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Old 07-07-2019, 11:31 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Testimony of Thomas Shou

Why and how I left the Local Church
Thomas Shou
Link To Google Document


Preface:
I write my testimony and story of why and how I finally left the LC (Local Church) because I feel urged by the Lord to tell my unique story as so many are coming out and telling their own. It is my prayer and intention that my story be a blessing, a lighthouse to those still struggling in the darkness and confusion there that the Holy Spirit can use to shed more light to His saints there and use to speak to His children however He desires and wherever they are, in the LC or not….may the Lord use this story to glorify Himself and point to Himself and expose and denounce everything here said that is not from Him I pray He will filter for the furtherance of His Kingdom and glory on the earth. I firmly believe that in these last days the Lord has raised up His own “Me Too” movement of the Holy Spirit in the LC and throughout the Body of Christ as He comes to purify His Church and Body and equip her to be His beautiful spotless Bride, without spot and wrinkle.

My LC conversion and early years
My name is brother Thomas Shou. I was born and raised in the LC in the Bay Area, specifically the Church in San Jose for the first 20 years of my life. This was not my choice, God placed me into this church group because my parents were long-standing members of the LC since the early 60s. They both came into the LC while they were grad students in the US and met at a Chinese student bible study group on campus led by Stephen Kaung’s co-workers. Later when Witness Lee showed up in the US, brother Kaung started working together with the elder Witness Lee since they were all Watchman Nee’s old co-workers from China back in the day. But very soon, as the story goes, Witness Lee took over, overshadowed brother Kaung and consequently many of bro Kaung’s followers were folded into Witness Lee’s growing LC movement starting in Southern CA. When I was born in 1967, my parents had already been involved with the LC movement first on the East Coast in NY, then later they moved to CA, joined The Church in SF, and finally they ended up in The Church in San Jose where they raised me and my 2 brothers.

So, I grew up as a typical CK (Church Kid) going to Sunday school learning the Bible (no Recovery version, “gold bar”, back then!) and Bible stories. My parents were always very involved in the church life and I can never remember a time even to this day where they did not host home meetings in their home with the saints on Friday nights. We grew up believing in the existence of God, going to Sunday church, learning the Bible from Sunday school and my mom who would teach us how to be obedient to parents through the book of Proverbs from our youth. I loved the exciting Bible stories but especially the fantastic ones with supernatural creatures and events, since I grew up loving fantasy books with dragons and elves and magic, etc…I therefore loved the fantastic book of Revelation from my youth!

But I didn't become truly saved until I attended a youth conference designed to convert CKs to true Christians, so CKs would no longer say that they were Christians just because of their LC parents, but rather come to a personal, subjective relationship with GOD through the gospel of Christ. That was the clear objective of this youth conference: for CKs to hear the Gospel presented in a clear way by some leading brothers and youth leaders so they would make a decision to receive the Lord into their heart for themselves! When I attended that life-changing youth conference I was 11 and my brother was 12 and both of us became radically saved, were convicted by the gospel preached by the brothers, and opened up our hearts to receive Christ into our lives! I personally experienced a supernatural, Pauline-like Damascus conversion experience! After I heard the gospel for the very first time and asked Christ to come into my heart and transfer me from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love and light, I believe I saw the sun shine brighter than ever before that morning! Inside I also felt changed and light and free as I never felt before! I believe that on that morning I saw the very face of Jesus shine upon me without and within (Rev 1:16) Something supernaturally joyful and life-changing definitely happened to both me and my older brother after that youth conference that even my mom had to confess that both our faces were literally beaming when we came down from that mountain!

