vincent).
Acts 2:4 #4
44 "A peculiar word, and purposely chosen to denote the clear, loud utterance" (Vincent).
Acts 7:43 #1
431 I.e., the portable tent-temple of the god, to be carried in procession (Vincent).
Acts 17:18 #3
183 The Greek word means "seed-picker a bird which picks up seeds in the streets and markets; hence one who picks up and retails scraps of news" (Vincent).
Acts 27:16 #1
161 I.e., to secure on deck the small boat, which in calm weather was attached by a rope to the vessel's stern (Vincent).
1 Corinthians 14:11 #2
112 The Greek word means a foreigner, i.e., a non-Greek, one who does not speak Greek. "Supposed to be originally a descriptive word of those who uttered harsh, rude accents. ... Later, the word took the sense of outlandish or rude" (Vincent).
1 Corinthians 14:20 #2
202 Or, thinking, reasoning, mind. In Greek the word is different from the word for mind in vv. 15 and 19, which "emphasizes the distinction from ecstasy" (Vincent)…
2 Corinthians 2:14 #4
144 "According to the Greek usage, savor and knowledge are in apposition, so that the knowledge of Christ is symbolized as an odor communicating its nature and efficacy through the apostle's work" (Vincent).
2 Corinthians 3:14 #1
141 "Originally, things which proceed out of the mind. ... Phil. 4:7... 2 Cor. 2:11. Hence, derivatively, the minds themselves" (Vincent).
2 Corinthians 3:17 #2
172 According to the context of this section, which begins at 2:12, the Lord here must refer to Christ the Lord (2:12, 14-15, 17; 3:3-4, 14, 16; 4:5). This then is a strong word in the Bible, telling us emphatically that Christ is the Spirit. "The Lord Christ of v. 16 is the Spirit who pervades and animates the new covenant of which we are ministers (v. 6), and the ministration of which is with glory (v. 8). Compare Rom. 8:9-11; John 14:16, 18" (Vincent)…
2 Corinthians 4:132
132 …"Spirit of faith: not distinctly the Holy Spirit, nor, on the other hand, a human faculty or disposition, but blending both" (Vincent)…
2 Corinthians 11:26 #2
262 "The tribes inhabiting the mountains between the table-land of Asia Minor and the coast were notorious for robbery" (Vincent).
2 Corinthians 12:7 #2
72 "Frequent in classical Greek in the sense of a pale or stake" (Vincent)…
1 Thessalonians 5:13 #1
131 "To lead the mind through a reasoning process to a conclusion" (Vincent); hence, to think of, to consider, to estimate, to esteem, to regard.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 #1
31 Or, beguile; "not only making a false impression, but actually leading astray" (Vincent).
1 Timothy 2:9 #2
92 Lit., shamefastness; i.e., bound or made fast by an honorable shame (Vincent), implying not forward or overbold but moderate, observing the proprieties of womanhood.
1 Timothy 6:6 #1
61 "An inward self-sufficiency, as opposed to the lack or the desire of outward things. It was a favorite Stoic word" (Vincent).
2 Timothy 2:26 #1
261 Become sober again, awake out of a drunken stupor (Vincent).

A2 -- EXAMPLES OF OTHER CITATIONS OF M. R. VINCENT (1834-1922)
1. Conclusion of the N.T. p. 1759 quotes M. R. Vincent vol. 3, p. 156 [Not in RcV. footnotes]
“In his Word Studies in the N.T. (vol. 3, p. 156) Marvin R. Vincent says, ‘In the N. T., as in the Old, the prominent idea [concerning prophecy] is not prediction, but the inspired delivery of warning, exhortation, instruction, judging, and making manifest the secrets of the heart. See 1 Corinthians 14:3, 24, and 25. The N.T. prophets are distinguished from teachers by speaking under direct inspiration.’ ” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message # 162, pp. 1759-60]
2. Conclusion of the N.T. p. 1814 & p. 2310 [Not in RcV. footnotes]
“M. R. Vincent points out that in these verses [Eph. 4:22-24] deceit and truth should be personified. The new man is created according to God in righteousness and holiness, two aspects of God’s essence.” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message # 162, p. 1814 & #217, p. 2310]
[Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. “deceit is personified” (vol. 3, p. 395) “Truth, opposed to deceit, v. 22, and likewise personified” (vol. 3, p. 396)]
3. Conclusion of the N.T. p. 1816 & p. 2314 [Not in RcV. footnotes]
“Vincent says that in the Greek language [of Col. 3:10-11] the words rendered ‘cannot be’ are very strong and mean that there is no possibility. In the new man there cannot be Greeks…and Jews…” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message # 162, p. 1816 Also # 217, p. 2314]]
“signifies not merely the fact but the impossibility: there is no room for” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 3, p. 503]
4. Conclusion of the N.T Ephesians 1:19; Rev. 5:12 “strength”
“According to M. R. Vincent, the Greek word ischuos for strength in Ephesians 1:19 and Revelation 5:12 denotes indwelling strength. It is intrinsic, not outward.” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message #11, pp. 116-7]
5. Conclusion of the N.T 2 Cor. 2:14b “manifests the savor” “Concerning the phrase, ‘the savor of the knowledge,’ Vincent says, ‘According to the Greek usage, savor and knowledge are in apposition, so that the knowledge of Christ is symbolized as an odor communicating its nature and efficacy through the apostle’s work.’ Therefore, our excellent knowledge of Christ becomes a sweet savor.” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message #111, p. 1205 & #138, p. 1510]

A3 CITATIONS OF DEAN H. ALFORD (1810-1871) IN RcV. (15)
Luke 2:42 #1
421 At the age of twelve, a boy was called by the Jews "son of the law" and first incurred legal obligation (Alford). …
Luke 23:3 #1
31 This answer is to be understood as a "distinct affirmation" (Alford).
2 Corinthians 3:17 #2
172 … "The Lord of v. 16, is the Spirit ... which giveth life, v. 6: meaning, `the Lord,' as here spoken of, `Christ,' `is the Spirit,' is identical with the Holy Spirit ... Christ, here, is the Spirit of Christ" (Alford)…
2 Corinthians 4:13 #2
132 "Not distinctly the Holy Spirit, — but still not merely a human disposition: the indwelling Holy Spirit penetrates and characterizes the whole renewed man" (Alford)…
2 Corinthians 5:10 #3
103 "The technical word for receiving wages" (Alford). [Also Conclusion of the NT, #184, p. 1990]
2 Corinthians 12:7 #2
72 "Frequent in classical Greek in the sense of a pale or stake" (Vincent), or a "sharp pointed staff" (Alford).
2 Timothy 2:17 #1
171 Or, feed, eat. Lit., have pasture; cf. John 10:9. The word for pasture in Greek is the medical term for the consuming progress of a mortifying disease (Alford). Hence, here the Greek phrase is rendered spread.
1 Peter 1:3 #4
34 Regeneration…issues and results in a living hope. Such regeneration is accomplished through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. "The resurrection of Christ, bringing in life and the gift of the life-giving Spirit, is that which potentiates the new birth into a living hope" (Alford).
1 Peter 1:4 #2
42 …"This inheritance is the full possession of that, which was promised to Abraham and all believers (Gen. 12:3; see Gal. 3:6 ff.), an inheritance, as much higher than that which fell to the children of Israel in the possession of Canaan, as the sonship of the regenerate, who have already received the promise of the Spirit through faith as a pledge of their inheritance, is higher than the sonship of Israel: compare Gal. 3:18, 29; 1 Cor. 6:9; Eph. 5:5; Heb. 9:15" (Johann Tobias August Wiesinger [1851], quoted by Alford). Also Conclusion of the NT #101, p.1090
1 Peter 3:21 #4
214 The Greek word denotes a question, an inquiry. Its meaning is very much disputed. The right meaning seems to be as indicated by Alford — "the seeking after God in a good and pure conscience."…
2 Peter 2:13 13 The Greek word means choices of opinion (of doctrine) different from that usually accepted, "self-chosen doctrines, alien from the truth" (Alford)….
1 John 1:7 #1
71 We walk in the light, but God is in the light because He is light. "The light is the element in which God dwells: compare 1 Tim. 6:16....this walking in the light, as He is in the light, is no mere imitation of God, but is an identity in the essential element of our daily walk with the essential element of God's eternal being: not imitation, but coincidence and identity of the very atmosphere of life" (Alford).
Jude 1:19 #1
191 The adjective form of soul. "The psyche [soul] is the center of the personal being, the `I' of each individual. It is in each man bound to the spirit, man's higher part, and to the body, man's lower part; drawn upwards by the one, downwards by the other. He who gives himself up to the lower appetites, is fleshly: he who by communion of his spirit with God's Spirit is employed in the higher aims of his being, is spiritual. He who rests midway, thinking only of self and self's interests, whether animal or intellectual, is the psychikos, the selfish man, the man in whom the spirit is sunk and degraded into subordination to the subordinate psyche [soul]" (Alford).
Jude 1:19 #2
192 The human spirit, not the Spirit of God. The apostates are devoid of spirit. They "have not indeed ceased to have a spirit, as a part of their own tripartite nature [1 Thes. 5:23]: but they have ceased to possess it in any worthy sense: it is degraded beneath and under the power of the psyche [soul], the personal life, so as to have no real vitality of its own" (Alford)…
Jude 1:24 #4
244 "The word signifies the exuberance of triumphant joy" (Alford).

