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Old 02-07-2012, 02:24 PM   #1
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Default A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

I've finally completed that project, at least in e-book format, and have it posted on my website; here is the direct link to the e-book; it's in PDF format:

http://www.thechristianfaith.org/pdf...20Locality.pdf

And here is the page where it's listed:

http://www.thechristianfaith.org/page-studies.htm

David Canfield
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

When approaching Christian unity, the higher principles which are talked about by the Lord Jesus directly are "loving one another" (Mark 12:31-33) and "oneness" (John 17:21) among the believers. These two principles are the most directly taught and therefore, the most important. Any attempt to practically implement these higher principles must always be examined to unsure that these higher principles are not being undermined by the practical implementation itself. Two paradigms have emerged on this thread as ways to view the teaching of the church, and these two paradigms correspond to two very different ways of obtaining practical oneness among believers. The two paradigms are:

1) The "one city, one church" paradigm. The way to achieve oneness according to this paradigm is by bringing all Christians in a city to meet together under one administration.

2) Where 2 or 3 gather there I am in the midst" = the church. One practical way (not necessarily the only way) to achieve oneness in this paradigm is in having separate assemblies with separate administrations holding to unity of "the faith" (Eph 4:13)

The topic of this thread is to examine paradigm #1, “one city, one church”. I would like to challenge every local churcher to go back to the Bible and re-evaluate this teaching and ask some hard questions about why you have come to believe this. Have you ever done a personal study apart from the training and conferences given by others? Trainings and conferences are good, but many times the presentation of truth has been filtered so that only one side of an argument is presented. Without seeing evidence for both sides you are impotent to decide for yourself what the merits of a teaching are and whether it should be accepted as a teaching which binds all Christians.

Ephesians 4:14 warns us “that we may no longer be little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching...” Ultimately we are responsible for what we believe and it is not enough to stand before God and say “Brother so-and-so said so” even though we love the brothers very much. You need to determine individually what you will believe about the “ground of the church”. As a fellow local churcher I had never got to hear the arguments which refuted this teaching, so naturally I believed it. Now, after studying this matter myself I have personally concluded that this teaching is not supported by the Bible. I would just like to share the reasons I feel this is not a teaching that carries the weight of Biblical authority. My main point is that this teaching is not binding upon a believer nor is it necessary to practice to keep the oneness.

Below I will address reasons that are cited as support for the “one city, one church” or “local ground” teaching and I will follow that by a response for your consideration:

1) In the Old Testament, the temple had to be built upon the proper ground. This is a type of the New Testament church being built upon the proper ground. While the foundation is Christ in the New Testament, the ground and the foundation are not the same. The foundation must lie upon the ground and the ground of the church is the city - one city, one church.

Only a few verses in the New Testament talk about the building of God upon the ground. One such verse is Colossians 2:7-8 and contrary to proving that the ground is the city, it actually proves that the ground is not the city but the GROUND is CHRIST. It says, "being rooted and builded up in Him (the ground), and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ"

The New Testament precedent for the ground is Christ. We are ROOTED in Him. These verses even strongly warn us not to build upon any other ground than that of Christ. The other place which the Bible speaks of the foundation resting upon something is in Luke 6:47-49, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you whom he is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep and laid a foundation on the rock. And when a flood came, the river broke out against that house, yet it was not strong enough to shake it, because it had been built well.” This verse speaks of building the foundation upon the rock. The Rock also represents Christ (1 Cor 10:4, Deut. 32:4, 1 Samuel 2:2). Therefore, no matter where you want to put the foundation of God’s building, you can't get around putting it on Christ (unless you put it on the sand). These verses prove that the ground is Christ and NOT the city.

At this point, some do concede that the ground is Christ – but then quickly add that there is an earthly ground and a heavenly ground. The claim is that the earthly ground is the city, but the heavenly ground is Christ. What must be recognized, however, is that we are not given permission to make very fundamental points like this without verses to establish them. Does the New Testament teach us that there is an "earthly ground of locality" and a "heavenly ground of Christ"? To say this would be akin to claiming that there is an earthly foundation and a heavenly foundation. Surely you would demand Biblical proof for this to prevent the pure foundation of Christ from being marred and something being added to it. The same is true for the ground. The New Testament does not teach of an “earthly” and “heavenly” ground and neither are we permitted to. The ground is recognized as only one thing in the New Testament, and that is Christ. The church is built on Christ and we should not add “locality” to it.

2) Because the New Testament mentions a spiritual city to come (the New Jerusalem) that means Christians everywhere should gather around city boundaries as a miniature of this future city to come...and if a Christian does not gather around the ground of city boundaries then they are not practicing the real oneness.

This statement mixes up some wonderful truth with some very wrong assumptions. The part that echoes inside of the Christian as truth is the fact that today we can have experiences that give us a foretaste of the New Jerusalem. This is consistent with what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:5 - “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house...” This verse shows us that today, in this age we are being together as a spiritual house. The experience of this spiritual house is not only reserved for a coming age, it can even be experience by us today. Therefore, it seems likely that when we have real experiences of being built together as a spiritual house in this age, we are getting a foretaste (even if only a small one) of the spiritual house that is to come, the New Jerusalem.

The error in this statement is in connecting physical cities with a spiritual city in a way that tries to support an argument for “one city, one church”. The logic says that because what is coming is a city, therefore we should practice oneness today by keeping the city boundary. This is a mixture of the physical and the spiritual. A symbolic spiritual city that will be fully realized in the future makes no implication that we should try to keep physical city boundaries as our oneness today. This would be like saying that because the book of Revelation says there are streets of gold in the New Jerusalem we should all pave our streets with gold today. This is a mixture of the physical and the spiritual that the apostles of the time never taught (and for good reason!). If you want to establish a doctrine you must have verses to back it up and there are no biblical support for this rather odd teaching.

Not many Christians who know their Bible will accept this kind of logic as truth that should bind them. A spiritual city in the future does not obligate people to keep physical city boundaries today. This would mean that everybody who lives out in the country would be missing out on some "mystical experience" that you can only get in cities. Even common sense proves this to be ridiculous.