High School Honeymoon with Jesus
For the next 7 years before I left for college, I was known as “burning” Thomas in the Church in San Jose. I truly fell in love with Jesus and His Word and His Church, His Body, the saints, the ministry of Nee and Lee and any other spiritual writings, biographies I could get my hands on in those early years. I voraciously consumed the spiritual biographies of missionaries and men of God like Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Brother Lawrence, Reese Howell, Andrew Murray, and of course all the books of Nee and Lee and His life-studies that filled my parent’s home. I describe this 7-year period of my life during my high school years in The Church in San Jose as unforgettable “honeymoon years” with Jesus and I was certainly filled with the Spirit and His love, though no one in the LC described it that way of course. I shared the gospel with everyone I met at school and everywhere I’d go, write songs, poems, prose to the Lord, hold bible-studies at school, go to every kind of possible LC meeting: the Sunday school was too basic for me, so I got a little suitcase and filled it with a notebook, hymnbooks, supplement songs, and different recovery version booklets, etc. and sit in the front row of every adult meeting I could go to and vigorously participate any way I could. This included prayer meetings, Lord’s Table, Home meetings, gospel meetings, and of course I spent my high school years attending every single of Brother Lee’s N.T. Video Training meetings every summer, winter, and of course I went to HQ Anaheim several times to see Lee and all the elders, full-timers – the BIG LC SHOW live and in person when I could. I consumed those training teachings and must admit to this day that those early years laid a strong foundation for me in the overall teachings, doctrines of the Pauline epistles to this day. During this time, I memorized many precious powerful verses and promises of God through the LC Scripture songs from each training. The only meeting I didn't attend were the Elder’s meetings because I couldn't! But if they let me in, I wanted to be there too! After my conversion, I was so hungry for the Lord, His Word, church life, and wanted to give the rest of my life to be God’s man and a follower of Christ, most importantly a man of God like Elijah, Moses, Hudson Taylor, Watchman Nee vs. a man of cloth, which of course we didn't believe in! But being raised up in the LC, of course if you were truly serious (“absolute”) for God or as they called it, Christ and the Church, you HAD to become a Full-Timer, which meant you HAD to enroll in the Full-Time Training in Taipei at that time after high school and skip college. Then you could come out and be qualified as an official LC Full-Timer to serve the Lord and the saints full time for life! That was the propaganda and promoted as the highest spiritual honor in the LC at that time.

Why and How I finally left
So why you ask after being that hyped up about the Lord and LC in my youth did I finally say adios? Well, to make a longer story shorter….my hardcore parents turned out to be more hardcore traditional Confucian Chinese than hardcore LC Christian/Witness Lee-followers, so they completely opposed me and my older bro to skip college and go to Taiwan to become Full-Timers! So, I eventually went to college in both Boston and Portland, Boston University and Reed College, where there were of course 2 hardcore LCs, The Church in Boston and The Church in Portland of course. And, of course in both cities, I was still totally involved in every aspect of the church life there as a student. It was after my junior year at Reed in Portland, where I first mentally “left” when I observed firsthand that Brother Lee was becoming too authoritarian and LSM (Living Stream Ministry of Witness Lee) too powerful over all the LCs! When I made this life-changing decision, I was living in Taipei, TW at that time in the Hall 3 Brother’s House. The year was 1988 and I decided to take off a year from Reed College and go abroad to take a break from my over-intense English major studies. I decided to go and live in Taiwan for a year and ramp up my Chinese to see if could make a transition to studying modern Chinese Literature in grad school upon return from a year of intense language immersion in Taiwan. At first, I lived with my grandfather on the outskirts of Taipei, but then moved into the Hall 3 Bro House because it was literally walking distance from my Mandarin Training Center where I enrolled in intensive Mandarin classes for the next 6 months.

Ironically, God has such a sense of humor, letting me finally stay and live at the Full-Timer Training Center in Taipei at Hall 3 with Full-Timers (FT), even though I was not a Full-Timer but just a Summer overseas student guest there! But living there, I had a first row seat to the inner workings of the LSM Training Center and machine: I was in the very heart, hotbed of all major LC FT activity at the highest echelons, and found myself smack in the middle of a swiftly brewing LC storm that unbeknownst to me was sweeping across the entire LC movement in Taiwan and US at that moment, that would lead to the first major LC division I had ever been part of in my life! That was the first time I heard Brother Lee preach in Chinese on the N.T. Economy of God to a packed crowd at Hall 3 and man, was he eloquent and charismatic in his native Chinese! He had the whole church eating out of the palm of his hands, old and young hung on his every gesture and word! It was at this time that I also distinctly remember the Hall 3 bro house brother talk about how Brother Lee was asking all the leadership and all the saints to take a stand and recognize him at that moment as “THE Oracle of God, The unique Mouthpiece of God in this era”, or they also called him “THE Moses of this present generation” who was God’s present, up to date speaking on planet earth….Every brother and sister in the LC had to take a stand about Bro Lee at that time! Were you pro-Lee or Con-Lee; Pro-Lee translated into being 100% absolute allegiance to Lee and his LSM teaching ministry! That was my first sign that Brother Lee and LSM had become too authoritarian and controlling over the LC churches and saints and deliberately made himself and his ministry a point of division in the LC movement. Lee/LSM were clearly trying to purge the leadership and LC movement of dissenters who were not 100% loyal to him ala the terrifying Communist/Fascist party purges of the past. So, I knew he had completely gone off the deep end with the LSM and therefore I could not take a pro-Lee stand. I knew the question of allegiance to ANY man or ministry no matter how gifted and helpful to the Body was a question that should never be asked in the Body of Christ and I knew that Lee could not be the ONLY voice of God on the earth after being exposed to many other non-LC powerful Christian ministries and voices during my Reed College years that touched upon teachings and doctrines Nee and Lee never talked about, such as supernatural healings, tongues, miracles, CS Lewis’ more cerebral apologetic teachings, etc.

