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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 05-19-2020, 11:21 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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What is the responsibility of Christians in responding to aberrant or abusive groups, ministries and leadership, particularly those which abuse authority to bully and control believers?

Given the many Old Testament verses exhorting God's people to defend the defenseless, stand up to oppressors and seek justice, do such commands carry over into the New Testament age and, and if so, how to we fulfill them?
Trapped has requested we open a new thread with these questions posed by Cal. Let's discuss!
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:13 PM   #2
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Wanting justice for others and even oneself is not necessarily bad, as long as you let God meet it out. Recall Rev 6:10:
"They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?'"
These victims are pleading to God for justice. Are they partial? Are they unaccountable? Are they bitter? How do you know?

And the Bible is full of exhortations that we should seek justice for those who are oppressed and taken advantage of:
"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17

"Thus says the LORD, 'Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.'" Jeremiah 22:3

"Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute."
Psalm 82:3

"Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." Ps 31:9

"Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness.'" Zechariah 7:9

"The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern." Prov 29:7
These are verses we NEVER studied in the LR. And frankly I think they make them uncomfortable. Their whole culture of allowing oneself to be abused by an organization ignores them, as does their indifference to social justice.

One reason I ask is that we've had LR sympathizers come on this board and halfway admit that people have been abused there, but then they are quick to effectively advise "Get over it." Now I understand the need for putting things in healthy perspective to promote healing. But these advisers are more interested in lightening the load of criticism on the LR than they are with the healing of those abused. Their first priority is that the LR be preserved, all else is secondary, including people.

I understand that God commands us to turn the other cheek. But there is also Matt 18:15-17, in which, in his only mention of the practical local church in his ministry, Jesus chooses to point out that it is a place a person can go to for JUSTICE. I find that very interesting.

This is why I feel good about being a sheep dog.
Appropriate verses/comments from Cal from the other thread.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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"Thus says the LORD, 'Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.'" Jeremiah 22:3Assuming this applies to those victimized by the LR, how do we obey the command to do justice and righteousness and deliver them?
"Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." Ps 31:9
How do we obey this command and open our mouths? Posting on this board seems a good start I would think.
"Reprove the ruthless" Isaiah 1:17
I imagine that someone who reproves the ruthless might sound a little bitter to somebody or other.
Other verses from Cal from the other thread.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

Also, consider these two verses;

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. -Matthew 7:5

and;

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. -Psalm 51:9-13

It's easy enough to pick out bible verses to justify one's position. Because of this, it's important to first know the difference in motive between seeking justice in righteousness and seeking justification for oneself before proceeding forward with your cause.

This fight is more yours than it is mine. I want to see everyone succeed but you have to do it the right way. Examine your own heart and then ask yourself; does my heart resemble David's?
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

I don't know if there are really any right answers to this question. The first thing that comes to mind though is that there is nothing wrong with speaking to one's personal experiences. The LC would stigmatize even that as 'attacking' them.

So when it comes to actually speaking out against the LC, I think a lot of it is related to what is the motivation for doing so. For me personally, I saw a lot of dishonestly - things the campus work trying to hide their affiliations. Having been there and participated in that dishonesty, it seems right to speak up about it and help set the record straight.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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I don't know if there are really any right answers to this question. The first thing that comes to mind though is that there is nothing wrong with speaking to one's personal experiences. The LC would stigmatize even that as 'attacking' them.

So when it comes to actually speaking out against the LC, I think a lot of it is related to what is the motivation for doing so. For me personally, I saw a lot of dishonestly - things the campus work trying to hide their affiliations. Having been there and participated in that dishonesty, it seems right to speak up about it and help set the record straight.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12


There's always a right way and a wrong way. To be sure we need to test our hearts so we don't find ourselves criticizing the Local Churches as the Local Churches have been criticizing others.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

Jo S, while I understand the spirit of what you are saying, which maybe could summarized as "speak the truth in love, don't speak the truth out of vengeance or anger or retribution", I'm afraid what you've said so far implies too strongly that we have to be pure ourselves before we can say anything. In which case we'll be silent for a long time.

Okay, there are no explicit verses titled "steps to take before you speak up about destructive controlling groups", but there are verses relevant to the topic.

