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Old 04-24-2009, 08:23 AM   #1
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Default OBW's Blog

I looked at this feature for the past week and wasn't sure what to do with it — if anything. But as I began to read through some of the articles on AFathfulWord.org, posting some comments on a couple of them on the other forum, I noticed something that I thought was worthy of speaking out about.

One of the Buntain/Sady/Towle articles referred back to Nigel’s comment about going beyond what is written, I believe concerning whether Minoru Chen had incorrectly claimed to say what Lee and/or Nee had said. (I don’t have the particular article in front of me, but I did comment on it in the other forum’s thread concerning that particular LSM site.) The thing that stuck out to me was not whether Chen had improperly extended Lee beyond what he had said, but that the standard being discussed was not scripture, but Lee. Even Nigel was doing it.

Now I will not say that there was no discussion in either related to scripture, but there were three paragraphs from "Practically Speaking, for Us the Body Today is Just the Lord's Recovery"—Did Minoru Chen "Go Beyond What Has Been Written"? near the end, starting with one from Nee, followed by two from Lee. In the last one, out of Further Consideration of the Eldership, the Region of Work, and the Care for the Body of Christ, pp. 14-15, Lee says the following: “You may have the thought that your local church has nothing to do with other churches and should not be in any connection with other churches. This thought isolates your local church, making it no longer a part of the Body of Christ.” Looking back at Nigel’s article and at this one, I note that no one has questioned Lee’s actual statements. But are they not themselves something “beyond what is written?” The verses that were mentioned say things like “the church which is His body.” They do not say “those churches which follow certain principles and meet for 7 feasts each year are His body.”

I will admit right from the beginning that I am no theologian in the strictest sense of the word. But I am a student of scripture and of logic and reason. I do not flatter myself to think that I have figured everything out and these others have not. But when I read the lengthy write-up on the charge against Titus Chu that included complaints about how he taught young ones in Taiwan to study the bible, I guess I expected better. What I am referring to is the time that Titus spent in Taiwan teaching the young ones to get out their bibles, dictionaries, commentaries, and after exhaustive studies read the ministry to see that it was correct. But despite his words and efforts, it would appear that almost no one has done that because to the extent that I have, I am finding that the ministry is not nearly so correct.

I challenge Nigel and the rest of those who consider themselves concerned to take a new approach to their disagreements with the LSM. Rather than presume that Lee was right (and even Nee was right) and that the LSM is now twisting those words, start fresh with the actual writings that we should not be going beyond ─ scripture. Intentionally reject Lee’s words and see if the scripture will return you to his teachings. Read the older books again and see whether he actually used scripture to support his premises, or used scripture to dress his own premises up with the appearance of support. I wrote somewhat extensively concerning the very foundational errors in the first chapter of The Economy of God on the other forum some months ago. 1 Timothy 1:3-4 does not say to teach God’s economy. The entire first chapter makes this leap. But the verses (paraphrased) say that wrong teachings result in questionings while correct teachings result in God’s economy. The wrong teachings were not questionings. They resulted in questionings because they were contrary to the right teachings. The right teachings resulted in the entirety of God’s administration, economy, plan, etc. happening. They were not themselves God’s economy.

And read the first chapter closely. Lee never provides a basis for his conclusion that God’s economy is “simply” God dispensed into man. He uses an oratorical trick to get everyone to accept it. He says that an exhaustive study of the entire bible will show it. But he provides not one single example. It is to be accepted without question.

Why do this in the blog instead of a public thread for others to discuss? First, because my goal is not necessarily to create more discussion here on this forum, but to challenge some who may read this, but are not otherwise participants. Second, I have found that as much as I like this kind of discussion, there are only a few others and they simply tend to agree (mostly) resulting in little discussion. I note that even on the other forum where there are more vocal opponents, they tend to snipe with blanks once or twice and then avoid acknowledging it is even there. So why bother? This way I can put in out there to view. If it moves anyone to start a discussion, that’s great. But greater would be that it starts some to rethink their positions.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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I challenge Nigel and the rest of those who consider themselves concerned to take a new approach to their disagreements with the LSM. Rather than presume that Lee was right (and even Nee was right) and that the LSM is now twisting those words, start fresh with the actual writings that we should not be going beyond ─ scripture. Intentionally reject Lee’s words and see if the scripture will return you to his teachings. Read the older books again
Mike, I beg to differ with you on this one because normally I find your posts extremely insightful and helpful.

I believe Nigel and others are re-evaluating Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. Consider his latest article about the Jerusalem and Roman city churches.

Even Undergrace on the other forum pointed out some inconsistency with Witness Lee regarding his view of the early universal church.

I think Nigel's and others intent is to re-evaluate based on the Word with help from writings (from many) that aid the understanding. Since we have been under such a strong Nee/Lee influence for many years I believe Nigel finds it appropriate to comment where he finds teachings of these two that no longer hold water.

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Mike, I beg to differ with you on this one because normally I find your posts extremely insightful and helpful.
You may be correct. But what I noted in the articles I read was the tendency to suggest that the LSM has made something out of Lee's teaching that was not actually there. In one case, the result was that the LSM guys claimed that it was what Lee said all along. And when I looked at the quotes they provided, I would tend to agree. That means that Lee was culpable.

You may be correct that Nigel is looking beyond Nee and Lee, but what I have read so far (and it is mostly the older posts from 2005 - 2007) it would seem to be more in the line of defending a different Lee than the one the LSM is propping up. I do not doubt that the BBs have made things out of Lee's teachings that weren't actually there. But too much of it was there. It was even there in the 60s and we bought it in our craving for something "new" in a sea of Christianity that was not yet awake to the groundswell of discontent within its ranks.

Now I have seen some of John Myer's thoughts in his book. And I note that there was concern that he was moving too fast for some. For those who have become accustomed to getting around in the dark, to suddenly switch on the light is brutal on the eyes and causes many to cover their eyes to avoid it.

I do think that Nigel's intent is good and honest. But the things I have seen so far tell me of some amount of blindness caused by starting from Lee rather than scripture. Once that is too ingrained, it is easy to read the verse and assume the meaning Lee gave even where it should be painfully obvious that is not correct.

My goal is not to shame anyone, or set myself up in some manner. I actually presume that this will be the ultimate course of action for them. But I know that it has sometimes taken someone else pointing out my errors to make me face them.

I do not expect them to comment back to me or to acknowledge my existence. I actually have no expectation. I only have a hope that what I say might be found worthy of consideration. I have another to post soon. It takes aim at something that I have even said as true within the past 4 months or so. I will not say more now.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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Default Two-Foldness of Divine Truth

For some time I have begun to look at the teaching that Lee put forward concerning “two-foldness of truth.” In Nigel’s article “LSM’s Eisegesis ─ How Not To Interpret The Bible!” he begins a section on two-foldness of divine truth. While there is nothing disturbing about the 10 “countervailing principles” mentioned, I do not find in these anything that is “two-folded” or potentially contradictory.

As a matter of history in the Local Churches, I was a member in the Dallas area for 14-1/2 years, leaving in August of 1987. During this time, I heard the term “two folded,” or “two sides of truth” many times. But as I look back at the clear statements of scripture that were touted as two sides of one thing, I begin to see something different. Instead of two sides of one thing, I have begun to see two things that easily coexist without any appearance of being different sides of one thing.

D.Q. McInerny writes a primer on logic, Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking (Random House, New York, 2004). In his chapter on Basic Principles, the fourth stated principle is the “Principle of Contradiction” which is stated as follows: “It is impossible for something both to be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.” (p.28) He admits that we sometimes hold contradictory ideas willingly because we either have not sorted out the truth from the fiction, or have not found the “respects” in which the two are different and therefore can coexist. But if we simply stop at accepting the contradiction and do not seek further to clarify or resolve, we have abandoned reason. “Don’t cloud the issue with facts. My mind is made up.” This is rationalization, which is “reason in the service of falsehood.” (p.29)

While only read this particular book about two weeks before writing this post, the underlying truth of this particular area had been in front of me for many years, although I did not see it fully. When I was in college in the mid 70s, I took a course in business law which was taught by a lawyer. In the class was an older man who was presumed to be a career Army man who had finally retired but was too young to stay home. On several occasions as we discussed one particular area of law after another, this man would begin to ask questions. He would say “what if” one particular fact was altered, then another, and so on until the answer was no longer the same. He would then lean back, fold his arms, smile, and nod in a small up and down motion being sure that he had found a hole in the law. But it was not true. After changing enough facts, he was now presenting something that was either on the opposite side of the same rule, or had wandered into a completely different area of law. No contradiction. No problem with the law. Only a problem in trying to say that the facts now presented should require the same result as the original facts.

Is this not a more honest observation about the “two sides of truth” or “two foldness or truth?” Are the pairs that Nigel presents truly contradictory? Or are they different because they are not talking about the same thing?

For example, in your second point, “the apostles teaching the same thing in every church vs. the different teachings to each church depending on its condition,” I cannot see anything that would be “two sided.” When I consider “teaching the same thing” the first thing that must be answered is “what is the ‘same thing?’” Since Paul’s writings were different to each church and to each individual, “the same thing” must not be a reference to the details, but to the foundation of speaking. In everything Paul spoke in any place, or in everything that he wrote to the various ones, the foundation was the existing scripture, and the accounts given to him by others of Jesus’ words and deeds. While it is not entirely clear how Paul came to all of his understanding of the events and words that had transpired prior to his conversion other than to note that he was “off the grid” for some period of time learning, he is ultimately “on the same page” with Peter and the others with respect to his understanding of the gospel. Unlike those who came to places like Galatia to bring Jewish laws and rituals, he spoke from the New Testament revelation. In that, he spoke the same wherever he went.

But that does not mean that he said the same words everywhere or covered all the same items (outside of the basics of faith). But even to the extent that he spoke different things, they were all consistent with the whole of the scripture and the gospel.

Deciding to call this kind of different speaking within a common frame work “two-foldness of truth” is not necessarily bad. But it is not necessarily good. Why? Because through the constant creation of these “dichotomies” that are not really dichotomies, we begin to look for them. We begin to expect that one thing must have another side. In the example I mentioned above, there is no contradiction unless there are no facts except for “speaking” as a singular, unambiguous word and the reference to “always the same” in one place and the obvious differences in the things written to each place. Are those the only facts? Are we certain that “same” was meant to convey that the same words were used? Or was it used to convey that all of the principles came from the same unwavering source — scripture and the words and deeds of Christ? I note that when we look at church discipline in Matthew 18, man is ultimately required to judge because he must decide to exclude someone from the circle of believers. Yet elsewhere Jesus said “judge not lest ye be judged.” Are these contradictory? Or are they in different contexts with different facts? Surely we are to judge and know error. But we are also supposed to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Witness Lee has been quoted as saying that the truth must have chaos. (I do not have the reference in front of me, but when I first heard this, I asked on one of these forums and Steve Isitt pretty quickly provided it.) This has been given as rationale for some of the wrongs that were occurring at that time within the Local Church leadership. But is this statement true? Or is it a fabrication created and accepted because we have become used to the very idea that “truth has two sides” and that contradictions are to be expected. With a clearer head, I now realize that there is only a contradiction when facts are missing, overlooked, or miss-analyzed. Once all facts are on the table there is only one clear truth. There may be other truths that relate to some of the facts or to a different context, which is itself a fact. But to expect that there will be a yen and yang sort of two sides to one thing is illogic and by definition false.

To make the statement that truth has two sides is to distort truth and to deny it. If one thing is true, its opposite is not also true. If we think that we have found two things that are contradictory yet both true, then we have not determined the differentiation between the two, or we have not taken the time nor energy to disprove one of them and label it as false. “Speaking the same thing” to everyone is not contradictory to speaking in a specific and different way different ones if “the same thing” is a reference to the whole source from which all the speakings are taken. If I teach law in a university (I do not), I speak from the whole of the law. But if I also sit as a judge in a court, I apply specific portions of that law to different facts based upon the existing rules of procedure and come to the conclusion that one defendant is guilty, while another is innocent. This is not “two sides of truth.” There is no contradiction. The law does not say that all are guilty or that all are innocent. It says a whole wealth of things from which separate and different results arise once facts are added and the applicable portions of law used to analyze those facts.

Even when we say that there are two sides of salvation, one that is by grace and one that is worked out with fear and trembling, there is not a contradiction. Rather than giving conflicting sides of the same thing, we have used one word to label two things that are different. While this may not be a theologically correct statement, I tend to view these as a kind of equivocation in which one use of the word is more like “redemption” while the other is more like “sanctification.”

I will concede that we do not understand the predestination of God in the context of a freedom of will to accept or reject. But even this may be more of our own limitation to linear thinking in a three-dimensional world of physics, biology, etc. and a lack of understanding of the spiritual world outside of even time as we know it. There are surely mysteries of even the physical universe that we cannot explain. Even more so are the mysteries of God that He has not revealed. But this need to find “two sides” seems more of a yen and yang view of the world than something revealed in scripture. And it leads to error. It leads us to accept the idea that there can be truly contradictory truths and then take ones supplied (such as by Lee) without questioning. That is reason in the service of falsehood.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:17 PM   #5
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I challenge Nigel and the rest of those who consider themselves concerned to take a new approach to their disagreements with the LSM. Rather than presume that Lee was right (and even Nee was right) and that the LSM is now twisting those words, start fresh with the actual writings that we should not be going beyond ─ scripture. Intentionally reject Lee’s words and see if the scripture will return you to his teachings.
Mike, I agree with you in part. Funny ... you said the same thing to me somewhere recently. Anyways ...

We are not living in a vacuum. Some of us have a looooong context under one particular ministry. Some things have to be "unlearned" before progress can be made. For that matter, my wife and I are still "unlearning" ...

When I first consecrated myself in the church in Cleveburg, it was before the Revelations training in 1976. That ministry prompted me to examine everything of my religious upbringing. It also gave me a desire to research church history related to the RCC. Eventually, I attempted to purge myself of everything I learned in the RCC (including 12 years of education) except for two things -- and only two things -- Jesus was the Son of God and the Bible was the Word of God. Many times thereafter I thanked the Lord for placing me in a Catholic home that gave me these two great truths, even though I never heard of regeneration, but that's another story.

Nigel and his articles have been helpful in this regard.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:06 AM   #6
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Default Removing the Colored Glasses

Ohio,

I fully understand your position, and predicament. You know that there are problems, but they do not automatically jump out because we intend to take a different viewpoint.

And Nigel's articles are generally excellent. My comments to him at the others are not to stifle them, but to spur them on.

I can’t find the reference at the moment (maybe in one of the forums or in some book I’ve recently read) but it essentially suggested that we are, to some degree, trapped in our historical prejudices and biases. In other words, the colored glasses that we wear cannot just be taken off in an instant to allow for a pure, unfiltered look at objective facts. This source was effectively suggesting that the colored glasses were at least partly stuck to our heads via some sort of glue that is not easily removed.

Now I am not fatalistic enough to buy that notion in total. But there surely is some truth there. Yet at the same time, we do have ways to overcome these biases; tools that can help eliminate the tendency toward predisposed error.

As you know from my previous posts, I left the LC in August of 87. Yet I have testified here of several things concerning which I have only recently had my eyes opened. You may recall in approximately Aug or Sep of 2007 I raised a question concerning what Paul was talking about in 1 Cor. 3, especially the middle part concerning the wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver and precious stones. I had come across this while reading through 1 Cor. for reasons having nothing to do with any of the LC discussions. As I read, I realized that the portions about following the various teachers was a long section that started in 1:10 (or so) and continued through part of chapter 4. As I was reading chapter 3, I was not thinking in terms of Lee’s teaching, but was simply seeing the full context of the chapter. Suddenly the words of 3:9 jumped out at me. Paul said “we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.” So I decided to find out who was “we” and who was “you.” It became clear that “we” was Paul, Apollos, Cephas, etc. ─ the men that the Corinthians had been arguing about. And “you” was the Corinthians. So when you move to the next verses which talk about building, there is a continuity between “we” who was the workers, and “you” who was the building.

Now I acknowledge that we are unable to fully extricate ourselves from the truth of verses 10 through 15. But Paul was talking about the builders ─ the workers ─ not about the Corinthians who were what was being built.

The point is that I came to the words as presented in the scripture. I came seeing words with their own meaning, connected by grammar that, while not totally unambiguous, takes the meaning of separate words and turns it into more complex meaning. But if I had come while allowing tapes of those convoluted, high-sounding things that we so often repeated when pray-reading, like “thank you Lord that your are the processed Triune God that we can build with to make our works approved,” or something like that, it would have caused my thinking about who these verses we're talking about to be converted from the workers ─the teachers ─ and into me. By allowing Lee’s teachings to too often be where we start (and I was still doing it regularly for almost a year after my first visit to the Bereans forum) we ignore the actual words on the page and the actual grammar and the actual context, substituting whatever it was that Lee said.

It is for this reason that I feel compelled to vocally challenge the Concerned Brothers. While I do have confidence that they are headed in the right direction (and may even be further down that road than I am giving them credit), as long as the “writings” that we are concerned about going beyond continue to be Lee’s, we are misaiming.

While I do attribute some of my alleged “wisdom” to age and experience, which I will note that others, including you and Nigel and many others also may have, I realize that with age can also come a tendency to close one’s mind to change. I do not pretend that at my best I could ever come up with as clear and sound a theological position as someone like Nigel can. But unless he and the other stalwarts keep the focus on the source rather than some intermediary, it may end up to only be a shift within an existing dogma rather than a truly liberating experience into the fullness of the gospel of Christ.

It was in one of the Star Trek movies, The Wrath of Khan I believe, in which Lt. Saavik was chastised for quoting Starfleet regulations to Kirk. Later, after Kirk nearly got his head handed to him due to his ignoring those regulations, he said to Saavik something like “You keep right on quoting Starfleet regulations.” I probably have an even lesser position in these discussions, especially relative to the likes of Nigel and even some of the BBs and their technical resource people, but I am convinced from where the LC has gone that the quoting of Starfleet regulations (i.e., scripture and sound principles of using scripture) is too often necessary. When I do it and it is unnecessary, I can be ignored.

And you do the same. When you see me wandering in a field mooing like a cow, following some rustlers in a pickup truck with hay in the back, slap me in the face.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:46 AM   #7
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Default Advice to a Newly Married Couple

Interesting weekend. My nephew got married. Happened in the living room of my Dad’s house. (I was also married in the living room of my parent’s house ─ different house and almost 30 years ago.) We had my eldest son’s new fiancée with us and she had some interesting comments at dinner later.

But that is not the purpose of this post. While the flow of the meeting was somewhat expected, although not significantly enough scripted for anyone to know what to do next at a couple of points, there was something missing. As is typical for a LC wedding, it was about 95 percent about the metaphor of Christ and his bride, the Church, and not much about the young couple. But it was not among the more extreme LC weddings that I have seen in the past.

Well, when I said "not much about the young couple," that is not entirely true. There was an “open mic” time (without an actual microphone in that small space) and, with one exception, it was the relatives that spoke. They did mostly speak about the couple, or one or the other of them. But mixed in were the thoughts of their marriage being “for Christ and the church.”

Even the guy who did sort of “officiate” said some good things, although he seemed to get lost. I had expected to see Jerry McGill, but something came up and he could not be there. I did not know the man who spoke in his place. (And given the speed with which I forget names, his has already eluded me.) He even seemed to be on the verge of saying something to the effect that they should not over-spiritualize it all, but never quite said it. Do not take this as a criticism of him. He was kind of thrown into this on a moment's notice. I spoke with him briefly afterward and found him very likable, as is Jerry.

But given the tendency for LC traditions and teachings to lean toward a male dominated culture, I now wished I had taken the opportunity to say something. I know it would not be in the same way as the others, but I don’t think they would have openly objected. Given some time to think, here is what I am considering putting in a letter, or more likely, in an email, in the near future (with slight modifications to conceal the innocent).

-----

Life for the next few days, weeks, and even months will have some resemblance to being on a tropical island with everything you need there for you to take and enjoy. But while you are focused on that, real life will be creeping in. One day you will actually notice that it is there around you. The imperfections finally show up. You will begin to wonder if someone stole your spouse, or at least part of them, and substituted a slightly different clone. She will not seem so much like the Bride of Christ and he will not resemble Christ.

So what went wrong? Nothing. Scripture is correct when it says that we become “one flesh.” But that does not mean that we cease to be “two flesh.” It is not a contradiction, but is about different things. He is always who he is, and so is she. At the same time, there is a new entity that joins to be “married,” and do the things of marriage, including bearing and raising children.

But this joint life does not end your separate life. And you will discover how real and strong those two separate lives can be. It does not matter if one of you is prone to being passive. The very act of being passive is often a tool of defense of who you are. “They may boss me around, but they can’t get inside of me.”

Here is where notions of position and place collapse. If he wants to be the “head” he will fail. And as much as she wants to submit, it won’t happen. Instead, look at the whole of the verses in Ephesians 5. It begins in verse 21 with “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This is the set-up verse. Then verse 22 begins with “wives, to your husbands,” and then verse 25 says “husbands, to your wives.” There are surely other words there, but these are the links to the primary command in verse 21. We have presumed that these verses create some sort of hierarchy between husband and wife. But instead they charge each to do the part that is theirs in submission to the other. I know it sounds funny, but consider that Jesus said that the true position of a disciple is as servant to all. That includes to your spouse.

But instead of relying on Paul’s words (acknowledging that they are also God’s words), let’s look at those of Jesus. As part of His answer concerning what is the greatest commandment, Jesus actually provides two which he joins as a unit upon which all the rest are built. That second commandment is in Matthew 22:39 and it says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It does not say to love them more than yourself. It does not say to love them almost as much as yourself. It also does not suggest that you should love yourself less, then love them that much.

Now, the first thing that may come to mind is “since when is my spouse my neighbor?” When you look at the parallel account in Luke 10, we see that there was a follow-on question. It was “who is my neighbor?” The answer has resulted in a lot of different interpretations, but the best answer is that whoever you have contact with is your neighbor. Now who do you suppose a married person has a whole lot of contact with? If you say “my spouse” you have won the prize! So whether you want to say that Paul has simply said “love your neighbor who happens to be my spouse just like I love myself” in a different way, or you want to say that Jesus said to “submit to your spouse” in a different way, both are correct. And if you think that being a servant of all is only referring to serving the “saints” and not also referring to your spouse, and to all your neighbors, both those who live in proximity and those we come in contact with both physically and “virtually” in so many ways every day, then you have missed the meaning.

Do not understand this as criticism of anything. I hope that this can be found as wise advice that will serve you as you journey through life together. I pray that it will strengthen your marriage as trials come. And they will come. I’m sure that no one else has suggested differently.

Some may say that this is about equality in marriage. There is some truth to that. But it is much more. Marriage is a testing ground for living the Christian life. If I cannot raise my love for my spouse to be as great as I love myself, then how can I think that I love some other human at that level? If I cannot submit to the person that is right there at the first light of day and when the lights turn off at night, then how can I really be a servant to any others with whom I have even less connection?

I trust that your love for each other will blossom further and further. But I also know that there will be trials. The kind of love that makes you blind to other things is not the love that will see you through the trials. It is the love that raises the other to be your equal that will see you through. It is the love that is willing to serve the other, even in the midst of heartache and pain, that will bring you through. It is the love that you choose and not the love that grows in your emotions. Emotions are fickle. But the love that comes from Christ is a love that can be chosen when the emotions are strongly contrary. Chose that love. It is the love that does not clang on cymbals or parade around to the sound of trumpets.

Your uncle and your brother
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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But that is not the purpose of this post. While the flow of the meeting was somewhat expected, although not significantly enough scripted for anyone to know what to do next at a couple of points, there was something missing. As is typical for a LC wedding, it was about 95 percent about the metaphor of Christ and his bride, the Church, and not much about the young couple. But it was not among the more extreme LC weddings that I have seen in the past.