A4 – AN EXAMPLE OF OTHER CITATIONS OF DEAN H. ALFORD
1. Ephesians 4:22, 24 [Not in RcV. footnotes]
“Dean Alford says that in [Ephesians] 4:24 truth denotes the very essence of God, for God is truth. This is in contrast to the deceit mentioned in verse 22. Deceit is the essence of Satan, who is a liar, but truth is the essence of God, who is truth. Thus, the lusts are of Satan, who is the deceit, whereas righteousness and holiness are of God, who is the truth.” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the N.T. Message # 162, p. 1814 & #217, p. 2310]

A5 – CITATIONS OF JOHN N. DARBY (1800 – 1882) IN RcV. (13)
John N. Darby (18 Nov. 1800 – 29 April 1882) 13 refs RcV.
1 Corinthians 13:12 #2
122 Some sources say that this is to see through a window. "That is, through some medium which, in degree, hinders vision. The word means also `a mirror,' but it is used for window, made, not of clear transparent glass, as now, but of semi-transparent materials" — J. N. Darby in his New Translation.
2 Corinthians 1:5 #2
52 The Christ here is a designation of the condition of Christ; it is not a name (Darby)… Galatians 3:11 #1
111 Lit., in; meaning "in the power of, in virtue of" (Darby's New Translation).
Galatians 5:4 #1
41 I.e., reduced to nothing, separated from Christ; deprived of all profit from Christ and so separated from Him (Darby's New Translation), making Him of no effect.
Galatians 5:20 #4
204 The same Greek word as for heresies in 2 Pet. 2:1. Here it refers to schools of opinion (Darby's New Translation), or sects.
2 Thessalonians 2:2 #1
21 Lit., from the mind; i.e., "from a steady and soberly judging mind" (Darby).
2 Timothy 2:23 #2
232 Uneducated, undisciplined, unlearned, i.e., not subject to God but following one's own mind and will (Darby).
1 Peter 1:17 #2
172 Peter "is not speaking of the final judgment of the soul. In that sense `the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son' [John 5:22]. The thing spoken of here is the daily judgment of God's government in this world, exercised with regard to His children. Accordingly it says, `the time of your sojourn[ing]' here" (Darby)…
1 Peter 3:20 #2
202 "The Greek means `arrive safe into a place of security through difficulty or danger,' as Acts 27:44" (Darby). Also, Conclusion of the NT, #123, p. 1337
2 Peter 1:16 #4
164 " `Admitted into immediate vision of the glory,' a word used for full initiation into the mysteries" (Darby)…
1 John 2:1 #1
11 “The Greek word for little children was often used by older persons in addressing younger ones. ‘It is a term of parental affection. It applies to Christians irrespective of growth. Used in vv. 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21; John 13:33; Gal. 4:19’ (Darby). The aged apostle considered all the recipients of his Epistle his dear little children in the Lord…”
1 John 2:13 #8
138 “The Greek word denotes have written; in other MSS, write. Although have written is more authentic according to a more recent discovery of MSS, write, which is used by the KJV and J. N. Darby's New Translation, is more logical according to the context….”
Jude 1:12 #1
121 The Greek word means a rock. It "may allude here to a sunken rock with the sea over it" (Darby); hence, hidden reefs….

A6 -- EXAMPLES OF OTHER CITATIONS OF JOHN N. DARBY
1 John 2:1 Christ our Paraclete, Advocate
“J. N. Darby, in his note on 1 John 2:1, explains that Christ as our Advocate is like a Roman patron, who maintained the interest of his client in every way.” [Conclusion of the NT, #31, p. 344]
Col. 1:16
“In his note on Col. 1:16 in his New Translation J. N. Darby says that the words ‘in Him’ mean in the power of Christ’s person and that ‘He was the one whose intrinsic power characterized the creation.’ Commenting on the meaning of the Greek preposition used in the phrase ‘in Him were all things created,’ Darby says that it is ‘used generally for the character in which a thing is done’ (Collected Writings, vol. 33, p. 87). He also states that ‘the creation of all things was characterized and wrought by the inherent power which is in the Lord Jesus Christ, and all things subsist together as one ordered and law-governed whole by the same constant and inherent power’ (Collected Writings, vol. 31, p. 188).” [Conclusion of the NT, #25, p. 276]
Galatians 3:7, 9
“Galatians 3:7 and 9 speak of those ‘who are of faith.’ According to Darby’s New Translation, this expression denotes the principle of faith. In his version, he adopts the rendering ‘on the principle of faith’.” [Conclusion of the NT, #121, p. 1317]

A7 EXAMPLES OF CITATIONS OF OTHERS IN RcV. & ELSEWHERE

Wuest--Kenneth S. Wuest (1893 – 1962)
Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961. Reprinted 1994. First published in 3 volumes, 1956-59, under the title, Wuest's Expanded translation of the Greek New Testament. 1 ref. RcV.
2 Corinthians 7:11 #9
“The last six results of the repentant sorrow that is according to God fall into three pairs, the first relating to the Corinthian believers' feelings of shame, the second to the apostle, and the third to the offender (Bengel). Wuest's translation also indicates this by the expression "Yes,...in fact," which is used three times as follows: "Yes, verbal defense of yourselves, in fact, indignation, yes, fear, in fact, longing, yes, zeal, in fact, the meting out of disciplinary punishment."
1 Peter 1:20 “foreknown…before the foundation of the world”
“In his expanded translation of the NT Kenneth S. Wuest uses the word ‘foreordained’ in 1 Peter 1:20, saying, ‘Christ…was foreordained before the foundation of the universe was laid’.” [Conclusion of the NT, #28, p. 302 & #116 p. 1256]

Bengel--Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687 - 1752) RcV. 3 refs
Luke 13:7 #1
71 I.e., deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room (Bengel).
Acts 19:3 #1
31 This is the last mention of John the Baptist in the New Testament. "Here at last, he wholly gives place to Christ" (Bengel)…
2 Corinthians 7:11 #9
“The last six results of the repentant sorrow that is according to God fall into three pairs, the first relating to the Corinthian believers' feelings of shame, the second to the apostle, and the third to the offender (Bengel)….."

Conybeare, William John (1815 – 1857) 2 refs RcV.
1 Cor. 15:21 “Through which also you are being saved”
“Or, in the way of salvation (Conybeare)….” [RcV. 1 Cor. 15:21]
2 Cor. 2:141 “God always leads us in triumph”
"The verb here used ... means to lead a man as a captive in a triumphal procession; the full phrase means, to lead captive in a triumph over the enemies of Christ...God is celebrating His triumph over His enemies; Paul (who had been so great an opponent of the gospel) is a captive following in the train of the triumphal procession, yet (at the same time, by a characteristic change of metaphor) an incense-bearer, scattering incense (which was always done on these occasions) as the procession moves on. Some of the conquered enemies were put to death when the procession reached the Capitol; to them the smell of the incense was `an odor of death unto death'; to the rest who were spared, `an odor of life unto life' "(Conybeare)… [RcV. 2 Cor. 2:141] Also Conclusion of the NT, #138, p. 1509 & #111, p. 1203

Fredrick Lewis Godet, (1812 -- 1900)
Godet was a Swiss Protestant theologian, Professor of Theology at Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Romans 6:5 “If we have grown together with Him…”
“According to Godet (p. 243) the word grown denotes ‘the organic union in virtue of which one being shares the life, growth, and phases of existence belonging to another’.” (Commentary on Romans by p. 243) [W. Lee, Conclusion of the NT, #124, p. 1352]

G. H. Pember, Robert Govett & D. M. Panton
“Partial rapture…the Bible teachers in this school include G. H. Pember, Robert Govett and D. M. Panton.” [Conclusion of the NT, # 182, p. 1968]



William E. Vine (1873-1949)
Longsuffering (Rom. 2:4) “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and it is associated with mercy (Hogg and Vine).” [Conclusion of the NT, #11, p. 109]
Good (Luke 18:18-19) “In Greek it is agathos, describing ‘that which being good in its character and constitution, is beneficial in its effect’ (Vine).” [Conclusion of the NT, #10, p. 97]

W. H. Griffith Thomas (1861-1924),
“The Principles of Theology on the use of “Person” to express the Trinity [Conclusion of the NT, # 232, p. 2468]

Martin Luther,
Martin Luther warns us not to approach the matter of the divine Trinity by reasoning [ML Quote] [Conclusion of the NT, #3, p. 32]

Andrew Murray (1794-1866)
“Christ in resurrection is the life-giving Spirit. Andrew Murray…wrote about it in his masterpiece, The Spirit of Christ, in the chapter entitled, ‘The Spirit of the Glorified Jesus.’ The Spirit of the glorified Jesus is actually the Lord Jesus Himself in resurrection and in glory. When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life.” [Conclusion of the NT, #74, p. 798 & #23 p. 246 (same quote)]
“Since I came to the US, in my speaking I have rarely referred you to some other writings. I did this purposely. Books such as Andrew Murray’s The Spirit of Christ, however, I did have and still have the peace to refer you to.” [W. Lee, “Concerning the use of Reference Books and other Writings” in Elders’ Training Book 4, p. 14]

Williston Walker (1860-1922) 1 ref. RcV.
2 Cor. 3:172
172 … "All that transforming and indwelling Spirit is Christ Himself. `The Lord is the Spirit' " (Williston Walker).