3) In Revelation 1:11 & 1:20 there are 7 letters sent to 7 cities delivered by 7 messengers to 7 lampstands which are the 7 churches. This proves at that time there was "one city, one church" because we see no more or less than 7 churches in 7 cities and this disproves that there were multiple assemblies in any of those cities, one of which was the disputed Laodicea (Col 4:15).

Recall the two different paradigms for practical oneness being discussed:

1) The "one city, one church" paradigm. The way to achieve oneness according to this paradigm is by bringing all Christians in a city to meet together under one administration.

2) Where 2 or 3 gather there I am in the midst" = the church. One practical way (not necessarily the only way) to achieve oneness in this paradigm is in having separate assemblies with separate administrations holding to unity of "the faith" (Eph 4:13)

This statement is an attempt to disprove paradigm #2 in favor of paradigm #1. If you look at things through the paradigm of "where two or three gather" = the church, you will see there is no problem with these verses. You can refer to believers as a house together and that is "the church". You can combine two houses together if you like and that is "the church" and as in these verses you can refer to all the believers at the city level as “the church”.

In these verses there is no doubt that He is addressing 7 collections of believers at the city level, but where you begin to assume things is when you begin to say He is addressing 7 "city churches" as if this were his only unit of measurement. If Jesus had an official unit of measurement, it would have been stated with a verse

On the contrary, Acts 9:31 states “So then the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied.” This verse gives us the freedom to group whole regions containing cities together and refer to that as "the church". Would you then make the claim that because the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee are referred to as "the church" in this verse, then that means there are no individual churches in their respective cities? Of course not. In the same way, just because the Lord Jesus has chosen to group an entire city together and refer to it as "the church" that does not mean there were not its respective house churches. He is simply addressing his called out ones at the city level versus the regional level or the house level. Whether I choose to group the believers together as "the church" at the neighborhood level, community level, city level, etc. they are still "the church". Having one does not exclude having the other. It is merely a different form of grouping.

Neither paradigm can be disproved based on these verses alone. However, from other places in the New Testament we know that the “one city, one church” pattern IS disputable in some places and IS NOT binding upon all believers. This will be the subject of the next point.

4) In Revelation chapter 2 & 3 notice the churches are addressed according to the city, i.e. “the church in Ephesus”, “the church in Smyrna”, “the church in Pergamos”, etc. Also notice in the salutation of Paul’s epistles in books such as Thessalonians where Paul addresses his letter to the "church of the Thessalonians". In the New Testament, believers practiced “one city, one church”. This proves that we should also practice the same "one city, one church" pattern.

This has been well-traveled topic of discussion on this forum. The argument comes down to "pattern theology". In considering the above point, two questions must be considered:
A) Is there a consistent, clear pattern in the New Testament for "one city, one church"?
B) If there is a clear pattern, should it be binding upon all believers today?

A) Is there a clear, consistent pattern?

In many cases, believers are addressed at the city level in the New Testament. However, if we wish to say something is a New Testament pattern, it must always hold true. There are some sections of verses where discerning such a pattern is indeed disputable. Take, for example, Philemon 2, Romans 16:3-5 and Colossians 4:15. These three verse sets all speak of “house churches”. The local churches generally teach that in the cases where you find verses such as these that refer to churches located in homes that these “house churches” include all the believers in the city. It is my main point in this section not to disprove this point by saying that all the believers in that certain city were definitely not all gathering in that house, which would be equally disputable, but to simply point out the fact that you can only argue that “one city, one church” is a New Testament pattern based on ASSUMPTIONS.

Philemon 2 states, “And to Apphia the sister and to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church, which is in your house.” Philemon most likely lived in Colossae because the book of Colossians links Philemon’s slave Onesimus to the city of Colossae (Col 4:9). Proof can neither be found in Philemon nor in Colossians that all the believers in the city of Colossae met in the house of Philemon. It is possible that Philemon simply had some believers in Colossae meet in his home, yet Paul refers to them as “the church”. Of course, you can also assume that all the believers in Colossae were meeting in the home of Philemon. Neither argument is definite nor carries scriptural authority. Therefore, a “one city, one church” pattern in Philemon is based on an assumption.

Romans 16:3-5 says, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life...and greet the church, which is in their house.” It is also possible that the church in the house of Aquilla & Priscilla does not include all the believers in that city and instead it is a house church with some of the believers in Rome. In fact, if you estimate the number of believers that Paul greets in Rome in this section it comes out to somewhere around 40 saints! It is a big house that is able to fit all 40 believers in it. Of course, you can argue the other way as well. You could argue that Aquilla & Priscilla had a huge heart for the Lord and as a service to Christ and the church they built a very large room to contain all the saints. This is an equally valid argument. What can’t be denied is that whichever way you choose to see it, you are making an assumption.

This also holds true with the end of Colossians, though in a much stronger way. Colossians 4:15 says, “Greet the brothers in Laodicea, as well as Nymphas and the church, which is in his house.” You can argue that all the believers that are in Laodicea are in the house of Nymphas. Here, however it is much more disputable because of the phrase "as well as". If I were to say to “greet my family as well as Mike” you probably would not assume that Mike were a member of my family. This does not concretely prove that Mike is not a member of my family but it certainly does imply the fact. The Greek word here is “kai” which is normally translated as “and” or “also”. The New American Standard version translates this verse as “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.” This is an even stronger argument that the house of Nympha was considered a “church” even though it did not include all the brothers in Laodicea. As in the case with Aquilla & Priscilla, I would not go so far the other way to say that this definitely proves that there were separate assemblies in Laodicea. You could make arguments the other way as well but no matter which way you argue, you are making an assumption.