Well, when I said "not much about the young couple," that is not entirely true. There was an “open mic” time (without an actual microphone in that small space) and, with one exception, it was the relatives that spoke. They did mostly speak about the couple, or one or the other of them. But mixed in were the thoughts of their marriage being “for Christ and the church.”
Funny thing.

I went to a wedding this weekend as well.

Roman Catholic couple. Very devout, although each in very different ways.

Bride's brother was the officiating priest.

His comments, when rarely applicable to the couple themselves, were more or less condeming of the groom and his charismatic Catholic family and their "home church."

And he said an awful lot about "Christ and the Church."

It was all terribly offensive, really, especially the pretenses made to unity with others while so strongly maintaining an exclusive table.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:55 PM   #9
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It was all terribly offensive, really, especially the pretenses made to unity with others while so strongly maintaining an exclusive table.
Funny how clear it seems when it is the RCC doing it, but not when it is your own group (obviously not actually your group).

I see a wedding as two things. First a public statement of a commitment to each other for life, then second, an invitation to join in celebrating that commitment with merriment. (Well, not as much merriment in a LC reception, but still the idea is there.)

Spending a lot of time talking about oneness and Christ and the Church seems to be using a wedding as pretense to preach to everyone else. It seems upside down. Instead they should take a little bit of oneness theology and some "Christ and the Church" as something instructional to the couple for their practical marriage.

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:41 AM   #10
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Scripture is correct when it says that we become “one flesh.” But that does not mean that we cease to be “two flesh.” It is not a contradiction, but is about different things. He is always who he is, and so is she. At the same time, there is a new entity that joins to be “married,” and do the things of marriage, including bearing and raising children.

But this joint life does not end your separate life. And you will discover how real and strong those two separate lives can be. It does not matter if one of you is prone to being passive. The very act of being passive is often a tool of defense of who you are. “They may boss me around, but they can’t get inside of me.”

Here is where notions of position and place collapse. If he wants to be the “head” he will fail. And as much as she wants to submit, it won’t happen. Instead, look at the whole of the verses in Ephesians 5. It begins in verse 21 with “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This is the set-up verse. Then verse 22 begins with “wives, to your husbands,” and then verse 25 says “husbands, to your wives.” There are surely other words there, but these are the links to the primary command in verse 21. We have presumed that these verses create some sort of hierarchy between husband and wife. But instead they charge each to do the part that is theirs in submission to the other. I know it sounds funny, but consider that Jesus said that the true position of a disciple is as servant to all. That includes to your spouse.

But instead of relying on Paul’s words (acknowledging that they are also God’s words), let’s look at those of Jesus. As part of His answer concerning what is the greatest commandment, Jesus actually provides two which he joins as a unit upon which all the rest are built. That second commandment is in Matthew 22:39 and it says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It does not say to love them more than yourself. It does not say to love them almost as much as yourself. It also does not suggest that you should love yourself less, then love them that much.

Now, the first thing that may come to mind is “since when is my spouse my neighbor?” When you look at the parallel account in Luke 10, we see that there was a follow-on question. It was “who is my neighbor?” The answer has resulted in a lot of different interpretations, but the best answer is that whoever you have contact with is your neighbor. Now who do you suppose a married person has a whole lot of contact with? If you say “my spouse” you have won the prize! So whether you want to say that Paul has simply said “love your neighbor who happens to be my spouse just like I love myself” in a different way, or you want to say that Jesus said to “submit to your spouse” in a different way, both are correct. And if you think that being a servant of all is only referring to serving the “saints” and not also referring to your spouse, and to all your neighbors, both those who live in proximity and those we come in contact with both physically and “virtually” in so many ways every day, then you have missed the meaning.
So we have 2 separate entities, "joined to be one", yet still separate, with the command, to love the person next to you (your neighbor). Your spouse, your children, your parents, your cousins and your best friend from grade school. As well as the mundane, "people on the street" passers-by. The Samaritan had no compelling reason to recognize the wounded traveller, but somehow he realized that God had placed this dying creature in his path, and "God" within him rose up and moved.

I agree with you that the home and the marriage is the place to practice loving your neighbor as yourself, and to fortify us for the man-on-the-street contacts. Even though spouses do in fact remain separate and distinct, they can practice caring for another person's well-being as much as they care for their own.

I think it's very, very important to rest Paul's words upon the words of Jesus, as you have done. If we just examine Paul's words "in a vacuum" we can becom unbalanced (and yes, I do recognize Paul's words as from God).
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:35 PM   #11
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Default Rethinking my part here

I’ve been troubled for some time with the problem of exposing the errors that Lee introduced into the Local Church, and the serious acts of Lee and various of his underlings over the course of many years, without simply trashing the very existence of the Local Church as a group of assemblies.

Without discussing the nuances of organization v organism, I intend “Local Church” or “LC” to refer to the group of assemblies that have sprung up by whatever method and are followers of the teachings of both Nee and Lee. There are arguments to be made concerning whether the LC, or at least that portion that holds strongly to all the materials published by the LSM, is a denomination. But as I have argued recently elsewhere, I find little significance in the determination that a group is or is not a denomination. There is now a clear split in the whole of that group, however, there are still many characteristics and teachings from Nee and Lee that remain in all such assemblies. To the extent that any particular item discussed by me applies to the whole of the LCs, I do intend it as such. But to the extent that the result of the recent split(s) has been to remove some of the errors from some, those are not presumed to be included.

The problem with analyzing everything together as if it is a homogenous unit (Lee, Nee, other leaders, and the assemblies that comprise the LC) is that it is not entirely true. For example, I could I could analyze any particular LC assembly on several points and find many combinations of characteristics. Let’s consider The Church in ____. It is a composite of Christians, beliefs and practices as follows:
  • The core of its faith is consistent with the basics that virtually all of Christianity accepts and believes.
  • While the membership “enjoys” the elevated status of certain teachings like “Christ is the Spirit” they still strongly believe in the simultaneous existence of so-called “persons” of the Father, Son and Spirit.
  • They have accepted the edict to have “ministry station meetings” and use HWMR as the basis for their PSRP.
  • Despite the strong warnings about materials from other sources (especially from non LSM sources within the LCs) many of them read other Christian materials and find insight in them.
  • Many of the members did not agree with the lawsuit against Harvest House and consider it a stupid undertaking of others who want to waste their money.
  • While they would never consciously think that they accept everything Nee, Lee or the BBs say without a second thought, that is what they do.
  • They may have heard that some persons somewhere else (or even in their city) were reprimanded for what would appear to be unscriptural reasons, but they acknowledge that each church, and each person, including the leadership, is different and that individuals do make mistakes. They may have even heard the rumors about why it was that John Ingalls left in the 80s, but rather than simply accepting that the “apostle of the age” can do no wrong, they have accepted the lie that it was a FALSE ACCUSATION and ignored it.
The list could go on and on. The point is that each assembly is a peculiar collection of individuals. Despite all the efforts of Lee and the LSM and the BBs to make everyone “say the same thing” and look and act almost like clones (and any outsider’s view that it is working at some level), they are not cookie-cutter churches.

And despite my strong opposition to a certain thread here for reasons that did not include the stated purpose of the thread, some of the teachings and practices, even if mostly as the result of misunderstanding overstated hyperbole to be “a word for God,” have lead to actions by individuals in their dealings with their spouses, children, parents, coworkers, other Christians and even the general population that even the worst of the LC leadership would stand against. (Unfortunately, some of the LC leadership was involved in some of it.)

Now when it comes to deconstructing the teachings that Nee and Lee pushed onto the LCs, there would surely be the discovery of teachings that we believe should be eliminated from the theological base of any church inside or outside of the LC. Whether that should be accomplished by simply rejecting Lee outright and then rediscovering truth or retaining Lee and trying to cleanse the errors is their decision. I do have an opinion about it, and have stated it repeatedly over the past years. But, I do not find anything in scripture that says that a church should simply throw out its understanding of scripture and start over because they might have some error in that understanding.

But when it comes to accepting or rejecting Lee, I believe that the correct answer is to reject him outright. I believe that because, consistent with my analysis of his teachings and the fruit of those teachings, the tree is bad. (While less obvious, I actually believe that Nee is in the same position.) I do not believe that Lee stands with Paul, Peter, Apollos, etc., as a true worker on God’s farm and/or building. Instead of allowing Lee and Nee to remain in the company of the workers, they should be rejected as those who are teaching differently. In the case of Lee, there is also evidence that he was using his position in the LC to feed his belly, and the greed and lust of his sons. Such persons are not qualified to be teachers.

The fruit of one church one city is the de-legitimization of all others and their denigration as “poor,” and even “apostate.” The fruit of “turning to your spirit” and “walking by the spirit” (rather than “walking by the Spirit”) is excuses for being the ones in Galatians that Paul said were indulging in the sinful nature. (Paul did not say get more Christ then you will stop. He said stop.) The fruit of deputy authority is gross misconduct accepted as OK because of the presumption that a deputy of God cannot sin. The fruit of following after a person is that such person’s errors become yours and the division from others concerning that person is your error.

The list goes on and on. The fruit is clear. I believe that it says strongly to reject Lee, and less strongly to reject Nee.

Then certain persons argue that we should just leave Lee alone and leave the churches that accept his teachings alone. While I do agree somewhat with respect to the churches, I do not agree with respect to Lee. To reject is to take a stand and reject. And to the extent that a church decides to not reject Lee, I believe that they should continue to hear the reasons to change their position.

But the church itself is not necessarily subject to being closed and shuttered because it determines that its primary source of food was actually a cesspool. That determination can only be made by the people. If they determine that the church is too ingrained with the errors and that remaining together would simply perpetuate them, then closing may be the answer. But if not, I would not dare to demand that they close anyway.

I know that my speaking here in opposition to many of the teachings and actions of Lee, and even the teachings of Nee (I cannot find evidence of errors in Nee’s actions), will at times bleed over into statements against the LC. My intent in that is not to condemn the many good Christian brothers and sisters who meet together in the LC, but to point to the systemic errors that have been institutionalized due to the decades of Lees’ teachings and the over-lording of his coworkers and now the BBs. And due to the willful perpetuation of many of Lee’s errors, many of those coworkers should be rejected as potential leaders of a “Lee-less” LC. And while we can at least wonder how they don’t individually see themselves as being “of Lee” we might also be able to understand that at the individual level they do not believe that to be the case.

This has rambled on for long enough now. I was having one of those “what are you doing and why are you doing it” moments and thought that I would put it into my blog. I think that I have somewhat redefined my position and intent. I hope that it shows up in my future writing.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:40 PM   #12
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There are regiments to be made concerning...
Despite my attempts to proof the previous thread, I note that I misspelled "arguments" in the second paragraph and the spell checker in Word automatically made "regiments" out of it. Unfortunately, it appears that we do not have the ability to edit our own posts (or at least I do not).
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:59 PM   #13
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Sorry for the trouble OBW.
That's one interesting spell checker you have there! Is that one of those Internet based spell checkers?
Everybody has (or should have) editing powers for 12 hours. (example 12noon - 12midnight)
I'll check into what going on asap
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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Sorry for the trouble OBW.
That's one interesting spell checker you have there! Is that one of those Internet based spell checkers?
Everybody has (or should have) editing powers for 12 hours. (example 12noon - 12midnight)
I'll check into what going on asap
No, its just the one in MS Word. I'm sure that my initial obliteration of the spelling (I tend to scramble letters sometimes) looked enough like "regiments" that the auto-correct function fixed it for me. When I quickly read through, I just read what I expected rather than the word actually there. (Somehow that sounds a lot like what we say Lee did.)
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:54 AM   #15
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Default Observation, Interpretation, and Critique

On the Berean forum, “The Public Square,” there is a thread under GENERAL CATEGORY | Good Medicine, called “Quotable Quotes.” On 5/23/2008, someone posted a number of quotes by J.P. Rizal. The following is in post #109:

Quote:
In the study of truth, men are to me like students of drawing who copy a statue while they are seated around it. Some of them are close to it, others are farther away. Some are seated higher, others are at the model’s feet. They see the statue, each from a different angle. The more they try to be faithful in their drawings, the more their drawings will differ from one another. Those who copy the original directly are the thinkers. They are the founders of schools and doctrines. They differ from one another because they start from different points of view. A great number, either because they are far from the model or cannot see very well, or because they are not so adept or because they are lazy, or because of something else, are content a draw from a copy made by a person who is near the statue. If they are favorably disposed, they may draw from the copy which they consider the best or is regarded as the best. Such copyists are the followers, the active sectarians of an idea. Others still lazier, who dare not trace a line for fear of committing a mistake, buy a ready-made copy, perhaps a photograph or a lithographic reproduction. Not only are they satisfied with it, but are proud of it. They are the passive sectarians, who believe everything because they don’t want to do any thinking themselves.

Who, then, taking his own as the standard, can properly judge the drawings of others? To be fair, he would have to move to the same place occupied by each and other student and judge according to the viewpoint of each. What is more, he would have to place his eyes at the same height and distance as every other student did. The curves of his retina would have to be adjusted in such a manner that they would be the same as those of every other. He would have the same conditions of refraction, and the same artistic taste.
— J.P. Rizal
As I read this statement from a man who is somewhat revered as a philosopher of the Philippines, I understand his words. But I also must disagree, at least a little.

On the whole, his discussion and rankings make sense. But it is at the beginning and at the end that I take some exception.

First, he says “those who copy the original directly are the thinkers.” I disagree. Working from an original does not make one a thinker. He is correct to point out that differences will occur because of the differing perspectives. But he has cast them with a fixed perspective. This is not a thinker. The thinker is the one who will walk around the statue and consider the different angles. He will look down from above, and up from below. He will observe shadows over different portions as sources of light change.

Surely he will not see it all, or notice everything the same way another making the same set of observations will, but he is equipped to provide more than a two-dimensional view of the subject.

Then at the end he suggests that no one can judge another’s view. This is both true and untrue. To the extent that the view is a statement of observation and therefore limited to that observation, one cannot judge the observation. But that does not mean that a view is correct merely because it is observed.

If the observation is faithfully reproduced, much like a photograph, and nothing is presumed or extrapolated outside the observation, then it is a view of limited scope that is uncontestable.

But to the extent that anything beyond that view is drawn, spoken or otherwise presumed, we have moved beyond the observation. Such a representation can be judged. It can be judged form the perspective of the portions that were not observed but upon which the “drawing” projects. Further, it can be judged to the extent that it is presumed that anything beyond the limited scope of the observation is possible.

Further, to judge only if seen through the same eyes, with the same physical limitations, same light, and with the same taste in art is to eliminate the source of judging. If everything must be the same, its sameness mocks any claim of critique. Surely understanding one’s viewpoint is important, but it is not required in such an absolute manner. If it were, then where is the critique? All would be seen identically and all would be homogeneous. The review of a book could only be the words of the author. Only the artist would be qualified to rate his own work. Since no one else can match his view perfectly, their opinion would be summarily dismissed as invalid.

In complaining about Rizal’s suggestion that identical viewpoint is required to critique, I do not mean to say that we should be free to do as a postmodern might and dismiss what one has written, drawn, sculpted, etc., and “deconstruct” it by supplying our own interpretation as the actual interpretation of the object of scrutiny. The interpretation and meaning is what the artist has created and intended. Any interpretation can only be with respect to what the artist has actually created and any critique or critique can only concern the validity of the thing expressed or the success in expressing it.

So we turn to the analysis scripture and of the Local Church. In both cases, we too often find ourselves seated in front of a complex sculpture with varied lighting talking as if that perspective is the only one. Even those who see themselves as part of the sculpture (in the case of the LC) are actually in their own seat as if viewing from the outside. The rest of us may argue that faithful LCers are actually in a remote room seeing an image from a fixed camera that depicts exactly what the camera operator — the leadership — wants seen and understood. This is a point of contention. I will admit that almost all LCers have that fixed view, but also have some personal view, although it often is simply another fixed view just slightly askew with respect to the camera’s view.

But just as I critiqued Rizal’s analysis of who are the thinkers, I (we) must always be walking around and looking at the sculpture from multiple angles and intentionally allowing different lighting conditions to highlight new aspects. Otherwise, we may be somewhat “right” to have left the LC, but are no more enlightened for the effort.

Ultimately, there is something in every view. There is even something in so much of the thing that is the LC sculpture that we are studying. Christ is Life. There is a spiritual aspect to man no matter what you call it. Christ is a life-giving spirit. I’m just not sure that verse was meant to suggest that Christ is or became the Holy Spirit (i.e., the life-giving Spirit).

I see much in this analysis. I often fail to act as if I see it. I am called upon it on occasion. I like to consider myself a thinker, even if a poor one. To maintain any link between my view of myself and reality, I need to keep looking, asking and considering, then moving, looking, asking and considering, then again moving, looking, asking and considering, etc.

Part of seeing others perspectives is to listen and consider rather than simply argue against. You often see me in this posture when I try to be understood, coming back a second or third time with different words to portray my thoughts more clearly. Each of us should do this. But at the same time, just as I need to understand responses that suggest my point is missed (not merely disagreed with), I need to look into those responses for insight that I may be missing, or an angle that should be explored. No matter how hard I try, I do not have the entire sculture in view, even in my memory from my walks around it.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:42 AM   #16
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The measure of an education is that you acquire some idea of the extent of your ignorance. (Christopher Hitchens)
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:38 AM   #17
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Default Re: Observation, Interpretation, and Critique

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In complaining about Rizal’s suggestion that identical viewpoint is required to critique, I do not mean to say that we should be free to do as a postmodern might and dismiss what one has written, drawn, sculpted, etc., and “deconstruct” it by supplying our own interpretation as the actual interpretation of the object of scrutiny. The interpretation and meaning is what the artist has created and intended. Any interpretation can only be with respect to what the artist has actually created and any critique or critique can only concern the validity of the thing expressed or the success in expressing it.
I seem to be somewhat conflicted in discussing the "meaning" of scripture, because on the one hand, as a christian, I think that truth is objective, while on the other hand, also as a christian, I feel that we are being slowly led into the "reality", i.e. the subjective, unfolding, experience of truth.

Therefore I find myself in somewhat of a dilemma. I feel free to criticise the authors of the source texts of faith as being only partially in the reality. Just because someone did something in the first century church doesn't mean we should try to emulate it today. We may or may not cover our heads, as prescribed by Paul, and we may or may not pray with anointing oil when ill, as recommended by James.

On the other hand, I see others apparently reinterpreting texts away from original meaning, with the "light of history" as a guide, and I'm uncomfortable... I ask, "Fine, that's what the message is to you, today, but what was it originally meant when written?" I am thinking specifically of the enigmatic "revelations" of the apostle John which conclude the Bible.

Nee said, if I understant him & Lee correctly, that the seven Asian assemblies were meant to stand for the seven "stages of church history" that were to ensue. Well, that allegorical interpretation may look good from the 20th century, but do we really think John meant to convey that to the Asian assemblies?

And this goes as well for the many interpretations of "signs" to follow. "The woman on the beast is the RCC", etc. Is the truth so specific? Were John's words meant to be so enigmatic that only the centuries of ensuing history could unveil them?

The Nee approach, in this application, seems to be the worst of all possible approaches. He says there is only one right view, and this view has been obscured until he, or the Brethren, or some similarly enlightened person came along. This thinking might even surmise that John himself didn't know what he was writing about, or that he knew and deliberately hid the interpretation from his readers.

I argue that we can, and should, ask "What did John mean, and what did he intend it to mean to his readers?", because John uses the OT liberally. There is a shared basis of meaning, when he invokes one of the many OT visions, incorporated into his own message. I think that he is trying to "activate" certain "programs" or message strings, that those OT prophets had created in the shared understanding of 1st century jewish (believer?) culture.

Anyway, it is a knotty problem, that of perspective, and I find myself circling the truth continually, going back and forth from "now" to "then", from my experience to my suppositions about the experiences of others, and trying to piece it all together.

One thing I do know, is that I am profoundly distrustful of the "once and for all" interpretation of the truth as it came to me/us from Nee & Lee. They do seem to have a lot of "bonafides" in their claims, but the very fact that they trust them so implicitly makes me mistrustful of them. If they were more sceptical I would be less sceptical.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:46 PM   #18
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aron,

You have moved into a significantly unsure area, namely what is meant by objective scripture and what is the place of revelation and the frame of reference of the reader.

I will not attempt to respond to your post point-by-point, but by impressions.

When it comes to objective scripture, I have generally come to understand that it is not subject to being overridden by other factors, whether cultural, historical, or even from claimed revelation. But having said that, I do not suppose that every aspect of scripture as recorded is a hard-and-fast rule that has fixed meaning, boundaries and interpretation.

I often make reference to Nee, Lee and others taking words in scripture and then turning right around and telling us that they are saying something different than they actually do say. As an example, while I do not intend to get into a debate on the meaning of “One” in the trinity, when Paul said “ the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” he was not talking about a position in the trinity, but in a form of being — one that was responding to questions about what our resurrected bodies would resemble. So all of that certainty about “Christ becoming” is simply nonsense. It may be true, but that verse did not say it.

Then comes revelation. I fully believe that we can and do receive revelation concerning how we are to live. We may receive revelation that is specific and even not actually contained in scripture. I would say that scripture says nothing concerning the restricted consumption of alcohol. But you may receive revelation to refrain in all cases. That does not actually contradict scripture, so for yourself it would be proper (and even imperative assuming that it is true revelation) to refrain. But as scripture makes no such prohibition, to make it ia point of teaching for others is not scriptural.

But Lee took revelation to another level. There is written evidence of his taking scripture and stating that it is unnecessary to follow certain scriptures because they contradict his doctrine of “God’s economy” or other pet creations. This is not only to put non-scriptural restrictions on believers, but to put believers at odds with requirements of scripture.

Then there is the interpretation from the perspective of the reader. This somewhat comes from a view of scripture as “telling a story” that is not always as significant in minute detail as it is in the whole of the presentation. While there are arguments for and against this view, I believe that it is at least somewhat valid. Within this kind of analysis, it might be less important to understand “what did John mean” in terms of specific words, phrases, and sentences, but in terms of the whole of his statements. While the specific statements are not made unimportant, they become subservient to the whole of what he is saying, just as Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians mentioned above were not about the make-up of the trinity but of the nature of the body He received upon resurrection. Context becomes important.

And when we look at context, that may say something about part of the story being told. In the world cultures of the times of the patriarchs and the Jewish kingdoms, the mentality of the times was to seek revenge even for things that were originally revenge upon your own wrong perpetrated on others. And the sense of duty to seek revenge often succeeded through several generations. (If you think the Hatfields and McCoys were bad, read the OT again.) So we surely would not read scripture today to suggest that we should simply wipe our enemies off the face of the earth. Any such actions by God, or commandments concerning certain adversaries, such as in the taking of the Good Land, were never intended to be read as permanent primers on warfare. It might be reasonable to read those accounts metaphorically to suggest that we should “take no prisoner” when dealing with our own sin. But they were directions within a context.

So what do you do when the context is a society in which women are considered property and are not provided education? You don’t allow them to teach. And that would be more clearly stated if there was a subculture of women who were the holders of power for a pagan cult in which the women were essentially the priests and gods. Do those statements mean that a women is forbidden by God to teach, both then and forever? Not entirely clear. When I read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, I can become confused. In one place he seems to allow them and in another to disallow them. Maybe it is not so clear.

So when I come to the question in 2009, what is my context? Educated women who are too often more diligent in seeking after God than many of their male Christian counterparts. Dismiss any arguments about ambition because that is equally true of men, and you might be left with the sound conclusion that all who are willing and capable should be allowed.