APPENDIX B–LSM’s UNATTRIBUTED USE OF VINCENT’S WORD STUDIES
This Appendix details further examples of LSM’s unattributed use of Vincent’s work.

EXAMPLE 9: 1 Peter 1:12, “things angels long to look into”
RcV: “The Greek word portrays one who is stooping and stretching his neck to look at some wonderful sight …” [RcV. 1 Peter 1:123]
VINCENT: “A very graphic word…Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 365]
Note the almost exact duplication of Vincent’s utterance in the RcV.

EXAMPLE 10: 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession…”
RcV: “Race, priesthood, nation, and people are all collective nouns, referring to the believers corporately. As a race, we, the believers, are chosen; as a priesthood, a body of priests, we are royal, kingly; as a nation, we are holy; as a people, we are God's possession, a possession particularly acquired and owned by God as His treasure. Chosen race denotes our descent from God; royal priesthood, our service to God; holy nation, our being a community for God; and people acquired for a possession, our preciousness to God. These are all in a corporate sense. Hence, we need to be built together.” [RcV. 1 Peter 2:91]
VINCENT: “Race emphasizes the idea of descent; nation of community…” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 644]

EXAMPLE 11: 2 Peter 1:1, “equally precious (faith)”
RcV: “The Greek word means of equal value or honor; hence, equally precious. Equal not in measure but in value and honor to all those who receive it.” [RcV., 2 Peter 1:16 Also Conclusion of the NT # 121, p. 1314]
VINCENT: “Not the same in measure to all, but having an equal value and honor to those who receive it, as admitting them to the same Christian privileges.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 676]Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 12: Acts 26:22, “help…from God”
RcV: “Or, assistance. The Greek word originally meant alliance. This implies that the apostle was allied with God and realized God's assistance in this alliance.” [RcV., Acts 26:221]
VINCENT: “The word for help originally meant alliance.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 589] Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 13: Acts 28:2, “Natives or barbarians”
RcV: Natives: “Or, barbarians…those who spoke neither Greek nor Latin but were not necessarily uncivilized.” [RcV., Acts 28:21]
VINCENT: Romans regarded “all as barbarians who spoke neither Greek nor Latin. Not necessarily uncivilized.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. Vol. 1, p. 597]
Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 14: Acts 28:4, “Snake”
RcV: “Lit., beast. Medical writers used this term to denote poisonous snakes.” [RcV., Acts 28:41]
Vincent: “The beast. Luke uses the [same] word…as medical writers, who employed it to denote venomous serpents…” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T vol. 1, pp. 597-8]

EXAMPLE 15: Philemon 16, “No longer as a slave, but…a beloved brother…both in the flesh and in the Lord”
RcV: The Recovery Version says: Philemon footnote 164 “I.e. in the flesh Onesimus was a brother as a slave, and in the Lord he was a slave as a brother.” [RcV Philemon note 164]
VINCENT: Meyer is quoted by Vincent: “In the flesh Paul had the brother for a slave; in the Lord he had a slave for a brother (Meyer).” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 3, p. 522]

EXAMPLE 16: Hebrews 5:12, “rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God”
RcV: The Recovery version says: Rudiments: “or, primary elements.” Oracles: “I.e., divine utterances” [RcV., Hebrews 5:121&2]
VINCENT: Rudiments “= primary elements.” Oracles: used in “biblical Greek of divine utterances.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 4, p. 438]

EXAMPLE 17: 1 Peter 1:4, “incorruptible and undefiled and unfading”
RcV: “[1]Incorruptible in substance, indestructible, not decaying; [2]undefiled in purity, unstained; [3]unfading in beauty and glory, not withering.” [RcV. 1 Peter 1:43 Also Conclusion of NT, #101, pp. 1090-1 & #117, p. 1272.]
VINCENT: “[1]Incorruptible From not, and to destroy or corrupt. [2]Undefiled From not and to defile, though the verb means especially to defile by staining, as with color; while molu>nw, also translated defile (1 Corinthians 8:7), is to besmirch, as with mire. [2]We might render unstained, though the word is not used with any conscious reference to its etymology. That fades not away. Used by Peter only, and but once. [3]From not and to wither. The loveliness of the heavenly inheritance is described as exempt from the blight which attaches to earthly bloom. As between incorruptible, and [3] unwithering, the former emphasizes the [1]indestructibility of substance, and the latter of [3] grace and beauty.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T, vol. I, pp.630-1]
NOTE: We have numbered and color-coded the corresponding descriptions of the three adjectives—“incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.”
EXAMPLE 18: Luke 9:22, “Son of Man…rejected”
RcV: “The Greek word means to be rejected on trial, implying deliberate rejection.” [RcV. Luke 9:221]
VINCENT: “The verb means to reject on scrutiny or trial, and therefore implies deliberate rejection.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 341]
Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 19: Luke 11:46, “touch”
RcV: “A term used by medical writers for gently feeling a sore or tender part of the body.” [RcV. Luke 11:461]
VINCENT: “Touch…A technical term in medicine for feeling gently a sore part of the body, or the pulse.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 366]
Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 20: Luke 18:25, “Eye of a needle”
RcV: “The Greek word here for needle is different from that in Matthew and Mark. This is the word used by surgeons.” [RcV. Luke 18:251]
VINCENT: “Both Matthew and Mark use another word for needle; Luke alone has belo>nh, which, besides being an older term, is the peculiar word for the surgical needle.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. vol. 1, p. 407]

EXAMPLE 21: John 11:35, “Jesus wept”
RcV: “This word differs from the word translated weep and weeping in vv. 31 and 33. Here it means to shed tears, to weep silently. This is the only time the word is used in the New Testament.” [RcV. John 11:351]
VINCENT: “A different verb from that in ver. 31. From…tear, and meaning to shed tears, to weep silently. Only here in the New Testament.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. II, p. 35]
Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 22: 1 John 1:2, “eternal life…with the Father”
RcV: “The Greek word implies living and acting in union and communion with. The eternal life, which is the Son, not only was with the Father but also was living and acting in union and communion with the Father in eternity.” [RcV. 1 John 1:24]
VINCENT: “In living, active relation and communion with the Father.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. II, p. 309]

EXAMPLE 23: 1 Thess. 5:23, “sanctify you wholly…be preserved complete”
RcV: “God not only sanctifies us wholly but also preserves our spirit, soul, and body complete. Wholly is quantitative; complete is qualitative. Quantitatively, God sanctifies us wholly; qualitatively, God preserves us complete, i.e., He keeps our spirit, soul, and body perfect.” [RcV. 1 Thess. 5:236 Conclusion #137, p. 1498]
VINCENT: Holokleros “signifies complete in all parts. It occurs only here and James 1:4, where it is associated with perfect…As distinguished from holoteles wholly, ver. 23, it [holokleros ‘complete’] is qualitative, while holoteles [‘wholly’] is quantitative.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. IV, p. 53]
Note that the central point--that “complete is qualitative” and “wholly is quantitative”--is found in Vincent’s Word Studies

EXAMPLE 24: 1 Cor. 4:13, “Off-scouring…scum”
RcV: “Off-scouring and scum are synonyms. Off-scouring denotes that which is thrown away in cleansing; hence, refuse, filth. Scum denotes that which is wiped off; hence, rubbish, refuse. Both terms are used metaphorically, especially regarding condemned criminals of the lowest class, who were cast into the sea or to the wild beasts in the amphitheater.” [RcV. 1 Cor. 4:133 Also Conclusion of the NT # 110, p. 1194]
VINCENT: “The former word [off-scouring] is from…to cleanse all around. Hence that which is thrown off in cleansing; refuse…Some find an allusion here to an ancient Athenian custom of throwing certain worthless persons into the sea…[scum] that which is scraped or scoured off. [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. III, p. 208]

EXAMPLE 25: 2 Cor. 4:2, “not adulterating the word of God”
RcV: “The original meaning of the Greek word was to ensnare; later, to corrupt, as in the adulterating of gold or wine. The meaning is narrower than adulterating in 2:17, which adds the sense for gain's sake.” [RcV., 2 Cor. 4:21]
VINCENT: “Primarily to ensnare; then to corrupt. Used of adulterating gold, wine etc. See on ‘which corrupt,’ ch. 2:17. This verb has a narrower meaning than the one used there; for while that also means to corrupt, it adds the sense for gain’s sake.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. III, p. 310] Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions

EXAMPLE 26: 2 Cor. 5:14, “constrains us”
RcV: “The Greek word means to press on…from all sides, to hold to one end, to forcibly limit, to confine to one object within certain bounds, to shut up to one line and purpose (as in a narrow, walled road)…In such a way the apostles were constrained by the love of Christ to live to Him.” [RcV., 2 Cor. 5:142]
VINCENT: “The idea is not urging or driving, but shutting up to one line and purpose, as in a narrow, walled road.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T. Vol. III, p. 320]
Note the correspondence in the highlighted portions
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

Integrity, cutting things straight, character, Christ like compassion, humility, openness are a few matters that a servant of the Lord should cultivate. Note Rom 1:14, I am under obligation (a debtor) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. NASB The apostle Paul owed many people and had been helped by many. The apostle Witness Lee often boasted how he had the highest revelation and all other Christian teachers had junk. How could Paul be a debtor to the foolish? Yet our apostle Witness Lee was the only person since 1945 with the Lord's ministry? He seemed to owe no one, not even the churches and brethren who had supported him in so many ways. Often instead of expressing gratitude for the brothers, he would belittle them and if some gave any push back, they were thrown under the bus.