2 Corinthians 11:19-20
You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.


Paul is giving the Corinthians grief that they would put up with the false apostles who treat them wrongly. He's almost mocking them that they would submit to mistreatment. Did he say the Corinthians need to be pure in heart before doing so? No.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15
And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.


In these verses just prior, Paul readily admits he is taking action to "cut the ground" from under the false apostles. He also is explicitly calling out the false apostles' presence and actions in this letter to the entire Corinthian church.

Ephesians 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.


Covering them up is having something to do with them. Knowing about them and doing nothing is allowing them to continue, and having something to do with them. Fruitless deeds of darkness are to be exposed.

Revelation 2:2
I know your deeds, your labor, and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and you have tested and exposed as liars those who falsely claim to be apostles.


This verse is to the church in Smyrna, against which the Lord had that they had abandoned their first love and had fallen to the depths that if they didn't do something about it, he would remove their lampstand.

I bring that verse up to make the point that we can still test and expose and call out liars and false apostles while not being perfect ourselves. Sure, we should not be hypocrites a la Matthew 7, but for the most part that's not hard because none of us are claiming to purveyors of the unique high truths or MOTAs or the head guy of the true church on earth or covering up abuses or spreading patently false doctrines that don't hold up against scripture.

The splinter/beam thing, at least according to the way I've always understood it, is not "clear up absolutely everything in your life first before you can say anything to others", but "clear up that same issue in your life first before you address it in others."

I just fear your stance makes it seem overly required for a fallen sinner to be perfectly pure before they feel they can say anything. The right way/wrong way seems a little too close to the favorite "proper/improper" categorization of the LC. Note that I don't disagree necessarily. I have seen people speak up about the LC that I wish with all my heart would zip their lips because their approach does more harm than good. But for those who are coming from the right place to start with, we don't have to be pure as driven snow to speak up. Although I think you did hit on that when you mentioned not criticizing them in the same way they have criticized. In other words, don't become what you are calling out. That is good advice.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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I don't know if there are really any right answers to this question. The first thing that comes to mind though is that there is nothing wrong with speaking to one's personal experiences. The LC would stigmatize even that as 'attacking' them.

So when it comes to actually speaking out against the LC, I think a lot of it is related to what is the motivation for doing so
. For me personally, I saw a lot of dishonestly - things the campus work trying to hide their affiliations. Having been there and participated in that dishonesty, it seems right to speak up about it and help set the record straight.
I have a neighbor who is a believing Catholic. A real decent and sincere guy. He has a family law practice, and counsels people. I talked to him one time about the pedophilia, which btw hit his local parish and the prominent bishop in town. Personally, I think the root problem is the doctrine of demons forbidding to marry. (I Tim 4.2-3)

Yet with this one terrible issue, he doesn't see fault in his church. Like everyone else, they tend to protect what they belong to. He is convinced that the Communists have infiltrated their Catholic seminaries with gay men in order to destroy their reputation. I thought it was amazing how he could protect his church, especially when that verse spells it all out. But after living with the spin from LSM/DCP for decades, there's not much that can surprise me.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:00 PM   #9
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I have a neighbor who is a believing Catholic. A real decent and sincere guy. He has a family law practice, and counsels people. I talked to him one time about the pedophilia, which btw hit his local parish and the prominent bishop in town. Personally, I think the root problem is the doctrine of demons forbidding to marry. (I Tim 4.2-3)

Yet with this one terrible issue, he doesn't see fault in his church. Like everyone else, they tend to protect what they belong to. He is convinced that the Communists have infiltrated their Catholic seminaries with gay men in order to destroy their reputation. I thought it was amazing how he could protect his church, especially when that verse spells it all out. But after living with the spin from LSM/DCP for decades, there's not much that can surprise me.
In the LC, verses like Matt 7:5 are often misapplied and used as a means to obstruct people from standing up for themselves or speaking out. Instead they want to keep people running around in circles wondering whether they are right with the Lord or not.

So many of the issues present in the LC and similar groups are related to things like deception, covering up, lying, etc. All of these types of problems are addressed not by remaining silent, but by speaking up. Remaining silent is what enables the abuse to keep happening, or for more people to become victimized by it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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In the LC, verses like Matt 7:5 are often misapplied and used as a means to obstruct people from standing up for themselves or speaking out. Instead they want to keep people running around in circles wondering whether they are right with the Lord or not.