I also was immediately reminded of an unforgettable personal firsthand experience while I was still in college where I clearly heard God teach and speak to me the same truth I heard from Lee’s ministry echoed previously by Pastor Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel over Christian radio and then through a devotional passage from Streams in the Desert! How could Lee/LSM be the unique “Oracle of God” when the same powerful teaching and “revelation” was repeated by multiple Christian sources completely outside the LC movement context?! So ironically it was right then and there living in Hall 3 in the FTTC (Full-Time Training Center) that I decided in my heart that I could no longer just restrict myself to fellowshipping with this very divisive, cultic movement personally spearheaded by its founder and supreme leader Witness Lee! That was the first step to leaving the LC movement in my heart. When I returned from TW the following year, I finished out my last year at Reed College attending the Church In Portland on Sunday mornings mainly because the Lord had woven me into some beautiful, loving relationships with many families over my 4 years there, including one elderly couple who opened up their hearts and home and all their limited resources to me, so that I will forever be indebted to their Christ-like love for me as their Chinese spiritual son and they, my first real spiritual parents in the Lord! And of course, the last year I increasingly and intentionally focused on befriending other Christians at Reed from all kinds of different backgrounds and learning as much as I could from them and their church ministries as I continually attended the LC meetings.

After I graduated from Reed College, I vowed to never join another Pro-Lee LC involved with the LSM and I kept my word from that day on! For graduate school, I deliberately attended schools that had no LC in the town: Washington University in St. Louis and UC Boulder and attended local non-LC churches in each city. In St. Louis, I attended a Chinese graduate student campus group and in Boulder, I attended a non-denominational hippy Christian group called Hillside and a small Baptist country church for the first time.

3 Life-Changing Books from 1988-89
After I left the LC and pretty much had to start over my Christian & Church life from ground zero, I went into a kind of Christian existential crisis of faith, where I started to question and re-examine what the LSM had ingrained into me for the last 20 years of my life. Finding out how Lee had deliberately ruled and caused a global division in the LC leadership and how he covered the sins of his son and seeing my childhood LC friendships dissolve before me due to what side their parents had taken in the fray, I felt like the “super stable” rug of my entire spiritual life was pulled from beneath my feet and thus began a difficult period of spiritual darkness and doubt concerning what suddenly happened?! As I cried out to the Lord for some guidance and light in this “dark night of the soul” and how to go on, He led me to three powerful Christian books that helped me navigate my way through the initial confusion and pain of what GOD was doing through all this:

1. Pioneers of the Heavenly Way by T. Austin-Sparks
2. Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey
3. Thomas Factor by Winkie Pratney

I want to share some of what the LORD showed and spoke to me through these three books in the hope that it might be a timely help, light, and encouragement to others now going through this dark post-LC journey and how to move onward! I also welcome to hear what books have helped others too!

1. Pioneers of the Heavenly Way
The first spiritual book that impacted me most and illumined me most was T. A. Sparks, “Pioneers of the Heavenly Way”. As the title implies, all of us no matter how far we come on the Christian journey, whether starting out or seasoned life-long spiritual leaders like Nee and Lee, are ALL simply pioneers of the heavenly way, our OWN heavenly way or journey that only we can take and make progress on. Sparks describes the heavenly realm unknown to us by nature as “another realm altogether - different, unfamiliar, unexplored. It DOES NOT matter how many have gone on before us, it does not matter how many there are who have started on this way and gone a long way in it; for every individual it is an altogether NEW world and it can ONLY be known by experience. We may derive values from the experience of others (like Lee/Nee, fill in the blank) ….. but with all their experiences, they CANNOT get us ONE step further on that way. For us it is new, utterly new, and strange. WE HAVE TO LEARN everything about it from the beginning. That makes pioneering – what pioneering always is – a lonely way. No one can hand us down a heritage. We have to discover God for ourselves, in every detail…..in the last analysis, we have got to possess our own spiritual plot in the heavenly country, subdue it, cultivate it and exploit it.You know that is true; that you are going that way in the spiritual life. You are having to find out for yourself. Oh, how we long for somebody to be able to pick us up and put us through on the good of their experience!(LC movement in a nutshell!) The LORD never allows that! If we are moving on the heavenly road, we are ALL pioneers. Ultimately, there is nothing second-hand in the spiritual life.” (p.13-14 emphases and parenthetical comments my own)