I knew Witness Lee personally. He was like an older brother and friend. He gave me good personal advice on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, those in the LSM/LC had a myth about the brother. He was excellent in all things period. No problems were ever addressed. Thus his flesh developed. As we mature in age, if we are not under the daily experience of the cross our natural tendencies will grow more prominent and we will become stronger in the works of our flesh.

Eventually his self promoting reached an extreme level. One of the manifestations of this was his inability to take from other Christian teachers and feel no compulsion to acknowledge them. Yet, he zealously guarded his own work and always sought recognition for his work and contributions.

It is possible to have great gifts and to be entrusted with much and have a bad ending. Look at Sampson. What a failure!! And the entire nation suffered as he did not lead the tribe of Dan against the Philistines. Look at Solomon. Is he not perhaps the greatest failure in the Bible? He built the temple but the nation was divided because of his life.

In the 50's and 60's and early seventies, the Lord was surely working in wonderful ways. Witness Lee was a part of this and had he been just a little bit on the humble side and with pure motives, then who knows how much blessing he could have brought rather than the damage, division and confusion which has become his heritage.

This article on plagiarism is so sad. It grieves me that it can be written but I agree that it needed to be written. Thank you brother Nigel.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:45 AM   #3
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On the other hand, the lack of citation in the listed instances appears to be more the churchman's offense against the scholar.

Vincent and Alford, at least, are frequently cited in the footnotes.
http://online.recoveryversion.org/se...66&ps=all&st=f
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:32 AM   #4
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I knew Witness Lee personally. He was like an older brother and friend. He gave me good personal advice on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, those in the LSM/LC had a myth about the brother. He was excellent in all things period. No problems were ever addressed. Thus his flesh developed. As we mature in age, if we are not under the daily experience of the cross our natural tendencies will grow more prominent and we will become stronger in the works of our flesh.

This is an interesting comment and brings to mind a recent experience. I have a few tape cassettes of Ron Kangas giving a conference 5 or 6 years ago. I thought…..”you know….I should be fair with this guy and give him a shot” and took the tapes and listened to them in my truck going from job to job. He was deeply impressed with Witness Lee and how perfectly in order his office was.…that all his ties and socks were arranged in order by color. This was transformation to RK. This was the expression of a god man who had been totally transformed.

My thought was….”well….there are probably a lot of people who don’t even believe in Christ who are like this.” My wife is an immaculate record keeper. She has a place for everything. A number of years ago we were audited by the IRS. It was very extensive and lasted several months. They wanted to see absolutely everything. Guess what…..every time they asked for another item my wife knew exactly where it was. The end result……we got a hundred and sixty dollar refund from them after the audit.

Is my wife a completely transformed god-man sister? No. She is a dear sister in the Lord and a godly woman no doubt but this is just here nature. She is like this in everything.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:33 AM   #5
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On the other hand, the lack of citation in the listed instances appears to be more the churchman's offense against the scholar.
I don't see this as an "offense" matter, if I am hearing you correctly.

This article on "Plagiarism" strikes at the root of LSM pride, elitism, exclusivism, judgmentalism, arrogance, hypocrisy, etc. Early on ... yes ... there were many references to Vincent, Alford, Pember, Panton, Govett, etc., but that tapered off over time as "the ministry" made outrageous claims to "subsume" all others, while boasting in its own accomplishments.

Either way, any Christian publisher which sets itself up as an authority on "all things Christian" (think A&C) must be above reproach in all its works. Whether or not WL gives credit where credit is due in every spoken message is one thing, but the author and his editorial staff must give credit in each and every written message before publishing.

Am I missing something here?
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:49 AM   #6
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I almost laughed out loud when I read Steward's rage-filled response to this well-written article. She still reminds me of a little child who takes a temper tantrum any time she's told something she doesn't like.

Heh.

If I can manage to find a source for the Recovery Version in Spanish electronically, I'd like to do an electronic comparison to the RVR 1960 version. I estimate the corrolation to be about 98-99%. As in... the Spanish Recovery Version is almost precisely the same as the RVR 1960, with only a very small number of words changed to be more Lee-like. Granted I've only seen the Recovery Version NT, not OT in Spanish. If I could actually substantiate this with some solid proof, I think it would go a long way to prove that LSM is dishonest and actually violated copyright on the RVR 1960 to create a "new translation". There is just too much that is absolutely identical to be coincidence or common choices in translation.

I'd like to do the same in French with the Louis Segond, but I don't have the Recovery Version in French, and I don't feel like paying for it.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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I don't see this as an "offense" matter, if I am hearing you correctly.

This article on "Plagiarism" strikes at the root of LSM pride, elitism, exclusivism, judgmentalism, arrogance, hypocrisy, etc. Early on ... yes ... there were many references to Vincent, Alford, Pember, Panton, Govett, etc., but that tapered off over time as "the ministry" made outrageous claims to "subsume" all others, while boasting in its own accomplishments.

Either way, any Christian publisher which sets itself up as an authority on "all things Christian" (think A&C) must be above reproach in all its works. Whether or not WL gives credit where credit is due in every spoken message is one thing, but the author and his editorial staff must give credit in each and every written message before publishing.

Am I missing something here?

I'd rather pick it up here, Ohio, but since someone posted a link over there and then everyone jumped on the "Dear Brother Nigel" bandwagon immediately, I felt I had to make a comment both places.

The thing is, Tomes is just as likely to be mistaken as Lee and this article unfortunately really goes a long way to substantiation of the claims the LSM-proponents make against him. It's simply not justified to hold Lee or even LSM as a publisher to the standards of an academic press just because they tried to pawn off A&C as a scholarly journal. Religious presses are known for this sort of thing and it drives academics crazy. This common practice is not really "plagiarism" in any traditional sense of the word.

Moreover, in that at least many of the footnotes do in fact attribute numerous things to Vincent and Alford, Tomes' argument is much weakend that there is something fundamentally wrong with the moral fiber of the "LSM-faithful." (See his footnote 45.) The argument here that citation "tapered off" is counter balanced by the reality that those attributions are still in the currently published edition of the Recovery Version. They erased John Ingall's name and his translation work but Alford and Vincent's attributions, such as they are, remain to this day.

The thing is, this is looking at it backwards. A&C isn't a reason to try to impose citatation standards on all of the publications of LSM. Instead, all that material from the LSM presses reveals why it is unlikely that A&C will ever be taken seriously as a scholarly journal regardless of how thoroughly it is footnoted.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:51 AM   #8
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I think the essential point of Tomes piece is to point out that to some extent LSM has played fast and loose with giving proper credit to the purpose of padding Witness Lee's reputation and weight as a seer of things nobody else had really seen. In LSM's world, those attributions they do supply aren't to show that Lee is beholden to others for insight, but rather as testimony of Lee's clarity.

A classic example is the matter of the so-called sevenfold Spirit in Revelation. I don't recall Lee ever giving credit on this. In fact, he acted as if this was one of his greatest revelations. Yet if you open up the Amplified Bible you will see a footnote attributing the term "sevenfold" to a Catholic theologian of the 12th century.

So, I think Tomes uses the term "plagarism" to sharpen and make vivid his point, which was that LSM has neglected attibutions not out of sloppiness, but rather because they feel Lee kind of owns everything anyway.

Let's face it. The practically word-for-word liftings of Vincent's wrtitings without due credit are without excuse.

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Old 01-15-2009, 09:30 AM   #9
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Let's face it. The practically word-for-word liftings of Vincent's wrtitings without due credit are without excuse.
Yeah, no, that's just my point.

I disagree with that characterization.

Weak? OK.
Poor scholarship? Surely.
Unfair? I'll buy that.
Hypocritical? Maybe. Probably. You can say yes and I won't disagree.

Without excuse? No, I can't go with that because the purpose of the writings was of a kind where attribution is not commonly required.

Lee's practice of attribution is inconsistent and may serve to give a false impression to readers, intentionally or not.

Still, it's just not the same thing as "plagiarism" because of the way devotional literature is commonly composed.

And with that I'm done on this side as well.

Sing forth the praises of Tomes and his ministry if you care to and I will not contradict further.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:39 AM   #10
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I'd rather pick it up here, Ohio, but since someone posted a link over there and then everyone jumped on the "Dear Brother Nigel" bandwagon immediately, I felt I had to make a comment both places.
Uh oh. The "Dear Brother Nigel" bandwagon sounds like my handiwork, dear brother.