So many of the issues present in the LC and similar groups are related to things like deception, covering up, lying, etc. All of these types of problems are addressed not by remaining silent, but by speaking up. Remaining silent is what enables the abuse to keep happening, or for more people to become victimized by it.
Agreed.

I'm convinced that Matt 7.5 judging is related to hypocrisy, which Jesus regularly condemned. Today's virtue signaling comes close. It is the practice of condemning others for what you are doing yourself. It is the self-righteous judging Paul speaks to in Rom 1.5.

There are far too many verses in the Bible that exhort us to speak up, to not be silent, and to address the error we face. Especially the errors that hurt God's children.

If we must "judge not" at all times, then why didn't Peter condemn Paul in Antioch for judging him about who he ate with? (Gal 2.11-14) And why did John judge Diotrephes? (3 John 9-11) And why did Jesus Himself rebuke the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers during His visit to Jerusalem?
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:33 PM   #11
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In the LC, verses like Matt 7:5 are often misapplied and used as a means to obstruct people from standing up for themselves or speaking out. Instead they want to keep people running around in circles wondering whether they are right with the Lord or not.

So many of the issues present in the LC and similar groups are related to things like deception, covering up, lying, etc. All of these types of problems are addressed not by remaining silent, but by speaking up. Remaining silent is what enables the abuse to keep happening, or for more people to become victimized by it.
Right, Matthew 7 is not commanding us NOT to judge, but HOW to judge. Judge, but not hypocritically. Don't judge others for the very things you do yourself. 7:5 TELLS us to take the speck out of our brothers eye! That's judging. We just can't judge someone for their anger issues while hiding the holes on our walls from the objects we threw at it in anger ourselves.

Absolutely more need to speak up. The problem with speaking up is they have tactics for that too.

If you are in the church and speak up, you are shunned, labeled, ostracized, ignored, shamed, told "you need to take life" and all the other controlling phrases.

And also you risk losing relationships with family members over your speaking up or even risk those family members enduring mistreatment themselves on your behalf even though they may not agree with you!

If you are out of the church and speak up, they announce you publicly and castigate you from their safe zone behind the microphone, call you evil and an opposer, and thus anyone left in the church who still speaks to you will then turn their backs on you out of fear.

The control is epically strong in that place.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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The control is epically strong in that place.
Yes, I agree. Terms like "perfecting" are successfully placed over shaming and even abuse. Control and manipulation is re-labeled as "taking the cross" and "restrictions". And there is a code of silence that the Mafia can only dream of. It is extremely powerful, multilayered, woven through with deceptive veils of coded language and culturally-reinforced expectations.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:25 PM   #13
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Jo S, while I understand the spirit of what you are saying, which maybe could summarized as "speak the truth in love, don't speak the truth out of vengeance or anger or retribution", I'm afraid what you've said so far implies too strongly that we have to be pure ourselves before we can say anything. In which case we'll be silent for a long time.
Equating purity of heart to being “pure as the driven snow” is an exaggeration; I did after all use King David as the example to follow rather than walking on water as a prerequisite to exposing evil. Even so, if you think you are a Christian with the indwelling spirit of God, you’re already at an advantage to David. I would assume God expects even more from His children.

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Okay, there are no explicit verses titled "steps to take before you speak up about destructive controlling groups", but there are verses relevant to the topic….
If you’ve taken notice to what the majority of my posts here concern, they consist mainly of three things; the preaching of a false gospel, the preaching of a false Jesus, and refuting any doctrine that help support the those two. Knowing this you can conclude my overall view of the Local Churches; that being, just like the Mormons or JW’s, they are not a Christian group at all but one that veils their own ideology within a Christian worldview.

I agree we don’t have any verses telling us what steps to take before speaking up about “destructive controlling groups”, we only have the apostles addressing the Body of Christ, groups of believers that already adhered to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

This then leads me to the question; why do you hold the Local Churches up to scripture if they don’t even preach the true gospel in the first place? Aren’t you just working to validate them as a legitimate Christian group by doing so? Either they are led by “liars and false apostles” or they are a legitimate move of God. You have to choose. Or are you doing like they do and invoking scripture to justify your opposition by thinking you gain the moral high ground in doing so?