But, like much of the job of the rabbis for generations before and after Christ, the application scripture to today’s situation is never as simple as reading scripture to find an exact match. Here, there is a need for a different kind of revelation. The result is a reasonable pattern for applying what the prophets, apostles, and most importantly Jesus/God said to this life in this culture. While I do not suggest that the result is like modern scripture, at some level this is the process of rewriting scripture for today. In the world of the Emerging/Emergent church, there is a popular term — reimaging. To the extent that this means to seek to understand scripture as it is in the context of today, I fully agree with this. We are not required to practice Christianity like 1st century people from Asia Minor, but like whatever we are in 2009. But to the extent that it is meant as a way to rewrite scripture in a manner inconsistent with the unalterable truth within it, I must disagree.

But as much as this, I believe that our faith is as much what we do and practice as what we believe. I do not mean practice in terms of religious rituals, but in how we conduct our lives. Some have questioned whether knowing actually precedes faith. I think that it is always in tandem, progressing from very rudimentary knowledge and action step-by-step through higher and higher levels as sanctification continues. Salvation may be by faith, but without ever seeing something in practical life, I will eventually doubt that faith.

I will make one comment specifically on your post. You mentioned something being "only partially in the reality." While I understand what you are saying and mostly agree, this notion of there being a yardstick that is "being in the reality" is problematic, especially if it leads to something that is not consistent with scripture. I do not think that is where you are headed, but it is the terminology of the LC and they have clearly used that yardstick to create doctrine that is not only not supported by scripture, but even contradictory in some cases. Such a yardstick is subject to personal manipulation, whether willful or accidental. I return to the notion that even if you want to rank things based on "reality," first, it is subjective and therefore dangerous, and second, it must still align with or within scripture.

Clear as mud? This is about as “set in stone” as a drop of oil on a wind-blown lake. I did not think that many examples would make it clearer since each would answer only its own issue and even tend to raise others. If I were to sum up my comments, I would say “Scripture is objective, yet is also is living and breathing. But while there is much to be revealed, it never says anything inconsistent with what is there to observe.”

I will make one comment specifically on your post. You mentioned something being "only partially in the reality." While I understand what you are saying and mostly agree, this notion of there being a yardstick that is "being in the reality" is problematic, especially if it leads to something that is not consistent with scripture. I do not think that is where you are headed, but it is the terminology of the LC and they have clearly used that yardstick to create doctrine that is not only not supported by scripture, but even contradictory in some cases. Such a yeardstick is subject to personal manipulation, whether willfull or accidental. I return to the notion that even if you want to rank things based on "reality" first, it is subjective, and second, it must still align with or within scripture.

Clear as mud? This is about as “set in stone” as a drop of oil on a wind-blown lake. I did not think that many examples would make it clearer since each would answer only its own issue and even tend to raise others. If I were to sum up my comments, I would say “Scripture is objective, yet is also living and breathing. But while there is much to be revealed, it never says anything inconsistent with what is there to observe.”

But from this unclear position I believe that a dynamic faith that is accepted by all Christians (even if not on every jot and tiddle) exists and responds to the questions of today while remaining true to the underlying reality that is the unalterable Word of God.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:45 AM   #19
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I fully believe that we can and do receive revelation concerning how we are to live. We may receive revelation that is specific and even not actually contained in scripture. I would say that scripture says nothing concerning the restricted consumption of alcohol. But you may receive revelation to refrain in all cases. That does not actually contradict scripture, so for yourself it would be proper (and even imperative assuming that it is true revelation) to refrain. But as scripture makes no such prohibition, to make it a point of teaching for others is not scriptural.
I run on revelation, but I don't presume it's extended beyond my borders. It's part of my personal conversation with God. I often bring it up in fellowship with others, but not as a point of teaching, or imposition, but rather to test it against the leading others have from the word. Thankfully, there is a little overlap with others. This encourages me to go on.


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Then there is the interpretation from the perspective of the reader. This somewhat comes from a view of scripture as “telling a story” that is not always as significant in minute detail as it is in the whole of the presentation. While there are arguments for and against this view, I believe that it is at least somewhat valid. Within this kind of analysis, it might be less important to understand “what did John mean” in terms of specific words, phrases, and sentences, but in terms of the whole of his statements. While the specific statements are not made unimportant, they become subservient to the whole of what he is saying, just as Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians mentioned above were not about the make-up of the trinity but of the nature of the body He received upon resurrection. Context becomes important..
Yes, this is very much how I tend to operate. I try to get the overall theme, to understand the particulars.

For example, look at John's picture of the fall of Babylon. (Rev. 18:9-19). When I saw a satellite image of NYC after 9/11/01, I remembered the word of the merchants and sailors standing far off, and weeping because of the smoke of her burning. I mean, think about the terms: World Trade Center. The terrorists didn't strike some cornfield in Iowa, they attacked the center of world trade. "Cargo of gold and silver and precious stone and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of thyine wood, and every vessel of ivory, etc, etc. " All of it, up in smoke.

Now, John's word in Revelation chapter 18 helped me understand the attacks in NYC, but I don't think his remarks were only understandable in that context. I think rather he was pointing to a principle, a general trend of wealth aggregation and eventual loss. The rich guy swaggering down the street will eventually get a gun in his face. This is true to NYC, to Rome, to Jerusalem, to anyone who hoards treasure. So the believers in Asia who read his words could "hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches" just as much as any of us could, with 2,000 years of history and interpretation guiding us.

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But as much as this, I believe that our faith is as much what we do and practice as what we believe. I do not mean practice in terms of religious rituals, but in how we conduct our lives. Some have questioned whether knowing actually precedes faith. I think that it is always in tandem, progressing from very rudimentary knowledge and action step-by-step through higher and higher levels as sanctification continues. Salvation may be by faith, but without ever seeing something in practical life, I will eventually doubt that faith...
For me, this is to realize and admit that I am at least partly blind. If I think I see, my blindness remains. (John 9:39-41).

When I admit that I am being subjective, I become slightly more objective. When I think I have objective reality in my grasp, I instead have nothing.

But, I am saved from relativism by believing that there in fact does exist a true and objective reality, and this reality is knowable in Jesus the Nazarene, whom God has made both Lord and Christ. I am probably only partway there. Whether I am an inch or a mile away, I am not yet there; I struggle forward. Lee attempted to hold objective truth in his hands, and revealed instead a terrible narcissism that hurt so many who have tried to follow this path of vanity.

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I will make one comment specifically on your post. You mentioned something being "only partially in the reality." While I understand what you are saying and mostly agree, this notion of there being a yardstick that is "being in the reality" is problematic, especially if it leads to something that is not consistent with scripture. I do not think that is where you are headed, but it is the terminology of the LC and they have clearly used that yardstick to create doctrine that is not only not supported by scripture, but even contradictory in some cases. Such a yardstick is subject to personal manipulation, whether willful or accidental. I return to the notion that even if you want to rank things based on "reality," first, it is subjective and therefore dangerous, and second, it must still align with or within scripture.
Well, according to the record, at one point Apollos was only partly in the reality. He taught the baptism of John the Baptist only (Acts ch. 18). And Peter, when he shrank back when some came "from James" (Gal. ch.2) . And the Judaizers were partly there, partly not. And James, perhaps, as well. The fact that church history speaks of an "episcopal throne" set up after James' tenure in Jerusalem, which the flesh family of Jesus was sought to fill (being of the "line of David", and all) speaks to me of some lack. And the hard word of Jesus toward the "messengers" of the Asian assemblies in Revelations 2 and 3 suggests the possiblility of a trend.

But beyond those seemingly hard and fast examples, I don't want to read too much, lest I myself be found to depart from the truth. I am subjective; I hope that my admission of such is a safeguard from going too far astray, and especially from leading others astray after me.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:02 PM   #20
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Well, according to the record, at one point Apollos was only partly in the reality. He taught the baptism of John the Baptist only (Acts ch. 18). And Peter, when he shrank back when some came "from James" (Gal. ch.2) . And the Judaizers were partly there, partly not. And James, perhaps, as well. The fact that church history speaks of an "episcopal throne" set up after James' tenure in Jerusalem, which the flesh family of Jesus was sought to fill (being of the "line of David", and all) speaks to me of some lack. And the hard word of Jesus toward the "messengers" of the Asian assemblies in Revelations 2 and 3 suggests the possiblility of a trend.
You said a lot in this post, but I only really want to comment on this portion in a general way.

You are quite right to note that there is a deficiency in the cases mentioned. But is it not that they are each in some way clearly out of alignment with the clear words of Christ. I suspect that we don't even need to get into the writings of Paul or others outside of what is recorded in the gospels to find the error in each of these. (I could be wrong as I will not pretend to have done enough research on the subject to make this a claim of certainty.) My point is not that "reality" is not a true or valid thing, but that to the extent that it might be seen as pointing to the error in something, it should also be found that there is scripture that agrees with that position. In other words, I'm not sure that we should accept some view of "reality" if it does not seem to be consistent with scripture.

In Lee's case, there are places where he dismissed scripture because he found it to not be up to his version of "reality," most often in terms of "God's NT economy." I do not see this as a valid use or "reality." If we reverse Lee's lexicon, isn't "reality" equal to truth? "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." What is truth/reality? The word of God. How then does reality diminish the word of God?
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:07 PM   #21
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In Lee's case, there are places where he dismissed scripture because he found it to not be up to his version of "reality," most often in terms of "God's NT economy." I do not see this as a valid use or "reality." If we reverse Lee's lexicon, isn't "reality" equal to truth? "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." What is truth/reality? The word of God. How then does reality diminish the word of God?
I think this is an oversimplification of Lee's ministry.

It certainly doesn't reflect my thinking on such topics, anyway.

I wouldn't say Lee dismissed certain scriptures in favor of his doctrine of God's economy. He organized all those scriptures under that superordinate.

Rightly or wrongly, you can debate if you wish.

But he doesn't "diminish" the word of God by means of his treachings of God's economy. I think he was overly harsh on James but God's economy was only the initial basis of his attacks. He went on and on and that's where things went wrong in my opinion.

I've lifted James back to a more reasonable position post-Lee and honor him for his role, such as it is reflected in the whole of the New Testament.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:01 AM   #22
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You are quite right to note that there is a deficiency in the cases mentioned. But is it not that they are each in some way clearly out of alignment with the clear words of Christ. I suspect that we don't even need to get into the writings of Paul or others outside of what is recorded in the gospels to find the error in each of these.

My point is not that "reality" is not a true or valid thing, but that to the extent that it might be seen as pointing to the error in something, it should also be found that there is scripture that agrees with that position. In other words, I'm not sure that we should accept some view of "reality" if it does not seem to be consistent with scripture.

In Lee's case, there are places where he dismissed scripture because he found it to not be up to his version of "reality," most often in terms of "God's NT economy." I do not see this as a valid use or "reality." If we reverse Lee's lexicon, isn't "reality" equal to truth? "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." What is truth/reality? The word of God. How then does reality diminish the word of God?
As usual, I probably wasn't clear enough about my point on "not being fully in the reality"... I wasn't so much thinking of pointing to error, as I was looking at the idea of our christian journey containing a progressive continuum of experiences. And the initial experiences shown (Apollos teaching the baptism of John as a great example) are not so much erroneous as they are merely the early steps in someone's journey.

So to look at the "immutable" word of God for a guide on what to do/say/be as we follow Christ is perhaps to miss the crucial point that the template experiences we are evaluating ourselves against are themselves only partly into the full reality of the risen Christ.

I am basing my evaluation of the Acts and the Epistles of the Bible, illuminating the "early church" experience, on one verse, which is nestled in a section (John 14 - 17) going repeatedly into the idea of a progressive spiritual journey awaiting the disciples. That verse is John 16:13, where the coming Spirit of truth/reality is promised by Jesus as a guide, leading them into all the truth/reality. This to me bespeaks a process, not an "all at once" experience.

So I evaluate the subsequent teachings/writings/acts of the faithful not for error, but rather as being only partly in the reality. It is a progressive experience. A child may occasionally err, but often simply is doing the best it can with limited experience & understanding. That way scripture remains consistent, as does the testimony of the disciples, but we allow it to grow, and ourselves along with it.

Lee's example with James is not what I want to do: he seems to be saying here is an anomaly within the progressive revelation. Here is a regression back to the law, and works. This is an unkind take: James was on a journey like the rest of us. To dismiss his life and work as merely deficient is to dismiss the reality/truth, which as you point out is the word of God.

I have earlier given the example of Jude, whom I for years regarded as "even more deficient" than James. A reactionary, with nothing positive to show us. Then one day as I was considering something else I remembered the word in Jude verse 6, about angels not keeping their appointed place, and my eyes were opened. I saw not only angels, but every spiritual entity (us believers included) being in peril in this regard.

Jude, and James, and Apollos, and Paul, and all the rest, had spiritual journeys every bit as "real" as yours and mine. But I now evaluate them in the light of an expanding and deepening and purifying progression of our personal and collective experience of "reality", as exemplified in Jesus. Unless the scripture clearly points out "error" in the written record, I don't call it that so much as "only partly into the reality".
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:20 AM   #23
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Jude, and James, and Apollos, and Paul, and all the rest, had spiritual journeys every bit as "real" as yours and mine. But I now evaluate them in the light of an expanding and deepening and purifying progression of our personal and collective experience of "reality", as exemplified in Jesus. Unless the scripture clearly points out "error" in the written record, I don't call it that so much as "only partly into the reality".
Hear, hear!

But we better watch out for too much agreeing around here.

Makes some folks nervous for some reason.
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:39 AM   #24
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On the other forum a relative newcomer has started a thread titled “Your concerns for local church members.” In it, this person asks and says the following:
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What concerns you most about the local churches membership? i.e., if you had a family member in the church, would you be worried about them? concerned for them? constantly trying to get them to quote-un-quote "leave"?

PLEASE, do not post disputes with the church practices or teachings ("I don't like how they say Amen all the time." "I don't think that the issue of locality is important." etc). Teachings concerning the trinity ARE valid. For example... I, personally, would be concerned for the salvation of any family members I had who were Mormons because of their heretical view of the trinity, same goes for Jehovah's Witnesses. But please, only use the trinity concern if you honestly feel Brother Lee was really mistaken and don't just use it as an opportunity (in other words, if you aren't qualified to know the difference between modalism, tritheism, and trinitarianism, please don't bother).

...

Are you worried the members of the Lord's recovery will one day commit suicide? Are you worried they worship idols? Are you worried there's a secret criminal underground drug conspiracy? Are you worried they're part of one big money laundering scheme? Obviously, a lot of people here disagree with Lee, and that's enough for you yourself to leave... but what about the local churches gives you motivation to warn others that it's not healthy? And please, again, be truthful. Don't make up wild accusations.


I have omitted much of the post. And while I have chosen to refrain from active participation in that forum for some time, if not entirely, the question has given me reason to think again. I know that Unto does not like us to duplicate discussions from that forum here. But that is not my intention. I would like to provide as part of my blog, which is sort of like my personal space to think out loud and give somewhat unfiltered thoughts without the necessary intent of discussion, the thoughts that arose from this question.

I have family members in the LC and I am concerned for them. I am not concerned that they will commit suicide, that they will become involved in drugs, or will be knowingly involved in criminal activity. But I actually see the psychological effects of LC membership on them.

First, there is a form of idolatry, or at least a raising of things to places beyond where they should be. Even though they still pray to God and not to a man or an image, and even though they may not have bought into the “apostle of the age” or even the “minister of the age” or “oracle” thing, they clearly held Lee in such high esteem that whatever he said was accepted without consideration. During the one time that we had a lengthy discussion about the LC and some of the things going on there, my mother essentially said that we (meaning people in general) could not really understand scripture and that without Lee’s words she wasn’t sure what it meant. Even if Lee taught nothing but excellent, sound doctrine, that is not a healthy position to take, especially for someone who was fully capable of discerning the meaning of much of the scripture without too much outside help.

If your source is almost entirely transferred from scripture and your own learning to that of another, are you sure what you believe is actually true? And if you believe a lie, then are you worshipping according to a lie. Does that equate to idolatry? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t take it as far as the fiasco of a year ago here, but it does give one pause to wonder.

But it is in the abandonment to a less than ideal condition without a second thought that really concerns me. I have mentioned the months before my mother’s recent death when almost no one came around, and when my dad did talk to some of his more ling-time friends there, he was occasionally asked how things were going in one of those typical upbeat ways with one time getting a question like “How’s it going?” My dad had to respond “well, except for the fact that my wife is dying, I guess OK.” That really took the wind out of the brother’s sails. He was oblivious — not about the fact that my mother was dying, but to the fact that this could affect a good LC member and cause them to not be upbeat. In my Dad’s comments about different things, I keep getting this sense of a hollow cheerfulness that does not recognize pain and sorrow. It provides no hope beyond getting to more meetings where you can ignore your pain and get lost in another group high. Unfortunately, he sees it but is stuck with the "it's the only real place to be" mentality.

And I understand that despite a good face with the family, my brother and his wife were essentially missing-in-action from their meetings for a significant period of time. When I learned this, I was floored because she managed to keep the most pro-Lee, toe-the-line LC culture home environment anyway. Why is it that the LC is considered so much the only way that even when you cannot bear to go to a meeting for weeks, or even just rarely attend, you would rather avoid other Christian association and remain like vagabonds with no connection to anything?

I would be concerned about these things if they were being expressed from family attending a more mainstream church. If my dad was having these experiences with an otherwise sound Baptist assembly, I would express concerns about things at that place. If my brother and sister-in-law were so sold on their Bible church that they would rather avoid it when things got bad while putting on a mask of everything is OK, I would express concerns about what was causing that kind of devotion to something that was not meeting you needs.

And I am concerned that Lee’s doctrines about waiting for more dispensing before trying to overcome that besetting sin, or more accurately, waiting for the level of dispensing to simply make the sin go away, are leaving good Christians with a hamstrung experience of sanctification while they chant over and over about how wonderful their church life is. I am concerned about where good counsel is to be found among people who only want to know the “Christ in you” and not your troubles. I am concerned about the couples who suffer from misconceptions of a healthy married life and are left to suffer quietly while hearing the male-dominated rhetoric of wives obey your husbands.

In short, I am concerned that even with some cities having somewhat better experiences in some of these issues, there is an baseline of unhealthy lives being sacrificed to an unhealthy system in the furtherance of a self-defined “glorious church life” that cares about this corporate thing at the expense of the individual and their individual needs. I am concerned about a church that centers so strongly on praying for “thy kingdom come” but demeans prayers about your “daily bread” as pathetic or substitutes religious jargon as being the true food when tangible, edible, organic food is needed.

And it seems that the hold is so strong that the problems with both the teachings and the experiences do nothing to dissuade as long as there is the belief that it is THE way and that all others are pitiful and even demonic. So I see the answer as chipping away at the very “truth” that they see in Lee in the hope that taking away his claim to a corner on the truth market might also take away the shine of the system and return the conscious mind to its rightful place in the process.

I may not do everything in the best way. But in the face of the ways of the LC, I do not think that my ways are so faulty. Maybe when they are unproductive I should reconsider. But otherwise I think there is a worthy mission in speaking out concerning the LC.

Yes, the members of the LC are encouraged to “read the Bible, to pray, to sing, to fellowship.” Those are laudable activities, even necessary ones. But that is not the sum of the LC. Even Jim Jones preached from the Bible. Don’t bother complaining about the over-the-top comparison. I am still not suggesting that kind of suicidal cult. Stop with the false dichotomies. Not being a suicide cult does not make everything OK. I am merely stating the obvious, and that is that even suicidal cults often have some sound doctrines and practices so finding them in the LC is not a “get out of jail free” card. That does not deny their error. The LC has sound doctrines and practices and is not about to join the suicide bandwagon. But they also have significant error and problems that cause me great concern with respect to its members, especially those of my own family.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:13 PM   #25
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Even Jim Jones preached from the Bible. Don’t bother complaining about the over-the-top comparison. I am still not suggesting that kind of suicidal cult. Stop with the false dichotomies. Not being a suicide cult does not make everything OK. I am merely stating the obvious, and that is that even suicidal cults often have some sound doctrines and practices so finding them in the LC is not a “get out of jail free” card. That does not deny their error.
Yes, and the Southern Baptists preach from the Bible and are not that kind of suicide cult and their not being a suicide cult doesn't make everything OK with the Southern Baptists.

I can state the same kind of obviousness but it doesn't mean anything other than the implications that must be intended.

To me, the Local Church looks like the Southern Baptists in their use of the Bible.

But even Jim Jones used the Bible so the Southern Baptists don't have a "get out of jail free" card either on that account.

Unless you mean that the Southern Baptists are a cult!


Yeah, I guess Jim Jones did it too, but I'm not sure why that's relevant.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:00 PM   #26
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Yes, and the Southern Baptists preach from the Bible and are not that kind of suicide cult and their not being a suicide cult doesn't make everything OK with the Southern Baptists.

I can state the same kind of obviousness but it doesn't mean anything other than the implications that must be intended.

To me, the Local Church looks like the Southern Baptists in their use of the Bible.

But even Jim Jones used the Bible so the Southern Baptists don't have a "get out of jail free" card either on that account.

Unless you mean that the Southern Baptists are a cult!


Yeah, I guess Jim Jones did it too, but I'm not sure why that's relevant.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I was trying to say that having some truth and correct teachings does not make everything OK. And having some errors in teaching and or practice does not make everything in error. Those probably are too obvious. But too often people like the one who started that thread on the Bereans say things like "I read the Bible, pray, sing, and fellowship" and therefore nothing can be considered wrong or worthy of discussion.

As I said, it is the false dichotomy. I was not intending to suggest that any of these were cults. Despite the fact that probably everyone would agree concerning Jim Jones and company, I wasn't even saying it about them.

The whole purpose of my post was to state the things that truly concern me with respect to what being in the LC does to its membership from the perspective of what I see in those that I still see somewhat regularly, namely my family. Others may not agree with my observations, but they are my observations. I see actual harm, not physical but psychological. Some may think that only they can make that call for themselves. At some level, I disagree. Sometimes intervention is needed.
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:29 AM   #27
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The whole purpose of my post was to state the things that truly concern me with respect to what being in the LC does to its membership from the perspective of what I see in those that I still see somewhat regularly, namely my family. Others may not agree with my observations, but they are my observations. I see actual harm, not physical but psychological. Some may think that only they can make that call for themselves. At some level, I disagree. Sometimes intervention is needed.
And that much I do agree with you in.

that same fellow who started the thread you referenced?

did you notice that final crack about exchanging Christmas gifts?

That's not like any Local Church places I ever visited or heard about.

I was always in Irving or Anaheim on Xmas eve.


I didn't want to respond to it there because I don't want to make a big deal out of something like that but that's really inconsistent with the facts that I know. In general, Local Church people would be advised by their peers and elders not to engage in holiday gift giving which might distract those around them from the reality of Christ. A position which is not uniquely Local Church, either, of course, but for whatever reason, that fellow hasn't yet heard about the dangers of idolatry that surround him at the end of the year.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:23 AM   #28
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that same fellow who started the thread you referenced?

did you notice that final crack about exchanging Christmas gifts?
I don't remember that one right off. But did you read the introduction he finally did? Seems he's only been in the LC since sometime in 2005 or so and has only been out of college for a little longer than that.

I remember some of the other young guns in Dallas back in the mid 70s. (At a lesser level I was probably like that a little too.) It sort of reminds me of Dylan's "My Back Pages" — "Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now." I know I don't always sound like it, but no matter how much I think I know now, I realize even more how much I do not. And that gives me some pause concerning what I think I do know.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:45 AM   #29
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>> I have family members in the LC and I am concerned for them. I am not concerned that they will commit suicide, that they will become involved in drugs, or will be knowingly involved in criminal activity. But I actually see the psychological effects of LC membership on them. <<
Brother Mike I understand your concern. And of course you're talking your family ; those close to your heart.

But really, when you think about it - your heartfelt concern for your family aside for a moment - your concern for psychological effects applies to people of all religions. It's more than obvious that religion makes people do crazy things.