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Moreover, in that at least many of the footnotes do in fact attribute numerous things to Vincent and Alford, Tomes' argument is much weakend that there is something fundamentally wrong with the moral fiber of the "LSM-faithful." (See his footnote 45.) The argument here that citation "tapered off" is counter balanced by the reality that those attributions are still in the currently published edition of the Recovery Version. They erased John Ingall's name and his translation work but Alford and Vincent's attributions, such as they are, remain to this day.
As I said over on "the other forum", Nigel stated up front that there are 50 footnotes in the RcV that do attribute brothers like Vincent and Alford. This is stated clearly right near the beginning of the second paragraph:
“Despite being “all-inclusive” and based on ‘the best Christian writings,’ explicit references to Bible expositors and Christian scholars are rare in the Recovery Version. Only fifty footnotes— one-half of one percent—refer to Bible scholars or authors of ‘the best Christian writings.’ Everything else is presented as Witness Lee’s own composition.”
In appendix A, Nigel actually lists all those 50 footnotes that do reference brothers like Alford, Vincent, Darby, etc. Nigel lists 18 footnotes that reference Vincent, 15 which reference Alford, 13 footnotes that reference Darby, 3 footnotes that reference Bengel, 2 footnotes that references Conybeare, and 1 footnote that references Williston Walker. When you account for the fact that two footnotes reference both Alford and Vincent, you are left with a count of 50.

I may be misunderstanding you, dear brother. I agree 100% that the issue is indeed, as you stated, “INADEQUATE attribution”.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:08 AM   #11
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And, KTS, I took your correction there. I didn't examine Appendix A.

I also noted there that the "one-half of one percent" crack is an irrelevant statistic and my mind loses interest quickly when writers posit such things.

I didn't read clean through to the end and properly frame my argument.

Guilty as charged.

I still think it's more or less a mountain out of a molehill issue because Lee was a religious author and not an academic but I do sincerely PROMISE to read every word of Tomes, twice even, before I take exception ever again to anything he has written.

Once bitten, twice shy. :rollingeyes2:
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:06 PM   #12
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I still think it's more or less a mountain out of a molehill issue because Lee was a religious author and not an academic

Yes, but wasn't Lee like his mentor, Nee, a "seer of the divine revelation"?

That was what I took the "oracle" title to imply. Fresh revelation from the Holy Word. How much of what was passed on as revelation was merely lifted from the writings of others? Much of it not even reworded?

I still remember a story about one of the Lee acolytes, BP I think, holding a newly printed text and saying, "I've got the fresh bread!" It wasn't perhaps quite so fresh as he thought.

And where it is "fresh", i.e. original, it is at least somewhat suspect. I remember reading a review once of something that was passed off as original research, where the reviewer said, "There is much here that is new, and much that is true, but what is new is not true and what is true is not new." I am feeling this way about Lee, mostly.

Nonetheless, I had fun.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:37 PM   #13
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And, KTS, I took your correction there. I didn't examine Appendix A.

Once bitten, twice shy. :rollingeyes2:
Hello dear brother YP0534,

As I stated "over there", I am humbled by your response. Surely at some point (probably sooner rather than later!), you will point out an issue in one of my posts. May I respond with as much grace and humility as you have.

Carry on, dear brother!
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:06 AM   #14
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I remember reading a review once of something that was passed off as original research, where the reviewer said, "There is much here that is new, and much that is true, but what is new is not true and what is true is not new." I am feeling this way about Lee, mostly.
Yeah, I hear ya, and I'm just trying to say that the later, distorted LSM prism is not the primary way we should view Lee's work as a minister and Christian author. I don't think we should ignore or discount the tragedy of what came to be at a certain point but as far as I recall, Lee hadn't made a single "oracle" claim prior to "putting down his pen" at the conclusion of the footnotes in Acts. Until that time, it was widely recognized, and as someone else stated, even boasted of, that Lee's ministry was based upon the "best of the best" and that he "stood on the shoulders" of so many others, of course mostly meaning Watchman Nee and the acknowledged persons in the "recovery" line, but not excluding the contributions of other Christian authors.

I think it's an enormous mistake to build an other-side-of-the-mirror distorted anti-LSM prism in order to interpret Lee's legacy, such as it is, in the context of historic Christianity. It's obviously necessary to debunk the mythology of Witness Lee that might afflict us and the more recent and prevailing mythology is probably the more urgent need. But I truly don't understand the benefit of saying "Lee was merely derivative" when, if nothing else, he benefited so many merely by the synthesis and fresh presentation of often neglected writings of others. Alford is long out of print, and if you have any benefit from brother Alford's ministry, it is most likely due to Lee (even if you don't realize that it originated with Alford.)

Honestly, in a discussion about giving credit where credit is due, I really don't think there should be the need to explain this repeatedly but there's at least a trace of inconsistency around the periphery. I hate being cast in a role of "defender of Lee" because I think ultimately his work will stand or fall on its own, but among you, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and before those saints in the Local Church who would happen here upon our musings and discussions and historical reflection, SOMEONE has to be "devil's advocate" to say repeatedly that THE GUY JUST WASN'T AS BAD AS ALL THAT.

So, let me retort that your quoted clever and poetic critical quip could well be a mere short circuit to rational thought on the topic. The synthesis and harmonizing of older material is in fact "new" and I'd hope you could find it within yourself to begrudgingly admit that.

And I really wish there were a true LSM representative here to do the hard work of really combing through Lee's copious materials and presenting to us what was in fact Lee's own new light.

I concur that the insufficient attribution issue casts a shadow over anything which might be claimed to be Lee's contribution, to the extent that anyone really cares to uphold it and say "This is of Lee." But I have to testify that studying the Bible in conjunction with Lee's ministry, I learned it better and faster and know it more thoroughly today than associates who got saved around the same time and that's a phenomenon that I've seen and heard repeated. I think some of the folks around here are probably a product of that themselves.

The footnotes and cross references in the RcV, even if not properly attributed, were put together by a religious teacher in such a way as to be extremely helpful to a young believer hungry and thirsty to know Christ. Not as pure as the driven snow as the modern LSM might wish to portray it. But even if all Lee did was quote Alford and Vincent in the same sentence, that counts as "new," even under copyright law.

Grace to all today.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:02 AM   #15
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I understand your point, YP, and mostly agree.The problem I have is that I have little doubt that LSM would like for Lee to be seen as as much of an oracle as possible, and if this means giving as little credit as possible then so be it. This seems to be a tactic of theirs. They seem less interested in his teachings becoming mainstream than they are in persuading everyone to recognize him as a special apostle.

Calvinists don't talk about Calvin near as much as Leeists talk about Lee. Why is that? I believe because with them it's really an authority thing. They see the ideal as everyone lining up under Lee, which by conveyance mean them.

In other words, they want Lee to get as much credit as possible, but are much less interested in others getting credit.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:13 AM   #16
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I understand your point, YP, and mostly agree.The problem I have is that I have little doubt that LSM would like for Lee to be seen as as much of an oracle as possible, and if this means giving as little credit as possible then so be it. This seems to be a tactic of theirs. They seem less interested in his teachings becoming mainstream than they are in persuading everyone to recognize him as a special apostle.

Calvinists don't talk about Calvin near as much as Leeists talk about Lee. Why is that? I believe because with them it's really an authority thing. They see the ideal as everyone lining up under Lee, which by conveyance mean them.
It's absolutely an authority thing.

Hope and I may disagree about which came first, The Work or The Universal Church, but the misshapen concept of authority is what binds those two notions together and give a rather solid foundation to those who want to build the genuinely awful into the thoroughly evil.

No arguments from me there.

And I guess that's why I'm posting on this topic.

They claim to basically own Lee because they are "of" Lee but they no more own him than they do Watchman Nee at the end of the da.y In rejecting their claims of exclusivity and superiority, I can say - I receive Lee's ministry, as much as any believer rightly should, and no, he's not an Acting God or any such nonsense. He was a Bible teacher, like many others, maybe better than some.

The mythology at the root is probably that only the LC saints are guaranteed overcomers.
(Even though no one has ever said that expressly, let's just admit what we all know....)
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:13 PM   #17
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1. I don't understand the benefit of saying "Lee was merely derivative" when, if nothing else, he benefited so many merely by the synthesis and fresh presentation of often neglected writings of others. Alford is long out of print, and if you have any benefit from brother Alford's ministry, it is most likely due to Lee (even if you don't realize that it originated with Alford.)

2... your quoted clever and poetic critical quip could well be a mere short circuit to rational thought on the topic. The synthesis and harmonizing of older material is in fact "new" and I'd hope you could find it within yourself to begrudgingly admit that.

3. I concur that the insufficient attribution issue casts a shadow over anything which might be claimed to be Lee's contribution, to the extent that anyone really cares to uphold it and say "This is of Lee." But I have to testify that studying the Bible in conjunction with Lee's ministry, I learned it better and faster and know it more thoroughly today than associates who got saved around the same time and that's a phenomenon that I've seen and heard repeated. I think some of the folks around here are probably a product of that themselves.
1. We are all derivative, post "Revelation". We have a closed canon, by universal acceptance. We are all commenting on earlier works. We often use earlier commentaries as the basis of our own. But Lee was quite possessive about "his" light. I remember him repeatedly stressing, "I invented this", this term, or saying, or synthesis, or interpretation. Evidently some of what we thought was "his" writing was in fact not his. Fine, I am willing to leave it at that. He was far sloppier with his scholarship than I would care to be.