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I bring that verse up to make the point that we can still test and expose and call out liars and false apostles while not being perfect ourselves. Sure, we should not be hypocrites a la Matthew 7, but for the most part that's not hard because none of us are claiming to purveyors of the unique high truths or MOTAs or the head guy of the true church on earth or covering up abuses or spreading patently false doctrines that don't hold up against scripture.

The splinter/beam thing, at least according to the way I've always understood it, is not "clear up absolutely everything in your life first before you can say anything to others", but "clear up that same issue in your life first before you address it in others."

I just fear your stance makes it seem overly required for a fallen sinner to be perfectly pure before they feel they can say anything. The right way/wrong way seems a little too close to the favorite "proper/improper" categorization of the LC. Note that I don't disagree necessarily. I have seen people speak up about the LC that I wish with all my heart would zip their lips because their approach does more harm than good. But for those who are coming from the right place to start with, we don't have to be pure as driven snow to speak up. Although I think you did hit on that when you mentioned not criticizing them in the same way they have criticized. In other words, don't become what you are calling out. That is good advice.
Hypocrisy in the general sense of the term means claiming standards which do not meet up to your own behavior, but as far as the Christian faith is concerned avoiding hypocrisy entails much more than just that.

Jesus claimed that it wasn’t enough to not murder, he went deeper to the root or heart of the issue. In fact for a believer in Christ it means to even resist anger against your brother. If you thought that was hard enough, Jesus told us to go even further and to love those that persecute you.

By this the expectations for a Christian is higher than that of an unbeliever so when Christ speaks about hypocrisy it’s not enough that you don’t do what you are calling out. The question is; is your heart right and are you doing the right thing in its place by faith?

In a recent post you’ve claimed the Local Churches practice a damaging form of shunning. I don’t doubt that, but let me ask you this question; have you properly shunned them before speaking out against their practices (2 John 1:10)? Or do you still continue to meet with the group?

It's not enough that you choose not to shun anybody, it's whether you love God more than the group to the point you'd shun them biblically. If by staying you believe the Local Churches will change, then like you said, I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a long time…

Paul did in fact call out evil but this was only second to proclaiming the gospel. The local churches pointed out the faults of Christianity in self-righteousness while preaching a false gospel. The majority of posts here seem to be completely lacking the gospel. Which is better then, preaching a false gospel or no gospel at all?

In a greater sense does exposing evil matter if you do nothing to fill the void? Facts of abuse may lead someone out but it's God's truth that truly heals.

If you do leave by your own conviction then seek God and His forgiveness. Repent and believe in the Jesus you weren't taught in the LC's and then lead others out by example or you may find yourself years from now regurgitating the same things in vain all the while deceiving yourself into believing you are doing a service to others. The truth is without a heart transformed by the gospel your efforts will only work to poison others with your bitterness or at best validate each other’s own bitterness. Who benefits from that? It may help you but only for a little while until the pain resurfaces again...

If you do choose to go the social justice route, that’s perfectly fine, but then do like Steven Hassan does and examine the group purely from a psychological and sociological perspective. No need to appeal to scripture lest you risk misusing them. If you do, however, use scripture then make sure that you are living by its standards in preaching the gospel and loving your enemies in the process.

David prayed to have a new spirit and a new heart put in him so he could forgive his enemies but he never saw that day come to pass. The good news is that day is now here and it’s available to us yet so many reject that gift in favor of social reform because doing things the right way requires you to first take a good look in the mirror. More often than not the reflection staring back at you will be the very thing you're fighting against and that's too hard of a pill to swallow.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:02 PM   #14
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If you are in the church and speak up, you are shunned, labeled, ostracized, ignored, shamed, told "you need to take life" and all the other controlling phrases.

And also you risk losing relationships with family members over your speaking up or even risk those family members enduring mistreatment themselves on your behalf even though they may not agree with you!

If you are out of the church and speak up, they announce you publicly and castigate you from their safe zone behind the microphone, call you evil and an opposer, and thus anyone left in the church who still speaks to you will then turn their backs on you out of fear.