As proven in these three examples, in order to establish that there is a pattern for "one city, one church" in the New Testament, you must make ASSUMPTIONS in no minor way. Since assumptions must be made the pattern is not clear and all believers may not see it the same. In fact, house church networks use these verses as a Biblical basis for the way they practice the church life. They obviously have seen these verses differently than we were taught. Is their interpretation right and our interpretation wrong? No one knows. The fact that assumptions are involved makes it difficult to say that it should be binding on all believers since now they must agree with YOUR personal assumption. Therefore, if we insist on the “one city, one church” pattern we run the risk of becoming divisive as it relates to the rest of the Body of Christ, basically telling them they must agree and order their church life with our assumptions or they are not practicing real oneness.

B) If so, should it binding upon all believers?

Now suppose for a second that someone is gracious enough to grant you that “one city, one church" is indeed an established New Testament pattern. Now the question becomes should that pattern be binding on us today? Were the apostles in practicing this pattern trying to set up a "blueprint" which would be binding for all time, or is this instead how the Spirit worked at that time? Firstly, you would expect that if this blueprint was to be kept and to be binding there would be direct apostolic statement related to keeping this pattern, or rebukes in cases where believers were not keeping the pattern. However, there are no direct teachings by the apostles about the “ground of locality”. Furthermore, you would expect many of the details related to the "one city, one church" pattern to be either explained or described in detail so that Christians wouldn't mess it up. After all, God knows that a created men often see things differently and would need something spelled out or at least "patternized" point by point. Do we see this in the scriptures? A resounding no! Instead, we see something a little more like what happened in Acts when the believers practiced communal living. Why did they do this? Was God trying to tell every believer today that they must pool together their possessions? If you say no, then you are arguing against our stated truth of the "ground of locality". These items are a historical account of how the Spirit operated with those particular believers at that particular time. It would seem indeed cruel of God to make such an obscure picture, then expect all Christians to agree upon it, and then charge them that this is the only way to keep the practical oneness.

Other Christian groups have followed this same “pattern” logic as well over slightly different New Testament practices. One such pattern is that on the first day (Sunday) of the believers gathered together in Troas (Acts 20:7). Some say based on this New Testament pattern that if you break bread on any day other than Sunday (the first day of the week) then you are lost! In Acts 20:7 we have a limited peek into what happened in one town among one group of disciples on one weekend. Was this characteristic of their normal custom? Was this the ONLY day they "broke bread" together? Do we know? Was this the custom in other cities in the Empire? Do we know? The fact is we don’t know...and never will. There are Christians out there insisting that you are lost if you break bread on a weekday. The potential patterns are endless...someone infers that a first century disciple observed the Lord's Supper with only one cup, then you and I had better do the same or face a thousand years of you know what. All this leads to is unnecessary division in the Body of Christ – I can’t fellowship with you because you don’t use only one cup. Among us, holding onto the “ground of locality” teaching/pattern has led us down a road of exclusiveness towards other Christians. If we insist that all believers should be practicing the church life in this way we are divisive.

5) Keeping “one city, one church” helps us to be "one" in practicality because it causes us to take the cross.

Geography is powerless to produce true oneness. Gal 5:19-20 says, “And the works of the flesh are manifest, which are such things as fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, divisions, sects.” Factions, divisions, and sects are the result of the flesh, not because believers failed to gather in the principle of geographical boundaries. Geography cannot force someone to be spiritual and take the cross. This is why in many localities there are currently factions, divisions, and sects despite the "local ground" teaching. The cross is spiritual and must be applied spiritually.

The real test for oneness and the one that bears apostolic authority is found in Ephesians 4:13. This verse refers to the unity of "the faith". It is the faith that unites us. It has nothing to do with a physical boundary. This is why John 4:20-24 state:"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem worship the Father."

We like to emphasize the geography like the Samaritan did, "You must do it here and if not then you are off". Jesus had a much deeper view and got to the root of it. You must worship in "spirit" and in "truth". If you do this, no other burden is laid upon you...not even the city boundary.

6) Practical oneness can only be expressed when all believers in a city meet together under one roof and one administration.

The Bible never says that all believers in a certain city must meet under the same roof. It doesn't say that all believers in a city must be "blended" together. Just because I don't live under the same roof as my Mom and Dad, even though we are in the same city, does not mean that we are divided. There are families of believers under different roofs, and as long as a family is only holding onto the "unity of the faith" (Eph 4:13) then practical oneness is expressed.

That said, many of the denominations and church splits are indeed due to the works of the flesh which have caused division. This is not being denied, nor is it being celebrated. But if you think about this, these things have happened right among us as well.

The Bible also lacks many details about how administation (eldership) should be carried out. It is the local churches assumption that all the elders in a local area should be in coordination. However, the Bible never talks in detail about the need to have this specific form of administration.


=================

SOME FINAL POINTS

One final point is just to look at our history. Anybody remotely honest among us will agree that we have tended towards exclusiveness. We have set ourselves apart from other Christians and elevated ourselves as being "unique". Your conscience knows that this is wrong. This is the fruit that has been produced. The Bible says to look at the fruit. Examine yourself. How do you feel about other Christians? Do you automatically assume that they are off? I know I am guilty of this. But as the "ground" truth gets dismantled peice by peice I am experiencing a freedom related to my other brothers and sisters in Christ. It is wonderful when you don't have to assume every other Christian you meet is somehow "off". The Bible says that the truth sets us free, and I am experiencing an unbelievable freedom. Hallelujah!

Even the most pure forms of the “local ground” teaching are inherently exclusive. Even if your view is that all the believers in the city are the church in that city and you simply say you are taking a “stand” as the church in the city. In its very nicest form, we would say that others just have not yet seen who they are and they are living according to what they see. However we try to avoid it, the implication is that the proper boundary is the city and others should come into the vision of “one church, one city”. Even the purest form has its basis in the “ground of locality” teaching. I believe the six points above have effectively dismantled this teaching to show that it has no scriptural authority. We should neither bind ourselves nor others to a teaching that is based on many assumptions, or at best a pattern without apostolic mandate. To insist on a non-authoritative practical implementation would undermine the higher principles of love and oneness taught directly by the Lord.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

David Canfield is trying to resuscitate a CPR dummy.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

David Canfield on page 8 says ...

