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Old 05-27-2011, 12:52 PM   #1
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Default Experience about denominations?

Hi,

I am a person that attends a local church and I was wondering, do any of you have experience of going to several different demoninations and then ending up in the local church, and if so, do you think it is profitable to remain in demoninations at all? The scripture states that we should "greet every saint" in Christ Jesus, yet I am unsure as to whether we should distance ourselves from denominational Christians. What are your opinions about denominations, whether good or bad?

Thanks,

David
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Experience about denominations?

The only thing that was spiritually/theologically "bad" in the opening post was the notion of "distance ourselves from" any believer for less than teaching falsely or openly causing division within your assembly. I think that if you read the relevant scripture you will find that nothing says anyone has to be in your assembly (or my assembly) because you or I take a particular stand on any particular thing. Period. (Well, excluding clear heresy as a reason not to join with someone.)

I think it is profitable to be engaged with the body fo Christ. Its outward trappings are much less relevant than some want to make it. Some prefer traditional groups. Others more modern styles. Some large groups and some small. And some like to follow Witness Lee. Without discussing the teachings of Witness Lee, that is not entirely problematic, although following a person is potentially problematic.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:24 AM   #3
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David,
Thanks for coming and posting!

In my observation and experience when we "distance ourselves" from other Christians (for reasons good, bad or indifferent) we become a denomination unto ourselves. As Mike mentioned, there are exceptions - such as heresy and maybe gross sin.

I can't speak much in regards to the life and times of Watchman Nee (way before my time) but since Witness Lee took over leadership of the Local Churches they have become at the very least a denomination or sect - and there is lots of evidence to suggest they have become much, much worse.

God has called us out to be separate. As you know the word ekklesia (from which we get church) means called out ones - an assembly of called out ones. But what are we called out to be separate FROM? We are called out to be separate from the world certainly - from it's rebellion towards God, and from it's sin. In a sense we are also called out to be separate from ourselves, for we are rebellious and sinful by nature.

But have we Christians been called out to be separate FROM EACH OTHER? I don't believe so. I think an objective search and study of the New Testament would show us just the opposite. We can start with the words of the Lord Jesus - "That they may be one as we are one". Yes, this is a "mystical" oneness to be sure, but there is a very real and tangible practicality to this oneness. The apostle Paul got really practical with the Corinthians: "If the foot says, 'Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body', it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body." (1Cor 12:15)

It seems to me that the Local Churches are telling their brothers and sisters "because I am this part of the body, I am not part of the body". Or even worse, it seems they are saying, "because you are this part of the body, you are not part of the body". This is the practical outcome when the "one city one church" teaching is taken too far. This is where Nee and Lee went to far. The "boundary" of the local church is not the city any more then the boundary of the body is the skin.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:34 PM   #4
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Hi,

I am a person that attends a local church and I was wondering, do any of you have experience of going to several different demoninations and then ending up in the local church, and if so, do you think it is profitable to remain in demoninations at all? The scripture states that we should "greet every saint" in Christ Jesus, yet I am unsure as to whether we should distance ourselves from denominational Christians. What are your opinions about denominations, whether good or bad?

Thanks,

David
Thanks for your post. I suppose practically the question should be asked of you who is considered to be a denomination and who isn't?

Speaking of distancing from denominational Christians, suppose at work or commuting to work you have good fellowship with fellow believers. Finding out where they meet, should that be the definitive factor in receiving? I hope not considering Jesus Christ died for our sins. Not just Jews, Jews AND Gentiles. Without Christ dying for our sins, there would be no hope. So my desire is all our brothers and sisters receive according to Romans 15:7

7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy ; as it is written, "THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME." 10 Again he says, "REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE." 11 And again, "PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM." 12 Again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE."

My experience was being raised in the local churches and meeting with a denomination afterwards. My experience meeting with a baptist assembly was positive. Received everyone who was of the local Body of Christ. How many denominations would partner in a community project with another church not of their denomination? Other than seeing the name Baptist on their building, you could not tell if they were a denomination. Of course you couldn't tell until how one is baptized becomes an issue. Baptists practice immersion over sprinkling. In all my years in the local churches I had never witnessed a baptism by sprinkling, so when the pastor and I had a conversation about baptism, immersion was my orientation.

