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Old 08-27-2012, 06:17 AM   #1
GraceofChrist
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Default Testimony from Europe

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

First of all, I would like to apologize for my poor English, I live in Europe and I don’t speak this language fluently. So, sorry for my mistakes, but as brothers and sisters, I am sure you will understand. As well, I will avoid to mention my city and names.

This is my personal testimony. I’m still in a LC in Europe, but for how long? Even if I love the dear saints in my locality, I’ve seen too many things that bother me.

The Lord touched me when I was 19, three years ago. It was my first year far from my family, and I felt so alone. I couldn’t find anything to fill the gap inside me, but a student preached me the gospel, and offered me a New Testament. I was very suspicious, I didn’t know anything about Jesus, I thought it was a crazy thing to believe in Him. But as I didn’t know what to do some afternoon, I opened the Gospel of John, and began to read. I saw a lovely person, Jesus. I couldn’t stop my reading, I really drank every word from Jesus. I read, read…and suddenly I wept, it was a very deep feeling, and I knew that I believed in Him with all my soul and all my strength.

The next few weeks, I had long moments of fellowship and prayer with the sister who preached me the gospel –she isn’t in the Recovery. We read the Bible together, sometimes we read and prayed all the night, it was so wonderful…but she had to go to another country, so I saw that I should find a church. I decided to contact the only other Christian I knew in my college, a student from Taiwan. I asked her: "can I go with you in your church next Sunday?" and she answered "yes, of course!".

So, on Sunday, I arrived at a house where lived a Taiwanese couple. I didn’t know that there were meetings in houses, but even I found it weird, I thought it was interesting…I couldn’t help but being suspicious. The first thing which concerned me was these repeated "Oh Lord Jesus", and all these shouted amens. I know it sounds really Christian, but, well…I liked the hymns, even if I didn’t understand very well the lyrics : there were a bit difficult to understand for a newcomer. The prophecy meeting was a strange moment to me. I liked seeing everybody prophecizing, but I had the feeling to hear the same thing - says differently from a person to another, that’s right, but always the same. I was bothered, but I didn’t dare to say anything to the sister who led me there. When she called me to propose me to go to another meeting, I said: OK. At the end of this second meeting (it was in June 2009), I was still worried, about practices: I felt that, even if everything seemed so lively, happy, there was something dead inside (it’s hard to explain, it was just feeling). But I decided to be baptized, because I knew it was important for a Christian to be baptized (I didn’t really know what it means).

During the summer holidays, as I was thinking about my situation, I felt clearly that I should leave this church. It was the Lord’s voice. So I send an e-mail to the saints, and I explained my thoughts and my worries. Very kindly, some saints invited me for a fellowship. At the beginning, I was a bit worried, I was in fear of some reproaches ; but they didn’t say anything. Quickly, I felt better. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I remember that they manage to convince me that all the practices were good. And when we prayed together, I really felt the Holy Spirit filling me. It was so sweet ! I decided that I should see other meetings. Now, I must notice that it was one of the few times we didn’t mention the ministry (or I didn’t know that it was from the ministry).

So, I came to the meetings. I shushed this small voice inside when I was worried, thinking it was Satan’s strategy. This church was so unique: people were meeting together with joy, eating together, praying together, constantly praising the Lord. It was so close to the model of the church in Acts! It looked wonderful! They seemed to have found many "hidden truths". And I was sometimes impressed by what I could read in their litterature, it sounded really true. Even if some details seemed strange to me, who was I to object? I didn’t study the Bible like Witness Lee did.

Time passed by, and every disturbing thing became a habit. I went to my first conference in October, and even if I had a bad feeling, I did as if I was happy and managed to convice myself (for a while…). As I really loved the Lord, I wanted to be zealous for the church. I began to prophecy, to encourage everybody, to study the books of the ministry…The saints noticed my progression with joy. But inside me, there was something dead. As I was very busy with my studies, I didn’t have much time to think about it and to go very regularly to the meetings. I noticed it was curiously during these periods without fellowship with my church that I was the closer to God. Sometimes, as I went back from a prayer meeting, I was full of joy and strength. But I noticed that The Ministry was so exalted! They sincerely thought that it was the Lord’s ministry. But this matter of ministry seemed to trap the church, and even if it spoke about the Lord, it became as important as the Lord himself (or maybe even more). We didn’t open the Bible anymore in the meetings, or rather when we did it, it was impossible to quote a verse without reading the footnote. Once again, I managed to repress my doubts. It was getting more and more difficult, but I conviced myself it was something fleshly.