One example among thousands, if not millions, or billions : I just saw a video of women wearing Burkas trying to eat spaghetti. It's one of the stupidest things I've seen lately. I really can't believe people can be so utterly stupid. And can you imagine the women that live under this religion? Don't ya just know they are suffering the psychological effects of Stockholm Syndrome? My heart goes out to them.

My mother was a staunch Southern Baptist ; living clearly under the law. She has passed on but when she was living it came to me in mid-life that I was never going to be close to my mother ; that her religion prevented it, and her mind was closed. I realized, and had to accept, that her mind was going to be closed until she died. There was no point in hoping for anything to change. There was no hope for me to ever be close to her. It wasn't going to happen ; that she was going to walk into her grave in error. But I loved her.

And look at the Southern Baptists. The LC is really no different than the SBC movement. Yes there are differences, like : The LC movement didn't start based upon taking a stand for slavery, like the SBC, but those kinds of differences don't really make a difference.

Christendom is replete with movements that started in error; some of them, many actually, have flourished. It's good to be concerned for your family, but if you were concerned for all the others, you wouldn't be able to keep up.

So looking at it from this perspective, the LC is no big deal. It's the same as all the others...even in intensity...look at Wahhabi Islam...can you be any more intense? It's certainly not that much different than the SBC.

Would you have concern for your family if they were in the Southern Baptist church? If not, then don't be concerned for them being in the LC. Don't make a big deal out of it. Just love them, and honor their sovereignty before the Lord, as individuals that have their right to make decisions, even wrong ones.

Life is full of psychological effects, and the LC is just one of them. Probably even a minor one, by comparison.

Just love 'em brother, and love those you come in contact with. I've made friends with the Jehovah's Witnesses, that come to my door. I've come to know them, and their personal histories. Upon learning their history, it makes sense to me why they are in the JW. I've come to love them as human beings, as children of God. I can keep up with all the people I love ; all of them screwed up in some way.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:28 AM   #30
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Seems he's only been in the LC since sometime in 2005 or so and has only been out of college for a little longer than that.
It's a fresh perspective, actually.

I saw the tail end of the glory days of the 70s in my experience and watched the sharp turn happen.

It still amazes me what happened back then in the name of "the morale" and "the impact" - two completely non-scriptural terms deduced from Lee's interpretation of how "the one accord" might be achieved practically.

But now it's 20 years later and a decade beyond Lee's death.

Being clean of the history, what do you see? And apparently, all you see is the good stuff that still remains. But I think you absolutely have to give a much bigger pass regarding all the entrenched religious practice.

In my locality, I didn't have the experience of sitting through one-person-speaking-everybody-listening meetings. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration because that's what they were actually turning into when I left in the middle of "the New Way" being promoted everywhere else.) There wasn't much religious form at all. It was very unstructured. Virtually every meeting had the character of a prayer meeting and occasionally the "burden" of the meeting was never even accomplished.

But when you come upon them today, and you're given HWMR and instructions on how to "prophesy" and directions about observing seven feasts and such, can someone just look past all that encrusted junk?

Apparently so.

But it's got to be far less attractive overall to new ones and no amount of fasting and prayer can make that one go away.

The new wine busts out of old wineskins every time.
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:58 AM   #31
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It's a fresh perspective, actually.

I saw the tail end of the glory days of the 70s in my experience and watched the sharp turn happen.

It still amazes me what happened back then in the name of "the morale" and "the impact" - two completely non-scriptural terms deduced from Lee's interpretation of how "the one accord" might be achieved practically.

But now it's 20 years later and a decade beyond Lee's death.

Being clean of the history, what do you see? And apparently, all you see is the good stuff that still remains. But I think you absolutely have to give a much bigger pass regarding all the entrenched religious practice.

In my locality, I didn't have the experience of sitting through one-person-speaking-everybody-listening meetings. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration because that's what they were actually turning into when I left in the middle of "the New Way" being promoted everywhere else.) There wasn't much religious form at all. It was very unstructured. Virtually every meeting had the character of a prayer meeting and occasionally the "burden" of the meeting was never even accomplished.

But when you come upon them today, and you're given HWMR and instructions on how to "prophesy" and directions about observing seven feasts and such, can someone just look past all that encrusted junk?

Apparently so.

But it's got to be far less attractive overall to new ones and no amount of fasting and prayer can make that one go away.

The new wine busts out of old wineskins every time.
Your comments remind of the very reasons that I keep finding myself conflicted about what should happen to the LC. When we look at the general workings of a meeting from back in the 70s, it was new and fresh. And although it may never have been THE WAY, it was quite attractive.

Then the New Way made it less atractive, and then it became a thoroughly entrenched form that didn't even resemble the one that we had in the 70s that might have been worth keeping.

But those meetings where one person shared provided a way for those whose gift/charge was teaching to provide what the rest of us needs. The only problem is whether what is being taught is worthy of the time allotted. I have great respect for the diligence and care provided by those whose daily toil is in the Word. Of course, most of the sharing back in the LC was not often from their own toil, but from repeating someone else's. (Not saying that is always bad.)

aron just wrote something about the fact that there are psychological issues surrounding all religion. And he is right. I note that there is definitely a "stuck in the past" mentality for some of the older ones where I attend, as well as a kind of dogma in the place of sound faith. Grace is nothing about us. It is strictly some free gift. They haven't read where Paul said (I think in Titus) that grace teaches us to obey.

But while aron was correct, that does not make all psychological issues the same or demand that we either go after all of them or leave them all alone.

The form of meetings in the 60s and 70s was a reasonable pattern to consider. The foundational teachings were similar to most of evangelical Christianity. But the special teachings of Lee are too often questionable (at a minimum). And the structure and operation of the system has developed to the point that it is not a healthy environment for the people that it has collected and taught to disdain anything else.

Except in peculiar assemblies, Baptists may think theirs is the best Christian group, but they live normal lives and are encouraged to seek whatever help they may need in all types of situations. I observe the effects of the admonishment to just call on the Lord more and go to more meetings. The two do not compare. There is something that seems too much like the movie The Village.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:19 PM   #32
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When we look at the general workings of a meeting from back in the 70s, it was new and fresh. And although it may never have been THE WAY, it was quite attractive.

Then the New Way made it less atractive, and then it became a thoroughly entrenched form that didn't even resemble the one that we had in the 70s that might have been worth keeping.

But those meetings where one person shared provided a way for those whose gift/charge was teaching to provide what the rest of us needs. The only problem is whether what is being taught is worthy of the time allotted. I have great respect for the diligence and care provided by those whose daily toil is in the Word.
The meetings in mutuality are the perfect form, as far as I can see. The older form with a designated leader were still pretty close as there was still much freedom for mutual sharing. To encourage more mutuality by moving the top one down a notch was just fine in my view. It's hard to break that habit and to not have it be a habit in the first place. We must all labor daily in the Word.

But what I understand these meetings have become is a shell, form over substance. I cannot testify myself about that. I can only see what they say about themselves that corresponds with that impression.

But there are many of us who remember a mutuality which was spontaneous and not organized. I testify that I have seen God in such meetings.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:13 PM   #33
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In responding to a discussion a few weeks ago (can’t remember whether it was in this forum or the Bereans) I reread 1 Corinthians 14. Something caught my eye that I did not expect, specifically in verses 26 through 33. So I read it again, and have returned to it periodically for these few weeks. And as I was reading back through this past section of my blog where I expressed my concerns about the LRC, I note that there was a little bit of the same topic found here. It began in a portion of one of YP’s comments:
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In my locality, I didn't have the experience of sitting through one-person-speaking-everybody-listening meetings. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration because that's what they were actually turning into when I left in the middle of "the New Way" being promoted everywhere else.) There wasn't much religious form at all. It was very unstructured. Virtually every meeting had the character of a prayer meeting and occasionally the "burden" of the meeting was never even accomplished.

But when you come upon them today, and you're given HWMR and instructions on how to "prophesy" and directions about observing seven feasts and such, can someone just look past all that encrusted junk?
I noted to myself that YP’s experience was not like the experience I had in which there was often either one or two LRC equivalents of a sermon each Sunday morning followed by what the Assemblies of God would call a “testimony meeting.” And this was almost a decade before him (different city). Maybe it would seem that the sermon/lesson time diminished at the end of the 70s and into the early 80s, only to return in parallel with the New Way.

In any case, I followed his comment with the following:
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When we look at the general workings of a meeting from back in the 70s, it was new and fresh. And although it may never have been THE WAY, it was quite attractive.

Then the New Way made it less atractive, and then it became a thoroughly entrenched form that didn't even resemble the one that we had in the 70s that might have been worth keeping.

But those meetings where one person shared provided a way for those whose gift/charge was teaching to provide what the rest of us needs. The only problem is whether what is being taught is worthy of the time allotted. I have great respect for the diligence and care provided by those whose daily toil is in the Word. Of course, most of the sharing back in the LC was not often from their own toil, but from repeating someone else's. (Not saying that is always bad.)
So I read 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 again. And again. Several times. Even again this morning as I started this entry.
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two — or at the most three — should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace — as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
We are familiar with Paul’s restriction on those who would speak in tongues in a meeting to be only two or three, and then only with an interpreter. But then in verse 29 (the start of the second paragraph quoted) Paul also designates two or three prophets. All others should weigh carefully what is said. He then says that if a revelation comes to someone else, the one speaking should give way. Then he says all can prophesy in turn (or one-by-one).

Now there is a bunch of uncertainty as to what kind of revelation Paul is meaning when he suggests that someone speaking should simply give way. I doubt that he simply meant that if someone who is “weigh[ing] carefully what is said,” suddenly has an “aha” moment, and jumps up with “I get it!!” that the speaker should then sit down and his time is over. While that would be an exciting experience, I’m not sure that it reflects the God of peace but rather a God of disorder.

But beyond that, while verse 31 says “you can all prophesy in turn,” does that mean “all” in the sense of the entire assembly, or in the context of those who are among the two or three?

If it means the entire assembly, then that would make a mockery of Paul’s words concerning order and peace in the assembly, and make his request for “two or three prophets” to speak in an orderly fashion irrelevant. But if it means strictly those within the two or three, then “all” becomes an uncertain term.

“All” is a funny word. It can mean everything that can be reasonably included. If we speak of “all people,” it can mean everyone, either alive, or even ever alive. But it also can mean all people within a previously defined set of people,. for example, all Americans, or all Texans. It could even mean “all” of the three designated to speak that are a subset of 30, 300, or even 3,000.

And I admit that I tend to believe that, given the context of these two paragraphs, Paul is writing about order. He has designated a reasonable way to proceed. And to say that “all” here is simply everyone present at the assembly is out of context.

But I also am not so certain about this. Designating what is probably a rather small part of the whole, then saying “all” exclusively about them seems odd, although not linguistically incorrect. Yet giving the kind of direction that he has to reflect order in the church meeting and then effectively throw it open to a kind of chaos that “all” meaning the entire congregation would entail seems contradictory.

But beyond that, the very notion that some — elders or whoever — should exercise diligence and discernment over who is permitted to teach in the assembly, makes the “open mike” quite problematic. It forces the potential conflict of personalities that will arise when exercising care for the assembly into the public eye, even becoming a disruption to the meeting.

I’m sure that someone will suggest that I have just shot every kind of “testimony meeting” down as unacceptable. And it might seem so. But I do not have such a desire. I believe that there is a place for such times, even if not as prevalently practiced as in the LRC (in any time period). I might say more about this in a future post.

But it is interesting that Paul elsewhere stated that there are “some prophets,” along with some others. And here in 1 Corinthians he states that two or three prophets should speak. He was specific in defining a subset of the congregation. He did not say that two or three of the people present can speak. He said two or three prophets. And he said “two or three,” not “all present,” or “all regenerated who are present,” or even “all prophets.”

Now it may seem that I have made a conclusion. That would be partly correct and partly incorrect. While writing this, I think that I began to see through the fog a little more clearly. As a result of that, I do have a stronger leaning toward one way. But when I said that there are open questions, I meant it. I do not consider this a settled position. But more than that, I do not consider the ultimate answers to the questions to be matters of the faith. It is not important that it be one way or the other as far as orthodoxy is concerned. I don’t think orthodoxy is concerned with this.

But it appears that the LRC understanding of “all can prophesy” as meaning everyone present in the meeting may be the result of contextomy (quoting out of context). In this case, the result seems to be that a single sentence — in the middle of a paragraph about order and only a few speaking — disagrees with the context and gives the nod to everyone speaking.

I’m not sure that is what Paul was talking about.

I welcome brief comments here within the blog. If you want to do a significant discussion on this, start a new thread in the appropriate forum section and link back to this post. I'm not sure I have much more than I have already laid out, but I would be interested in participating if it seems interesting to others.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:50 PM   #34
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In my experience the best meetings, the ones that I felt had been visited by the Lord were those in which the testimonies spoke to me. It was not the speaking of the elders that captured me for the LC, likewise it was not the teaching of WL that fed me, and during the really tough times it wasn't the thought of a message from so and so that kept me coming to the meetings.

When it says "all" can speak, I think (from my experience), it means that anyone in the meeting can speak, whether a young teenager, a small sister, a despised brother or sister, etc. You cannot help but have saints of repute, so it is crucial that "all" can speak.

From my own experience I can tell you that both in Houston and later in Odessa there were definitely times when the elders of the church did not want me to speak. The clash of personalities as you said, but the reality is when you speak in the meeting you let the church judge. That is why they never prevented me from speaking. The meeting doesn't belong to the elders, it belongs to the saints.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:40 AM   #35
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In my experience the best meetings, the ones that I felt had been visited by the Lord were those in which the testimonies spoke to me. It was not the speaking of the elders that captured me for the LC, likewise it was not the teaching of WL that fed me, and during the really tough times it wasn't the thought of a message from so and so that kept me coming to the meetings.

When it says "all" can speak, I think (from my experience), it means that anyone in the meeting can speak, whether a young teenager, a small sister, a despised brother or sister, etc. You cannot help but have saints of repute, so it is crucial that "all" can speak.

From my own experience I can tell you that both in Houston and later in Odessa there were definitely times when the elders of the church did not want me to speak. The clash of personalities as you said, but the reality is when you speak in the meeting you let the church judge. That is why they never prevented me from speaking. The meeting doesn't belong to the elders, it belongs to the saints.
I appreciate your thoughts. And they are not irrelevant. But I am not prone to direct my thoughts about these verses based on feelings. There is a reason that Paul said what he did. There is a context. And there are the words.

As I mentioned, with the context of this particular passage, "all" would not seem to refer to the whole assembly. Rather to the whole of the ones designated for the task at hand, namely "prophesying."

And further, in the context of this chapter, and the broader discussion of gifts that began a couple of chapters before, prophesying is not just something that everybody does. It is a spiritual gift. Paul may have actually said that he wished that all would prophesy. And in a similar way, certain denominations say that they believe that all should speak in tongues. But the underlying principle — there are various gifts given to each of us for the benefit of the whole group — suggests otherwise. Paul may desire it. But that is not necessarily the way that "gifts" are passed out. Lee was wrong to insist that it simply means that we all can.

And having a good experience from the testimony of someone who is otherwise not going to be on the list of 2 or 3 prophets does not alter what Paul said. If the gospel and the church was going to be about pure democracy of gifts, about ordered anarchy, then Jesus would not have kept 12 close to himself (and three of those closer than the others) and everyone else just along for the ride. He would not have sent only 70. He would have sent everyone. The result of his teachings would not have been two different things happening at the same time — the apostle's teaching and the breaking of bread from house to house. Both are important. But the teaching aspect of the meetings is not a testimony meeting. It is the clearly articulated and expounded truth from Christ and the scripture. Our testimonies, whether spoken in a meeting, or over bread, or just in the living of our lives, are the proof that what is taught is true.

And for all the claims of those special meetings in which we all "prophesied," we were still mostly focused on the effects of the special realizations of the LRC, the truths taught by Lee, and how they impressed us. Not as much about how our lives changed. Nothing about how we learned how to love our neighbor as we helped a poor person on the street.

I have a new thought that I am chewing on that I will post here in a few days.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:33 AM   #36
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First. This will probably be somewhat of a “swan song” for me. I realize that my journey is taking me elsewhere. I need to get even the remnants of the LRC out of my system. I want the only remnants of the LRC to be relegated to my get togethers with my Dad, brother and sister and their families. I really think that my time here has run its course and I am clinging to it as a familiar place. But it is getting less and less familiar, so it is probably time to go.

------

For some time I have been making comments in what seem to be two different fronts. First, I have noted that we often find ourselves falling back into the familiar ways and teachings of Lee and the LRC. Second, I have been noting that the LRC is blind to its errors because it views the world through Lee-colored glasses.

As I was reading through some posts over the past week or so, both here and on the Bereans, I have begun to merge these two ideas, and further to think that they are both more pervasive among us who think we are free of the grasp of the LRC. In effect, I believe that we have all retained our Lee-colored glasses, and that we really like them.

Here’s how it goes.

For various reasons, many who joined the LRC back in the 60s and 70s were searching for something beyond the rather old mind-set of whatever it was that we were part of, be it Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc., and even the RCC. There had been this slowly rising tide of inner-life teachers. There were quite a lot of Americans. We didn’t need Nee or Lee to cause people to thirst for more. I know that my family had been following a couple of specific teachers, one of which was a guy that I think was named Kenneth Hagan. There were others.

At the same time, there was a new surge of charismatic-types that came along outside of the regular Pentecostal circles. Names like Katheryn Kuhlman (sp?) and others held revivals complete with that “knock you down” kind of “slaying in the spirit” thing. And coupled with that was a lot of more liturgical groups having side meetings for those in their ranks who were getting into Pentecostal/charismatic things. Anglicans, Methodists, etc. There was even a meeting every Sunday evening in the nearby RCC high school cafeteria for its charismatic adherents where the nuns and priests in attendance would talk about their “unsaved” coworkers.

I went through that to point out that there was a trend of unhappiness with the “old time religion.” Didn’t need the LRC to write a supplement song to “bury that old time religion.” It was under way.

Into this fray came Watchman Nee. He came via a few of his books. And then came Witness Lee, in person, but with much less exposure. Via a few connections with some small home groups that knew others who had small home groups, etc., there developed a small collection of small home groups across America. And then over the next few years, they, and each of us as we joined in, began to see the scripture through Lee’s eyes. It was “perfect.” It gave a bunch of anarchist Americans more responsibility for their own meetings. It elevated the group above those who were not of that mind. It was enjoyable. You didn’t have to worry about falling asleep during the sermon because even when there sort of was one, it wasn’t long, and the choruses of “amen” wouldn’t let you sleep.

And we learned to see the Bible the way Lee did. We liked the kind of things we were taught. Forget God’s greatness, He’s small enough to eat! Don’t worry about that besetting sin, just keep calling on the Lord and it will eventually just go away!

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that there is not some truth to some or all of this. But on the whole, it was a specific diet of targeted doctrines and teachings and ways. And we learned to like it. It was not the whole truth. It was not properly extracted from the Word of God. It was not exegesis, but eisegesis. Not getting from the scripture, but putting into it. But we didn’t really know that.

Now we have an overall view of how the Christian life, alone and in community, should be that is informed by what we learned from Lee and the LRC. We realize that there were a lot of bad things done. We think that the “ground of the church” is not real.

Or do we? Are we still trying to figure out how to do it the right way? While we may think we are done with Lee’s teachings, do we still default to Lee’s way to read it? Do we accept that there is some overriding principle called “economy” that reinterprets scripture? Do we reject Lee, but down inside think he got it right? Do we accept that it is a given that the Jews who didn’t go back to Jerusalem from Babylon were defective? That their scattering all over the earth was in error? Do we think that it is all about what we think and believe rather than what we do? And do we still look skeptically at anyone who suggests that we should “do” anything other than read our Bibles and call on the Lord? Is our knee-jerk reaction to the name on a sign outside a meeting place to be to knock them down a notch? Is the fact that they are part of a larger group that does anything more than share a common name automatically some seedy error warned against in Revelation? Are paid preachers automatically “hirelings”? Is any kind of structure presumed to be simply in opposition to the move of the Spirit?

Do we still think that there is some special organ in our being called the “spirit” and that this organ is the only place we should be trying to find God? Do you still “turn to your spirit” as if my spirit is anything of such importance? Do you think it is “religious” to say “Sunday” or “Sunday School” or pray to God the Father about your problems, and your needs, and to ask for forgiveness yet again?

Do we presume that a proper meeting will have testimonies? Do we think that limiting the main speaking to 2 or 3 is unscriptural? Do we think that everyone should “prophesy” (or at least be free to) or else it is a degraded meeting?

Many of the things that I mention are not necessarily wrong, or bad, although a few probably are.

But as a collective, they are, at best, a subset of Christian thinking, ways, practices, doctrines, etc. And for many of us, when we think about meetings, read the scripture, or fellowship with other Christians, we default into these modes. And we really do tend to try to come up with LRC ways and practices on so much that it looks as if we did not wake up and discover that we had been mired in an insane asylum, but rather just in near-perfection once we got rid of Lee and then manage to excommunicate the BBs. Only problem is that no one except those who were also in that near-perfection seem to think it is so near-perfect.

What I’m saying is that, all packaged together, we tend to wear Lee-colored glasses no matter how bad we think Lee was. We may have exchanged our Lee’s for some LRC’s but that just means the same glasses with a correction for a slight astigmatism.

And once again, I’m not saying that everything LRC is simply bad. But when we come here to discuss alternatives, there is an extreme tendency to speak as if the default is a slightly improved LRC rather than anything else. We may have a problem with Lee, but we really do think that Christianity is mooing cows. We dismiss their thinking so quickly that if we could react that quickly with our eyes we could actually see a bullet coming and duck before being shot.

So the question (not to be answered in my blog, but elsewhere) is, how much of the practices, teachings, ways, etc. of the rest of Christianity, in specific or in general, do you think are:
1. Scriptural (scripture actually supports)
2. Unscriptural (scripture actually stands against)
3. Neither (scripture says nothing one way or the other)
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:57 AM   #37
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Default Thinking Outside the LRC Box

I know that I have previously said some of these things. But they are lost in various threads. Plus I have added some to it. I do not expect comments here. If something is actually worthy of discussion, please start a thread and do it there, not here.

New considerations as we wander further from our LRC home base:

I’ll start with the one that is still most troubling to me. The RCC. There are clearly errors going on there. But I’m not sure that the most egregious ones are actually understood correctly by most of us. Yes, they pray to “Saints” and to Mary. But even in the case of Mary, I believe that you will find that their understanding is that they somehow missed the “no other mediator” thing and think they need help getting Jesus’ attention. They have not made Saint, or even Mary, out to be deity. Just mediators. And while they really need to pray to God, they are intending that their prayer get to God, not just to this “Saint” or to Mary. When they confess their sins in that little box, there are telling their sins one to another. It is incorrect to think that this absolves them, or that the penance they do afterward does either. But it is their (erroneous) hope that their prayer is getting to God. Or is it completely erroneous. I’m not as certain as I used to be.

All the excessive imagery and the overt focus on Mary and the Saints rather than Jesus is surely a problem. And there are probably a lot of regular folks down in the trenches that understand that Mary and Saint stuff more as a kind of idolatry, even if the official position on it all is different.

But isn’t that sort of like the Arminianism I grew up with in the Assemblies of God (which sprang mostly from the Methodists in the early 1900s). I thought it meant you just had to do any random, small bad thing, including thinking bad about someone and you were off the saved list and going straight to Hell. Of course in the real doctrine it was not so easy to fall off. But a whole lot of us thought it anyway. But not all. I recall my mother saying years after we left that she understood it as not such a black/white simple thing. And she was no theologian. Didn’t even go to college. Well, one semester in about her late 40s.