The control is epically strong in that place.
Wow, that is evil. I didn't know this part was as bad as you've described. It helps explain the extreme stress on my 'link' to the LC at the time I stopped meeting, and that persons desperate attempts to retrieve me. So much fear and shame at stake for them.

I am disgusted afresh. Behind the facade is everything that would entrap, enslave subjicate and enslave. And I met with them for so long and they kept it so well hidden!!... for the most part. When I stopped I still had no idea how bad it ultimately is.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:44 AM   #15
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Wow, that is evil. I didn't know this part was as bad as you've described. It helps explain the extreme stress on my 'link' to the LC at the time I stopped meeting, and that persons desperate attempts to retrieve me. So much fear and shame at stake for them.

I am disgusted afresh. Behind the facade is everything that would entrap, enslave subjicate and enslave. And I met with them for so long and they kept it so well hidden!!... for the most part. When I stopped I still had no idea how bad it ultimately is.
In my case, I left over some things that had the potential for a simple resolution, but seeing the way that everything went down afterwards just showed me how toxic the whole thing was. I had two consecutive situations where people were being purposely disrespectful towards me. I had done what I thought was best as far as standing up for myself. Because the problem continued despite that, I felt that it was necessary to just leave abruptly, and I didn’t feel that I owed anyone an explanation. I did, however, mention a few things that I was upset about to a LC family member.

Because I never communicated anything to anyone else as to why I had left, there was obviously some discussion floating around about me afterward. Then that at some point the family member attempted to relay some of my concerns to people who were asking about me (unbeknownst to me). I think they did that probably because everyone was pressing them or questioning them as to why I left, even though any one of these people could have reached out to me directly if they wanted to talk.

So then what I found out later was that there were all these assumptions about me. Not only that, the family member who was in position of relaying ‘negative’ information to LCers probably had no realization that messengers tend to get shot.

It’s just crazy to see the outcome of some of these situations knowing there were so many opportunities for LCers to deescalate or work towards some alternative resolution. Even recently when Jo’s letter was posted, it basically represented a decision to go public right away, knowing that trying to go through all the normal ‘prerequisite’ steps would still have resulted in the same outcome. That is really telling, when members realize that if they speak out or leave, they already know exactly how the LC is going to react.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:40 AM   #16
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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If you are in the church and speak up, you are shunned, labeled, ostracized, ignored, shamed, told "you need to take life" and all the other controlling phrases.

And also you risk losing relationships with family members over your speaking up or even risk those family members enduring mistreatment themselves on your behalf even though they may not agree with you!
This just reminds me so much of what I've read and seen in documentaries about the Amish. But I don't know that even they would go so far as to shun or somehow punish a family member!!

If you could fast forward a hundred years (presuming this present age lasts that long) and the LC was still around (unlikely), it would be interesting to see what they would look like. I bet they'd give the Amish a run for their money!
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:50 AM   #17
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In my case, I left over some things that had the potential for a simple resolution, but seeing the way that everything went down afterwards just showed me how toxic the whole thing was. I had two consecutive situations where people were being purposely disrespectful towards me.
Perhaps a simple apology extended to you could have easily cleared up the two situations.

But, no, that would be impossible.

Why? Simple. They believe they are God's best, His sole testimony on earth. All others are pitiful and degraded. They can apologize, but not us!

Oh the arrogant pride coming from the top, and leavening the whole lump!
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:41 AM   #18
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If you’ve taken notice to what the majority of my posts here concern, they consist mainly of three things; the preaching of a false gospel, the preaching of a false Jesus, and refuting any doctrine that help support the those two. Knowing this you can conclude my overall view of the Local Churches; that being, just like the Mormons or JW’s, they are not a Christian group at all but one that veils their own ideology within a Christian worldview.

I agree we don’t have any verses telling us what steps to take before speaking up about “destructive controlling groups”, we only have the apostles addressing the Body of Christ, groups of believers that already adhered to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

This then leads me to the question; why do you hold the Local Churches up to scripture if they don’t even preach the true gospel in the first place? Aren’t you just working to validate them as a legitimate Christian group by doing so?
It's an interesting question you've asked. You are right that I'm treating them as part of the church and thus subject to Biblical principles. I'll just think out loud here, so give me a little grace as I work through it.