2. I am a fan of quips because they occasionally help me to cut to the point, and they often help me organize and remember trains of thought. But I often misapply them. Shoot first, aim later. Or mea culpa later, as in this case. I am willing to do so without begrudging (I have to smile, often, at the reaction I get... I always expect, "Brilliant, aron! Brilliant!", and often see something less effusive. I guess I forget that being clever and being intelligent are not always synonymous).

3. I am enormously grateful for my time under the aegis of Mssrs Lee & Co. Eventually it became somewhat restrictive, not in a good way but an uncomfortable way ("We will do all your thinking for you") so I cast my eyes afield. But I remain grateful for my early experiences there. Occasionally the "root of bitterness" springs up, but eventually I always have to confront that as my own creation, and not look to someone else.

The "defenders of Lee" are so zealous, and sometimes unbalanced, that those who attempt to restore balance may themselves inadvertantly lean the wrong way. I certainly have been guilty of that many, many times. I always appreciate a whiff of moderation when I sense it (Maybe moderation is one of the manifestations of "grace"...
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:10 AM   #18
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Default Citation: Peloubet's Select Notes

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Example 3: The Prodigal Son ate “carob pods,” Luke 15:161[/b]
The third example is the “carob pods” the Prodigal ate in the parable. The Recovery Version says,
The carob is an evergreen tree. Its pod…was used…to feed animals and destitute persons. An interesting rabbinical saying is that “when the Israelites are reduced to carob pods, then they repent.” A tradition says that John the Baptist fed on carob pods in the wilderness; hence they are called “St. John’s bread.” [RcV., Luke 15:16,1 emphasis added. Also in Life-study of Luke, Message #34, p. 293]
The corresponding section of Vincent’s Word Studies says,
Carob pods…It is also called Saint John’s bread, from a tradition that the Baptist fed upon its fruit in the wilderness. Edersheim quotes a Jewish saying, “When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they become repentant.” [Vincent, Word Studies in the N.T., vol. 1, pp. 386-7, emphasis added]
The two sources present the same three pieces of information about carob pods. [1] Tradition says John the Baptist ate carob pods in the wilderness, [2] hence it’s called Saint John’s bread, and [3] a Jewish rabbinical says, “when the Israelites are reduced to carob pods, then they repent.”30 The sequence of the three points differs, yet their content is essentially the same. If LSM’s note was the product of primary research, independent of Vincent, the vocabulary and syntax would be significantly different. It is not. This suggests LSM has paraphrased Vincent’s Word Studies; yet they don’t cite him. They could have quoted Vincent verbatim, referencing him as the author, or indicated they had paraphrased his work.
I think perhaps Mr. Tomes missed Mr. Lee's actual source.

Compare:
http://books.google.com/books?id=Mtx...A145&lpg=PA145

Quote:
16. He would fain. He ardently desired, so hungry was he. The husks that the swine did eat. "These husks are the pods and seeds of the locust or carob tree (Ceraionia siliqua), a common evergreen tree bearing an abundant crop of fruit, sometimes eight hundred or nine hundred pounds, — long, curved pods, six to eight inches, which are used for feeding cattle, and are largely exported to England for feeding horses, under the name of locust beans. They are capable of sustaining human life, like the acorns of the oak, eaten by our Saxon ancestors in times of scarcity; and as in Germany and England the swine are driven into the woods to feed on the fallen acorns, so in Syria they feed under the locust trees."— Tristram. Professor Vincent says that during the Peninsular War the horses of the British cavalry were often fed upon these pods. Edersheim quotes a Jewish saying, " When Israel is reduced to the carob tree they become repentant." No man gave unto him better food, or any at all. He had to pick up what he could.
Note the reference to "evergreen tree" which does not appear in the Vincent note.

I obviously haven't compared all these references and it doesn't alter the fact that there is an unattributed source or sources involved but this is, to my mind, even more eye-opening.

It looks to me like, at least for this example, the process began with review of Peloubet's Select Notes On The International Sunday School Lessons, a comparison with the Vincent material was done for thoroughness and clarity (that's where the word "destitute" came from, in addition to the St. John's bread point), and then a summarized and enhanced form of Peloubet's note became Lee's footnote on this topic...
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:13 AM   #19
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Default The International System

Is anyone familiar with the matters referred to in these volumes?

http://books.google.com/books?id=aBUAAAAAYAAJ

http://books.google.com/books?id=96tJAAAAIAAJ
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:22 PM   #20
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Not I, YP....I was going to type Not ME YP. oh...I did anyway.

Never heard of those books. How did you come across them? And have you?
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:55 PM   #21
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Just stumbled onto this issue this morning while looking more closely at Mr. Tomes' missive about "plagiarism."

The strange thing about this business is that it appears that there was an acknowledged tendency buried deep within this whole teaching program to produce some monolithic reinterpretation of Protestant Christianity.

Take Nee's localism and inner-life focus, add International Sunday School Bible study program, shake well: Local Church of Witness Lee?

I'm looking to get into the topic a little further...

It's kind of fascinating to consider, actually.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:12 AM   #22
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I'm looking to get into the topic a little further...

It's kind of fascinating to consider, actually.
It looks like the International Sunday/Sabbath School movement may have been quite prevailing at a certain point up until WWI.

Probably not a coincidence.

It kind of looks like maybe a lot of it was built on a utopian model of global pan-denominational Bible study and fellowship that got smashed by a horrible war and the parts haven't really ever been reconnected for some reason.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:17 AM   #23
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Hard to believe that I've never heard of this.

http://www.wfn.org/1997/04/msg00071.html

The existence of this movement, especially in its pre-WWI incarnation, is actually a rather strong and demonstrable counter to the exclusivistic claims of the Local Church, particularly to the extent that Lee himself in his ministry might be shown to have relied upon the publications of the forerunners of the National Council of Churches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationa...il_of_Churches

At the end of the day, the real problem isn't "plagiarism," "intellectual integrity" or some other ethical allegation or other. The problem is exclusivistic division from the rest of the believers in Christ and the hypocritical stance of denouncing Christianity while simultaneously appropriating what that system has produced.

We've frequently cited to the example in 1 Corinthians concerning Paul's teachings against divisiveness, and his rhetorical question is what? Is Christ divided? What's the answer to that question? That's not strictly an injunction against the divisions he's discussing. The answer is a statement of fact. Paul pleads for oneness in 1:10 but his context here appears to be that same old battle between Jews and Greeks. The pitched battle between those two sides was surely never fully resolved during his lifetime. At a certain point in his ministry he appears to have taken sides against the circumcision but then he's indulging James in Jerusalem near the end of Acts (and, of course, I've elsewhere proposed that "all those in Asia left" on account of this issue.) If I say I'm of Paul and you say you're of Cephas - is Christ divided? Simply? No.

In fact, God's doing His work inside and outside all the systems because He doesn't even recognize the divisions, even if we do.

I'm drifting too far off this thread so I'll close but my point is that Lee by his citations (and lack thereof) implicitly acknowledged God's working in such pan-denominational efforts as the Sunday School Movement. While he simultaneously maintained that God could never have His heart's desire fulfilled within such a system, which may be true in a certain sense, the fallacy is that Lee himself could devise (or build, if you will) a better international system to do it.

Christ isn't divided.

And building with somewhat less straw doesn't constitute you a wise master builder.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:17 PM   #24
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The footnotes and cross references in the RcV, even if not properly attributed, were put together by a religious teacher in such a way as to be extremely helpful to a young believer hungry and thirsty to know Christ. Not as pure as the driven snow as the modern LSM might wish to portray it. But even if all Lee did was quote Alford and Vincent in the same sentence, that counts as "new," even under copyright law.

Grace to all today.
And Grace and Divine Favor be upon you and everyone here too YP!
I don't know I agree completely...maybe somewhat YP0..
Here's the problem I see:

Some of Lee's footnotes are HIS interpretation and HIS opinion. Not God's. That's why imho, the crossreference and footnotes are NOT helpful to a new believer. On the contrary, they could end up confusing him, like it did ME!

He may have claimed certain topics were 'Revelation' straight from the throne, when they weren't. But how is a person to know if a person never studied anyone else's teachings but Lee's or those sanctioned by Lee?

Then..when a person (Like me...) disagrees with his viewpoint on a topic because I've done my RESEARCH, I don't have the liberty to voice my findingsto them, without being labeled 'divisive'...no matter how compelling the research was.

Take For example, the Outerdarkness viewpoint presented by Lee. When I got saved, I had no biblical background whatsoever. So everything I read in the life study messages, I blindly believed because he wrote and the LC believed it and that settled it.

Well, I didn't know other biblical scholars did not subscribe to his viewpoint. In recent years, I've discovered there are other viewpoints with compelling scriptural references why Lee's viewpoint is wrong.

WHAT??? Lee WRONG??!...no...the other scholars were WRONG, I thought. Even after years of leaving the LC, I held close to my heart the teachings of Lee on certain subject matters. Lee thought speaking in tongues was a thing of the past and not for today..and those that speak in tongues must be carnal because the Corinthians spoke in tongues and they were carnal...Oh how so many dear saints have been robbed from the Truth.