In the city where I live, besides the denominations there are other assemblies who open receive one another. I have come to regard the local church as one assembly among many.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
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Hi, I am a person that attends a local church and I was wondering,..
I think the rule is that we are charged to examine ourselves, not others. Instead we are to receive one another as Christ has received us, and not to doubtful disputations.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #6
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The idea of "greeting every saint", while at the same time "distancing ourselves" from many (most) of those saints...I think that's a strange idea.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #7
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I was at an airport once with some saints and a brother was offended by the way I greeted a nun. So I asked him how I should greet her, he said "Praise the Lord sister, I also love the Lord Jesus".
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies! Maybe I should have been more clear though. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to figure out who exactly is a real Christian or not. I think this is the thing I'm trying to figure out. I read Matthew 5:20 about how Pharisees and scribes may search the Scriptures, but they aren't truly believers. Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel yet he wasn't a believer either. So this confuses me about how to tell if someone is a believer because how can anyone know about God but not believe in what he says? This seems strange to me.

Matthew 7:16-20 describes the way to figure out Christians from non-Christians, but sometimes it seems hard to recognize good tree from bad tree. Even Christians sin. If Christians sin, it is difficult to say at first glance who is really a Christian and who is not. What is your guys' experience of figuring out who is Christian or not? Does it take time to figure out?
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:12 PM   #9
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Hi,

I am a person that attends a local church and I was wondering, do any of you have experience of going to several different demoninations and then ending up in the local church, and if so, do you think it is profitable to remain in demoninations at all? The scripture states that we should "greet every saint" in Christ Jesus, yet I am unsure as to whether we should distance ourselves from denominational Christians. What are your opinions about denominations, whether good or bad?

Thanks,

David

I met with the LC for 30 years and during that time, prayed with, had Bible Studies with and one on one fellowship with believers that did not meet with LC. After the exerience of the division in the LC, I simply continued to fellowship with those same people...funny thing is...the only people who have rejected my fellowship are those loyal to Anaheim...
Sue
Very sad commentary on how "inclusive" they truly are...

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Old 05-30-2011, 12:54 PM   #10
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David, But have we Christians been called out to be separate FROM EACH OTHER? I don't believe so. I think an objective search and study of the New Testament would show us just the opposite. We can start with the words of the Lord Jesus - "That they may be one as we are one". Yes, this is a "mystical" oneness to be sure, but there is a very real and tangible practicality to this oneness. The apostle Paul got really practical with the Corinthians: "If the foot says, 'Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body', it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body." (1Cor 12:15)
Actually, I see nothing "mystical" at all about our oneness. But it is spiritual and the things of the spirit are spiritually discerned. Paul tells us that the natural DOES NOT RECEIVE the things of the Spirit. Oneness is such a thing to be sure. But not only can they not be received, they also CAN NOT KNOW THEM. This verse has been with me for decades now (1 Cor. 2:14).

My prayer is for the many who walk in worldly wisdom of right and wrong, good and evil to be able to enter into the spirit and partake of the Life tree; such partaking demands the stretching forth of the HAND and RECIEVING.

James tells us. be you doers (greek - poietes. from which we get our word "poetes) What in the SPIRIT is he talking about? the world would say something like, be like Jesus! or do good! or maybe, be a good christian! all of these things are merely more tree of good and evil fruits. And just ask yourself if you give it even a thought to try to think about my question, ask yourself, Is my answer a "good and evil" or "right and wrong" type answer? because if it is then the SPIRIT is missed in it; the Spirit is life. Jesus died for even the ungodly to give them life.

I am Elijah and I am the FOOT in the body here, but because I am not the head or the hand here. I am banned as a member.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:15 PM   #11
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Thank you! for posting my post yesterday.