I suppose since they themselves are claiming to be a legitimate Christian group, and not only part of the church but THE church itself, then I would "play the game" by holding them up to their own supposed principles. This is kind of the approach Ravi Zacharias and other apologists take sometimes in disproving the materialistic worldview, for example. They would assume the opposing position as true and show how it crumbles by undoing it from the inside. Self-defeating. This way, they LC is undone by their own hand. Hoist on their own petard, as it were. That's just one approach. You take their own stance and dismantle them using their own stand. This appeals to the thinkers in the group, of which there still are some.

Another approach is to begin by taking the position that they are not a legitimate Christian group. If you start out by negating the very thing they think they are, though, you also may lose a lot of people who might otherwise be willing to listen, even if you are right to negate them.

However, go back to 2 Corinthians 11 and take a look again. Paul says in verse 4:

"For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough."

Paul is talking about the Corinthians who have received a false gospel, false Jesus, different spirit, and are putting up with it. I think this is an accurate comparison to the local church. He doesn't shun the Corinthians as you seem to be suggesting would need to happen.

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Either they are led by “liars and false apostles” or they are a legitimate move of God. You have to choose. Or are you doing like they do and invoking scripture to justify your opposition by thinking you gain the moral high ground in doing so?
It's a false dichotomy to say that the only two options are a legit move of God or led by liars and false apostles, so no, I don't have to choose.

I think God moves in individual people, not in the "this group of people is a move of God" type way.

The field of wheat has tares sown among the wheat. There is no field of only wheat and field of only tares, one or the other. This is why leaving the group is such a deep internal struggle for many. It's a mixture of light and darkness.

No, there's definitely no thought in me that I'm gaining some kind of moral high ground in anything. The thought in me is much more along the lines of "what is my responsibility here?" and "how, as a Christian, am I called to behave in this situation?"

I think it's a pretty good practice for one of the steps to be to ask "does Scripture have anything to say about this?" before doing something like speaking publicly and exposing certain things, whether a genuine church or not. I personally am not a rash person and would hope to have some solid Biblical footing before doing something like that. Even though I would be speaking the truth, the exposing of numerous things in the local churches would have incredibly detrimental and reverberating effects. Some people depend on the local church for their lives and social support, and genuinely have no clue what's going on on the inside, and simply don't have the complex thought processes to see past the controlling teachings. They just love the Lord and love the saints and have simply never had an experience to show them anything otherwise. They are naive, not malicious. None of that excuses the other stuff that's going on in the LC, and none of it means that what is in the darkness shouldn't come to light, but these are all things I would be highly aware of, and simply think it's good to start with the Bible. Considering the repercussions up front can shape your approach.

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Hypocrisy in the general sense of the term means claiming standards which do not meet up to your own behavior, but as far as the Christian faith is concerned avoiding hypocrisy entails much more than just that.

Jesus claimed that it wasn’t enough to not murder, he went deeper to the root or heart of the issue. In fact for a believer in Christ it means to even resist anger against your brother. If you thought that was hard enough, Jesus told us to go even further and to love those that persecute you.

By this the expectations for a Christian is higher than that of an unbeliever so when Christ speaks about hypocrisy it’s not enough that you don’t do what you are calling out. The question is; is your heart right and are you doing the right thing in its place by faith?
I think you are crossing two things here. Yes, Jesus has a higher standard than anyone was used to. Murder and lust, etc, are now heart matters as far as sin is concerned.

But hypocrisy and judging are not spoken of in those terms. Matthew 7:2 says, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." In other words, if you judge someone for murder, you will also be judged if you have murdered. It doesn't say "if you judge a physical matter, then your corresponding deep heart matter will be judged in the same way". The example is also of a splinter in the other person's eye and a beam in your own. This means, for example, don't judge someone for their anger (splinter) when you have murdered (beam) yourself. This is a "don't strain someone else's gnat and swallow your own camel" kind of thing. If we were to analyze in the depth you are describing (which is take care of your own gnat before dealing with someone else’s camel), the splinter would be in our own eye and the beam would be in the other persons. But it's not. It's the other way around.