But I was CLOSED to the thought of speaking in tongues. Music w/instruments especially electric guitars and drums...carnal again..of the flesh.. Lee said it... it must be true.

That said, some of crossreferences and footnotes might be helpful. The gospel messages probably are..but you know YP, I study a LOT and I pray a Lot..I read a lot. When I began my quest to read and research, I always checked to see if the works by other authors matched that of Lee's. In the beginning, I would side with Lee's views and remember I was out of the LC with virtually no fellowship with Christians for 25 yrs.

It has not been That long I began to do indepth studies. There are several views I find myself now disagreeing with Lee's views. I don't disagree w/Lee simply because I'm a former LCr...an 'opposer'. I've done my research and continue researching. I want to be sure I haven't missed something.

OSAS is one viewpoint, I've come to see differently than the way Lee taught it. (Once saved always saved.) The Outerdarkness message another..the 4 riders in Revelation (White, Red, Black and Pale are one unit but not according to Lee) to name some.

I don't even have a problem with Lee believing what he did but when it feels like he imposed his views on everyone (which he did)...that's where the problem lies and that's why the RcV imho is not a good reference bible to use.

IMHO, the best bible(s) for a new believer to use is a KJV alongside an NASB AND an AMPLIFIED bible. Amplified is very wordy but very descriptive.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:18 AM   #25
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Some of Lee's footnotes are HIS interpretation and HIS opinion. Not God's. That's why imho, the crossreference and footnotes are NOT helpful to a new believer. On the contrary, they could end up confusing him, like it did ME!

He may have claimed certain topics were 'Revelation' straight from the throne, when they weren't. But how is a person to know if a person never studied anyone else's teachings but Lee's or those sanctioned by Lee?

Then..when a person (Like me...) disagrees with his viewpoint on a topic because I've done my RESEARCH, I don't have the liberty to voice my findingsto them, without being labeled 'divisive'...no matter how compelling the research was.
Well, I'll decline to get into the specific doctrinal points you raise because I think that Lee's interpretations on those is at least potentially as valid as any others. However, I've got a couple of different areas where I would decline to accept Lee's interpretations and I arrived there by checking things just as you have, so I agree with your principle.

But let me share a quick example of what I still find very helpful:
Quote:
Romans 8:4, note 2 (RcV 1985)
The requirements that we must fulfill for the law of the Spirit of life (which has already been installed in us) to work are: 1) to walk according to spirit (v.4); 2) to mind the things of the Spirit - to set the mind on the spirit (vv. 5-6); 3) to put to death, by the Spirit, the practices of the body (v. 13); 4) to be led by the Spirit as sons of God (v.14); 5) to cry to the Father in the spirit of sonship (v.15); 6) to witness that we are the children of God (v.16); and 7) to groan for the full sonship, the redemption of our body (v.23).
There may be some unknown original source for this explanation of Lee's - I don't know. And I might not personally say this in just this way. But I do think that this is "extremely helpful to a young believer hungry and thirsty to know Christ." You, of course, may disagree with me if you wish, but I think people could do a lot worse than be exposed to this sort of teaching.

While I'll agree with you that the cross-references and footnotes are Lee's and not God's, that's kind of a given in my view because it says so just inside the front cover. No man has ever produced anything that is purely "God's opinion" on a topic and the myth that Lee bore such an enlightenment is a large part of why we're all here today. But as I've said before on this forum, one of the things I most enjoy doing with the RcV is finding the places where Lee had nothing to say whatsoever. Wherever the footnotes get thin or superficial, Lee obviously was short of insight. (Frequently happens around the word "love" for instance.) So, in a healthy environment, that should indicate fertile land for working in the Word, even for those who treasure Lee's every comment.

Finally, though, I'll wholeheartedly endorse your complaint about needing the freedom to voice your findings. Whenever we come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation, and all things should be done for the building up. An environment where really only one has anything cannot be a genuine assembly of the saints. I'm not really sure what that is but it seems to be at best a denomination like any other. We need all the portions of all the saints in order to apprehend the breadth and length and height and depth.

Your portion is not just your mouth and your strong "amen."
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:13 AM   #26
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Well if it is indeed true that most of the Recovery Version notes come from established and respected Christian authors, I would suppose that criticism of the contents of the notes should end.
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Old 12-26-2011, 02:59 PM   #27
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And Lee several times rebukes believers in Christianity for passing his ministry off as their own. I can't find the portion at the moment, but I clearly remember them.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:56 AM   #28
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

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Integrity, cutting things straight, character, Christ like compassion, humility, openness are a few matters that a servant of the Lord should cultivate. Note Rom 1:14, I am under obligation (a debtor) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. NASB The apostle Paul owed many people and had been helped by many. The apostle Witness Lee often boasted how he had the highest revelation and all other Christian teachers had junk. How could Paul be a debtor to the foolish? Yet our apostle Witness Lee was the only person since 1945 with the Lord's ministry? He seemed to owe no one, not even the churches and brethren who had supported him in so many ways. Often instead of expressing gratitude for the brothers, he would belittle them and if some gave any push back, they were thrown under the bus.

I knew Witness Lee personally. He was like an older brother and friend. He gave me good personal advice on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, those in the LSM/LC had a myth about the brother. He was excellent in all things period. No problems were ever addressed. Thus his flesh developed. As we mature in age, if we are not under the daily experience of the cross our natural tendencies will grow more prominent and we will become stronger in the works of our flesh.

Eventually his self promoting reached an extreme level. One of the manifestations of this was his inability to take from other Christian teachers and feel no compulsion to acknowledge them. Yet, he zealously guarded his own work and always sought recognition for his work and contributions.

It is possible to have great gifts and to be entrusted with much and have a bad ending. Look at Sampson. What a failure!! And the entire nation suffered as he did not lead the tribe of Dan against the Philistines. Look at Solomon. Is he not perhaps the greatest failure in the Bible? He built the temple but the nation was divided because of his life.

In the 50's and 60's and early seventies, the Lord was surely working in wonderful ways. Witness Lee was a part of this and had he been just a little bit on the humble side and with pure motives, then who knows how much blessing he could have brought rather than the damage, division and confusion which has become his heritage.

This article on plagiarism is so sad. It grieves me that it can be written but I agree that it needed to be written. Thank you brother Nigel.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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John 8:31-32, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NASB
I referenced this post to bring this thread forward. The highlighted sections are quite telling, especially by one who knew Lee personally.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:49 PM   #29
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

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And Lee several times rebukes believers in Christianity for passing his ministry off as their own. I can't find the portion at the moment, but I clearly remember them.
I have heard the opposite. Lee using notes from messages Theodore Austin Sparks gave, and passing it off as his own.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:17 PM   #30
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And Lee several times rebukes believers in Christianity for passing his ministry off as their own. I can't find the portion at the moment, but I clearly remember them.
I remember watching a video where Lee talked about giving a confernce in Latin America and a preacher from that region attended. Later he (Lee) heard that the man was passing Lee's content out as his own.

Lee had some cheek, to tell us stuff like that, while he was simultaneously cribbing from others.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:38 PM   #31
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

I'm bringing this "oldie" to the top as a reference for the "putting to test" thread. The first test of any Christian publication should be to test the integrity of the author/s.

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Old 01-05-2016, 09:08 AM   #32
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

The major difference between Nee and Lee is probably this: Nee was willing to learn from others. Lee was not. Nee would at least reference other teachers and other works. Lee, because of his inability and/or unwillingness to recognize their validity, would have to co-opt their output, unattributed, and incorporate it into his teachings.

The "recovery" narrative of Lee was to position Nee such that he lined up with all other previous Great Leaders (one only per age, of course) of the past. Obviously Luther and his break with the RCC is paradigmatic; the others before and after Luther were a more problematic to definitively place (Darby, Wesley...?) But nonetheless the narrative structure was defined.

In this role in the narrative, Nee incorporated and subsumed all other teachers and teachings. As for Lee, naturally since he learned from Nee he couldn't possibly learn from anyone else. So if Lee leaned too heavily on any source it would have to be unattributed.

Also he had an output to keep up - had to present materials for the masses, so some of it may have been sloppy scholarship. Was it deliberate or inadvertent? I know that's what Stephen Ambrose said, when they found that his best-selling books were cribbed. He replied that he didn't really write his books, but had a team of ghost-writers churning out popular-level history. So his "assistants" and "staffers" inadvertently included the source material as his own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by USA Today January 2002
NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Ambrose is facing still more allegations of lifting material from other sources.

Forbes.com reported Wednesday that two more books by the best-selling historian, Citizen Soldiers and part three of his Richard Nixon trilogy, contain passages similar to those in other texts.

Four works by Ambrose are now under question.

The author's son and agent, Hugh Ambrose, declined to comment. Victoria Meyer, a spokeswoman for his publisher, Simon & Schuster, said any errors would be fixed.

"If there are indeed additional passages or sentences that are footnoted, but not in quotations marks when they should have been, we will work with our author to make the necessary corrections," she said.

Last weekend, Ambrose acknowledged that his current best seller, The Wild Blue, included passages from Thomas Childers' Wings of Morning. Ambrose footnoted Childers in the sections in question but did not acknowledge quoting directly from the book. Both books are about World War II bomber pilots.