I will say regarding experience of denominations that I have had some in my personal history; I see the division in them is the Sardis condition. Sardis is the condition of living a name that is dead... like "baptist," "pentecostal," "Seventh Day Adventist," and on and on. Have any of you really considered just how many divisions there are now? have you considered how many street corners there are with multiple so called "churches" on them; Is there ANY sign of oneness of the Body of Christ in this??? Absolutely not. It is this very condition that Jesus is calling his people out of..."come out of her my people." And not just the Sardis condition, but every condition that still remains on the earth today, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea! The coming out of these conditions is actually the overcoming of them; and the overcoming is the objective standing from them. All people are subjective to one condition or the other (and because of the age now with us, all are also subjective to the Laodicea condition, a condition of doing what is right in each one's own eyes; a condition of rights of the people).
But I come this week in the condition of Philadelphia, brotherly love. I come with the key that opens and no one shall shut and shuts and no one shall open. This key is the Living Word who is God coming in flesh. The natural man hears this and thinks "the God Man" or "God became man so that man could become God." I have seen these thoughts brought up and I dismiss them. Man is a VESSEL. God does not become a vessel so that a vessel can become God, NO GOD INHABITS a vessel. Our oneness that Jesus calls for in John 17 (which I have seen invoked in this thread) is a oneness of WORD. Jesus is the WORD become flesh! He declared that the words he spoke were not his own, but they were the Father's who had sent him. And in that sending we see that Jesus has also sent us! (vs 18. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world) I know that some would like to limit that verse to just the disciples, but to limit it in that way is to MISS THE SPIRIT of it! IT IS SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED; IT IS SPIRITUALLY RECEIVED! and remember "He that has an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT says...." DO you have an ear? I do! so let me hear what the Spirit says!
But I am not here to make confession of myself in that regard, I can only ask that each here examine themselves. Have we "kept His Word?" will you say to keep is anything less than what James tell us in 1:22, to be a poet; a poet KEEPS the WORD in his hands He writes what he sees in his environment. Which environment includes the world around him and the world he sees as he reads the text of the Bible.
What you have just read, this is what I see! and what I see is the Living Word coming in my hand and I WILL ABIDE IN HIM.. because he abides in me! I am a vessel for Him and he becomes a vessel for me and I will hide myself in Him...
Bless you in all the measure of your receiving herein.
As the Local Church goes, I am the Church in Greenback! I stand upon the Ground of the Church and Because I stand upon this Ground my eyes are above the floodwaters of the age that have been poured out of the mouth of the natural man. These flood waters hide everything from all who won't come out of it... everything that is now arising as dry ground upon which to stand.

Again. Thank you for posting yesterday's post for me and I pray this also will be suitable for your inspection.
I am Elijah! I come with the Word tried in a fire heated seven times (heated through seven ages of the Church) And the Word itself is a Fire that Comes down out of heaven. Blessed are they whose works (words) stand as Gold, Silver and precious Stones!
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:22 PM   #12
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I am friends with different Christians, including those in denominations. However, I do not belong to any denomination. I prefer informal fellowship in simple settings, like houses, cafes ets. It is much better than to be drilled about how great Witness Lee (or any other leader for that matter) is.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:31 PM   #13
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Sometimes I have a hard time trying to figure out who exactly is a real Christian or not. I think this is the thing I'm trying to figure out. I read Matthew 5:20 about how Pharisees and scribes may search the Scriptures, but they aren't truly believers. Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel yet he wasn't a believer either.
But you seem to think that figuring out who is already a Christian is so important. I guess that you would never invite someone who is of uncertain stance to a meeting because they might not be a Christian. And so the place where we should jointly display the best of our Christianity (and that should be characterized by love for God, for each other, and for our neighbor as ourself) is "off-limits"?

But most interesting that Jesus did not bother trying to discern who believed and who did not. Whether Nicodemus believed when he first came to Jesus is uncertain (to us). Jesus still spoke with him and encouraged him to understand even within the context of what he as a leader of the Jews should know. And we later discover that Nicodemus was a believer.