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In a recent post you’ve claimed the Local Churches practice a damaging form of shunning. I don’t doubt that, but let me ask you this question; have you properly shunned them before speaking out against their practices (2 John 1:10)? Or do you still continue to meet with the group?
2 John 1:7-11 speaks specifically of not welcoming people who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. To my knowledge, the LC does acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, therefore, there would not be the need to shun them in the manner you describe.

This is a different thing than the Corinthians receiving a "different Jesus". To me, 2 John 1 is a denial of Jesus Himself, His divinity, His sacrifice. The Corinthians (I am assuming here) received a different Jesus in the sense of He had still come in the flesh, but was then enslaving and oppressing them, rather than freeing them.

It's strange. It’s like they do preach Jesus, but then once saved, they feed the new convert the guiled milk of the word rather than the guileless milk of the word.

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It's not enough that you choose not to shun anybody, it's whether you love God more than the group to the point you'd shun them biblically. If by staying you believe the Local Churches will change, then like you said, I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a long time…

Paul did in fact call out evil but this was only second to proclaiming the gospel. The local churches pointed out the faults of Christianity in self-righteousness while preaching a false gospel. The majority of posts here seem to be completely lacking the gospel. Which is better then, preaching a false gospel or no gospel at all?

In a greater sense does exposing evil matter if you do nothing to fill the void? Facts of abuse may lead someone out but it's God's truth that truly heals.

If you do leave by your own conviction then seek God and His forgiveness. Repent and believe in the Jesus you weren't taught in the LC's and then lead others out by example or you may find yourself years from now regurgitating the same things in vain all the while deceiving yourself into believing you are doing a service to others. The truth is, without a heart transformed by the gospel your efforts will only work to poison others with your bitterness or at best validate each other’s own bitterness. Who benefits from that? It may help you but only for a little while until the pain resurfaces again...
Agreed. Christ set us free so we would be free. That is one of the facets of the gospel that is sorely missing in the local church. It is hard because the local church does preach the gospel, but then immediately negates it by putting handcuffs and shackles on those who were just set free. I think that’s why it’s hard for some people to speak up. Because on some level you know there are some salvations occurring within the group. Many saints, particularly the farther away they get from any proximity to the leadership, whether extra-local or local, simply don’t deal with or even have to swallow the deviated doctrines in their daily life. No MOTA, no deputy authority, no “head in the sand we don’t care about right and wrong”. They are saved Christians who sing hymns and “take the table” on Sundays and who are more free in Christ in their daily lives than many die-hard ministry bots. They are some of the ones who would be collateral damage if the thing is exposed. We are dealing with a lot of human lives.

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If you do choose to go the social justice route, that’s perfectly fine, but then do like Steven Hassan does and examine the group purely from a psychological and sociological perspective. No need to appeal to scripture lest you risk misusing them. If you do, however, use scripture then make sure that you are living by its standards in preaching the gospel and loving your enemies in the process.
There's a few possible approaches. I would need to consider what's best.

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David prayed to have a new spirit and a new heart put in him so he could forgive his enemies but he never saw that day come to pass. The good news is that day is now here and it’s available to us yet so many reject that gift in favor of social reform because doing things the right way requires you to first take a good look in the mirror. More often than not the reflection staring back at you will be the very thing you're fighting against and that's too hard of a pill to swallow.
I don't quite understand what you are saying here. You seem to say the good news is that the day is now here where we can choose to forgive our enemies (the LC?) but we reject it because....and then I just can't track you. Are you trying to say that we need to come to a place of forgiveness first before we speak up? What of my reflection is a hard pill to swallow?
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

Trapped - I think you should get the award for the longest, most detailed reply of the week!!!
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:53 PM   #20
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Trapped - I think you should get the award for the longest, most detailed reply of the week!!!
...and the best. JoS has met his match and has stumbled into his own trap...Trapped you might say.

Good job bro Trapped—

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Old 05-22-2020, 11:28 PM   #21
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...and the best. JoS has met his match and has stumbled into his own trap...Trapped you might say.