I went to a Young People Camp, last summer, and had a very weird time: sometimes, I really felt the presence of the Lord there. Some messages captured my heart, and I thought: "Yes, this is absolutely from the Lord". Sometimes, I was so worried with what I heard and saw. I have nothing to reproach to people who shout "praise the Lord", who repeat loudly the stanzas of a hymn. After all, if you do it from deep in your heart, it’s so good for the Lord, isn’t it? But I began to understand better. These praises were not (at least, not often) spontaneous, there were a teaching, something people had to do. If you did it differently, or if you didn’t praise with the whole group, there was like a silent pressure on your shoulders: you were not with the others, you were not in the mold. Because of this pressure, I felt obligated to shout, to do everything like my brothers and sisters, and sometimes, in order to show that I was with them, I did twice as much than them. I just wanted to survive in this environment. I was so disturbed as well with the constant reminder of going to the FTT: "the best place on Earth!". One night, as I prophesied a bit too long, a brother came to me after the meeting and admonished me in an ironical manner. I knew it was tactless and not mean, but I felt so hurt! All my soul was in this short sharing, and because I had spoken a few seconds too long…it is normal to have some rules and to respect them, but it was so legalistic! Many things were so legalistic! But it was still confused in this moment. At the end of the camp, many young people were baptized: wonderful news! But when a brother I knew decided to get into the bathtub, I told him: "I thought you were baptized?" "I am, but I was so young…now I understand what it means". I keep silent, but instantly one verse in Ephesians came to my mind: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism"…one baptism…

I went back to my city. I was happy to find some calm in the small church we have. I was still very motivated for the church. In spite of the things that disturbed me, I wanted to keep in mind that I was in the Lord’s recovery, it was The Church (it was so close to the church in Acts!), these problems were normal and, maybe, someday, the Lord would arrange everything…to be honest, I tried to ignore my feelings (fleshly thing!) and to go forward. But the Lord is too strong, so marvellous and powerful. And he forced me a few months ago to have a deep introspection, alone with Him.

Short periods of zeal for the ministry alternates with long periods of doubts. I must precise that my doubts were not about the Lord, I still loved Him with all my heart, but about the church and the ministry. I always prophesied on Sunday meeting, I couldn’t imagine a meeting without my prophecy, even when I had many unanswered questions. I was less and less faithful in the reading of the HWFMR, but I always read on Saturday night a few messages of the current week in order to have a few words to say the day after. Another problem disturbed me: recently, I felt a feeling of superiority compared to the sister who led me to the Lord, because I was in the Local Church and she wasn’t. I felt so shameful! But I saw that the bashing of denominations was the origin of this sinful thought. And another one: why, why did we always read books by Witness Lee ? I felt deeper that the ministry was more important than the Lord himself.

In March of this year, one night, the Lord put in my head the story of Jacob, in Peniel, with this thought: "Why do you resist to me? Why do you continue this fight? You know I will win. "I understood instantly what he was talking about. For the first time I did a simple thing, a thing that I didn’t dare do before: I searched on Google informations and testimonies by ex-Local Church members. The first text I read was from brother John So. After a few hours of searching, I had a quite complete view of the hidden (and very well hidden) history of the Local Churches, and I was sure that these testimonies were genuine. I saw once again the preeminent importance of a man, Witness Lee, and his ministry. Voluntarily or not, they took the first place among us. Of course, I was very embarrassed, but I couldn’t imagine to leave the local church. I still thought it was the church that the Lord desired, with or without the problems!