What about the Pharisees? Did Jesus say that they were not believers? It might be a reasonable conclusion. But it was not what he said. He did not say to not search the scriptures. He said to open your eyes to what the scriptures say and see that it is talking about him (Jesus).
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What is your guys' experience of figuring out who is Christian or not? Does it take time to figure out?
Why the need to figure it out? If you think that there might be an unsaved person masquerading as a Christian (a social Christian or even charlatan of some kind), it will become evident. Or at least evident that they have much more going on that just being Christian and following Christ. If Christian fellowship just doesn't happen, then there might be reason to suspect. But even that is not a certainty.

Once again, the real question is "why do you need to figure out what everybody is?" If it is to have a reason to despise denominations, with a need to figure out how to "distance yourself from" denominations, then what verses teach us to be that way with people?

Seek to have fellowship with any who are open. But more importantly, be a real Christian who loves everyone without condition. Love your Christian brother/sister (even if they vote Democrat / Republican / Tea Party / Libertarian; even if they are in some denomination or a group that you consider a Christian cult). Love the unsaved (even the pagan who follows Buddha, or some other god). Love even your enemies. It won't cause all to repent and be saved, but it is the testimony that I hope is being displayed by more and more Christians so that I won't be constantly labeled as one of those bigoted, egocentric, haters of sinners, etc., just because there are too many Christians who are.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:47 AM   #14
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Thanks a lot Mike. I wasn't very worried about this matter of choosing whether to be with non-Christians or not until I read certain verses like these:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

What do you think? Do you think these verses mean not to associate with willingly unbelievers?
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:54 PM   #15
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Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

What do you think? Do you think these verses mean not to associate with willingly unbelievers?
Given that there is no equivalent command in this kind of wording given by Christ, I think you have to be careful that you are not over-applying what Paul is writing here. What is clear is that it is not clear exactly what he is talking about. But as I read it, I get the sense of something much deeper than merely associating.

The real key is in the word "yoked." The obvious parallel is two oxen or other beasts of burden joined in a common task. Now this could not mean that we are charged to not have jobs with unbelievers because Paul and Peter (if not others) went to great lengths to talk about how a slave is to obey an unbelieving master in a completely righteous way (among other relationships). So that is not what it is talking about. It would seem from the wording and context that this is something concerning actual things of pagan worship or of trying to have Christian fellowship with someone who is simply not Christian (and openly so).

But so much of life is not "Christian fellowship," therefore not really within what seems to be the scope of the passage. You can work with any of them. You can buy from them, sell to them. You can ride in an airplane piloted by them. And so on.

But there is still something troubling about the notion of trying to discern whether someone who calls them self a Christian and undertakes the life of a Christian is actually, in fact, a Christian. This may be getting a little too deep into trying to figure out whether that plant growing beside you is actually wheat or weeds. Jesus said to let them grow together and it would be sorted out in the end. If you are trying to figure it out now, then you are trying to get a head start on what Jesus says is reserved for the judgment. If you find that somehow fellowship is off, or somehow worthy of some kind of restraint, then maybe Paul's "mark them out" or "refuse them" might be in order. But even in that case, it is not about discerning their status as a Christian, but as a teacher. The problem may be deeper and they may not actually be Christian.

But there is so much concerning how to behave righteously toward everyone, even our enemies. And you come across this one passage by Paul about being unequally yoked and you feel the need to figure out if those Baptists are really Christian (hypothetically)? I don't think he was talking about those who otherwise appear to be insiders, but those who are clearly not. And not concerning whether we bestow on them the same love that we have for ourselves (and just below the love we have for God). Only that we should know that we do not have Christian fellowship with such ones. Not a quarantine. Just one area where we don't speak the same language.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:08 PM   #16
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Watchman Nee said, "to say to another Christian, 'you meet in a denomination, and we are against denominations, therefore we cannot me with you' is to become yourself sectarian and denominational."

Most of the brothers and sisters with whom I met have an extremely skewed view of what LSM has defined as "fallen, denominational Christianity". They believe, for instance, that Lutherans must read Luther's stuff, and think that only Lutherans are the Body.... but they don't. I was raised a Lutheran, and we were never exposed to any of Martin Luther's works... and we were never taught that we were separate or better than other members of the Body. I have met with Mennonites and Hutterites - supposedly both very exclusionary, but had wonderful fellowship with them as well - and most have never read the works of Menno Simon or John Hutter, let alone read them to the exclusion of all others. I have met with Pentecostals and Presbyterians and Catholics, and been able to fellowship with them also... the same with Baptists, non-denominationals, and a fellow affiliated with the Greek Orthodox church... Praise the Lord for His Body!