Quote:
Especially since the time of the Reformation, this testimony has gradually become clearer and more definite. The Moravians under Count Zinzendorf in the 1700s displayed a marvelous oneness in their living. Following them, the Brethren with John Darby in the 1800s saw a great deal concerning the Body of Christ, the assembly life, and the evils of denominationalism. Then in the 20th century the Lord used Watchman Nee and Witness Lee to further develop His recovery. Their work began in China with Brother Nee, and later spread over the whole earth through the ministry of Witness Lee.
This is just old rehash of biased "church history" which has prejudiced Canfield and others in the LRC. Yes, John Darby can provide exhaustive discourse on the "evils of denominationalism," but his own exclusive system introduced many new evils. Why doesn't Canfield read Brethren history for himself? He only regurgitates the contents from this site of former associate James Reetske in Chicago, who, btw, has "sold out" to LSM.

Exclusive Darby thought has pervaded the ministry of WL. You can see it in action by watching the "Diet of Whistler" video online. One cannot simply extract the "good" out of both Darby or Lee, without looking at the whole package. There are reasons why neither Darby nor Lee could successfully work together with peers. Unless their "co-workers" learned how to continually submit and placate them, their future within the program would contain a public shaming forum, a.k.a. a quarantine, similar to Luther's own Diet of Wurms. These are the ways of exclusive systems.

"Unless one learns from history, he is doomed to repeat it," as one sage has said. I would suggest dear brother David Canfield to read some Brethren history of a more "balanced" perspective. Here are a few ...

William Neatby, History of the Plymouth Brethren, http://www.schneid9.de/glaube/bruede...ung/neatby.pdf

Peter Embley, Plymouth Brethren, http://www.bruederbewegung.de/pdf/embley.pdf

Henry Groves, Darbyism, http://www.bruederbewegung.de/pdf/grovesdarbyism.pdf

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Old 02-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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David Canfield is trying to resuscitate a CPR dummy.
Short, quick, living, and to the point!

You learned your lessons well, my friend.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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When approaching Christian unity, the higher principles which are talked about by the Lord Jesus directly are "loving one another" (Mark 12:31-33) and "oneness" (John 17:21) among the believers ...
Our "Unregistered" and nameless guest has taken the time to put together the best article yet for dismantling the LC stronghold teaching of the "Ground of Oneness."

It is well worth the read. It appears to rise almost to the level of a Tomes or a Myer.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

Going through David's latest article, here are several quotes that caught my attention.

"To be genuine, the oneness we practice in a locality must be the expression of the spiritual oneness we possess as the believers in
Christ.
" Page 12

No doubt, the reason some saints among us now question the value of the local ground is that, to a large extent, we have separated it from our spiritual oneness. We seem to have had the concept that if we just call ourselves “the church in” our locality it automatically means we are standing for the oneness of the Body of Christ, even if in reality we had special requirements for fellowship, such as appreciating a certain ministry, accepting the leadership of certain extra-local brothers, or following certain practices." Page 12

This is one point I feel many of us on the forum have expressed at one time or another.

"May God give us a heart like His to focus on Christ, and not on the outward form!" Page 15

"In mercy the Lord granted His people more time before He left the city altogether (Ezk. 10) and it was finally destroyed, but it was only so that Jeremiah could warn the people to flee from the coming, and certain, destruction." Page 20

"In such a case, God must do a work to deliver us so that we can follow Him again. As in the Old Testament, this may well require His judging work upon the system that has captured us, to the point that we become “exiles” from that system. As some commentators on this passage have pointed out, to be an exile in this way means we no longer have anything to trust in besides God Himself; no forms, no pretensions to piety, no false security, no strength of our own, no hope in this world." Page 21

"In type, the carrying away of the “treasures” and the cutting in pieces of “all the articles of gold” portray the loss of spiritual reality. Although Jerusalem and the temple had not yet been finally destroyed—that would happen a few years later at the time of the third deportation—all of the spiritual riches had already been lost."

Yes, I agree with this statement. Considering when light becomes dark, dark becomes light, true becomes false, false becomes true, sweet becomes bitter, and bitter becomes sweet. When this happens, yes spiritual reality has been lost. The kicker is it was lost decades ago, but many are not realizing it until in recent years. I think the obstacle is an outward form that is a comfort zone for their Christian living.

"However, by the end so much of the reality of Christ had been lost, as the headship of Christ was replaced with the leadership of
the brothers affiliated with the Living Stream Ministry, and the freedom of the Spirit was replaced by certain approved practices,
such as the Holy Word for Morning Revival, the “Seven Feasts,” and the “One Publication.”
" Pages 23-24

What David touched upon here especially the morning revival has made it difficult for those who had wanted to come back (eg Scottsdale), but the scope of prophesying has been to narrow. In my experience when prophesying is used as a platform to ridicule non-LSM Christians, it goes unchecked.

"As mentioned at the beginning of this book, we must be clear first of all that the oneness of the Body of Christ does not come from the ground of locality. Rather, the reverse is true; the ground of oneness in locality comes from the oneness of the Body of Christ, and this oneness, in turn, comes from the organic relationship the believers have with God Himself, and with one another as those who are in the Father and in the Son:" Page 25

As I see the ground of oneness is a heart matter. It's not about where you meet or "the name" the assembly you meet with has, but it's about organic relationships with the Body through the Head. For example say you live in the Seattle area, one Sunday you can meet with Seattle Christian Assembly and on another Sunday Eastside Christian Community Church, and on another Sunday East Renton Community Church. Even though locations change, fellowships change, the ground of oneness does not change because it is an organic matter by the Spirit. Ground of oneness is not predicated by what ministry you're taking or which minister you're receiving.