On Tuesday, Forbes.com reported Ambrose's Crazy Horse and Custer included passages close to Jay Monaghan's Custer. In Wednesday's editions of The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, Ambrose said: "There are places where I used some of his words, and I should have put quote marks around them."

Ambrose was unsure if his other books had similar problems.

"I don't know. It's a lot of books," said Ambrose, author of more than 20 historical works, including Undaunted Courage and Nothing Like It in the World.

In Citizen Soldiers, a World War II book published in 1997, Ambrose includes an author's note that says he "stole material profitably if shamelessly" from Joseph Balkoski's Beyond the Beachhead, which came out in 1989. (Ambrose even wrote the foreword to the paperback edition.)

The actual text includes material, without quotation marks, that closely resembles the Balkoski book.
When queried on the particulars, Ambrose effectively shrugged and said, "I don't know; it's a lot of books."
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:44 AM   #33
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When queried on the particulars, Ambrose effectively shrugged and said, "I don't know; it's a lot of books."
This is probably the same answer that WL would have given had he been forced to give an honest answer regarding what was his own work.

The LC is the type of place where can you have volumes upon volumes of books with not so much as a single page devoted to listing any references. I just have to consider how absurd that it must seem from a scholarly perspective.

I have a few study Bibles. They all cite numerous sources, and on a frequent basis. None of the editors purport to have come up with everything on their own. By contrast, I don't think the RcV cites a single source except by passing reference, as in the cases that Nigel pointed out. Same with the Life-Studies.

Like you said at the beginning of your post, I think that WL couldn't handle anyone else besides himself being credited for anything. He even went as far to say "Lee must have the credit!"
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:51 PM   #34
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The LC is the type of place where can you have volumes upon volumes of books with not so much as a single page devoted to listing any references. I just have to consider how absurd that it must seem from a scholarly perspective.
Ah, but it's living! It's vital!

Says who?

Well, the author, who's his own reviewer and publicist.

And it's proper! It's adequate!

Again, whose judgment?

Again, the author's judgment of his own work.

The parallels between Ambrose and Lee are kind of interesting. Both churned out tome after tome of popular-level work, with quality-control issues, but the publishers didn't care because they were selling copies (in Lee's case he was the publisher). Neither author cared for primary sources, but but realized there was a good living to be had, working from secondary sources, but with fresh titles and glossy book-jackets.

If sales are good it can become a cottage industry: Ambrose's agent was his son. But he paled beside the MOTA, who was author, publisher, reviewer, agent, and publicist. And Ambrose never presumed to write the definitive version of anything - he knew people aren't that gullible! Are they?
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:52 AM   #35
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Well if it is indeed true that most of the Recovery Version notes come from established and respected Christian authors, I would suppose that criticism of the contents of the notes should end.
I think that the above comment was made sincerely, and if so shows the extent that defenders of Lee will go to "see no evil." If Lee trashed 'Christianity', in toto, as deformed, fallen, as daughters of the harlot of Revelation 17, so be it - let the chips fall where they may. Lee just called it like he saw it - a straight shooter. Too bad if you got offended.

But if anyone sees anything against Lee's ministry, hey, nobody's perfect, right? Quit harping.

Again and again, it comes back to "when Lee does it, it's okay"; a thought-system based on unquestioned, culturally-derived assumptions. That's how you get into his thought-world: don't think, don't ask, don't question. If he criticized someone that was his perogative as MOTA. We on the other hand, should know better than to lift our hands against God's anointed apostle.

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I knew Witness Lee personally. He was like an older brother and friend. He gave me good personal advice on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, those in the LSM/LC had a myth about the brother. He was excellent in all things period. No problems were ever addressed. Thus his flesh developed. As we mature in age, if we are not under the daily experience of the cross our natural tendencies will grow more prominent and we will become stronger in the works of our flesh.

Eventually his self promoting reached an extreme level. One of the manifestations of this was his inability to take from other Christian teachers and feel no compulsion to acknowledge them. Yet, he zealously guarded his own work and always sought recognition for his work and contributions.

It is possible to have great gifts and to be entrusted with much and have a bad ending. Look at Sampson. What a failure!! And the entire nation suffered as he did not lead the tribe of Dan against the Philistines. Look at Solomon. Is he not perhaps the greatest failure in the Bible? He built the temple but the nation was divided because of his life.
Lee's work was sloppy scholarship, frankly, yet had his work been subject to the pruning forces of the market-place of ideas, there might have been some good from it. Certainly the man had talents, and his enthusiasm and energy were nearly limitless (from a human perspective). But as the years wore on, and the corrective voices were expelled, one by one, and the sycophants and cheerleaders crowded round, and told the Great Man what he wanted to hear, the tendency to imagine himself unassailable, and all others wrong, became even more pronounced. Any pretense of modesty or reticence was abandoned. As Hope put it, "Thus his flesh developed". Indeed.

When we find that he was cribbing sources, unattributed, the apologist says, "This shows that his doctrines were sound!" Yeah, I guess we could see it that way; if we really, really wanted to.
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:50 PM   #36
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Unfortunately, those in the LSM/LC had a myth about the brother. He was excellent in all things period. No problems were ever addressed. Thus his flesh developed.
That's a strong statement by someone who saw him up close. I was on the fringes but what I saw was in agreement, and I'd challenge our readers: did anyone ever see a problem with Witness Lee successfully get addressed? Ever?

If not, either he really was perfected, or else the system that he ran was rotten.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:37 AM   #37
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

"A Question about Plagiarism"

Liao suggests that one of Nee's major sources for his tripartite anthropolgy might well be J.B. Heard's The Tripartite Nature of Man: Spirit, Soul, and Body, which Nee "failed to give credit to". Leung also surmises that Nee perhaps copied much from some of his sources. I believe, however, that such assertions to possible plagiarism are not doing justice to Nee. For one thing, Nee himself in the preface to The Spiritual Man acknowledged that he was not the originator of the teaching (on the difference between the spirit and the soul), as well as noting that "I have freely quoted" the writings of certain authors and "because there are so many places where I have referenced them, I have not made specific reference to the sources."

For another thing, the notions about plagiarism and presumption to originality are very much products of contemporary Western culture, which are probably not commensurable in many Asian contexts, especially not in the first half of twentieth-century China and particularly not for non-academic writings.

From: Understanding Watchman Nee: Spirituality, Knowledge and Formation, by Dongsheng John Wu. p.79


Not sure if Nee made this admission after his book became widely popular, or before. My memory says that the publisher acknowledged Nee cribbing sources wholesale, without attribution, in subsequent editions, not the first printing. But I don't remember where I read that.

Also interesting that differences in culture may result in different perceptions vis-a-vis acknowledging one's sources. But if we're inclined to give Nee a pass, here, I doubt Lee also gets one. Lee was fully immersed in Western culture. Unless he felt that he was above the law, like Nee before him. "We don't care about right and wrong, just about life", etc etc.

Perhaps Nee really was operating on a higher plane from everyone else. He wrote from the perspective of his mystical union with Christ. Therefore dry, objective, scholarly stuff wasn't his oeuvre. Instead, as Witness Lee put it, "So subjective is my Christ to me, real in me, and rich and sweet. . . " Who cares about untidy things like facts?

This Christ was so subjective to Nee and Lee that citations weren't necessary. Eventually with Lee, even the Bible wasn't needed, because of the immensity of his "God's economy" revelation. He could take those parts of scripture that lined up with the revelation, and toss the rest. And who needs to listen to the people from the "cemeteries", anyway? You know, the ones who actually can read the Greek and the Hebrew? Lee already had a trained cadre of yes-men. He was all set.

"So subjective, is my Christ to me. . . . "
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:44 AM   #38
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Default Re: LSM's Plagiarism - An Initial Inquiry

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"I have freely quoted" the writings of certain authors and "because there are so many places where I have referenced them, I have not made specific reference to the sources."
Imagine if someone, say a college student, was caught plagerizing. When asked to explain their actions, they give Nee's excuse that there are just too many works referenced to bother with citing anything. Yeah that would go over really well.
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:50 AM   #39
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Default Re: To put a positive spin on it

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I think that the above comment was made sincerely, and if so shows the extent that defenders of Lee will go to "see no evil." If Lee trashed 'Christianity', in toto, as deformed, fallen, as daughters of the harlot of Revelation 17, so be it - let the chips fall where they may. Lee just called it like he saw it - a straight shooter. Too bad if you got offended.

But if anyone sees anything against Lee's ministry, hey, nobody's perfect, right? Quit harping.

Again and again, it comes back to "when Lee does it, it's okay"; a thought-system based on unquestioned, culturally-derived assumptions. That's how you get into his thought-world: don't think, don't ask, don't question. If he criticized someone that was his perogative as MOTA. We on the other hand, should know better than to lift our hands against God's anointed apostle.
I find it amusing that someone would use the fact that Lee plagerized in attempt to argue that the RcV notes are legitimate. Is that how far they are willing to go to defend Lee? Apparently so.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:44 PM   #40
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Default Re: To put a positive spin on it

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I find it amusing that someone would use the fact that Lee plagerized in attempt to argue that the RcV notes are legitimate. Is that how far they are willing to go to defend Lee? Apparently so.
The old line about, "standing on their shoulders."

Works every time.
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