LSM reviles denominations for daring to take names apart from the name of Christ... but the names we know these denominations by are not neccessarily names they've taken for themselves - they are also names thrust upon them by outsiders, who ever want to label... and LSM certainly has their own labels.

You need to take a good look around, and see that Christ isn't moving through a single man or a single ministry. He has not abandoned the other members of the flock, sheep not of your fold, to their own devices. He is the Good Shepherd, and He has laid His life down for them... He will never leave them nor forsake them.

In this day and age, Christ is calling MANY of His people together. Non-denominational and inter-denominational movements are literally EVERYWHERE. You only can't see it if you are locked into a man and his own unique ministry; a ministry that teaches you to distrust anything apart from it because that might mean one less HWMR sold that month. And that, I fear, is the real bottom-line. You are merchandise, and the best way to keep you right where you are is to make certain you absolutely will not and cannot dare to look elsewhere.

Trust in the Lord, in Him only, and "hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 2:17

In Christ,

NeitherFirstnorLast

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Thank you! for posting my post yesterday.

I will say regarding experience of denominations that I have had some in my personal history; I see the division in them is the Sardis condition. Sardis is the condition of living a name that is dead... like "baptist," "pentecostal," "Seventh Day Adventist," and on and on. Have any of you really considered just how many divisions there are now? have you considered how many street corners there are with multiple so called "churches" on them; Is there ANY sign of oneness of the Body of Christ in this??? Absolutely not. It is this very condition that Jesus is calling his people out of..."come out of her my people." And not just the Sardis condition, but every condition that still remains on the earth today, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea! The coming out of these conditions is actually the overcoming of them; and the overcoming is the objective standing from them. All people are subjective to one condition or the other (and because of the age now with us, all are also subjective to the Laodicea condition, a condition of doing what is right in each one's own eyes; a condition of rights of the people).
But I come this week in the condition of Philadelphia, brotherly love. I come with the key that opens and no one shall shut and shuts and no one shall open. This key is the Living Word who is God coming in flesh. The natural man hears this and thinks "the God Man" or "God became man so that man could become God." I have seen these thoughts brought up and I dismiss them. Man is a VESSEL. God does not become a vessel so that a vessel can become God, NO GOD INHABITS a vessel. Our oneness that Jesus calls for in John 17 (which I have seen invoked in this thread) is a oneness of WORD. Jesus is the WORD become flesh! He declared that the words he spoke were not his own, but they were the Father's who had sent him. And in that sending we see that Jesus has also sent us! (vs 18. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world) I know that some would like to limit that verse to just the disciples, but to limit it in that way is to MISS THE SPIRIT of it! IT IS SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED; IT IS SPIRITUALLY RECEIVED! and remember "He that has an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT says...." DO you have an ear? I do! so let me hear what the Spirit says!
But I am not here to make confession of myself in that regard, I can only ask that each here examine themselves. Have we "kept His Word?" will you say to keep is anything less than what James tell us in 1:22, to be a poet; a poet KEEPS the WORD in his hands He writes what he sees in his environment. Which environment includes the world around him and the world he sees as he reads the text of the Bible.
What you have just read, this is what I see! and what I see is the Living Word coming in my hand and I WILL ABIDE IN HIM.. because he abides in me! I am a vessel for Him and he becomes a vessel for me and I will hide myself in Him...
Bless you in all the measure of your receiving herein.
As the Local Church goes, I am the Church in Greenback! I stand upon the Ground of the Church and Because I stand upon this Ground my eyes are above the floodwaters of the age that have been poured out of the mouth of the natural man. These flood waters hide everything from all who won't come out of it... everything that is now arising as dry ground upon which to stand.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:20 AM   #17
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Watchman Nee said, "to say to another Christian, 'you meet in a denomination, and we are against denominations, therefore we cannot me with you' is to become yourself sectarian and denominational."