If we're to look at the New Testament for an example of a ground in oneness. Nothing can be more clearer than Antioch. Here were such a diverse group of Christians who had only their faith in common.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

Terry, the quote that follows will probably not be received well by most ex-LCers, but here is an older [1977] litmus test for Genuine Oneness spoken by Witness Lee himself:

"..Oh, so many sick ones, hurt ones, and young ones need to be taken care of! How can we come together and praise the Lord for our oneness if we are not willing to shepherd the saints? Whenever I hear this kind of praise, I wonder about the weak ones and the young ones and about those who do not come to the meetings. I wonder who is taking care of them. There is no need to tell me how much oneness you have. If you go to the weaker ones and shepherd them, then your oneness is genuine and practical..." ("All Ages for the Lord's Testimony" by Witness Lee, May 1977, page 38 - Living Stream Ministry)

This wise word was being spoken on Ball Road during the same weekend that the Young People were "melting down" further up the coast in Berkely Calif _(.

Click here to read more along this line...

P.S.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

No one truly for oneness would ever spend much time arguing for the ground of locality.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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the quote that follows will probably not be received well by most ex-LCers, but here is an older [1977] litmus test for Genuine Oneness spoken by Witness Lee himself:

"..Oh, so many sick ones, hurt ones, and young ones need to be taken care of! How can we come together and praise the Lord for our oneness if we are not willing to shepherd the saints? ("All Ages for the Lord's Testimony" by Witness Lee, May 1977, page 38 - Living Stream Ministry)

This wise word was being spoken on Ball Road during the same weekend that the Young People were "melting down" further up the coast in Berkely Calif _(.
I'm not sure about most ex-LCers, but as one of the young people who were melting down further up the cost in Berkeley , in retrospect, I know that the same fellow who spoke that "wise word on Ball Road" was the same fellow who caused the melt down in the first place. Witness Lee blamed it on everybody but himself - Max Rapaport...Sal Benoit...you name it. But Lee was the Leader of the movement. He got ALL the credit, so he gets ALL the blame. I know this will not be well received by those who still think the man walked on water, but...hey, the truth hurts.

Witness Lee created Max Rapaport. Witness Lee created Sal Benoit. They were "super" followers of a man, and those who followed them in turn paid the price. Witness Lee was constantly talking about those who would "pay the price". These two guys paid the price big time....then so did those who followed them off the cliff. Only through the grace and mercy of God himself did some of us live to tell about the fall off of that cliff. Some of us still have the broken bones and scars from the fall....but at least we made it.

I am going to be brutally honest here. I think our dear brother David Canfield is asking people to march forward and fall off the very same cliff that many of us fell off so many years ago. In the words of my brother Paul Cox...."David Canfield is trying to resuscitate a CPR dummy"...yeah...what he say.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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No one truly for oneness would ever spend much time arguing for the ground of locality.
David Canfield feels that the true "vision" for the "ground of locality" is found in WN's books. But his is an "ideal" that has never been practically applied. WL taught it early on, but used it only as a facade. When did he ever practice the "vision?"

As I have said before, there is as much scriptural mandate for having "all things common" as there is for the ground of locality. Having all things common is a dream which has enamored many a Christian in church history. Who can argue against its lofty ideals? Funny things start to happen, however, when someone attempts to put in into practice. Many of the world's worst dictators have latched onto some of these ideas.

It's hard to argue the parallels that exist between having "all things common" and having the "ground of locality." Both occurred in the early church. Both were recorded in the New Testament. Both have been taught periodically by those with lofty intentions. Both were intended to solve serious problems and address serious failures. Both have been used by men of enormous sway. Both supposedly have never been implemented properly. Both have been carried out with disastrous results. Both result in a failed system perpetuating narrow-minded bigotry. Both were supposed to bring love and harmony, but in the end produced the exact opposite.

Somehow we missed the point along the way. The Bible records many events in the early church, but the Spirit of God has not repeated the use of all of them. The Spirit has never directed the authoring Apostles to teach these two happenstances as a way for the church to practice. Have we not been instructed to walk by the Spirit, and not by the letter of the scripture? Even the letter of the scripture has not taught us to practice having "all things common" nor having the "ground of locality."
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:46 PM   #12
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I'm not sure about most ex-LCers, but as one of the young people who were melting down further up the cost in Berkeley, in retrospect, I know that the same fellow who spoke that "wise word on Ball Road" was the same fellow who caused the melt down in the first place. Witness Lee blamed it on everybody but himself - Max Rapaport...Sal Benoit...you name it. But Lee was the Leader of the movement. He got ALL the credit, so he gets ALL the blame. I know this will not be well received by those who still think the man walked on water, but...hey, the truth hurts.

I am going to be brutally honest here. I think our dear brother David Canfield is asking people to march forward and fall off the very same cliff that many of us fell off so many years ago. In the words of my brother Paul Cox...."David Canfield is trying to resuscitate a CPR dummy"...yeah...what he say.
That's right UntoHim. Nice to hear some brutal honesty for a change. This point needs to be repeated.

If nothing else, posts like this accurately portray the events of history. WL was responsible for all the storms which passed thru the Recovery, yet he took responsibility for none of them, and then blamed those closest to him for all the disastrous events which occurred while all the young, naive and trusting saints were like crash-test-dummies going over the cliff.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

It was helpful to read David's personal testimony. Given he was only meeting with the local churches by the time the late 80's quarantines came down, has time changed his opinion of those quarantines? Or does David see the two as being completely unrelated and distinct from one another.
However one phrase David did utter is very similar to the elders and co-workers who left in the late 1980's:

"However, by the end so much of the reality of Christ had been lost, as the headship of Christ was replaced" Page 23

As we go on with Christ in our individual living, we must have the reality of Christ in our relationship with Him. However corporately when church leadership begin deferring to a particular minister, ministry, or group of brothers for headship, the reality of Christ is lost corporately.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:39 PM   #14
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David Canfield feels that the true "vision" for the "ground of locality" is found in WN's books. But his is an "ideal" that has never been practically applied. WL taught it early on, but used it only as a facade. When did he ever practice the "vision?"
The "vision" is a false hope because any attempt to enforce it results in the error of exclusion.