WOW! Let that sink in, because when I read this 30 years ago, I felt like the LORD was speaking directly to me! Leaving LC after growing up there for the first 20 years of my life meant or felt like to me starting over my spiritual/church life. Because after I got radically saved, it seemed like Lee/LSM basically completely programmed the saints how to do the “normal Christian life” in every possible aspect of life! Witness Lee and the LC told us what to read, who to read, when to read it, where to meet, how to meet, what to sing, how to “touch” or “enjoy” the Lord, and even how we would feel or what we would experience when we did “touch” the Lord their way….Everything was blatantly second-hand in the LC and life of the saints and that's the way Lee wanted it….”Oh, if I could be like Lee!” was the mantra vs. ”Oh, if I could be more like Jesus!” “If I could just have the same light and experience as Lee…” since he or Nee earlier was THE spiritual pioneer for all the LC saints vs. the One and Only worthy Pioneer, Author and Finisher of our faith, spiritual lives (Heb 12:2). The Lord was showing me like a bright spotlight when we no longer see Jesus Christ as THE Pioneer and we all as His fellow spiritual pioneers along the Heavenly way He uniquely and personally leads us on from day one, then we are no longer on His way, since HE is the way; no other man is the way. Even as I write now, the nagging painful question in my soul is: “At what point saints did following the LORD become follow the Ministry?” And when did follow Lee become the only way to follow the Lord. That’s when the LC became cultic, when the voice and words of Lee replaced the voice of the Holy Spirit in you and me. May we never forget that we are all unique spiritual, heavenly pioneers and the LORD will NEVER allow another man/ministry “to pick us up and put us through on the good of their experience!” For it will always be THEIR experience not ours.

2. Disappointment with God
Of course, I picked up this book because of the striking title! For after I saw all the corruption in the LC, I was disappointed with God, Lee, elders, church life, etc…just kept asking WHY…why GOD did you let this happen to my church family literally….why did You let this get to this point?? And the subtitle of the book really attracted me: “Three Questions No One Asks Aloud”.
Is God unfair? Is God silent? Is God hidden? Those were the very three questions I was asking GOD aloud at this time. Yancey bravely gives answers to these 3 hard existential questions by going through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation to see how a loving personal God reacts to these human questions. All I can say is that after finishing the book which I couldn't put down, I can say “Disappointment with God” is one of the most encouraging books I’ve ever read! Please read it and tell me what God speaks to you and how He encourages you out of your place of disappointment and discouragement.

3. The Thomas Factor
Lastly, I was caught completely unaware by this final book and again the title with my name sake fascinated me! And then the subtitle again spoke to right where I was at after the split: “The Thomas Factor: the key to believing when you CANNOT find an answer”. Then I flipped open the book and the “Introduction: What in the world is going on?” immediately made me want to buy the book! It starts with this challenge: “We have been chosen by Jesus. We’re walking with Him. Being His follower. Committed to doing what He says, being what He wants, going where He leads. But now, after all the years, we ask: is it real?” He had me at hello…..that’s exactly how I felt….how well did I really know this Jesus, this Lord, to be in the pickle I found myself now after 20 years of being His faithful fiery “Thomas”?! The premise of Pratney’s book is that these agonizing times of deep spiritual doubt and darkness that God will bring us through sooner or later where we feel separated or distanced from God are actually precursors to a deeper, greater faith and true spiritual life. Pratney believes that “doubt can bring us into a better place with Christ. Using the vision of the river in Ezekiel 47 as a metaphor of major changes in our Christian lives, he examines the ‘passages’ of spiritual growth, ultimately leading to abandonment.” Pratney concludes that the “dark night of the soul” is “an essential step in the development of godliness. Showing clearly how God works through “divine darkness,” this book will remind you that when it comes to faith, not seeing is often the key to believing. This book taught me how to continue to trust God through this darkest period of my life, what to do in the darkness, the purpose of the darkness, and benefits of the darkness – these were literally the titles of the final three chapters! Dear saints, if we can always see and everything is known in our spiritual, heavenly journey with Jesus, then why do we need faith and the Holy Spirit? One of the most beautiful jewels I found in this darkness is one of the most beautiful definitions of faith I have carried with me to this day: “Faith is NOT something you hold, but Someone who holds you.” (p.144)