Most of the brothers and sisters with whom I met have an extremely skewed view of what LSM has defined as "fallen, denominational Christianity". They believe, for instance, that Lutherans must read Luther's stuff, and think that only Lutherans are the Body.... but they don't. I was raised a Lutheran, and we were never exposed to any of Martin Luther's works... and we were never taught that we were separate or better than other members of the Body. I have met with Mennonites and Hutterites - supposedly both very exclusionary, but had wonderful fellowship with them as well - and most have never read the works of Menno Simon or John Hutter, let alone read them to the exclusion of all others. I have met with Pentecostals and Presbyterians and Catholics, and been able to fellowship with them also... the same with Baptists, non-denominationals, and a fellow affiliated with the Greek Orthodox church... Praise the Lord for His Body!
Great post.

I am constantly amazed on this forum how easy it is to rebut the old LC arguments, which for more than a quarter century, I was convinced were so "rock solid."
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:38 PM   #18
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Watchman Nee said, "to say to another Christian, 'you meet in a denomination, and we are against denominations, therefore we cannot me with you' is to become yourself sectarian and denominational."

Most of the brothers and sisters with whom I met have an extremely skewed view of what LSM has defined as "fallen, denominational Christianity". They believe, for instance, that Lutherans must read Luther's stuff, and think that only Lutherans are the Body.... but they don't.

Praise the Lord for His Body!

LSM reviles denominations for daring to take names apart from the name of Christ... but the names we know these denominations by are not neccessarily names they've taken for themselves - they are also names thrust upon them by outsiders, who ever want to label... and LSM certainly has their own labels.

Trust in the Lord, in Him only, and "hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 2:17
Having met with a Baptist assembly of a year in 2009, I can definitely say if it wasn't for the name on the building you could not tell what doctrine the assembly adhered to based on messages given. They're just brothers and sisters in the Lord, just as I am.

Those in the local churches have a definite skew of Christians meeting in denominations and in non-denominational asseblies, because they will not meet with any Christians outside their LSM-based fellowship unless those Christians come to them.

The names argument is really ridiculous. I may need adjustment on this matter, but when an assembly files for a tax id, the assembly needs to take a name. Suppose you're a group of Christians who want fellowship with LSM and want to take the ground, and someone else in your city already has a tax id for the church in ........, you'll have to file under a different name.

Speak about labels. As one raised in the local churches, assemblies apart from the recovery have been reviled. Even if an assembly is not a denomination, they'll be categorized as a free group; i.e. meeting apart from the practical reality of the body of Christ. Such a concept NeitherFirstnorLast brought up what Watchman Nee said about receiving. "To say to another Christian, 'you meet in a denomination, and we are against denominations, therefore we cannot me with you' is to become yourself sectarian and denominational."
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:46 PM   #19
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Great post.

I am constantly amazed on this forum how easy it is to rebut the old LC arguments, which for more than a quarter century, I was convinced were so "rock solid."
Could be Ohio, that those old LC arguments may have been that true at one time, but since the recovery has cut themselves off from the body of Christ, and having no fellowship with denominational/non-denominational Christianity, the recovery has been ignorant or non-responsive to changes in systemic Christianity.
The arguments against non-Recovery Christianity that once existed are now obsolete.
Someone may bring up the clergy-laiety system in Christianity. Are not LSM assemblies in the same system? You have have LSM publications functioning as the clergy and those that re-speak the Holy Word for Morning Revival or those that choose not to speak is the laiety.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:45 PM   #20
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Could be Ohio, that those old LC arguments may have been that true at one time, but since the recovery has cut themselves off from the body of Christ, and having no fellowship with denominational/non-denominational Christianity, the recovery has been ignorant or non-responsive to changes in systemic Christianity.

Someone may bring up the clergy-laity system in Christianity. Are not LSM assemblies in the same system?
Once the Recovery shuts out all outside ministry, they effectively have created a cave-like fantasy where "the ministry" can make up any story they wish about "them outsiders." Since all the normal checks and balances have been eliminated, LSM has the free reigns to say whatever is in their own best interest. LC membership is held in fear of the denominational "bogey man" out there ready to "get them."