And to morph from the RCC — all that stuff about works. It seems that they just believe in works salvation. Or is it that they just don’t teach a line-in-the-sand, single point in time conversion, but rather a training that helps you learn and eventually believe. And obey. Are your RCC, Anglican, or Lutheran, etc., friends simply not saved because they didn’t come to that salvation through a sort of crisis point of decision to believe or not believe and can now quote day and time for you?

Not really that bad. Now if they could just get rid of the statues, and confessional, and rosaries, and Mary. Well not get rid of her, just put her in her rightful place. No. I won’t be going there any time soon. But I’m not as certain that they are merely the whore of Babylon in which it is an accident if you managed to become a true Christian.

So what about the Lutherans and Anglicans? Is their liturgy just too stuffy to really be of Christ? Are the reformed/Presbyterians and Methodists not far behind?

And what about this transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, or one cup or lots of little cups, or a bowl that you dip the bread in? Are the teachings so wrong that they are apostate? Is the form the important thing? Or is it the remembrance? Is it the forced stop from the rest of life, including Christian teaching, and refocus on Jesus and his sacrifice?

Do we have a piano? And/or organ? Acoustic guitars? Other instruments, including electronic and percussion? Or do we just sing a capella? Does it really matter?

Are we affiliated with other similar churches? Officially? Unofficially? Or are we just a single congregation, small or large? Do we baptize believers only, or also “the whole household” and therefore each new one added to the household? (I honestly believe that the former is preferred. But it also is the way I have always been taught since childhood.)

Is scripture the ultimate authority? And if we believe that, whose interpretation is correct? And since we do not all agree, does that undermine the authority of scripture?

Or is it only on the things that are central to the faith that we make such strong demands?

Is it possible that we do need to read and understand scripture in community. In a place where diverse thoughts can be explored and considered, and although we may not entirely agree, we can assent to accept a reading. Does this suggest that the RCC is actually sort of right to say that it is the church that is the ultimate authority because it is the church that decides what it is that scripture says? Or does the fact that they limit the “church” to the magisterium defeat that claim? But does any claim that we all get to “vote” just as preposterous?

Is a regular church service that invites people in, speaks the Word, speaks from the Word, invites participation and contemplation in communion and prayer, and then sends the people out deficient because it is too regimented? (This is sort of a description of some liturgies for worship.) Is it automatically deficient because of its “oldness”? Or is the only “oldness” to be found in people no matter their mode of worship? Is it deficient because it is “traditional”? Is it deficient because it is “religious”?

And when reading scripture, is it reasonable to allow any single lens to rule all of it? Whether that lens is God’s economy (dispensing), charismatic gifts, doing good, Calvinism, ground, or even the church as the body of Christ.

Are any descriptions of God and of his relationship with man all encompassing? Is grace everything? Does being born of spirit rule everything? Is the end of the law simply no more law and therefore freedom? Or is it the end of doing what is righteous about the law simply because we are told to do it but rather because we now have a life inside us that provides the power to do it? Is everything about abiding? Is everything about shepherds? Or leaven? Or vines and branches?

The LRC had a limited number of pet overlays — ground, dispensing, turning to your spirit (that's nearly all of it). Was this emphasis the reason that the broad scope of the full gospel was missed, and the emphasis came to be on meetings? And the leadership began to rule with a more authoritative hand than any of the “clergy” that they claimed was the scourge of the Christian existence?

Do any of those overlays describe everything about us or God? Is God simply love? Or is he also power and justice, etc.? Can an overlay that describes one aspect of our relationship with God be taken everywhere in scripture and cause those verses to be reinterpreted through that lens? Or does that destroy or mask other aspects of our relationship?

These are many of the questions that I have been grappling with. I actually think that I don’t like some of the answers. Not because I think they are bad. But because they are so different from my upbringing. My 18 years of Arminian Pentecostalism, followed by many years of Calvinist, fundamental, evangelicalism, 14.5 years of which was in the LRC. And now in a Bible church that has mixed in some of the liturgical practices as we have one of the best mostly volunteer worship bands in the area (imho) and continue to have pretty sound DTS quality teaching. And as I read and learn from McLaren and some other Emergents, along with the standard old-line writers.

And when I consider the LRC and the teachings of Lee, I find one of the most extreme systems, and one that is almost totally intolerant of all others. A collection of teachings that is more dogmatic than most of the ones it complains about. And a collection of teachings that do not include everything that was taught. Why? Possibly because an overlay of God’s economy was allowed to dismiss obedience. To dismiss the works side of the equation. To only see the abiding and spirituality. To wait around for God to do it all.

I’m not sure that I can keep the two arenas separate. And I’m not sure that I can keep my desire for moving forward out of the look back into the LRC.

And if you take exception to some of these comments, know that as I wrote them, I still have reservations about many of them. But I also have reason to believe that they are more right than I dared to hint.

Enough for now.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:18 PM   #38
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Default God

The following comes from a thread begun by awareness which sprung from another thread started by aron. Following are my thoughts on the comments with respect to post #100 in the “Lee and the book of Job” thread. While it will be easy to discover who wrote the post (if you don’t already know) my intent is not to speak to him only, but to the topic. I do refer to “you,” though it is not intended to elicit his specific response. But I have to talk to someone, even an imaginary “you.”
Quote:
The Book of Job is the problem of evil in parable form. Struck by evil, Job appeals to the God of justice. The God who answers is not the God of justice but the God of power. The God of justice is Ultimate Justice which we know as the moral law within our mind. It is the God of whom Paul says: "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." The God of power is the God of nature who is incompatible with the God of justice. The God of Power knows no morality. It includes chaos, evil and suffering. It asserts that it is not subject to questions from mortal creatures, including man and that it has absolute freedom over everything. Yet, because Job does not lose sight of the law of justice and morality, Job is on higher ground than the God of power. His question persists and poses a challenge to God. It is a question which the New Testament seeks to answer via the incarnation of God as a man who himself suffers evil.
First, I’m not sure that Job is parable, although that could be true.

And second, there are several comments that speak of incompatibility of two different Gods, or aspects of God. If this is a hidden way of saying that neither is God and there is no God, or even no god, or only gods, then don’t bother reading the rest because it does accept the philosophical existence of one God who is creator of everything. That is my religion. Some have a “it came from nothing and I don’t know why” religion. Or some other religion, including the “I just don’t care to think about it, I just don’t believe in a god” religion.

Otherwise, read on.
Quote:
Job appeals to the God of justice. The God who answers is not the God of justice but the God of power.
Job makes a case based on the assumption that he is being unfairly treated and essentially citing his righteousness. God responds that calamity is not necessarily about righteousness and evil. It is something that we all face. Yes, God has the wherewithal to demand, and get, justice — both against the evildoer and on behalf of the righteous. But the fact that there is calamity is not necessarily because there is justice being played-out, rightly or wrongly. It may be that there is simply calamity.

And on what basis does anyone command of God that he remove calamity? All calamity? All the way back to pre-fall conditions? (Of course with the retention of our modern-day conveniences.) God does not continually dole out bad karma. He simply removed some of the protection against evil and allowed it to run its course.

This is where the free will of man comes into play. Man had a choice in the beginning. He could remain in a pristine environment with protection from all possible calamity, or he could reach out and take the one thing commanded against — and bearing a consequence. The consequence was the limiting of the life of man, the release of restraint on the natural calamity that can be around us (flood, famine, wild animals, thorns, weeds, poisons, etc.) as well as on the effects of the evil that can be dreamed up in the hearts of men, with or without the help of Satan and his demons.

On what basis is this the result of God’s wrongdoing?
Quote:
The God of justice is Ultimate Justice which we know as the moral law within our mind.
Yes, there is a law within our minds. But is it correct to say that it is simply the “God of Justice”? On what basis do we conclude that the God of Justice is simply the law in our minds? That would mean that God’s justice is as limited in scope as the best that man can conjure-up on a good day. Surely you do not believe that God’s justice is that low.

But even if you do believe that, on what basis are you/we to conclude that this is a true statement?
Quote:
The God of power is the God of nature who is incompatible with the God of justice.
The God of power is the God of nature? Again, on what basis? Would you equate the seemingly unlimited power of the one who created something with the limited power inherent within that created thing?

What makes the God of power incompatible with the God of justice? Is it the presumption that power must be exerted at its maximum and Justice must be exerted at its maximum and it is clear that at their maximums they will overlap and be at odds? Then do you deny God the rational facilities to decide how to dole out his power and justice? Or do we demand that justice override power, therefore if someone needs justice and power shows up, then God must be deficient.

Do we demand that God be what we would have him to be? Would we refuse to pray that God make us to be what he would have us to be? Even if it meant a shortened life that demonstrated his very existence?

Quote:
The God of Power knows no morality.
A naked assertion. How do we conclude this unless the “God of Power” is simply not even in the same room with the “God of Love” or the “God of Justice.” And this can only be if we deny the very existence of the One God that is revealed in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. Since you read this far, then you should already accept that this God is presumed. So within this construct, how do you arrive at this schizophrenic God? One who has multiple personalities that are unaware of each other? That does not confer among himself to determine the correct solution within the construct of a created world in which there is somewhat of an intentional “hands-off” approach so that our free will can be allowed to operate.

I started to move on from this part. But I think that it is here that the crux of the issue is at work. God is morality. Every aspect of God operates within morality. And part of morality is the acceptance of the thoughts and actions of others. God allowed us free will. What is free will if it is immediately ignored to step in and stamp out the results of free will gone amok? You may argue that Job did not exercise free will in such a manner as to obtain the calamities that Satan was allowed to put on him. And yet Job has exercised his free will to determine that his lot in life is not the result of his wrongdoing, but something else. And that something else was not the morality, or lack thereof, of God.

And the existence of the calamity that befell him was the result of another’s free will (even if that other lived centuries before). And it was compounded by the author of evil in our environment, Satan, who exercised some kind of free will long before man first stretched out his hand in disobedience to God.
Quote:
Yet, because Job does not lose sight of the law of justice and morality, Job is on higher ground than the God of power. His question persists and poses a challenge to God. It is a question which the New Testament seeks to answer via the incarnation of God as a man who himself suffers evil.
This is most troubling. Job is on higher ground that the God of power? How do you say this? Because God does not simply step in in his justice and correct the evil that has befallen Job?

His question challenges God? Well, it would be at least somewhat correct to say that Job did challenge God. And God responded with his own challenge. Here is a shortened paraphrase of God’s response.

Would you discredit me? Can you begin to do anything that I have done or continue to do? Can you stretch out your hand and build and destroy? Punish and reward? Clothe yourself in spender? If so, then I will accept that you are an equal and can save yourself.

Oddly enough, before God even says this, Job has essentially slapped his hand over his mouth and said “Hush my mouth. I am a fool.”

Is that the man on the higher ground? Or the man who recognizes that he is on a small speck of dirt far below the realm of the God that made it all.

Last. I am not sure how it is concluded that Jesus is the answer to Job’s suffering of evil. That Jesus is the result of a seeking to answer Job’s question. That God steps back upon hearing Job’s complaint and ponders for a few centuries and manages to come up with Christ and his suffering.

-----

I have recently mentioned at least once, maybe more, the idea that there are two ways to look at God. The best way to state them is that we can either accept God and what that means for us, or we can dissect God and analyze the ways he relates to us.

In acceptance, God is the creator. He is the supplier and is far above us. And even in our calamities, we are comforted by his very existence even if we are not relieved of the calamity.

In dissecting, we bring God close and make him into thousands of propositions, attributes, etc. We study how those relate to us, and we seek to see them operate in relation to us.

And if we are not careful, we come to conclude that we can dictate or direct how they operate. Or we come to conclude that certain attributes are the keys and force everything to fit into that understanding. Like separating God into schizophrenic personalities of power, justice, love, etc., and demanding which one should be present and in what circumstances.

But in the end, we will do both. We will accept and we will study. But in our dissection and study we should always remember that we are focusing on minutia concerning something (someone) so vast that it is like trying to understand the ecosystem of North America by looking at a garden in someone’s back yard in upstate New York. Yes, we are told a lot about God through his Word as recorded in scripture. But it is not exhaustive. It is what we need for our life. And since we are not tasked with dealing with things outside our world of flesh and bones (other than to pray concerning the principalities and powers), we are not told everything. Just what we need.

So we should get to know our God. Know that he is power, justice, love, righteousness, grace, peace, and so much more. And we should be at peace to live this life under the care of the God that is the whole thing, not just a collection of things.

I’m never going to phrase it in a way that would be worthy of a book or a study of theology or philosophy.

And if the reason for the distress about God brought on by reading Job is related to real-life calamities for which there are no earthly answers and that do not seem to square up with what we think we know about God, then this whole thing is entirely too cerebral and heartless to even be considered. Another heartless and cerebral response to that would be to point out that the problem may be that we too often are so stuck on the overarching meaning of God’s attributes — like saying “God is love” and taking this to mean that anything that we wouldn’t consider an act of love to either be something from Satan, or evidence piling up that there is no God or that he really isn’t love. But too often it is the focus on the minutia concerning God rather than resting in the totality of God that is the problem.

I like those irrelevant Life study message titles that ZNP recently posted. Those are the result of focusing on minutia. They take us away from real life and from the experience of acts of grace, love, justice, righteousness, etc., in the midst of a fallen and sinful world and cause us to think for a moment that we have found the variant of minutia that will get the best stuff out of God. Then when it doesn’t pan out, since the bar was set so high, we either refuse to believe that God is real, or continue on trapped in our pride that will not let us admit we could have been wrong. That is how so many either hang on in the LRC in quiet desperation, or leave in a huff and go off the deep end. Fortunately those are not the only answers or possibilities. But they are too prevalent.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:04 AM   #39
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Default What is the Main Thing? (Not the Church)

I recently read in a book an account by the writer of his last year of college in which he needed one more religion class for his major. So he approached a professor to suggest an independent study project. The professor initially balked, but then said “OK” and assigned a 50-page paper on “The Idea of the Good in the Teachings of Jesus.” So for three months he learned something about Jesus that his Southern Baptist upbringing and training never even suggested. The Jesus in the gospels is not in the same world as our churches (including both the SBC and the LRC).

This just underscored something that I believe is so key to discovering the core of so many of the LRC’s problems. (And, I should add, the problems in a whole lot of churches.) We really do not base our theology on the teachings of Jesus and on the direct accounts of his words, actions, and life. We base it on the commentary required to help people who were not there in Galilee and Jerusalem with Jesus. Who were not already knowledgeable of the underpinnings of the Jewish faith in the unique God. And we do not take the care to be sure that we are simply using that commentary to understand the core in the gospels.

(I will admit that, while there was something wrong with the focus and posts of one past participant here, he was right to point to the gospels as the starting point.)

For me, I’m beginning to see that, while I would never say that the church is not important, it is not the focus of the New Testament. The gospels almost do not speak of it. They speak of our lives. Of how we live. And Acts does not so much talk about the church as it does describe the spread of the gospel to people who gathered together as the church. And the people in Acts are not focused on the church, but on their lives and their relationships with God and with each other.

They were busy teaching everyone to obey all that Jesus commanded. And if the record we have is representative, little of it had to do with the church. And of those very few mentions by Jesus, at least one is a spiritual/administrative unpleasantry in the form of discipline of a seriously wayward member.

How many times does the NT focus on the church as some kind of special end-all theological centerpiece? Compare that to how many times and for how much of the text there is discussion of the living of those who would be followers of Christ. The church is not unimportant. But it is not the centerpiece of the post-ascension kingdom. It is the people living as originally created that is the centerpiece. Yes, they are the church.

But, like so many other of Lee’s errors, by repackaging it, he diminishes the real importance. Grace isn’t something observable. It is just Christ. Mercy isn’t realized as such, it is just Christ. You don’t need mercy. You just need Christ. Turn away from your needs and just seek Christ. Forget that pathetic prayer about your daily bread. So what if it was Jesus that said to pray it. After the crucifixion and resurrection, it is just law, so you can forget it. He didn’t really mean for us to pray those kinds of prayers. He just gave them something to tide them over until he would be in them.

Yes, the church is the body of Christ. And it is the Bride of Christ. But this is all metaphor. And the church is not some thing. It is not some place. It is not some building.

It is the Christians. So the Christians are the body of Christ. The Christians are the Bride of Christ. We are the ones who walk on the earth today. Who speak to people. Who demonstrate the love for neighbor and enemy.

Here’s a test for what kind of Christian you are. I won’t bother trying to score you. Those that get it will understand and those that don’t won’t.


For each of the following, what is the first thing you think of, what is the first action you think should be taken, and what part do you think the church has in it:
  • If I say “abortion”
  • If I say “liturgy”
  • If I say “gay marriage”
  • If I say “tradition”
  • If I suggest that a particular preacher has privately endorsed Obama
  • If I mention a creed
  • If I say “ecumenical”
  • If I say “just war”
  • If I suggest that America is not a Christian nation (and never has been)
  • If I suggest that the RCC is not simply the whore of Babylon
  • If I think that a lack of understanding of propitiary atonement is irrelevant to salvation
  • If I say that works are not only OK, but important and even mandatory
(Don't bother trying to figure what I think about these. You can't tell.)

Oh, I could go on into more irrelevant things, and into things some think are even more important. The funny thing is that even the more irrelevant things are thought to be important by some.


But the question is not what you think about some of these in theological terms. Instead it is what you do with them in the context of human interaction and the living of a life of a Christ follower.

And I know that most of this is not fodder for discussions within the main forum. But I believe that this is part of the fundamental error of Lee’s teachings and the LRC. It is that almost everything is backwards in terms of importance. Or emphasized in the wrong aspects.

Like abiding is not about basking and taking in. It is about participating in a process that includes both taking in of a supply and the use of that supply to do things.

I welcome small comments here in the blogosphere. If you really want to discuss some of this, find the right place in the main forum and set up a thread.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:57 AM   #40
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Default Ministry Reading Pabulum

Over the years, from times in the LRC through almost twice as many years outside it, we have had discussions about the kind of things that are preached. Now in the LRC, there is nothing being “preached” any more because it would appear that they have gone to self-feeding from pre-packaged, pre-interpreted, pre-digested, now regurgitated history under the title “Ministry Reading Portion.”

Since the LRC, we have experienced different kinds of preaching as the group we have been part of for virtually all of the time went from searching for a new preacher and then the following years as the new preacher began to alter his approach to his tasks.

I recall discussions about whether sermons were too touchy-feely, or too theologically heady. Sometimes sermons seem to be directed at someone else. (That is typical when you don’t want it to touch you.) Sometimes it seems too much like just great instructions for living with limited real connection to the scripture. Other times there is much analysis of the scripture but what to do with it seems less certain.

But the day that the core of a sermon is something like what was in the Church in Bellevue’s May 20, 2012 “Ministry Reading Portion” is the day I seek a new source of ministry.

My wife and I may disagree at times about some aspects of the way that sermons are developed and given. We may wish for more scriptural content, or better connection to the application(s). But when the core of it really has nothing to do with me, or to the extent that it does, it is all about me getting lost in some larger group that has all of these ethereal attributes, I find it useless.

I repost from the Bellevue weekly fellowship:

Quote:
Ministry Reading Portion
CHAPTER TWELVE

The Wife

The church is the wife of Christ, the counterpart of Christ. The church as the wife of Christ matches Christ. In Genesis 2:18 God said that it is not good for man to be alone; this word reveals God’s heart. God felt that it was not good for Him to be alone; He needed a counterpart, the church. Christ needs the church to be His counterpart. When we see the husband of a couple, we are seeing only half of the couple; there is another half. Both a husband and a wife need to be together to be complete.

For example, if a gourd is cut into two, neither half is complete. Likewise, if a watermelon is cut into two, neither half is complete. It is not complete until both halves are together. In the same way, without man as His match, God is short of His counterpart. This means that without the church, Christ is short of His counterpart. God built the woman in Genesis 2 to match Adam. The church matches Christ as His counterpart. If there is no church, Christ is short of His counterpart. In the universe, God has been longing to find a counterpart for His Son, Christ; that counterpart is the church. The church is the bride of Christ to match Christ.

The Warrior

The church as a warrior is for fighting. The warrior in Ephesians 6 is not an individual saint but the corporate church. The armor in verses 10 through 20 is for the Body, not for an individual. No spiritual believer as an individual can richly experience all the items of the armor. When John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, the light concerning the church was not clear. Therefore, he likened the warrior in Ephesians 6 to an individual saint. The warrior in chapter 6 is the church, not an individual; the armor is also a corporate armor, not the armor for an individual saint. Only the church in oneness can experience all the riches of the whole armor of God. God has been hindered from carrying out His purpose by His enemy, Satan. Therefore, in order to accomplish His will, God needs to deal with His enemy through warfare. Ephesians shows how the church fights for God. God deals with His enemy through the church in order to accomplish His will. Therefore, the church is a spiritual warrior, fighting for God to accomplish His purpose.

The City

The city is the aggregate of the four previously mentioned items: the Body, the dwelling place, the wife, and the warrior. The city is the Body of Christ throughout eternity. Christ will be expressed through the city and live in the city. The city is an enlarged dwelling place. In this age, the church is a dwelling place, a temple for God to dwell in; in eternity, this dwelling place will be enlarged, becoming a city. The city is the bride of Christ; the bride and the city are actually one. The city is a warrior, but in eternity, when God’s enemy is completely dealt with, there will be no darkness, no death, and no need for fighting. The city is an aggregate of the many statuses of the church.

In relation to authority, when the city is manifested, authority will be fully manifested. Authority can be seen in the Body, the dwelling place, the wife, and the warrior. Especially during warfare, anyone who cannot submit to authority has no place as a warrior; soldiers must submit absolutely to authority. In addition, a city implies ruling. In the holy city, New Jerusalem, God’s authority is firmly established; the throne of God with His authority is in the city (Rev. 22:3). God reigns over the nations through this city, and this city is where God executes His authority. The Lord’s reigning forever and ever is also a matter of authority. Therefore, the city denotes God’s authority and ruling.

We need to see that the Body, the dwelling place, the bride, and the warrior are for the exercise of authority; these items have one goal, the establishment of God’s authority so that God’s glory can be expressed. In Revelation 21—22 God’s authority is as secure as the city. This is accomplished through God’s building work throughout the generations. In this city there is the throne of God, signifying God’s authority, and there is the life of God as its content. Everything of God is in this city; God can move and rule to express Himself in this city. Through this ruling, God’s glory can shine forth, and God will bring the whole universe into harmonious order so that the whole universe can express God’s glory in an orderly manner.
What is in this that affects the way I actually live? What about any of this is meaningful to this life? I am not saying that some aspects of thing are not true, or a reasonable representation of the meaning of some metaphor.

But this is not a discussion of a passage. It is a collection of assertions under a heading to which verses have been attached by reference, and in some cases paraphrase or snippets included, to collect something together into one in a way that is not found in scripture.

Genesis 2:18 is not simply a statement made to reveal God’s heart. God is not like my grandmother who who never asked anyone to pass anything at a family dinner. She would always ask you if you wanted some of what was in front of you. From that, you were to deduce that she wanted some and send it on its way to her. (So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.)

This whole passage of Lee — with a light sprinkling of minor scriptural references — removes us from the picture. Note that the stuff in Ephesians is not for the individual Christian. It is for the corporate church. That might be somewhat true. But Ephesians does not say that. It does not exclude the application to the individual. Neither does it give it strictly to the corporate.

And the part on the City. A whole lot of conjecture about the totality of cities gleaned from looking at, well, cities. The scripture eventually referenced does not actually support much of what was said. It was simply stated as fact and we are to declare “Hallelujah!” and ignore that nagging question inside.