My advice to Canfield is to focus on what the Bible plainly commands us to focus on, and leave the chasing of the elusive "perfect church life" to the foolish people who don't understand it is sitting right under your nose if you get your head and heart right.

If oneness produces the ground then it will. But you can't go at it in reverse. The ground can't produce oneness.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #15
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Terry, the quote that follows will probably not be received well by most ex-LCers, but here is an older [1977] litmus test for Genuine Oneness spoken by Witness Lee himself:

"..Oh, so many sick ones, hurt ones, and young ones need to be taken care of! How can we come together and praise the Lord for our oneness if we are not willing to shepherd the saints? Whenever I hear this kind of praise, I wonder about the weak ones and the young ones and about those who do not come to the meetings. I wonder who is taking care of them. There is no need to tell me how much oneness you have. If you go to the weaker ones and shepherd them, then your oneness is genuine and practical..." ("All Ages for the Lord's Testimony" by Witness Lee, May 1977, page 38 - Living Stream Ministry)

This wise word was being spoken on Ball Road during the same weekend that the Young People were "melting down" further up the coast in Berkely Calif _(.

Click here to read more along this line...

P.S.
I'm sure you know since we've had this conversation, the degree of shepherding the saints is relative to those who walk through the door. You go to a meeting and the brothers and sisters will rejoice to see you. My point is when you're not at the meetings, no one misses you enough to visit.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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. . . but here is an older [1977] litmus test for Genuine Oneness spoken by Witness Lee himself:
Click here to read more along this line...
This is, to me, one of the greatest traps that we keep falling into. In the midst of the turmoil, we can find where the villain himself said some good things and we turn to think on that for a while.

The problem is that this is one of the more blatant proofs that we cannot even tolerate the seemingly good things from the hand/mouth of Lee. As he spoke this wonderful word about shepherding, his devious plan to send everyone into a chaos that only he could save us from was under way.

Lee said good things. But the only truly good things he ever said can be found without referring to Lee in any way, shape or form. Just let his memory fall away. Go to the whole of Christianity and find the full gospel.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:17 PM   #17
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I'm sure you know since we've had this conversation, the degree of shepherding the saints is relative to those who walk through the door. You go to a meeting and the brothers and sisters will rejoice to see you. My point is when you're not at the meetings, no one misses you enough to visit.

In one locality I was in, I attended a certain prophesying meeting in a district for a while (a couple years). People were happy enough to see me. There were a handful of elders in that particular meeting. After a while I couldn't stand what I was hearing any more (HWMR, only HWMR, and more HWMR) and the rote "amens" that were repeated without any thought to what they were actually "amen-ing", so I dropped out and didn't go anymore. Due to various circumstances I continued to see those elders in other areas of my life over the next few years, but not one of them ever asked me how I was doing, mentioned that they noticed I was gone, asked why I'd left, or showed any concern towards me at all, even though I was actually continuing to help them out in other ways. At the time I was truly blown away. As a matter of fact, no other saint in that meeting came after me to see what happened either. It has been kind of a punch to the gut to see how little I mattered.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:25 PM   #18
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In one locality I was in, I attended a certain prophesying meeting in a district for a while (a couple years). People were happy enough to see me. There were a handful of elders in that particular meeting. After a while I couldn't stand what I was hearing any more (HWMR, only HWMR, and more HWMR) and the rote "amens" that were repeated without any thought to what they were actually "amen-ing", so I dropped out and didn't go anymore. Due to various circumstances I continued to see those elders in other areas of my life over the next few years, but not one of them ever asked me how I was doing, mentioned that they noticed I was gone, asked why I'd left, or showed any concern towards me at all, even though I was actually continuing to help them out in other ways. At the time I was truly blown away. As a matter of fact, no other saint in that meeting came after me to see what happened either. It has been kind of a punch to the gut to see how little I mattered.

In fact! Several years after that one of those elders I was still in regular contact with knew personally that I was going through a very difficult time (unrelated to my reasons for no longer attending the prophesying meeting). Not once over the 6-month period while I was struggling did he ask how I was doing. Eventually it bothered me so much that for my own mental health I pointed it out to him and asked why he never even asked how I was doing when he was one of the few people that knew what I hard time I was having. His response was, "Well I knew you were having a hard time and that your response would be negative, so I didn't want to ask." ("negative" not in the sense of against the church, just negative as in not happy and bubbly and positive). I still cannot wrap my head around the answer of "I knew you were struggling so I didn't care to ask" from someone who has been appointed to reach out to, provide an ear to, and shepherd struggling ones!
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:04 PM   #19
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Our "Unregistered" and nameless guest has taken the time to put together the best article yet for dismantling the LC stronghold teaching of the "Ground of Oneness."
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It is well worth the read. It appears to rise almost to the level of a Tomes or a Myer.

Yes it is! I copied and pasted it to my own computer so I could re-read and get into it more fully.

I asked an elder a while back about the accusation that the LC's only read WL and WN (since the LC’s publicly deny it but internally we all know what's up). He balked at the accusation and I read to him a list I put together of how pretty much every tiny movement within the LC's are linked to WN/WL in some way (this list isn’t the point of this post, but I have to include it):

1. 7 feasts: initiated by and spoken by WL, and the speaking to this day continues to be re-shared ministry originally spoken by WL more than 20 years after his death. There are no other Christian gatherings or conferences to which the saints are encouraged to go (aside from local conferences, the contents of which are also from WN/WL).

2. The only publishing company that the churches buy books from is LSM - the publisher of WN and WL. There are many other Christian publishing companies out there, none of which the LC’s have an account with, order from, mention, or speak from.

3. The only books the churches sell in their bookrooms are WN/WL.

4. The Bible that is read/pushed/sold is overflowing with commentary by WL. In the versions without WL's footnotes, the translation of the Word itself is that of WL (or of editorial staff that he headed up).