The level of hypocrisy that once gripped us is truly amazing. All that time we were indoctrinated about the evils of "one man speaking," only to become engulfed in a far worse system filled with the "speaking of just one man." LSM has actively embarked on a mission these last 25 years to discredit the many gifts given to the churches. These gifts were given by the Head, yet they have been vilified by WL and the BB's as "speaking their own thing, having a personal agenda, teaching differently, not one with the ministry, etc." Those who resisted the squelching of their own gift from the Lord were then quarantined.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:04 PM   #21
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The names argument is really ridiculous. I may need adjustment on this matter, but when an assembly files for a tax id, the assembly needs to take a name. Suppose you're a group of Christians who want fellowship with LSM and want to take the ground, and someone else in your city already has a tax id for the church in ........, you'll have to file under a different name.
Ridiculous is the word. Why is "the church in Anaheim" the officially sanctioned name, but the "church of Christ" is not approved. What about the "church of God" or the "church of God in Christ?" Are not these names straight from the scripture?

As some have said following the shameful lawsuits in Columbus, Mansfield, and Toronto a few years back, "tell me again about that church with no name suing their brothers over the rights to their church name." Woe to you hypocrites!

Having witnessed these battles first hand for many, many years, once we gather all the facts together, it becomes patently clear in the Recovery program that a church is a proper church only if LSM sanctions it as a "proper" church. Forget the Bible, forget the Spirit, forget the Lord, forget the truth. None of these really matter. Only Blended Brother approval matters. Before them it was only WL that mattered.

One can examine carefully every quarantine, every storm, every conflict, and every rebellion and one will arrive at this same conclusion. It is the only one that the facts of history support.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:58 PM   #22
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Once the Recovery shuts out all outside ministry, they effectively have created a cave-like fantasy where "the ministry" can make up any story they wish about "them outsiders."
Getting help or information from external sources is widely discouraged.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:05 PM   #23
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Having witnessed these battles first hand for many, many years, once we gather all the facts together, it becomes patently clear in the Recovery program that a church is a proper church only if LSM sanctions it as a "proper" church. Forget the Bible, forget the Spirit, forget the Lord, forget the truth. None of these really matter. Only Blended Brother approval matters. Before them it was only WL that mattered.
Goes to show a local church is only recognized as a local church if it has a relationship with LSM. That's the basis!
In Washington state, the Church in Moses Lake was probably the first local church in the state that received Witness Lee's ministry. After the Elder's Conference in April 1986, once this locality ceased ties with LSM, the Church in Moses Lake was no longer recognized as a local church. Explain that to me. When is a local church no longer a local church?
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:51 AM   #24
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Explain that to me. When is a local church no longer a local church?
When that church is removed from LSM's directory of churches.

The word "local" is completely a farce. Moses Lake received WL because he espoused some of WN's ministry. Once they saw how much WL had changed, they left the fold.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:05 PM   #25
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Sorry I said the Pharisees and scribes were not truly believers; this may not be true.
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Thanks for the replies! Maybe I should have been more clear though. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to figure out who exactly is a real Christian or not. I think this is the thing I'm trying to figure out. I read Matthew 5:20 about how Pharisees and scribes may search the Scriptures, but they aren't truly believers. Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel yet he wasn't a believer either. So this confuses me about how to tell if someone is a believer because how can anyone know about God but not believe in what he says? This seems strange to me.

Matthew 7:16-20 describes the way to figure out Christians from non-Christians, but sometimes it seems hard to recognize good tree from bad tree. Even Christians sin. If Christians sin, it is difficult to say at first glance who is really a Christian and who is not. What is your guys' experience of figuring out who is Christian or not? Does it take time to figure out?
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:31 AM   #26
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Could be Ohio, that those old LC arguments may have been that true at one time, but since the recovery has cut themselves off from the body of Christ, and having no fellowship with denominational/non-denominational Christianity, the recovery has been ignorant or non-responsive to changes in systemic Christianity.
The arguments against non-Recovery Christianity that once existed are now obsolete.
Someone may bring up the clergy-laiety system in Christianity. Are not LSM assemblies in the same system? You have have LSM publications functioning as the clergy and those that re-speak the Holy Word for Morning Revival or those that choose not to speak is the laiety.
On the local level, the full-timers may function as the laity. They're the ones bringing the "up-to-date flow" from wherever they were trained.