I listened to my (literally) genius mother who taught herself to read (she read Gone With the Wind in early elementary school) declare that she could not understand scripture on her own. I will admit that we are often a little too free to think that we only need a Bible and the Spirit and we will do just fine. We really do need people whose lives are given to study of the scripture to help us. But when that help has such a limited link to what scripture actually says, and expects us to swallow things so nearly opposed to scripture as true, then we need to declare that we do have good minds, turn them back on, and use them to reject this kind of lull-you-to-sleep nonsense that relegates your “Christian life” to just being part of something else. That has nothing real and meaningful to say about the life you now live other than to turn that verse in Galatians into a slogan.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:41 PM   #41
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Default Re: What is the Main Thing? (Not the Church)

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For me, I’m beginning to see that, while I would never say that the church is not important, it is not the focus of the New Testament.

I welcome small comments here in the blogosphere. If you really want to discuss some of this, find the right place in the main forum and set up a thread.
Jesus is the main thing. Jesus is the focus of the Bible, both OT & NT. Jesus should be our focus, not the church. Paul said that his gospel, which he called "the Gospel of God" was "...concerning His Son..."... it was not concerning the church... see Romans 1.

The Gospel, the Good News, is concerning Jesus. I would posit that those who focus on "building" are in danger of building Babylon.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #42
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OK. Enough is enough. I now have to redraft this post because the #*%&^@ McAfee Site Advisor popped-up as I was hitting “review” to ask whether I really wanted to be on this site. While not the inevitable outcome, this time it lost the post so that when I got back to here, to do the reviewing, the post did not exist. It was not in the previous screen. It was gone. 30 minutes of effort lost.

McAfee says that for smaller sites, they don’t have the resources to check everything out, so they need site administrators to register their sites with them. It may be an annoyance, but it will decrease our ongoing annoyance.

But I will try to mostly recreate my thoughts. This time offline. I always used to do it that way. But with the introduction of Office 2007, there began to be problems keeping weird formatting issues out of the forum. But, alas, I guess it must be until that little site advisor turns from yellow to green when I log onto this site.

I’m sure that this version will be quite different from the original.

- - - -

I have probably got some of you wondering what is going on with me. I visit less regularly. More like sporadically. And I have begun to take some even more strong stands in favor of Christianity as we know it. And I don’t really leave any of it out. It does sort of make one wonder why I would bother picking on the LRC if I can be so generous to the RCC. I’m not giving the RCC a free pass. But the problems I have with the LRC affect me and my relationship with family. So those clearly stand out as more important to me.

For the past year I have begun to drop out of some things. I rarely visit facebook any more. I have been reading less of the extreme “emergent” blogs that I used to follow. I have even stopped being regular here. (Add to that a week-long trip to the NW for rest and relaxation with my younger son and I’ve not been around much lately.)

But I am at a different place in my spiritual journey. The journey began in my youth with the Assemblies of God (AOG). During my senior year of high school, we (the whole family) left that for the LRC. Just up and left. (Of course, that is fairly common of LRC converts.) Then 14.5 years later, me, my wife, and our two young children (5 and 2) left the LRC. We have mostly been at one Bible church the whole time. We recently moved to another Bible church. Not because of problems or disagreements. But our son followed a girl at Dallas Theological Seminary to this other group and married her. We get to see them more often this way. (That kind of thing will get you the label of “marginal” in the LRC.)

But before that, back in 2005, I got a copy of The Mind Benders, that awful book that we sued back in the late 70s / early 80s. Then shortly after that, The Thread of Gold. It was through that author that I found out about the BARM and from there we have mostly moved here. What the books, and then the forums showed me was that our exit from the LRC was far from complete. We continued to hold onto too much of their thinking and ways. I began to see the words of scripture as they were written and not as they were reinterpreted for us.

I am now convinced that the old things are neither something to be discarded like dirt from your shoes, nor cherished like there can be no more. The ways of various groups are just that — ways. They are not gospel. Neither are they heresy.

Then why would I come here to join in chastising the LRC when I think that virtually all the others are OK? Not because I think all others are the best, but because I think that the “we are superior” mindset of the LRC, coupled with a core of teaching that gives unrighteous liberties to the leadership while keeping the rank-and-file under worse chains than we think are on those in the RCC.

And I know that my generosity to the RCC may tend to grate on some. I do not think they are simply OK. There is much to say about them. But I also cannot join with those who virtually declare them to be not a church. But within that, I believe that there are many more there who are “saved” than the rest of us like to consider possible. I’m convinced that Martin Luther did not complain that Catholics did not have faith. They simply did not understand that the faith they had gave them surety. Since this was not a teaching pushed forward by the RCC, the fact that salvation was attained by the simple act of faith was not recognized. But that did not make it untrue. I don’t think that Martin Luther was trying to get Catholics saved. He was trying to show that they were and could know it.

And nothing has really changed. Yeah, the RCC still suggests that you need another mediator. Pretty poor. But at the same time, they may be better at confessing their sins one to another than most of the rest of us are. I think that we like to just “tell it to Jesus” and leave it at that. Surely that is the important thing. But as we do find that we are perpetually needing to “tell it,” and often for the same thing over and over, telling it to someone else actually does help us to have someone with an audible voice trying to help us keep in line. Does the RCC system do all of this? No. But then again, I’m not sure of one that fully does.

My alternate journey through study on the “emerging church” movement (They hate to be called a movement) is also dwindling. Not because I have found all my answers, but because I am finding that there has always been a center and that study (along with this one) helped clear away the vines that had grown over the door into the center.

The church is not the center. Ministers are not the center. Jesus is the center. Following Jesus is the center. Obeying is the center. Love God and love your fellow man. If you can’t link it back to this, you probably don’t understand it and it isn’t the center.

And you don’t love your fellow man by denigrating him/her as poor and pathetic. Love does not stand at a distance and demand that everyone rush to your side.

I will continue to participate here on and off because I still have family in the LRC. My father, a brother and a sister, along with their spouses and children. 14 in all, including 3 of my nephews’ spouses. There is no way to avoid the clueless insults that come from their mouths at times. They never mean to insult. They just don’t see it.

They are clueless.

So let’s give them some clues.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:29 AM   #43
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In the last post, I mentioned having read The Mind Benders back in 2005. Based on more recent discussions here, I am fairly certain that it was The God-Men that I actually read. What I read was only concerning the LRC. I believe that The Mind Benders covers several sects/cults, originally including the LRC.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:03 PM   #44
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Having just stepped into another minefield, I have to admit that I am less and less concerned with the ongoing errors of the LRC (others are dealing with those quite well), but more and more concerned about how we have simply replaced one kind of dogma for another. Maybe not as extreme a dogma, but dogma nonetheless.

We are too often busy lobbing well-deserved grenades over the LRC’s fence to notice that while we may have moderated our position on Christianity, we still have so many of the problems with it that we never imagined were there until Lee and his lackey’s told us about them. We have jettisoned “the ground” but somewhat condemn ourselves to actually proving Benson’s (and others’) claims that you just can’t go on anywhere else.

Why? Because they have a choir. Or they have a rock band. Or they actually say the words “go to church.” The list goes on and on. We continue to determine that the errors of denominationalism are what we were told because we can find evidence of some spiritual or doctrinal error occurring inside of some of them in some locations (assemblies). Or we distrust even elders because we know of an elder that (fill in the blank with whatever evil or error).

We want to encourage the LRC membership to feel free to jump ship, then turn around and declare that most of everything else is no better. If that is the case, if your particular city doesn’t have and real dealings with Anaheim (as far as the average member can tell) and has some real spiritual camaraderie, why exchange the devil you know for a different devil?

Are we that unhappy with where we have gone? Is it really worse than that little group in Corinth that Paul had to chastise so severely? In most cases, I bet it is not.

Yes, you can find issues with some of the older denominations. I note that there is about to be another split in the Lutheran ranks over the recent ordination of an actively gay preacher/priest. It is unfortunate that there is no one with the status of Paul to kick that in the head. But there isn’t. But the fact that this happens is not proof that the LRC is right. Or more importantly it is not proof that the LRC is the “only true church.” And it does not make any other group (and maybe even member assemblies of that group) spiritually unfit.

It is interesting that when we first linked-up with the LRC in the early/mid 70s, there was a significant movement underway that brought many Christians together despite their preferences in meeting or doctrine. To some extent, it was precursor to much of the breaking down of walls between groups that has increased over the years since.

But the LRC offered a different way. Form yet another sect and specialize in pointing at everyone else’s flaws.

Reminds me of a song from the Sesame Street movie, “Follow That Bird.” Oscar the Grouch sings the "Grouch National Anthem" which includes the lines:
Let this be your grouchly cause
Point out everybody’s flaws
Something is wrong with everything
Except the way I sing
Doesn’t take much modification to make it an anthem for the LRC. The question is, have we completely stopped singing it?

I keep finding that I have not. And then for some period of time after each realization, I struggle to reset my mind, by the Spirit, to have the mind of Christ rather than just the mind of Lee. I’m sure that it will continue.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:19 PM   #45
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Default Re: What is the Main Thing? (Not the Church)

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Jesus is the main thing. Jesus is the focus of the Bible, both OT & NT. Jesus should be our focus, not the church. Paul said that his gospel, which he called "the Gospel of God" was "...concerning His Son..."... it was not concerning the church... see Romans 1.

The Gospel, the Good News, is concerning Jesus. I would posit that those who focus on "building" are in danger of building Babylon.
.

Very good points made Aron. Letting go of the -dogma- "Christ and the church" has helped me focus on God and my relationship with Him through the Living Word, Jesus, operating in me through His Holy Spirit. I read and search the scriptures asking the Lord to give me revelation, insight and understanding where I lack it.

I do not shut out teachings, preaching and fellowship. What I have discovered is if I do not sit under a pastor's teaching or have daily/weekly fellowship with church going friends/brethren, that I am -not- going to die spiritually.

So what if I do not pray with someone everyday or fellowship with brethren everyday??

I used to look for fellowship with brethren daily and opportunities to share the gospel as well. Not anymore. If it happens it happens. The Lord usually brings someone to me without me trying.

So focusing on Jesus, the Word, the Lord has become my priority. :-)

Carol G
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:57 PM   #46
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I have begun to take some even more strong stands in favor of Christianity as we know it. And I don’t really leave any of it out. It does sort of make one wonder why I would bother picking on the LRC if I can be so generous to the RCC. I’m not giving the RCC a free pass. But the problems I have with the LRC affect me and my relationship with family. So those clearly stand out as more important to me.
Mike. I just started reading your blog. If I am not posting, I am not lurking. I do not read all threads because compared to most people here, I was in the LC a very short time. The RcV was not even compiled! But I do have a copy of the NT RcV.

When I was in the LC, we mostly used the KJ. I learned to pray read from the KJ. The scriptures that are inscribed in my heart and mind are from the KJ and the NASB, which we also used briefly. In recent years, I have cross referenced the Amplifie, New Living Translation and on very few occasions the NIV. My RcV is in a box collecting dust. It was given to me. I have skimmed through it but. I have never really used it as as study bible.

But just like the RCC impacted my upbringing, the LC also made an impact on me which is why I come and go.

I think I go to mass once a year due to weddings, funerals, or some other invite. I even participate in the litergy except when they pray the "Hail Mary". I draw the line there. No can do. Will not do.

I have attended some AOG services but not recently. I am not a tongue speaking die hard. I have prayed in tongues BY FAITH, believing the Holy Spirit is praying through me when I could not find the words to pray with. Other church services and prayer meetings I have attended in the last 10 years all emphasized praying in tongues. I tried to be open. Ultimately I would much rather pray the scriptures.

I think it is commendable you have been generous towards the RCC without giving them a free pass. My one neighbor is a very religious Catholic. He was ordained a deacon a couple of years ago. I went to the elaborate mass. I never prayed so hard or so much. NOT because it was a devilish service. Had I not prayed as I did, I would have either been bored out of my mind or would have fallen asleep! I developed a new appreciation for crucifying the flesh!!!!

Quote:
But I am at a different place in my spiritual journey. The journey began in my youth with the Assemblies of God (AOG). During my senior year of high school, we (the whole family) left that for the LRC. Just up and left. (Of course, that is fairly common of LRC converts.) Then 14.5 years later, me, my wife, and our two young children (5 and 2) left the LRC. We have mostly been at one Bible church the whole time. We recently moved to another Bible church. Not because of problems or disagreements. But our son followed a girl at Dallas Theological Seminary to this other group and married her. We get to see them more often this way.
Good for you!!! Life IS a journey. We ought not be afraid where the Spirit of God leads us and guides us. Just like Abram did not really know where the Lord was taking him, and walked by Faith, so do we.

Quote:
I began to see the words of scripture as they were written and not as they were reinterpreted for us.

I am now convinced that the old things are neither something to be discarded like dirt from your shoes, nor cherished like there can be no more. The ways of various groups are just that — ways. They are not gospel. Neither are they heresy.

Then why would I come here to join in chastising the LRC when I think that virtually all the others are OK?
I know you addressed this question Mike. I just want to add that you, me everyone here are on a quest for Truth. Some are very content going to church, some are exploring the idea and some have been there already.

[Quote]I know that my generosity to the RCC may tend to grate on some. I do not think they are simply OK. There is much to say about them. But I also cannot join with those who virtually declare them to be not a church.[Quote]

It does not grate on me. I am not sure that it grates on anyone here. Of course, if you -converted- to Catholicism eating up the whole enchilada, well that would ruffle a lot of feathers! I do not know that anyone argues it is not a church. Setting aside, we learned in the LC the RCC is represented by the CHURCH in Thyatira in Revelation 3, it is true. In fact, when I did my own personal study of who are those that call themselves Jews but are from the synagogue of Satan, I discovered it was the "converted" Jews Paul was warning in the book of Hebrews who were responsible for instituting the RCC. And that is all I will say about that.

Quote:
within that, I believe that there are many more there who are “saved” than the rest of us like to consider possible.
No doubt OBW!! no doubt. Aron posed a better question IMHO regarding the "Who is a real Christian" thread.We can discuss it there.

Quote:
And nothing has really changed. Yeah, the RCC still suggests that you need another mediator.
It is far more sinister than that Mike. Most Catholics, most people do not know the dark and evil doings that go on in the Vatican. Malachi Martin was a close associate to Pope John XXIII and People Paul VI.
He has several books detailing his findings. He died in 1999.

That said, I know many Catholics who love the Lord Jesus. I believe many Catholics are saved, truly born again.

Quote:
The church is not the center. Ministers are not the center. Jesus is the center. Following Jesus is the center. Obeying is the center. Love God and love your fellow man.
This should be the mission statement of this forum!!!

Thanks for sharing and blessings to you and your family Mike..especially those stuck in the grip of the LSM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:37 PM   #47
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Default The Magic Book

I was reading one of my favorite blogs and came across this portion that was reposted from a much longer post of years earlier. I won't say that I am entirely in sync with the blogger's thoughts, but do think he is onto something important.

- - -

From the "Internet Monk" (not Catholic)
http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/...h-to-the-bible

- - -

I believe most Christians use the word “inspiration” to mean “the Bible is a magic book, where God speaks to us in unusual ways.” By this they mean that the contents of the Bible – the verses – have unusual power when read or applied. So if we were to transfer this idea to another book, and treat it as we treat the Bible, it might be like this: If we considered “Walden” to be inspired in the typical evangelical way, we would not be looking for the big ideas or the main point in Thoreau’s book, but we would be examining particular sentences to see if they “spoke to us.” The actual text of “Walden” would be secondary to our use of verses.

So on, let’s say, the matter of changing jobs, we might find a sentence that says, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation,” and we would conclude that this verse is God telling us to change jobs. Or another sentence might say, “I left my job and moved to the woods.” This, we would say, is God speaking to us. Now we might be able to read the entire book and sustain that conclusion, or we might find – if we studied better – that the book didn’t sustain that particular use of an individual sentence. It wouldn’t really matter, however, to most of us, because God used the verse to speak to us, and that is the way we read the Bible.

Or, for further example, say someone is facing a troubled marriage. He reads and discovers a sentence in “Walden” that says, “I did not speak to another person for over a month.” From this, he concludes that God is telling him to not argue with his spouse. The fact that this is a universe away from what Thoreau meant with that sentence would be irrelevant. This is how we would be using “Walden” as a “magic book.” Recognize the method? I think we all do.

If we were committed to the “magic book” approach and someone were to teach “Walden” as a whole, telling us the main ideas and message in the book, we might not consider that particularly impressive. It is nice to know what the book says, we would say, but the use of the book as a “magic text” doesn’t depend at all on understanding the meaning of the overall book, or the message Thoreau was conveying. Introductions and analysis of the book as a whole would almost be a secondary, and mostly useless, exercise in comparison to the more exciting and personal “magic book” use of “Walden.” We might be confident, in fact, that the ordinary reader can handle the “inspired Walden” with far more relevance for his life than the educated scholar handles the same book, because the scholar doesn’t believe that the sentences contain the power. So ignorance is no barrier in the magic book approach. Recognize that, too? Uh-huh.

- - - -

Any thoughts?
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:57 PM   #48
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Default Christ is Everything — I am not

Quote:
"Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs. Shepherd my sheep." Those were the Lord's words to us all, clearly.
Is it really clear that it is to everyone? We like to think it is. Or alternately, some people like to assert that it is to everyone.

But is it really true? Or just thought of as true because everyone says it is?

I'm not diminishing the actual charges that are laid at each of our feet. But despite years of hearing "no clergy-laity" shouted by and to us, there is strong evidence that Jesus said certain things to everyone, a lesser amount to the large group of regular followers, and still a smaller body of things to the 12/11.

And when we read Paul and others, they also suggest the same things.
They indicate that there are teachers. If everything is to everyone, then we should teach ourselves.

They indicate that certain ones build while others are the result of that building. And there is a high price for using poor materials in building.

Certain ones have gifts supplied so that the rest of us can be equipped to do our part in ministry.
Don't anyone get their panties in a wad over this. I'm not trying to shirk what is my responsibility and charge. But not everything is charged to everybody. And the charge to Peter was said specifically to Peter, and only in the presence of a few. I do not deny that there is an aspect of feeding that occurs among all believers. But Jesus had a larger charge for his closest apostles. He took them aside and sent them to preach the gospel to the all the world. To baptize and to instruct in the commands of Jesus.

No. It would be impossible to say that "feed my sheep" does not apply to us all at some level. But I believe it is equally impossible to say that the charge that was being spoken to Peter was something that was clearly spoken to us all in the same way that it was spoken to Peter.

Yes, there is a royal priesthood — a kingdom of priests — but I think we over-apply the meaning of that metaphor when we insist that everybody is everything. That we all do it all and have been charged in that way.

As I said, I'm not trying to excuse my lacks. I'm trying to discover what it is that is really a command to me so that I can quit beating myself up for failure to be Peter, or John, or Paul. And instead find myself one of the multitude that sat at their feet for teaching then went back to family, community, and work to live the life that we were made for — to bear the image of God in all that we do.
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:38 PM   #49
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I decided to put this here rather than in the thread I started it in. It would be off-topic and probably not get enough interest to be its own thread. So this seems like the best place for it.

First, while I will use uncredited quotes from recent posts, I do not provide the credit because I do not consider anything to be peculiarly wrong with what they have said — maybe other than we may not be saying what we think we are saying (with due deference to Inigo Montoya’s “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”) I am not suggesting that I know what it means. But for various reasons, I have begun to think it is not what I have long thought.

Here goes:

When talking about the “pure Word of the Bible” comes this line:
Quote:
What is even more puzzling is WL's admitting as divinely revelatory those portions quoted in the NT, yet even denuding the surrounding text of Christ!
This is an excellent point. But there is something not directly in this that I have been wondering about.

We have had a poster here in the past that was so big on the gospels only. Ignoring his other issues, I admire that he espoused the idea that the core of the NT is in the gospels, not in the epistles. But Lee (and I think also Nee) bases virtually all of his theology on the epistles, and most importantly, on those of Paul. In addition to the aforementioned poster, there is a significant groundswell in certain sectors of Christianity to downplay Paul. I’ve seen articles in which they are sort of allowing Paul back in by “rehabilitating” his writings.

But the problem is not Paul. It is us. Just like the problem is not the Psalms or James, it is us (or more specifically, Lee). It is not just a Lee problem. It is heavily an evangelical and fundamental problem. Most of our core teaching starts with Paul rather than with Jesus in the gospels. That would be OK if we truly understood Paul. But when we declare that our new life in Christ is by grace and not works, we prove our misunderstanding of that passage. It did not dismiss works other than with respect to what it is that provides salvation.

And when we read that I am free from the law of sin and death and declare that the law is abolished, we clearly have not read Christ. He said it remained. He said it was harder than we originally thought. (Funny, we think the Jewish leaders were simply stupid adding on so many more nuances to the actual laws. But Jesus took it even further!) If we started with Jesus — with the gospels — and allowed the following material to provide further understanding, we would never use the words of Paul to dismiss the words of Christ.

But Lee seemed to do it a lot. Jesus says "you think that not committing actual adultery is enough. I say that if you think about it you did it!" Lee says that it technically does not matter because the law is abolished. He thinks that is what Paul said.

And sometimes we do it too. We allow the epistles (ignoring James for some) to not only “denude the surrounding text of Christ,” but to denude Christ’s text. To refuse his own words.

The second thing that is bothering me was:
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. . . and still find the "pure Word of the Bible," which Christ Himself.
Simply as words, this is as real as it gets. The Word of God is God. But John more specifically put it as “the word became flesh.”

So the first response should be “what could be wrong with that?”

On the surface, I agree. But what do we mean when we say that? What did John mean when he wrote that? (Or more correctly, what did God mean when he inspired John to write.) I don’t think I know for sure. But we have been operating on the premise that it is one particular thing to the exclusion of other possibilities. And we probably have never considered that there is even one other possibility.

The Word is the spoken/written expression of who God is. Since he does not lie, it is an accurate description. But as written, every word is not necessarily descriptive of God in itself. “In the beginning, the earth was waste and void” (or whatever translation you want to use) does not describe God. But the narrative in Genesis 1 tells us a lot about God. But when I juxtapose a statement like “the pure Word of the Bible which is Christ himself” up against Genesis 1:1, I am left with a resounding “Huh?”

There is something about this statement (and there are similar statements outside of the LRC, so this is not personal to us) that seems to be making more out of words than what they are. The description of the death of Judas is not Christ. But in the context of the story of his life on earth, his betrayal, death and resurrection, we learn something about mankind in the description of the destruction of someone who rejected Christ. So, as a whole, we learn much about Christ. But in isolation, it is not “simply Christ” (to borrow from our favorite debunked MOTA).

The very things recorded are at God’s behest. The specific words used to say it may or may not have been key. (It is a case-by-case issue and I am not the one to ask. I think this is one of the reasons that which translation, or translation method, is often not as important as some often think. I even wonder if reading something as different from the norm as The Message might be enlightening because it removes the presumptions from what is said, how it is said, and what we already think it means. The alternate rendering could open our eyes to reconsidering meaning — which will still need to be checked against the literal words/phrases. Sometimes we just need to get our default answer set aside to be able to see something new.)

The point is not that the Word is not God. Or the Word is not Christ. It is just that it is not in the way of some kind of magical thing (like that Book of the Dead in “The Mummy” that you had to be careful how you spoke it out loud). So somewhere between “every word is specially ordained by God” and “that part is the natural concept of man” is the truth.

And the truth is that the story of God — the revelation of God — is the revelation of his person and relationships. Relationship within the godhead. Relationship with man. The parts that tell us who and what God is are often direct. But not always. Sometimes we learn who his is through the story. The details of the story are not God. But the story is. So in one sense, the word is Christ. In another the word is not, itself, Christ, but tells of him.

Just like we don’t consider that a book became flesh. Rather, the thing told of in the story became flesh. The God who spoke to few directly came in body and spoke to everyone. The crossing of the Red Sea did not become flesh. But the God who caused it did.