5. The hymnal the LC’s use contains hundreds of songs written by or collected by WL.

6. The reading material the entire church "gets into" and is expected to purchase for every week are WN/WL's books excerpted in HWMR form. Saints are expected to read from these every single morning and speak from them every weekend. No other non-Lee/Nee books are mentioned, propagated, or read from.

7. When saints travel to visit another church, a common practice is to find out ahead of time what that locality is "is in that week" (meaning what HWMR [published by LSM, and which contain WN/WL] they are going through). We don't even need to refer to the fact that it is a Lee/Nee book that the church is "in" - the practice is so prevalent that it would be ludicrously redundant to say so.

8. When saints travel to visit another church, the only churches they travel to visit are those who also read WN/WL only. I do understand this line delves into the topic of the church (what is a genuine church) and the ground, but for the sake of the statement we can replace "church" with "Christian gathering". The only other Christian gatherings that saints will travel to visit are those gatherings of Christians who also have the "rainbow bookshelves" in their homes and in their meeting hall bookrooms.

9. We even have a term, "rainbow bookshelves", for those prominent and widespread collections of only WN/WL's books found in, I would say, the majority of saints’ homes. There is not any such similar term for collections of any other author/publisher’s books, indicating their comparative lack of their existence among the LCs.

10. The LC’s have and support multiple entities around the world dedicated to distributing only WN/WL’s books and literature (BfA, BfC, Let His Word Run, Rhema, etc). The LC’s do not donate to, receive reports from, or join alongside any other non-Lee/Nee literature distributing entities.

11. The LC’s donate to DCP, an entity whose stated purpose is to defend/confirm the ministry of WN/WL, and whose articles and books are reviewed by LSM - the publisher of WN/WL’s books - before being made public.

12. There are many full-time trainings throughout the world where the college graduates are, from a young age, encouraged to go after college. These trainings were established by brother Lee, and the entire two-year reading curriculum is composed of Lee and Nee's books.

13. When saints do not know the answer to something or feel a portion of the Bible needs clarification, they "see what the ministry has to say" (i.e. refer to what brother Lee or Nee said concerning the matter or Bible portion). Again, this is so prevalent that we don't even need to specify which ministry...."the ministry" automatically means that of brother Lee's or Nee's. If we ever dealt with any other person's writings, we would need to specify which "ministry" or books, but we do not.

14. Any affiliated local church that does not follow the ministry of brother Lee or Nee as described above is in for a rough time to say the least.....in practice that is an overarching qualification to be part of "the local churches." Any who do not follow WN/WL’s ministry in this way are quarantined and excluded from fellowship, even though they are still genuine Christians who believe and follow every item of the common faith - the basis of our fellowship with any believer.

His response delved into putting down non-LC Christian groups and in the course of the conversation he said, “Well, I haven’t seen any other Christian group put such an emphasis on oneness as we do.” I said, “Well, wouldn’t you agree that that our ‘oneness’ is a kind of internal oneness, to the exclusion of other Christians?” He responded that he had met with many other church leaders over the years and that (said with a denigrating tone), “Leader X doesn’t even know the name of Leader Y in the next church down the street in most of those other places!”. At the time I had to move on to other issues, but if I could have stayed the course I would have said, “Yes, while it is true that the saints as a whole do know many of each other’s names, often across cities, states, and even countries, this alone is not a test of oneness, and frankly I would gladly give up the knowledge of the saints names in the next city over if I could get some genuine help from the saints in my own city!” Other non-LC churches often have gatherings or conferences that are targeted to groups of struggling believers, e.g. recovering addicts, young men, young women, singles, married couples, families, older believers, etc. Whereas in the LC, I was very, very, acutely, aware in a daily way that my struggles and needs as a person in one of those kind of groups were not even acknowledged, brought up, spoken to, helped, or given encouragement to. If we have “oneness” but are dying not receiving the help we need, what is the point of that kind of oneness? I would rather go somewhere else that doesn’t have “the oneness” (as defined by the LC’s) if they can render some actual help to me as a struggling believer!

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Old 06-12-2018, 11:36 PM   #20
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On the contrary, Acts 9:31 states “So then the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied.” This verse gives us the freedom to group whole regions containing cities together and refer to that as "the church". Would you then make the claim that because the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee are referred to as "the church" in this verse, then that means there are no individual churches in their respective cities? Of course not. In the same way, just because the Lord Jesus has chosen to group an entire city together and refer to it as "the church" that does not mean there were not its respective house churches. He is simply addressing his called out ones at the city level versus the regional level or the house level. Whether I choose to group the believers together as "the church" at the neighborhood level, community level, city level, etc. they are still "the church". Having one does not exclude having the other. It is merely a different form of grouping.

Neither paradigm can be disproved based on these verses alone. However, from other places in the New Testament we know that the “one city, one church” pattern IS disputable in some places and IS NOT binding upon all believers.

Sorry for the multiple posts in a row on this thread; I actually had to get back out of bed for this one so I could get it out of my head and be able to sleep.

I do like this example, but out of curiosity I looked up WL's footnote on Acts 9:31 to see if he addressed this one or glossed over it, since this is an example that contradicts one church/one city (OCOC). Footnote 1 on "church" in this verse states: "Since at that time the church had spread only to the provinces of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and since the word whole covers all the places where the church existed, church in singular is used here in the universal sense, although there must have been churches in the local sense in a number of the cities of these three provinces."

I have a few mixed thoughts on this. My first thought is that it is convenient of WL to explain it that way so that it fits his unique OCOC interpretation. And of course any LC-er reading won't bat an eye at the explanation or dig into it any further.

In plenty of other places in the Bible, the plural "churches" is used. To follow WL's line of thought that the singular "church" here is used in the universal sense, why would that be? To use "church" here rather than "churches" (which would flow just as smoothly, still make as much sense, and wouldn't lose any impact) means the universal/local distinction is made for a reason. It's like making the distinction between the three/one, economical/essential Spirit. However, in the pertinent verses for that distinction (too tired to look them up right now), you can see from the verses that He is three when it refers to His economy and work, but one in essence. So, if OCOC is legit, what could the reason be for going through the trouble of making the distinction of the universal aspect of the church in these verses in particular, if WL's interpretation is to be believed?