Below are 2 precious promises of God that assures us He will walk with us through our times of greatest darkness:
“For you are my lamp, O Lord; The Lord shall enlighten my darkness.” (2 Sam 22:29)

Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in the darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon His God.” (Isa 501:10)

Leaving the LC completely is not easy
Now, at this juncture, I feel it is also important to say that leaving the LC/LSM movement was never so easy as just never stepping foot into another LC for the rest of my life as a member. Because my parents were still completely entrenched in The Church of San Jose when I returned from Reed College in 1990 and that’s when I got sucked back into the LC movement, every time I would visit home and stayed with my parents before I would launch off to graduate school and trips abroad again. In the 1990s, my parents also left the Pro-Lee LC movement, the Church in San Jose, due to the major mid-80s LC Division over 100% allegiance to Lee, and joined a large group of other Chinese families to form another Chinese LC assembly in Cupertino that was just another hardcore LC variant/split-off group minus Lee and LSM leadership. Eventually the ruling elder who was a close co-worker of Lee in Southeast Asia along with a handful of Chinese elders left The Church of San Jose to form an even more stringent, extreme expression of the LC movement. He just became another more extreme Brother Lee, free from the headship of Brother Lee/LSM but the teachings and practices were still Nee and Lee. He even taught that the Cupertino Assembly of 150 saints under his leadership was THE chosen Israel of our generation vs. every other Christian group on the planet including the LC/LSM which were all just synagogues! So, after I finished my graduate studies and got my Master’s degree, worked for a year and then went on another huge 2.5 years Chinese house church missions trip (another story for another time!), in 1998 after coming back from China, I found myself back home again and going back to attending my parent’s new LC split-off group in Cupertino led and controlled by this new “Bro Lee” elder.

It took me another 4 years to finally leave Cupertino for good and start hosting church in my own home for the next 8 years like I witnessed firsthand in the underground Chinese House churches! My parents finally left Cupertino over 20 years ago, but then joined up with another more mainstream, institutional Chinese non-denominational church but they still focus on the teachings of Nee, being led by an ordained Chinese pastor whose parents left the LC in TW in the early 60s. To this day, my mom continually tries to drag all of her sons back to her current Chinese church to sit under his “amazing teachings”….

So, as you can see, I want to say that completely extricating yourself from the LC movement and its infinite variants over the years (from the days of Nee) is exceedingly difficult and not an overnight process that the Lord Himself must teach you and take you through, especially for those of us whose family members are still there or mentally/spiritually stuck there because they will eternally think Brother Nee, Brother Lee/LSM teachings are the best thing since sliced bread! Even to this day, my mom thinks nothing but positive about Lee/LSM; she says she only left The Church in San Jose because of my dad.

Final Thoughts
Lastly, I want to say be encouraged saints who left the LC or have outgrown the LC due to how the Lord has spoken to them through fresh revelation and discernment through my story or countless others who have left before us! Know that the only important thing for us to remember and do is be faithful and act in obedience to the present light He has shown you no more and no less about the LC and every other aspect of your spiritual walk and corporate church/Body life walk. As apostle Paul said we cannot choose any other way – we cannot be disobedient to whatever Heavenly vision He has given us, no matter what others see or do, this is a personal, subjective matter between you and God, of which you must give an account to Him what you did with the heavenly vision He gave you, not Bro Lee, elders, other saints, no one else! (Acts 26:19)

For me personally, after finally leaving the LC completely behind in 2003 when we stopped attending Cupertino was the absolutely the scariest and yet also the most rewarding decision of my Christian life and corporate church life. But the bottom line was it was not a real choice if I wanted to continue to completely follow the Lord alone, His heavenly vision for me and where His Holy Spirit was leading me. If I stayed in the LC in any form I was simply being disobedient to His heavenly vision; if I wanted to continue to follow Jesus only, I had to be willing to follow Him and Him alone wherever He was leading me outside the camp, to the unknown. But when you do let Another lead and carry you where you do not wish into the vast Unknown (John 21:18) where He is waiting for you to show you new things and connect you with new true spiritual family, I can assure you will experience unprecedented spiritual freedom and joy and peace with the Lord individually and begin to enjoy for the first time the truly unsearchable, unfathomable and endless richness of fellowshipping with the entire Body of Christ, all of God’s children. We can then allow Him to assemble us together to simply BE a fuller expression of the Body of Christ that He has called us all to be with ALL the wonderfully diverse and different members of His Body on the earth! Personally, for my own family, church life after LC has meant simply following Jesus outside the camp a few more times out of any kind of divisive Christian sect until He has returned us once more to the simplicity of pursuing Christ with the rest of His Body as He assembles us with whoever He wills in our home under the headship of the Holy Spirit each time we meet. We welcome any and all to come and fellowship around Christ and His Word if you are in the CA area or want to join us online!