It's really delicious when the clergy are barely 25-35 years old (that is to say, my age), and the glassy-eyed laity (many of them) are old enough to be their parents!

I'm laughing but it's not funny!!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:09 PM   #27
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On the local level, the full-timers may function as the laity. They're the ones bringing the "up-to-date flow" from wherever they were trained.

It's really delicious when the clergy are barely 25-35 years old (that is to say, my age), and the glassy-eyed laity (many of them) are old enough to be their parents!

I'm laughing but it's not funny!!
Yes God's ways are truly marvelous, it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands. What will it take for this stiff necked people to repent?
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:43 AM   #28
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Yes God's ways are truly marvelous, it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands. What will it take for this stiff necked people to repent?
God's ways?
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:14 AM   #29
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... I have a hard time trying to figure out who exactly is a real Christian or not... I read Matthew 5:20 about how Pharisees and scribes may search the Scriptures, but they aren't truly believers. Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel yet he wasn't a believer either. So this confuses me about how to tell if someone is a believer because how can anyone know about God but not believe in what he says?
I wouldn't be so quick to judge Nicodemus. He is shown in John 7:50-51 defending Jesus in the Sanhedrin, and in John 19:39 is shown cooperating with Joseph of Arimathea in the embalming and burial of Jesus.

Which brings up a larger point. We only see others at one point in time. Some loudly declare allegiance to the Christ, then fall away. Others falter or even seem rebellious, then repent and do the will of the Father (cf Matt 21:28-31). We only see a "snapshot": a point in time of their journey. Don't judge others on what you perceive. You see such a small fragment of the whole that making overall assessments is probably not worth it. Leave that to the Judge of all.

I have long felt it safe to assume everyone, and I mean everyone, is "ahead of me" in the race. When I think I am doing well, I stumble. When I confess that I am empty, broke, utterly failed, then God comes in His mercy.

I like Psalm 136; it says 26 times to praise and thank God "...for His mercy endureth forever". Do you think God is making a point there? Evaluating others' relative positions vis-a-vis God's mercy doesn't seem profitable to me.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:26 AM   #30
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I also appreciated what OBW wrote: Jesus said to let the wheat and tares grow together. Let the reaping angels sort them out. If we try to function as God's winnowing fan, we end up grievously damaging the crop.

Look at how thousands of christians' fellowship with one another got severed because Benson Phillips and Ray Graver couldn't tolerate Titus Chu; or because Kerry Robichaux and Ron Kangas disagreed with Dong Yu Lan.

It's like a family where suddenly Mommy and Daddy hate each other. The more mature ones realize that such, unfortunately, can be the way of things. But the one who is young, or immature, who depended on the idea of "one big happy family", loses the psychological covering and collapses. How many young ones have been stumbled because the elders have tried to weed each other out?

Now, marrying an unbeliever is an example of being "unequally yoked". John Wesley entered into a disastrous marriage with a bitter and vindictive woman because he didn't heed the warnings of his close companions about his prospective bride. And other such arrangements, social and financial, are to be considered as relevant also.

But trying to "purge the church" seems to be a ruinous exercise. Except for control freaks, I suppose; for them it is perhaps a joy to consider themselves instruments of God's purifying wrath. They want to be like John Brown at Harper's Ferry: come in with guns blazing, and let the blood flow to the fetlocks. But most christians don't think that is our calling, and I am rather inclined to agree. I lean more to the idea of "Lord, be merciful to me, just as I try to show mercy to others". Matthew 5:7
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:33 AM   #31
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I have long felt it safe to assume everyone, and I mean everyone, is "ahead of me" in the race. When I think I am doing well, I stumble. When I confess that I am empty, broke, utterly failed, then God comes in His mercy.
When I'm weak, then I'm strong.
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