So what do we mean when we say “the pure Word of the Bible is Christ Himself”? If we mean that the cause of it is Christ, or the force behind its very existence is Christ, I understand. If we say that the words “now the serpent was more crafty than . . .” is Christ, what does that mean? Unless it just means that when put with a lot of other words, we learn something about God and about his relationship with man.

I’m coming to the thought that the words are, in themselves, nothing special. But when we see how God is revealed in its narratives, descriptions, and in the very words that he spoke on various occasions, nothing is meaningless. Nothing is “natural concept of man.” Nothing is worthy of derision.

I guess that what I am saying (in way too many words) is that making bald declarations like “the pure Word of the Bible is just Christ himself” doesn’t solve anything or do anything. It even could be argued to suggest something that I don’t think we mean. But finding God, Christ, the Spirit revealed in so many ways and aspects throughout its collection of words does a lot. The catchphrase too often distracts from the revelation that is really there.

Almost like ignoring grace because Christ is grace. If Christ is grace, then what is grace? If I do not need grace, but only Christ, then why mention it?

If the Pure Word is just Christ, then I don’t need the word. I just need Christ and it all comes to me. If so, then why the word? If so then why do we stray so far when we think we are so spiritual and only caring for Christ?

This may be as much of the problem with where Lee and the LRC have gone as anything else. Replace the truth found in the Word with a catchphrase that allows you to do without it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:57 PM   #50
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I have been saying for some time that there is something seriously wrong with so much of Nee’s teaching. It was not just a Lee thing to be so ridiculous in devising teachings.

But somehow we too often just can’t see the problems with Nee.

Since the issue of Deputy Authority has once again risen its head within the discussion concerning the book by a former member of Nee’s church in Shanghai, I once again started looking into it.

At the same time, on the other forum it was suggested that we try to determine if Spiritual Authority (aka Authority and Submission) might be in some way responsible for causing the external designation as a cult by others. The person who opened the line of discussion then scanned through the book and discovered that all of the parameters seemed to be sound and scriptural. The character and demeanor of the authority. Their position as a servant. And so on. And at one point it seems to say that they are accountable to God.

And that would be 100% true.

But when you slow down in your reading, you discover many things that undermine the apparent spirituality of the teaching. The church must absolutely obey. They are unable to make any accusation against the authority. And in one place, Nee actually says that the authority is not subject to correction because of sin, but only because of rebellion (or something like that). It is derived from an example of the sons of the priest who were judged by God for doing what was not allowed. Can’t remember if it centered around Eli’s sons, or Nadab and Abihu. But these were similar issues. Nee asserts that it was not because they sinned, but because they dared to do something not under the headship of the high priest. I never figured out where he got that. It was true that it was not under the HP’s headship. But there is nothing that I could see that made that the reason for their deaths. Rather, it was for their wanton sin being brought into the holy place.

Yet this is a point of error that stands strong in Nee’s mind to insist that a church cannot challenge a “deputy authority” based on sin.

And when I back away from this one inquiry, I even see that so much of the book is just full of conjecture and misdirection (intentional or otherwise). But it is all spoken/written in such pious and spiritual terms that it is easy to be fooled into believing that you are reading the word of God itself. And this may be one of the most insidious things about Nee’s writings. From my limited research in the past few years, I have found him to be consistently sloppy (being generous) with handling and interpreting the scripture. He replaces words to achieve a goal without even making a case for the correctness of the replacement (and in the case of the book we are discussing here, he was not correct). He declares things to be the most important thing. But he does not even bother to give a reason. Just says it.

Yet it could be argued to sound so right that it is too easy to just take it as truth.

And a whole lot of people have. Fortunately, most readers of Nee are not from with in the LRC, so they have not been exposed to the worst of them. But even some of his more popular inner-life books dance around the errors that Lee eventually lead us into. Sit Walk Stand, his short book on Ephesians sets you up to accept “wait for the dispensing.” I read it again several years ago and it stuck out to me like a sore thumb. That was my window into the questioning of Nee. But it was a couple of years after that when someone was spouting quotes from one chapter in Lee’s Economy of God that I first saw the scriptural mishandling coupled with declarations that things not even supported were settled so we could move on. Near the same time, there was some study into Nee’s Further Talks on the Church Life in which he set out to better settle his church = city rule. Seems that he had not yet dealt with the house churches. So he simply said that it could not mean that because it would violate the church = city rule. And so the rule that needed proof became the evidence to refute the evidence against it. Standard circular reasoning. Begging the question.

I recall Max R coming to Dallas one time back in the 70s (of course he was only around in the 70s). He was poking fun at some new “maharaji” of some sort that had set up shop in the Astrodome. He said, “all you have to do is say ‘up is up; down is down; the hands of the clock go round and round’ and you will have a following.” Pretty funny. And too true. We just didn’t see that we were being lead astray by less foolish-sounding words, but they were nonetheless in error. They just sounded good.

I recall times when some would stand in a meeting and declare to Christians that they should “come out of her my people” as if they (now we) were in the whore of Babylon. I’m not sure that I would characterize the LRC as the whore of Babylon. But its inhabitants really need to come out. They have been inhaling garlic fumes for too long. They have become befuddled by the smoke of an opium den. But, unfortunately, it seems that it is too much like crack cocaine or methamphetamine. They need fix after fix to keep going. They long for the leeks and garlic of he LRC.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:53 PM   #51
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I recall times when some would stand in a meeting and declare to Christians that they should “come out of her my people” as if they (now we) were in the whore of Babylon. I’m not sure that I would characterize the LRC as the whore of Babylon. But its inhabitants really need to come out.
Perhaps we need a recovery of The Come-outers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come-outer
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:48 AM   #52
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when you slow down in your reading, you discover many things that undermine the apparent spirituality of the teaching. The church must absolutely obey. They are unable to make any accusation against the authority. And in one place, Nee actually says that the authority is not subject to correction because of sin, but only because of rebellion (or something like that). It is derived from an example of the sons of the priest who were judged by God for doing what was not allowed. Can’t remember if it centered around Eli’s sons, or Nadab and Abihu. But these were similar issues. Nee asserts that it was not because they sinned, but because they dared to do something not under the headship of the high priest. I never figured out where he got that. It was true that it was not under the HP’s headship. But there is nothing that I could see that made that the reason for their deaths. Rather, it was for their wanton sin being brought into the holy place.
The thing I never could understand about Nee's logic here is that the rule didn't apply to him, when he was leaving the "headship" of established Christianity, and encouraging others to do so. His and others' leaving the degraded Protestant denomination wasn't rebellion, or division, so he said. But once established as "authority" in his new, restored movement, he set up a rule in which doing anything apart from the organizational head was not allowed.

To me this smacks of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Supposedly his outstanding character was the counterweight (I am guessing here). His meekness and humility and mature spirituality would prevent any leading of the flock astray. He as the deputy God (Living Stream terminology) would have a clear line to the interceding High Priest in heaven. Just do what Nee/Lee says, and you are covered, by the "deputy authority".

Yet none of this occurred to Nee when he was considering leaving the Protestants. It only made sense after, when he was ensconced as leader of his own "little flock".
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:03 AM   #53
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somewhere between “every word is specially ordained by God” and “that part is the natural concept of man” is the truth.


If we mean that the cause of it is Christ, or the force behind its very existence is Christ, I understand.
I wish I had time to respond to this post as it deserves. I think it's an outstanding piece of writing and I'd like to addend it to my thread on the Psalms. Because in making generalizations I was (I think) making assumptions that you've put here. I just didn't state them.

Three things, for brevity. First, when Peter in his great speech at Pentecost, saw different levels in the scriptural text. The failed, sinful David made a declaration which, to him, didn't come true. Yet Peter didn't spend much time on the "natural concepts" of David but rather said that David was foretelling something to come to his seed, Jesus the Nazarene. So I thought, why can't I use that same rule as well?

Second, similarly, the Hebrews author quotes the poetic scripture and says "We see Jesus". I similarly thought that I could do the same thing. Not at the same level, perhaps, not as 'objective truth', but still as my own particular spiritual journey, following Jesus.]

Third, in quotes like "none of his bones shall be broken" and "zeal of thine house has eaten me up", nowhere did I see the idea that the Christ was to be found only here, and the surrounding text was void of revelation.

Lee, essentially, did just that, which I found offensive. And that he imposed this as the rule in the church I found disgusting.

But in saying "the word is Christ" or some other hifalutin statement I didn't mean to impose the same rule, nor do I think that others who like a particular turn of phrase are also doing. Unless you make that explicit one can assume you simply like that turn of phrase. And it means to you whatever it means to you.

We will be judged by what we do, more than what words (or phrases) mean to us.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:24 AM   #54
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aron,

Some time back, I listened through part of a podcast series that was actually from a live classroom at a major seminary of Reformed theology. (I could figure out which one if given some time, but it is really not important.) The podcasts consisted of a class session of lecture, followed by a session of question and answer.

The class topic: Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World

But the core of the part I listened to (the first half of the sessions) was not really about postmodernism, but about preaching Christ. I found it refreshing that (excluding passages that were strictly speaking of Satan, or something like that) there is, besides the obvious meaning of most of the narrative, some insight into the nature of God, and therefore insight into the nature of Christ. The goal was not to turn everything into Christ. But to almost always find a link back to Christ as part of the sermon.

I believe that in later sessions there would be some discussion of the postmodern mindset, coupled with insight into how observable experience if often useful in reaching the postmodern mind. They are not impressed with declarations of truth. But they are impressed with examples of how something is seen as true.

This is somewhat the core of the "it's true for you but not for me" mentality. You may have seen something that establishes truth for you. But if I have not seen it, I have no basis to accept it a true for myself. You need to show it to me.

So churches full of propositional teaching about the nature of Christ and salvation, and so on, just don't get through. You want to claim that Jesus changes lives? Then show me some changed lives. (And exuberant, joyful people in meetings is irrelevant when they still act like heathen in so many other ways.) You say that righteousness, peace, and joy are in the Holy Spirit, then I need to see righteousness rather than unrighteousness coming from your people.

And try as we might, there is an aspect of postmodernism that is taking over the world. It is not the kind of ridiculous extremes of the early days of postmodernism where the rhetoric essentially denied the existence of truth. But it no longer accepts things just because it is written down. No longer do they believe it because it is in the paper (in a book, on the internet, etc.). They require evidence.

And Christian groups that seem to thrive on unrighteousness will not have a meaningful impact on the postmodern world because they claim to be more righteous than others simply by their claim to being Christian. So evidence that they are no different will undermine their testimony.

And speaking of testimony, it seems that for the LRC, the only testimony that matters is a declaration to God. If they say the right things to God, they think they have a strong testimony. If they believe the right doctrines, they have a better testimony.

But their testimony is a slander to the God they claim to serve. They prefer "good material" over others, and in doing so, do not love their neighbor as themselves. They slander honest and righteous men because their honesty stood against evil men, therefore they prefer evil over good. They elevate men to such a level that they become exempt from the very human actions that were directed by Paul with respect to leaders and teachers, therefore they nullify the word of God.

And they want to find favor on campuses. Go figure.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:04 PM   #55
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This is somewhat the core of the "it's true for you but not for me" mentality. You may have seen something that establishes truth for you. But if I have not seen it, I have no basis to accept it a true for myself. You need to show it to me.

So churches full of propositional teaching about the nature of Christ and salvation, and so on, just don't get through. You want to claim that Jesus changes lives? Then show me some changed lives. (And exuberant, joyful people in meetings is irrelevant when they still act like heathen in so many other ways.) You say that righteousness, peace, and joy are in the Holy Spirit, then I need to see righteousness rather than unrighteousness coming from your people.
I like this part very much because it speaks so much of my experiences over the last couple of years. As roughly outlined above, I slowly and fitfully began to "see Jesus", a la Heb 2:9, in the text of scriptures as never before. I was enthralled, and then indignant when Lee effectively said, "Run along, nothing to see here".

But... just because the Psalmist (ch 3) wrote that "I laid me down and slept/I awaked/ for JHWH was with me", and I can 'see' Jesus saying "I have the power to lay my life down, and the power to raise it up again", or just because Psalm 18 said, "He rescued me because He delighted in me" and I subsequently 'see' the Father saying "This is my beloved Son, in whom I delight; hear Him", just because I see these things and feel as though I were 'falling in love all over again for the first time', the rub lies not in some supposed insight nor the momentary excitement that it may engender. No, the rub lies in whether this word endures within me such that others can 'see' this reality lived out.

Our assessment of what is Christ in the Word is subjective. And the assessment, by others, of what in us is Christ, is also subjective. This, I believe, is the narrow path. I dare not characterize my journey other than to say I've been delighted to have had an opportunity to travel it, and am truly grateful to God. May He be blessed forever, amen. As to the Son - I am sure that He is there before me, shining, in the word; I am just a bit dull to perceive, is all. But if I struggle in the word the Spirit comes; of this I testify. Beyond that, though I could say(write) a lot, and sometimes do, truly I can hardly say I know, or see, anything at all. The knowing, and seeing, is in the living.

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, and deceiving yourselves."
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:06 AM   #56
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It is not just a Lee problem. It is heavily an evangelical and fundamental problem. Most of our core teaching starts with Paul rather than with Jesus in the gospels. That would be OK if we truly understood Paul. But when we declare that our new life in Christ is by grace and not works, we prove our misunderstanding of that passage. It did not dismiss works other than with respect to what it is that provides salvation.

And when we read that I am free from the law of sin and death and declare that the law is abolished, we clearly have not read Christ. He said it remained. He said it was harder than we originally thought. (Funny, we think the Jewish leaders were simply stupid adding on so many more nuances to the actual laws. But Jesus took it even further!) If we started with Jesus — with the gospels — and allowed the following material to provide further understanding, we would never use the words of Paul to dismiss the words of Christ.
I grew up in fundamentalist Protestant Christianity, and in retrospect it seems as though we instinctively transposed "grace" or "Christ", upon encountering "law", without having considered what it had possibly meant to the epistolatory writers, and their readers. It was as if some "recovered" insight into Paul's teaching had now simply rendered any consideration of law or obedience as superfluous. This was indeed convenient, but unfortunately too convenient: since we had our meaning, and had convinced ourselves of its solidity, we'd simply ignored the possiblility of any other meaning.

Only years later did I begin to appreciate the obedience of the Son. Yes, the poet's declarations of allegiance and fealty, and God's subsequent approval were arguably vain, but deeper still lay the Son. And we dismissed this because we thought we already had laid hold of "grace". We missed a lot, I believe.

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And sometimes we do it too. We allow the epistles (ignoring James for some) to not only “denude the surrounding text of Christ,” but to denude Christ’s text. To refuse his own words.
What helped me immensely was the stunning realization that at the time of the writing of the New Testament, they didn't have the New Testament! The scriptures were what we now call the Old Testament. So the shared meaning of the NT was a deep, deep appreciation of the OT. It was the scripture, God's speaking, in both its promises and its perils. This shared understanding formed the conceptual basis of the narrative of Jesus presented in the gospels, and the letters that followed.

Millenia later, we who treasured the NT often weren't too interested in the OT's content because it was, well, old. But in our willful ignorance of what was old and fading away, we failed to truly understand what was new (of course I am painting with a very broad brush here, but I speak as one who sat in meeting after meeting of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity, and heard the conversations after the meetings, and saw the living).

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The second thing that is bothering me was: Simply as words, this is as real as it gets. The Word of God is God. But John more specifically put it as “the word became flesh.”

So the first response should be “what could be wrong with that?”

On the surface, I agree. But what do we mean when we say that? What did John mean when he wrote that? (Or more correctly, what did God mean when he inspired John to write.) I don’t think I know for sure. But we have been operating on the premise that it is one particular thing to the exclusion of other possibilities. And we probably have never considered that there is even one other possibility.

The Word is the spoken/written expression of who God is. Since he does not lie, it is an accurate description. But as written, every word is not necessarily descriptive of God in itself. “In the beginning, the earth was waste and void” (or whatever translation you want to use) does not describe God. But the narrative in Genesis 1 tells us a lot about God. But when I juxtapose a statement like “the pure Word of the Bible which is Christ himself” up against Genesis 1:1, I am left with a resounding “Huh?”

There is something about this statement (and there are similar statements outside of the LRC, so this is not personal to us) that seems to be making more out of words than what they are. The description of the death of Judas is not Christ. But in the context of the story of his life on earth, his betrayal, death and resurrection, we learn something about mankind in the description of the destruction of someone who rejected Christ. So, as a whole, we learn much about Christ. But in isolation, it is not “simply Christ”.

...I’m coming to the thought that the words are, in themselves, nothing special. But when we see how God is revealed in its narratives, descriptions, and in the very words that he spoke on various occasions, nothing is meaningless. Nothing is “natural concept of man.” Nothing is worthy of derision.

... making bald declarations like “the pure Word of the Bible is just Christ himself” doesn’t solve anything or do anything. It even could be argued to suggest something that I don’t think we mean. But finding God, Christ, the Spirit revealed in so many ways and aspects throughout its collection of words does a lot. The catchphrase too often distracts from the revelation that is really there.

Almost like ignoring grace because Christ is grace. If Christ is grace, then what is grace? If I do not need grace, but only Christ, then why mention it?

If the Pure Word is just Christ, then I don’t need the word. I just need Christ and it all comes to me. If so, then why the word? If so then why do we stray so far when we think we are so spiritual and only caring for Christ? [We may] replace the truth found in the Word with a catchphrase that allows us to do without it.
In seeing the penitent psalmist's acknowledgment of failure and God's mercy, we may say to ourselves, "This isn't Christ. Jesus never sinned". But in the psalms of penitence I could still feel the words of Christ. Why? Because I am a sinner, and Christ bore my sins on the cross, and because of His gracious substitution the psalmist's repentance wasn't vain, nor is my echo of the psalmist's words. Because Christ is standing by the Father, pleading my case, and the Father listens because of the righteous One standing before Him. Suddenly, I sense these words of penitence received by the Holy One of God, the great High Priest, and laid before the Father's throne, having been borne aloft by His sent Paraclete.

If it were not for my faith, I would be lost. I am sure of it. By my faith I see the righteous One, and even in the failures of David, Peter, and so many others I now can see God's mercy in Christ Jesus. Through Christ it was available for them, and even for me. For some funny reason it wasn't until I read Psalm 51, for example, that I really could feel the resonance of Jesus saying, "Peter, you will fail. You will deny Me tonight. But I have prayed for you and My prayers will not fail. You will be saved". I was like, wow. Somehow the misery of Psalm 51 allowed me to appreciate Peter's loss, and Christ's hand of mercy reaching out.

And on and on. You get my point. Therefore, when Paul wrote "let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" I think there is a lot of latitude for our own interpretation, application, and experience. Back when I was effectively ignoring the text which formed the shared basis for understanding this kind of encouragement, I was missing some of its latent power. And this misaiming, I later came to feel, Lee had also done. He'd ended up with a teaching but lost the power.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:36 AM   #57
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when Paul wrote "let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" I think there is a lot of latitude for our own interpretation, application, and experience. Back when I was effectively ignoring the text which formed the shared basis for understanding this kind of encouragement, I was missing some of its true power...
This is perhaps also relevant, living in an increasingly postmodern, subjectivist world. In my growing awareness of thier solid roots in the common reality of the OT text I began to feel that Paul and Peter and John and the author of Hebrews had given me permission, even encouragement, to construct "my" own Christ, with my meanings, understandings, and subsequent living. When Paul wrote, "Am I not free?" I was like, "Yes! I also am free!" When I mention the 'true power' in the text I am thinking along these lines. It has the power to inform us of the Christ, who is Jesus our Lord, and who truly sets us free. The text doesn't just give us some information regarding God, but as the word of Christ it sets us free.

And I found that in some way, as this personal, subjective, constructed experiential reality made me unique, and not a fundamentalist drone, so also could I respect that all those people out there were not me. All of them had their own histories, experiences, thoughts, feelings, reasonings, and understandings. I began to sense and respect the uniqueness of each person and stopped despising them for not being me ("I" of course being justified as the orthodox, fundamentalist Christian). And now they had some small ground to respect me back: I began to experience Christ's words that just as I had done unto others, so would I in turn be treated. Those around me became more willing to respect my faith, my understanding, my Christ. Because they could feel my Christ's respect for them.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:20 AM   #58
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Default Red or Blue. Will You Remain in the Matrix?

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You will never find the foreword (pages 7-16) at ministrybooks.org. There is good reason why. Following is a passage from page 11.

"The book The Fermentation of the Present Rebellion includes my spoken messages, but its content was edited afterward by me personally. I have carefully checked all the facts and have tried my best to be accurate, to be without any mistakes. In addition to an account of the beginning and development of the whole period of the rebellion, the content of that book includes personal testimonies from over thirty brothers. Therefore, concerning this storm, I have spoken the clarifying and concluding word that I needed to speak. I have absolutely no more interest in talking about this matter. This matter now stops here. I hope that you brothers who have come to attend this conference will not mention it anymore. It does not deserve any more mentioning."

Message given 4/18/90
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Wow the situation that verse describes was exactly what my parents experienced. The righteous were gradually were forced out by lies and false reports. My parents were among those casualties but who would want to stay in that environment anyway?
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Generally, I believe those that stay in that environment are those who believe the falsehoods and those that see no viable alternatives to meet.

In my situation since the early 80's and all of the 90's my dad did not meet and for my mom, fellowship that comes from LSM co-workers is trusted.
For those who have been around these forums since earlier days, you know that I have had an occasional soft side toward the LRC, or at least the people trapped within it. But therein lies the problem. Even when it seems they really want to be there, they don't realize to what extent they are trapped. Why else would there be so many stories of those like Terry's parents, one that ceased meeting with anyone for almost two decades while the other just takes every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LSM.

Every time we soften up on the system because the underlying basics are clearly orthodox, we justify the system that traps people in serious error and even psychological danger and damage. The quote from Lee concerning Fermentation says it all. There is no hiding from the gross immorality that was PL. And there is no hiding from the fact that Lee had PL deep in his ministry since the 70s. And was warned twice of the things he was doing — not only in private, but on the very premises of the LSM's offices. Both events ultimately ended with the ouster of an otherwise close associate of Lee and a story fabricated to justify the ouster.

In the second instance, Lee went so far as to brag about how thoroughly he had verified the "facts" that were published in Fermentation. That should have been enough for him to receive the boot by all of the churches.

But the true facts were hidden. And it was aided by younger ones that saw themselves as the ones to succeed Lee. And the way that the rest of the garbage teachings are packaged as something so special, all you get is the picture painted by Terry. Gung ho with your eyes closed and your ears plugged or just stay home. I know a couple in this area who went through many years in the same condition. Probably many others as well.

My point in this is that the LRC is not healthy. Not as an institution and not as a place to be. It is like reading the nutrition label on the worst junk food you can imagine, finding one or two ingredients that are, by themselves, healthy, and deciding that a diet of nothing but that is a good thing. The truth is that many should not even consume it as an occasional splurge.

But to make it your entire diet is absolutely absurd.

Some will argue that there are no other teachers or writers who are perfectly correct. And I will agree. But most of them are willing to admit that they don't have it all down correctly. Of course, if they knew where they were wrong they would fix it. But in the case of Nee, Lee, the LRM, and the LRC, they have no desire to fix anything even though the parts that are OK are not what they really care about. That is the problem. The parts that they care about are the problem. Their emphasis is not only questionable . . . it is just plain wrong. Their emphasis is not on God has a purpose greater than salvation. It is on God has a purpose to build a church whose "ground" on political boundaries. They have determined that where you put the foundation is of first importance. You don't just have a foundation of Christ. It must be laid on certain ground. And that ground is decided by secular governments.

Do the analysis on any of their special teachings. How many of their special teachings are sound and useful and how many are enslaving people who want to be faithful to Christ to a system of a self-elected MOTA? The Pope at least does not elect himself.