Thank you for letting me share my story and heart with you beloved brothers and sisters in Christ in His One Body on the earth!
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Testimony of Thomas Shou

Reading this testimony I was reminded of this verse.

The path of the righteous is as the dawning light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

When you first leave it is pitch dark, but there is just a glimmer of light. As more and more testimonies come in like this one it is as the dawning light shining more and more unto the perfect day.
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Testimony of Thomas Shou

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasShou View Post
Every brother and sister in the LC had to take a stand about Bro Lee at that time! Were you pro-Lee or Con-Lee; Pro-Lee translated into being 100% absolute allegiance to Lee and his LSM teaching ministry! That was my first sign that Brother Lee and LSM had become too authoritarian and controlling over the LC churches and saints and deliberately made himself and his ministry a point of division in the LC movement. Lee/LSM were clearly trying to purge the leadership and LC movement of dissenters who were not 100% loyal to him ala the terrifying Communist/Fascist party purges of the past. So, I knew he had completely gone off the deep end with the LSM and therefore I could not take a pro-Lee stand. I knew the question of allegiance to ANY man or ministry no matter how gifted and helpful to the Body was a question that should never be asked in the Body of Christ and I knew that Lee could not be the ONLY voice of God on the earth after being exposed to many other non-LC powerful Christian ministries and voices during my Reed College years that touched upon teachings and doctrines Nee and Lee never talked about, such as supernatural healings, tongues, miracles, CS Lewis’ more cerebral apologetic teachings, etc.
Quite an impressive realization for Thomas Shou, a 21 year old student, to make. During this time period, I was surrounded by brothers 2 to 3 times his age and none of them had a thought like this. The most spiritual among them asserted that Lee was "exercising his apostolic authority" when confronting those at the time who were said to blow "cold winds" on his ministry.

Thus the Midwest LC's remained staunchly loyal to Lee throughout this "storm." We were sheltered within an hermetically sealed cryovaced information bubble like the way Omaha Steaks ships their products. After TC was excommunicated, and I learned the actual events of history during this past "storm," I felt there was a touch of karma for what he had done to coverup the criminal activities at LSM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Testimony of Thomas Shou

I am grateful to the Lord for your testimony. This encourages me very much and gives me some divine enlightenment. Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:32 AM   #5
aron
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Default Pioneers of the Heavenly Way by TA Sparks

I really appreciated the testimony, especially the notes on the book by Sparks. Sometimes I get soooooo frustrated because I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel when I just want to plop down in someone's ready-made Cadillac. God hands me a shiny lug nut instead, tells me to go find the other five nuts, then the tyres then the engine.....

But that's just the way the journey is. The "experience and enjoy Christ" programme was a ruse, designed to put you in the thrall of your own subjective (and manipulated) responses. Supposedly there was a ready-made system in place, all you had to do was meet on the "proper ground" and call "Oh Lord Jesus" and everything you ever wanted or needed got installed in your human spirit.

But WL asked the Shanghai elders, "How did you feel" when they expelled WN for bad behaviour. So WL could manipulate their "experience and enjoyment" to his own selfish ends. And we saw this manipulation repeated how many times in Little Flock & Lord's Recovery history? Eventually it was institutionalized and was the institution itself. Bait-and-switch: "Christ" was how you're feeling today, and how you're feeling today is of course subject to the needs of your nearest ministry co-worker. Oh, sorry, that's the latest "flow from the throne". Gotta get my terminology right.

Contrast that to scripture. It is a "sure word" (2 Pet 1:19), both in type (OT) and realization (NT) of the experience and enjoyment and sufferings and glories to follow of the One Messiah, Lord, Christ, Saviour, King of Israel, High Priest, and Shepherd of our souls. It is the experiences of the Christ that is our hope of glory. Anything else is a side-bar at best.

This is Jesus, once made a little lower than the angels and now crowned with glory and honour. If you focus on this everything else will follow. If you lose sight of this you will easily fall prey to schemes of deception. (I say 'you' as self-talk to get myself thru each day. Others may differ in self-talk, which probably agrees with Sparks' point)
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