Three months went by. I was so busy that I couldn’t go to the meetings and think about the situation. But immediately after this intense period of work, the Lord put in front of me the same questions. I couldn’t go away, and all the things I repressed came to light:

1°) The practices: praises come not often spontaneously, but saints are taught to praise in a certain manner. Pray-reading, which sounds so dead to my ears, is not a bad practice: it’s a very good thing to pray the Word of God. But the way it is done in the Local Church (broken sentences repeated and emphasize again and again) is just dead, because it’s done in a legalistic way. The reading of the Bible (at least in my locality) is very rare during the meeting, and it seems it can’t be done without footnotes. Another disturbing belief is to call on the name of the Lord. Yes, saints have always call on the name of the Lord. But it’s not the mantra you can hear in the Local Church; it was something from deep inside. As well, to believe that a person is just saved because he says: "O Lord Jesus! "is an important mistake. Yes, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians: "no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." But the Bible also says in Romans: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? "To call on the Lord is not a magic formula or an empty mantra, but the expression of a deep need to contact the Lord, to feel His presence.

2°)The attitude toward the other denominations, always so proud. The most pernicious thing is that they will never say that they think, Christians in other denominations are unsaved. But they always act like if they are superior. One sentence can prove this; sometimes, at the prayer meeting, I heard: "There is no saint in that city". There is no saint? Nobody is saved is that city? No, this means: "This is no Local Church."

3°) The importance of Witness Lee and the Ministry: actually, the main problem, and it comprises all the other matters. The church is now centralized on a ministry and his leader. If you’re not following them, maybe they won’t excommuniate you (they did it for a few saints) but there is like a bareer between you and the church. In order to avoid division, Witness Lee decided to be the unique author of the books that Local Church should read. This is a very dangerous way. The Local Churches are not recognizable because they are following Christ, but because they are following the Living Stream Ministry. Criticize Witness Lee’s writings is like criticizing God’s Word. They are placing Witness Lee as an infallible man; you must accept everything (I heard in a conference that all the footnotes of the Recovery Version are right; if you don’t agree, you have to pray, and the Lord will show you it’s true…). Paul said to the Thessalonians: "Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all". And John: "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God". In the Recovery, you have no possibility to test, because there is one possibility for you to stay: accept everything from the Ministry. This is an important sin: idolatry. Now Witness lee is dead, but the problem is the same. In the eyes of the ministry, his writings are definitive and there is nothing to add…I sometimes had the feeling that the name of Watchman Nee was sometimes used as a pretext to justify that Lee’s writings were the continuation (and the amelioration?) of Nee’s ones.

More personal problems came at light as well: some questions, that I tried to answer honestly: do you want to marry a zealous sister of the Recovery, who does everything as the Ministry says? No! I don’t want it. But a sister whose heart is for the Lord himself. The brothers and sisters hope, I will tell them that I want to go to the FTT. But I can’t! With all the things I saw, how could I? It is not my way. And I know that if I have to move to another city, I will probably be a responsible there, responsible to teach them things I disagree. Before God, I can’t do this. And I noticed, I couldn’t open the Recovery Version of the Bible since a few months, because it turned my stomach to see all these footnotes. (Wow! It’s so strange to write this…) I understood better as well, why young people in the meetings are not lively. They are fragile, and the food we give them is not life-giving…some sentences, "it’s the attack of the enemy", like if the church couldn’t do a mistake, and God always approved them…

There are probably many things that I don’t mention, especially about the history of the Local Church. As I was kneeled on my bed, alone with the Lord in my room, I saw everything so clearly. I didn’t know how it had happened, but my face bathed in tears. I understood it was the beginning of another fight, not against the Lord but with Him, and for the first time I didn't pray: "Should I stay here?", but: "Lord, help me to leave the Local Church."

I say another fight, because I felt so depressed. For a few nights, I had terrible nightmares. All my convictions about the church fell like a house of cards. I don’t mean that all the teachings are wrong! Some of them are absolutely correct. But some of them are wrong, and it seems, that it’s an offense to say there is a mistake. And this church is like a family to me, I love them as brothers and sisters! But the truth for the Lord is more important…One thing helped me a lot: the finding of this forum. I saw that I was not alone.

Now, I would like to ask you to pray for me. Because I received these last few days messages from saints worried to have no news from me. The Lord streghten me! It will be a shock for them when I will tell them what is on my heart! But I know that I must leave them. God has a way for each person. But for everybody, I can say: be careful when you’re going to a church. Feel free to test the spirits, and do not follow a man blindly, except Jesus Christ. Obey to Him, otherwise you will have a tedious experience like mine, or other persons in this forum. But He will show you His faithfulness.

Sorry, it’s a very long testimony.
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