And can a system that is so steeped in garbage teachings of the leader of a personality cult ever withstand the positional demise of that leader? Even years after his death? Are there too many problems that unraveling Lee and the LSM will destroy the fabric of the LRC? Is the fabric of the LRC, in total, the false teachings of Nee and Lee? Without them, is there an LRC? Is the very idea of "recovery" lost? Is the basis for their separate meeting gone? Will they wander like people who don't take the red pill. Who stay in their version of the Matrix.
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:38 PM   #59
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Terry, OBW, & all ...

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Originally Posted by Terry
Generally, I believe those that stay in that environment are those who believe the falsehoods and those that see no viable alternatives to meet.
Have you ruled out psychological, emotional, and/or social reasons for staying in the local church? or no reason at all?

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Originally Posted by OBW
Every time we soften up on the system because the underlying basics are clearly orthodox, we justify the system that traps people in serious error and even psychological danger and damage.
I really can't speak to why people stay in the local church. There's probably more reasons than we can list. However, looking back, on my departure, I'd have to say some kind of blindness is at hand. In that, as I remember it, the incongruities between the preaching and practices was pretty obvious, to anyone that could see well enough to read, or drive.

But I can speak to two brothers I know that have remained, or gone back, into the local church.

One, that I've known for decades, actually both, pretty much admits he stays in for social reasons. He says he goes to conferences and elders meetings to meet brothers and sisters he hasn't seen in awhile. When asked what was spoken about at a recent elders meeting he attended he said, "I don't know. I don't listen." When asked directly why he stays in he said, with a laugh, "For the food." LoL

The other brother doesn't want to talk about anything concerning Lee or local church history. He's staying in for what I'd call psychological/dependency concerns. He went back into the local church. And then got so many DUI's he was on house arrest. The brothers told him they couldn't help him with his alcoholism. That he needed to go to AA or some other treatment program. Why is he staying in? Obviously, for emotional psychological issues.

He probably needs a shrink ... prolly both of them could use one.

And sometimes, with some, they themselves don't know why they stay in. It's become a habit ... like an opiate of the masses.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:25 PM   #60
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Terry, OBW, & all ...


Have you ruled out psychological, emotional, and/or social reasons for staying in the local church? or no reason at all?


I really can't speak to why people stay in the local church. There's probably more reasons than we can list. However, looking back, on my departure, I'd have to say some kind of blindness is at hand. In that, as I remember it, the incongruities between the preaching and practices was pretty obvious, to anyone that could see well enough to read, or drive.

But I can speak to two brothers I know that have remained, or gone back, into the local church.

One, that I've known for decades, actually both, pretty much admits he stays in for social reasons. He says he goes to conferences and elders meetings to meet brothers and sisters he hasn't seen in awhile. When asked what was spoken about at a recent elders meeting he attended he said, "I don't know. I don't listen." When asked directly why he stays in he said, with a laugh, "For the food." LoL

The other brother doesn't want to talk about anything concerning Lee or local church history. He's staying in for what I'd call psychological/dependency concerns. He went back into the local church. And then got so many DUI's he was on house arrest. The brothers told him they couldn't help him with his alcoholism. That he needed to go to AA or some other treatment program. Why is he staying in? Obviously, for emotional psychological issues.

He probably needs a shrink ... prolly both of them could use one.

And sometimes, with some, they themselves don't know why they stay in.
Not to sound facetious, but I have far more trouble understanding how intelligent Christian people could espouse liberalism, than Lee and the LC's. I'm serious here. It just boggles my mind how people could become aware of the lies and corruption of the current administration, and still support it. Understanding the folks in the LC is far easier.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:03 AM   #61
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Not to sound facetious, but I have far more trouble understanding how intelligent Christian people could espouse liberalism, than Lee and the LC's. I'm serious here. It just boggles my mind how people could become aware of the lies and corruption of the current administration, and still support it. Understanding the folks in the LC is far easier.
How can a Christian embrace either party? They both lie. What party was Jesus? He seems to me to have been pretty liberal. So he'd be a Democrat. While his Old Testament daddy would be a Republican. I'm a mugwump ... of course.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:04 AM   #62
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How can a Christian embrace either party? They both lie. What party was Jesus? He seems to me to have been pretty liberal. So he'd be a Democrat. While his Old Testament daddy would be a Republican. I'm a mugwump ... of course.
I don't see any liberal policies in Jesus.

Paul sided with the Pharisees because they believed in the resurrection from the dead.

Not sure OBW wants this in his blog though.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:26 AM   #63
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Not sure OBW wants this in his blog though.
True. Politics is filthy business. And we don't want that filth on this forum.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:28 PM   #64
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I don't mind a certain amount of politics. It is a topic I opine upon often (in other circles).

Ohio: Without taking a side in the liberal v conservative debate, you are forgetting that the liberal position could be entirely valid despite the corruption and lying of the current administration. I am fond of pointing out that I despise the attitudes and general meanness displayed by so many of the "spokesmen" for conservative positions that I like (exactly or at least generally). In a different way, I agree with awareness. Both sides have hypocrites. Both sides have corruption.

And while mostly a conservative, I am getting more and more disgusted at the push-back at virtually any kind of liberal position that gets into the areas of biblical "justice" yet are generally insisting that it is not the church's job to do such things. They refuse the command of God for themselves, and then fight against anyone else taking it over for them.

Fortunately, many evangelical and fundamental churches are beginning to see the error of their "no works - let the liberals do it" position on the poor, homeless, orphan, widows, etc. But not all. And when you read the rhetoric of the most vocal conservatives, they would simply tell the poor to get a job.
Well they passed a law in '64
To give those who ain't got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don't change another's mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar
No. I really don't like the idea that so much of what goes into welfare of one sort or another is demanded by those who have plenty and would rather that the "taking" get spread around among those who don't have as much. But I also would say that such things as Social Security should have been converted to true welfare years ago with a long transition for those who are already some years closer to retirement. It would have provided something for those who truly have too little while taking less from the rest. Then we could invest the difference as we see fit. I don't believe in the levels of entitlement that have been developed, but I believe that some kind of societal welfare is both inevitable and reasonable.

Just wish it could happen without a burdensome bureaucracy that takes more for itself than gets through to those in need.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:30 PM   #65
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I don't mind a certain amount of politics. It is a topic I opine upon often (in other circles).

Ohio: Without taking a side in the liberal v conservative debate, you are forgetting that the liberal position could be entirely valid despite the corruption and lying of the current administration. I am fond of pointing out that I despise the attitudes and general meanness displayed by so many of the "spokesmen" for conservative positions that I like (exactly or at least generally). In a different way, I agree with awareness. Both sides have hypocrites. Both sides have corruption.
What troubles me is the double standard. One party attempts to legislate morality, so once their leaders fall short, they are proclaimed to be hypocrites. The other party claims no morality at all, hence they freely promote the slaughter of the unborn, homosexual unions, adultery, etc. making it all about "job performance," unless, of course, these leaders are in a designated minority, and any job critique is interpreted as bigotry.
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:10 PM   #66
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What troubles me is the double standard. One party attempts to legislate morality, so once their leaders fall short, they are proclaimed to be hypocrites. The other party claims no morality at all, hence they freely promote the slaughter of the unborn, homosexual unions, adultery, etc. making it all about "job performance," unless, of course, these leaders are in a designated minority, and any job critique is interpreted as bigotry.
Oh, I agree with you on the double standard bit. That is very annoying. I think that there is something to the idea that we should rate everyone based on their performance and not on things that have nothing to do with it. On the other hand, there are legitimate issues of character that affect the reputation of businesses and while this should not be carte blanche to be bigoted, things that cause damage to a company's "brand" or public image should be able to be addressed without someone combatting it with "protected status" laws.

Similarly, if someone decides to rent out a room in their house, they should be free to discriminate concerning who is selected without interference. Some will then ask where is the line between an acceptable bigotry and an unacceptable one. My answer is that it probably needs guidelines. But in the case of a very small business, there should not be such extreme requirements of inclusion, especially when it runs against the owner's moral standards. I would probably grant more leeway to larger businesses, but I understand that there become problems, especially if we simply allow it to get to where anyone can simply exclude anyone for any reason (although that is the good Libertarian position — and I am not quite one of those). In all, I have less angst about those double-standard laws because while they are secular in source, they actually legislate on others (including non-Christians) the kind of love for our fellow man that we really ought to have.

But it is the legislating it onto those who would otherwise not choose it that concerns me that the very law's imposition is contrary to the Christian requirement of love for your neighbor. And that is why my position is somewhat vacillating on the subject. But it is also why I am generally opposed to imposition of Christian morality through legislation. It is too often provided as an unloving solution to forcing people to behave as if they were already good Christians.

Funny, if they come in the door of the church, we sing "Just As I Am" and invite them to come to Jesus without changing first. But outside the doors, we are busy making sure they change outwardly even if they don't from the inside. I understand the issue of protection of [fill-in-the-blank — unborn, sanctity of marriage, etc.], but there are two sides to the issue in all cases. There is an aspect in which we fight to protect the unborn and in the process curse those who for a variety of reasons feel that they cannot find a way to go forward with a child. Don't argue about the poor reasons. I agree. But that does not make it any less weighty to the one facing it. We are often totally insensitive to them. And they are alive and here to deal with. (In other words, we have chosen to deal with the issue by cursing at those we can see to protect those we can't. Not saying that is entirely wrong. But at some level it just may be.)

Way more complicated than just saving the unborn. That is important. What about saving those who have already taken that path? What about having a position that does not continually cast them simply as evil-doers and murderers?

And I am probably preaching to the choir.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:19 AM   #67
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Woah! @ (OBW) Did Christ "become" or not "become" the Life-Giving Spirit according to 1 Cor 15:45? I think I would love to hear your understanding on the Oneness of God...
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:32 AM   #68
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To Unregistered,

OBW is certainly free to comment on your post here, but I think there may be numerous threads out in the open forum where we have discussed the LC's teaching regarding the oneness of God.

Thanks
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:28 PM   #69
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Thanks for pointing to the forum in general. But I will actually take this on as it is the common response once we have been pickled with Lee's teachings.

1 Cor 15:45 does not speak about the Holy Spirit. That is the most important thing to know about the verse. This verse is in the midst of a discussion about the kind of body that believers will receive when they are resurrected. So Paul turns to the only example that he can point to in a solid way — Jesus. He is speaking of the physical body that Jesus had after resurrection. And there is no way to describe that body as simply physical since it was not always visible, and could move through solid walls and locked doors. So Paul referred to it as "spiritual." Sort of a no-brainer, since the Son is part of the Godhead and God is spirit. So Jesus is spirit. That is different from declaring that Jesus is the Holy Spirit.

I know that Lee strongly declared that there can be only one spirit that gives life. But he was wrong. Jesus gives life and he became "A" spirit. Not the Holy Spirit. I think that it is also provable that the Father can give life. And he is also spirit. BTW. The Holy Spirit is also spirit.

Seems like a no-brainer. Unless you are Lee or are under his spell (and I used to be). He is equivocating between "sprit" and "Sprit." The word "spirit" has many meanings. Among them is the idea of a state of being that is not simply physical. And God is spirit. All of Him — Father, Son, and Spirit. It just happens that one of those three has a name that is the same word — Spirit. That does not cause the Spirit to subsume all aspects of "spirit" but rather to simply be one part of the Trinity.

Your question is phrased in the words of the Lee/LSM/LRC lexicon. "The Life-Giving Spirit" is a code word for this singular thing that is the Holy Spirit. But this verse does not say that. It says that the last Adam became "A" quickening (life-giving) spirit. Jesus surely gives life. That does not make him the Holy Spirit. It simply acknowledges the truth that Jesus has this different body — a spiritual body — and he does give life.

Besides, if you buy Lee's version of the verse, then you have to assume that Paul is busy talking about something that has absolutely nothing to do with the Trinity other than to consider the body that Jesus received in resurrection. Then suddenly, in the middle of that discussion, Paul had a serious bout of ADHD, shouted "squirrel" and rambled on about how Jesus became the Holy Spirit (without ever actually saying those words) then just as suddenly returned to the discussion he had been carrying on before.

In short, Lee demanded that "spirit" can only be the "Holy Spirit" — and that is just plain wrong. So the answer to your question is "Christ did not become the Life-Giving Spirit" according to 1 Cor 15:45. At least not in the way that Lee meant it. He did receive a spiritual body in resurrection. But that did not cause Jesus to morph over and become the Holy Spirit. That is not supported by this or any other verse in scripture.
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:20 PM   #70
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Something I recently read that I don't know what to do with.

I don't know whether to agree with it, curse it, consider it to have some validity, laugh at it, or cry because of it.

Here it is:

Quote:
Bible + my preferred meaning = 34,000 church divisions
If I recover enough to really read through the article that contained it, I might give some more of what was behind this (hopefully) over-the-top conclusion.
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Old 01-09-2015, 04:53 PM   #71
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Default Discussions of Late

If you think this is too long, don't read it. If you think I an too opinionated (like you are not) then don't read it. If you don't like the things I say in it and just want to complain about the fact that I said them, then stop reading at that point.

This is my blog, not a discussion board, so I ask that other than some short comment (if you care to leave one) if there is anything you really want to discuss, either put it in the forum in the appropriate place, or send me a PM.

Now, if you care to, proceed at your own risk.

. . . .

I was recently reading a post on a favorite blog and the writer was commiserating about how hard it is to be vulnerable. That is such a popular thought these days — being vulnerable. His conclusion was that true vulnerability is only achieved within a rather close group and not with much larger groups or the world at large.




He started his discussion talking about the many groups of people that he knows, and how each of those groups do not really know the people in the other group. He listed:
  • My Extended family
  • Past colleagues
  • High school friends and acquaintances
  • University friends and acquaintances
  • Seminary friends and acquaintances
  • Neighbors
  • Friends and acquaintances from prior churches
  • Friends and acquaintances from current church
  • The local cycling community
  • My kids school community, friends, and parents
  • Other people who I met at some point in time in life, with whom I have made some kind of connection
  • Cool people (at least from my perspective) who don’t really know me, but I like to read their posts. People like Scott McKnight, Rachel Held Evans, and Steve Bell
  • (The people with whom he shared a popular blog)
But among those, many are on facebook, and so there is an overlap of unknowns commenting on common things.

But he noted at one point “I made what I thought was a fairly innocent and humorous political comment which resulted (after much discussion) in a very old acquaintance unfriending me.” Not the result he expected or wanted.

Not here to discuss vulnerability, but the interactions among mostly unknowns with a common link (even though the link is different for those on the inside v those on the outside of that link).

We claim to be here to discuss the system that calls itself the Lord’s recovery (Recovery) and the local churches (Local Churches). Because we disagree on whether there is such a thing as the Lord’s recovery, and the term “local church” has meaning for many that is much different from what those in the “Lord’s recover” mean by it, many have taken to using the term “Lord’s recover church” or “LRC” to specify that group. It is not meant to be derogatory, although since the group claims that it has no name, it generally takes offense at some level at any attempt to put a name on it. But the prospect of continually saying something like “the group that says it stands as the church in the city” just is not acceptable, and the acronym “TGTSISATCITC” is almost like saying supercalifragilisticespiallidocious. So LRC it is.

There is an aspect of our interactions that certain ones, especially UntoHim, like to keep as fully civil and not at odds. And I agree with the premise. However, since we are discussing the errors of certain teachers that we are becoming clearer and clearer were not correct in their theology (being nice about it), some will always take exception to the very fact of saying that as being derogatory. And in a sense it is. But if it is true, then maybe that is just life.

But even among us who have left the organization and are finding ourselves further and further from that system, we continue to discover things that we hold to that are not necessarily healthy. But we just can’t see them. I have found that over the several years I have been involved that I have realized that the LRC is not just a sound, evangelical group with a couple of funny doctrines of questionable applicability that I could consider returning to if other issues improve, but is a system that is so inundated with error that many very good Christians there are being fooled into believing things that may actually be spiritually harmful

Now if you wanted to hear something derogatory, there it is. But that is the way it is in such discussion.

But to have a real discussion, you need to be willing to provide evidence, support, etc., for what you say. That does not mean that everyone will like your evidence, or the conclusions you draw from it. And sometimes, in the midst of discussing one thing, evidence, support, etc., is provided that assumes something that is not necessarily assumable. So there often is a question about the validity of the assumption. The result is a side discussion.

Lately there has been a tendency to dislike side discussion. Now I understand that in a context in which there is simply a testimony being given. That should be true in the Introductions and Testimonies section. But too often the group includes topics rather than just testimonies and introductions. At that point, the banner over the thread becomes irrelevant. So asking a question or challenging something that is placed in such a thread should not be treated as off limits because it is a testimony thread. It isn’t. It is a discussion of a topic. And the discussion has brought up additional topics that affect the analysis of the original topic.

Surely there are times when a more complete discussion of an otherwise side issue is required and a new thread for it is warranted. But not always. If someone includes in their post that “X is Y because of God’s economy,” I would think that a challenge to the overall statement, and maybe a question as to what they think God’s economy is that it could have such impact is warranted. And maybe even a bit of a discussion on that. If the notion of taking it to another thread occurs about the time that you realize the discussion is dying out, then starting the new thread is probably a waste of time. And it separates the information that could be relevant to understanding the rest of the current thread from it, so always starting a new thread is not necessarily the best thing to do.

And disagreement needs to be met with civility. If I disagree with something I read, I should be able to challenge the premise. It is not personal. It is about the statement, thought, or reasoning. And many, like me, are open to considering good evidence that something we had not considered before could be right. If we didn’t we would probably all be still in the LRC, or desperately trying to get back in. Or we would at least just think that its teachings are benign and not worth discussing.

I don’t think the same as I did in late 2005 when I found the Berean forum, which was different from 2007 when I realized that 1 Cor 3 (talking about wood hay and stubble) was talking about the teachers, not the church members), which was different from what I thought in 2009 or so when I realized that Nee used the same illogic as Lee did (such as in The Economy of God) to set up many of his works, and that his verses too often did not actually support, or even have anything to do with, his assertions (The Spiritual Man, Authority and Submission, Further Talks on the Church, etc.). In the midst of all of that, I learned something about Daystar and Phillip Lee, and realized that W Lee was everything that Paul warned against. And my position with respect to Lee and his teachings is now based upon that discovery. (And you do not have to agree with my assessment on that. But I will try to persuade you.)

Have I found everything that I think is still hanging on buried in the garlic of the LRC? Probably not. Will I find it by lashing out every time someone sees old LRC stuff that they think has no support still hanging on me?

No.

So I propose that rather than stifling discussion, we embrace it. Yes, there should be some rules. I agree that most threads should not be required to defend the Bible as the Word of God. Or Jesus as God. Without hiding it, we can have those discussions somewhere else, not in the midst of the regular postings. But sidebars should not be simply banned. And if we want to protect the sanctity of introductions and testimonies, then be sure that is all they are. Once they are something else, then you can’t use the overall topic to put lipstick on a pig. (Bad metaphor, but the intent is to say that if it is not simply a testimony or introduction, it is a discussion no matter where you put it.)

And we all need to be a little toughened to have discussions. Everyone is not going to always agree. It is not about you/me personally (unless they make it so). It is about the thing being discussed. Look at what you said and what the response was. If it is that you said something you didn’t intend to, fix it. If you truly disagree, then provide the reasons that you disagree. Someone may learn something from the interchange, even if the two (or more) that engage in it remain where they were. That is how my mind changed on so many things over the past nearly 10 years.

Lots more I could say. But ss I am famous for going long (the little bells broke hours ago), this post is now very long.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:33 PM   #72
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Losing interest. I had some heavy days at work, coupled with a seriously painful knee and didn't visit for a couple of weeks. Then just couldn't get excited about what is going on.

I am still an anti-LCM type. But my need for vocalizing it is diminishing. And the discussions tend to lean too heavily on the environment as it currently is and not on the things that I have some knowledge of (the past and the doctrines/teachings).

I may not be disappearing as completely as some others have (SpeakersCorner comes to mind), but then I didn't plan this anyway. It is just happening.
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Old 09-08-2016, 03:36 PM   #73
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Quote:
We email, Facebook, Tweet and text with people who are going to spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Our lives are too short to waste on mere temporal conversations when massive eternal realities hang in the balance. Just as you and I have no guarantee that we will live through the day, the people around us are not guaranteed tomorrow either. So let's be intentional about sewing the threads of the gospel into the fabric of our conversations every day, knowing that it will not always be easy, yet believing that eternity will always be worth it.
Truth:
  • We are all going to either heaven or hell.
  • We have no guarantees of living to the end of today.
But I fear that turning that into a call to cast normal conversation aside and make every effort to work the gospel into every conversation is just a different distraction. One in which the goal is to work so hard at being spiritual that we are insufficiently human to cause much of anyone to be attracted to the gospel we speak but can't take the time to live.

I'm reminded of someone who decided to write "Jesus is Lord" on bathroom stall walls at the local Community College. Got the message out there. But spoke poorly of the "speaker." And in that, undermined some of the impact of getting the message out there.

We have to live both normal and at least somewhat exemplary before we often get the opportunity to speak.

Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.

If our only hope of evangelizing is in the words, then we should reexamine our lives.

And our gospel.
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:10 PM   #74
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The recent participation by at least two current LRC members has made it more clear that this forum cannot go away, but at the same time, that the blindness of so many in the LRC is great.

The tales and teachings of Lee are taken as fact. Scripture is presumed to mean what Lee said it meant. It is irrelevant that you would never come to that conclusion without being pushed there by someone claiming special knowledge (and that would be Lee).

Saying something means a particular thing is just accepted without a thought.

Declaring that a church with a name is an abomination is accepted as scripturally sound fact.

Claiming to be the home of oneness while singing "Overcome, Overcome, Overcome degraded Christianity!!" is never seen as an oxymoron.

Using a metaphor to prove a position is not seen as a form of begging the question.

I have a hard time not simply coming unglued at the fact that they simply say something "is" because that is how they read it. Not that the words actually say, but that they had decided to infer into what is said and insist that their inference is simply what was meant. No room for discussion or disagreement.

Disagreement means "degraded Christianity!!" With dogma like that, it is no wonder they don't ever address the reasons to dismiss their positions. They just restate them. And bring up metaphors and stories as if something made up that is unrelated to the issue at hand is the reason that they are right.

Someone once referred to this kind of thinking as illogic in the service of attempts at reason. (It cannot be in the service of reason because reason rejects illogic.)

I know that someone will trot out the "foolishness to those who don't believe" line, or something like it. But that statement was not suggesting that what the scripture actually says can be set aside and manhandled into something that doesn't resemble what it says because foolishness is OK. It simply says that what the scripture does say (not what it doesn't say) may not be reasonable to those who do not believe. But it is not claimed to mean something other than what it says.

Except by Lee and the LRC. And probably a few other strange sects.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:59 AM   #75
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Back in May, 2014, some unregistered person posted the following
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Woah! @ (OBW) Did Christ "become" or not "become" the Life-Giving Spirit according to 1 Cor 15:45? I think I would love to hear your understanding on the Oneness of God...
to which I responded later the same day. (post #69)

While I did not want to start a drawn-out discussion within the blog, I always wondered where they got the "woah!" reaction. I looked several posts back and couldn't find it. Must have been way back and the person was just reading through and decided to post. It would have been nice to know what had sparked the question.

The other thing I always wondered was whether, after asking the question, they even read the response. It clearly didn't result in a response. Maybe I should be deluded into thinking I helped someone. But more and more I think that would be wishful thinking.
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Last edited by OBW; 03-15-2017 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:48 AM   #76
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The other thing I always wondered was whether, after asking the question, they every even read the response. It clearly didn't result in a response. Maybe I should be deluded into thinking I helped someone. But more and more I think that would be wishful thinking.
Thanks for your response either way. Hopefully it will help someone looking for answers or those who've been led astray by Lee's teachings.
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