Another thought is that the universal church is all the saints across every place AND time. I will be honest and say that I do not know the Bible in near as much detail as many of you here do. Am I right that the church is new enough at this point in the Bible that time is not a factor yet, as far as the universal aspect goes? So to say "church (singular) refers to the universal aspect", since it includes all the churches on the earth at that point, none of which have disappeared over time, could be correct?

[I'm adding this paragraph after having closed my computer, laid back down to bed, and gotten back up again to type this additional thought so I could sleep]: Actually, if the universal aspect refers to all across place and time.....in time there are churches all over the earth. So how could referring to the church throughout a specific region at a specific point in time be considered the universal aspect? You cannot put regional boundaries on the church when referring to it universally because place and time boundaries do not apply in the universal aspect! Based on this I think it debunks OCOC (or at least WL's explaining it away as referring to the universal aspect), but would love to hear others' thoughts.

Last edited by Trapped; 06-12-2018 at 11:53 PM. Reason: get out of bed again to add another thought
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:21 AM   #21
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In plenty of other places in the Bible, the plural "churches" is used. To follow WL's line of thought that the singular "church" here is used in the universal sense, why would that be? To use "church" here rather than "churches" (which would flow just as smoothly, still make as much sense, and wouldn't lose any impact) means the universal/local distinction is made for a reason. . . . if OCOC is legit, what could the reason be for going through the trouble of making the distinction of the universal aspect of the church in these verses in particular, if WL's interpretation is to be believed?
Roman's 16:4 "Who have for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the gentiles" (KJV)

What?! Paul?! "churches of the gentiles"?! I thought there was only one church?! No Jew, no Greek? Or in LSM (RecV footnote) parlance, "every church must be absolutely identical". . .what's going on, here?

In actuality, there still exist "every tribe and tongue and nation", and this not a sign of the fall but rather an opportunity to express the variegated glory of God. The "churches of the gentiles" are akin to what we'd call "Chines-speaking meetings" or such: a practical concession to the realities of life on earth.

But what we do is a bit of word-smithing, and call them "meetings" instead of "churches". But the NT Greek is the same: ekklesia. The OCOC dogma is at best superfluous distraction. The danger is to bring stumblings from the adversary so that avaricious ones can seize hold of the flock and usurp the Master.

If you look at the gospel preached in Acts by Peter and Paul it's on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and forgiveness and eternal life in his name. Acts 2, 3, 9, 13, 17, 23 - they repeat this theme over and over. Do you think thousands would have come forward if they'd preached OCOC? Do you think unbelievers who stumble upon this forum and read this thread will be inspired to believe? No; rather they'll think, "Look at these religious people arguing over minutiae. I'm glad I'm not one."
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:23 AM   #22
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Acts 9: 31 ( http://biblehub.com/acts/9-31.htm )

Some translations, use 'church'. Some translations use 'churches'.

When WL was with WN (how many years ago?), the English bible they used should be KJV.
"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:29 AM   #23
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Or in LSM (RecV footnote) parlance, "every church must be absolutely identical". . .what's going on, here?
aron, where can I find this footnote?

There are no two identical churches in the NT.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:57 AM   #24
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aron, where can I find this footnote?

There are no two identical churches in the NT.
In the RecV, in Revelations 2 and 3, Witness Lee blamed all the problems on differences among the churches - his solution was that they be "exactly identical" with "no differences whatever". Looks like cultural imperialism to me; nothing "local" about it at all. Also see, e.g., The Divine Economy by Witness Lee, p. 123. I just found that thru Google word search.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:09 AM   #25
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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The "vision" is a false hope because any attempt to enforce it results in the error of exclusion.
Since you resurrected this old "CPR Dummy" I thought to say that the above is another great example of "short, quick, living & to the point!"

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Originally Posted by Paul Cox: David Canfield is trying to resuscitate a CPR dummy.

Ohio: Short, quick, living, and to the point!
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:32 PM   #26
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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Yes it is! I copied and pasted it to my own computer so I could re-read and get into it more fully.

Great!

The ground of oneness teachings need to be challenged according to the scripture. To be honest, nothing has been more damaging to the children of God throughout the church age than the abuses of distorted oneness. Remember Catholicism was established as the oneness church. God's enemy has used distorted oneness to replace the truths of scripture and the love of God to cause much destruction. Torture, inquisition, shunning, excommunication, public shaming, etc. have all been used to silence the mouths of God's children concerning evil, and to force their obedience.

Numerous other sects like the Exclusive Brethren, Little Flock, and LCM have used distorted oneness to silence the saints into submission so that all sorts of destructive heresies could be carried out. The teaching and practice of distorted oneness is the great silencer, holding people in fear and bondage, so that only the voice of the leader (Pope, Oracle, "Our Brother," MOTA, Bishop, etc.) can be heard.
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Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

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Old 06-13-2018, 08:16 PM   #27
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Default Re: A New Book: Regarding the Ground of Oneness in Locality

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Great!

The ground of oneness teachings need to be challenged according to the scripture. To be honest, nothing has been more damaging to the children of God throughout the church age than the abuses of distorted oneness. Remember Catholicism was established as the oneness church. God's enemy has used distorted oneness to replace the truths of scripture and the love of God to cause much destruction. Torture, inquisition, shunning, excommunication, public shaming, etc. have all been used to silence the mouths of God's children concerning evil, and to force their obedience.

Numerous other sects like the Exclusive Brethren, Little Flock, and LCM have used distorted oneness to silence the saints into submission so that all sorts of destructive heresies could be carried out. The teaching and practice of distorted oneness is the great silencer, holding people in fear and bondage, so that only the voice of the leader (Pope, Oracle, "Our Brother," MOTA, Bishop, etc.) can be heard.
WOW! That's a deep observation ; distorted oneness.
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