Good job bro Trapped—

Nell
Thanks StG and Nell, as you can see this topic is important to me and weighs on me heavily and often. I do appreciate Jo S's challenges and his questions. I may be wrong in numerous areas in my post, but at least he forced me to really contend with some the positions I was taking that I didn't even know could be considered differently. I certainly never considered viewing the LC as a non-legitimate Christian group when thinking of how to respond to them. I enjoyed having my perspective widened and being made to think a bit differently.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:19 AM   #22
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I don't know if there are really any right answers to this question. The first thing that comes to mind though is that there is nothing wrong with speaking to one's personal experiences. The LC would stigmatize even that as 'attacking' them.
Just like the MSM networks, the LC does a lot of spinning the narrative.
If you speak to one's personal experiences, on the surface, "it's your experience". By no means is t meant to imply your experience is a systemic problem. If you do say my experiences is due to LC practices, you're "attacking the ministry". For example if you say you've repented for having an elitist view and say the ministry had a role in fermenting that view; you're attacking the ministry. From personal account it could something as benign as having a building permit approved for the meeting hall. Any delay of the permit being approved is construed as "an attack of the enemy".
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:53 PM   #23
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It's an interesting question you've asked. You are right that I'm treating them as part of the church and thus subject to Biblical principles. I'll just think out loud here, so give me a little grace as I work through it.

I suppose since they themselves are claiming to be a legitimate Christian group, and not only part of the church but THE church itself, then I would "play the game" by holding them up to their own supposed principles. This is kind of the approach Ravi Zacharias and other apologists take sometimes in disproving the materialistic worldview, for example. They would assume the opposing position as true and show how it crumbles by undoing it from the inside. Self-defeating. This way, they LC is undone by their own hand. Hoist on their own petard, as it were. That's just one approach. You take their own stance and dismantle them using their own stand. This appeals to the thinkers in the group, of which there still are some.

Another approach is to begin by taking the position that they are not a legitimate Christian group. If you start out by negating the very thing they think they are, though, you also may lose a lot of people who might otherwise be willing to listen, even if you are right to negate them.
Trapped, what I see is that you’re not just “treating” the Local Churches as part of the church, but like others here, it’s what you personally believe.

I understand you can assume their claims for the sake of argument but that’s not the same as assuming it’s true for yourself. Ravi and other apologists go into debates with the presupposition that their opposition’s premise is false and their worldview is true. Only then do they use their opponents own claims to argue against their position.

In the majority of arguments on the forum I notice a lack of challenge toward the very foundation of the Local Church’s claim but rather there’s more focus on secondary matters. Why is that?

I believe that to accept the possibility that the Lord’s Recovery was never a move of God and that they have always taught a different Jesus and a false gospel has personal implications many are not willing to confront. That’s especially true for those born into the movement and to those that lost decades to it.

It’s best to speak the truth no matter whether it’s accepted or not as it’s the truth that sets people free and not the outward approach. Yet it’s only in love that truth remains truth and so you won’t be able to set others free unless you first are free. Until you see the Lord’s Recovery movement for what it really is, only then can you move forward with an effective approach. To see that, however, you first need to address your own walk and that’s a place where many refuse to go. Being lukewarm toward the Recovery and its doctrines only gets you stuck in the past and so at this point you’re resorted to picking at specks all while the log remains in your own eye.

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However, go back to 2 Corinthians 11 and take a look again. Paul says in verse 4:

"For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough."

Paul is talking about the Corinthians who have received a false gospel, false Jesus, different spirit, and are putting up with it. I think this is an accurate comparison to the local church. He doesn't shun the Corinthians as you seem to be suggesting would need to happen.
It’s important to note that Paul starts off this chapter in hyperbole meaning rather than taking what he is saying as literal there’s an overarching principle that he’s teaching to the church.

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Paul uses the term “may” meaning he’s not speaking to a group that has already been led astray but to one that is being lax and passive toward false doctrine.

The message here is intolerance toward falsities by being bold in the truth.

Where your comparison of the LC’s to the church in Corinth fails is that Corinth was founded on the gospel whereas the Local Churches were founded on an ideology.


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It's a false dichotomy to say that the only two options are a legit move of God or led by liars and false apostles, so no, I don't have to choose.

I think God moves in individual people, not in the "this group of people is a move of God" type way.
Either the LC’s are as they claim or they are not. A movement cannot be a partial move of God, can it? If you claim that the LCs were a move of God at one point but were overtaken by so called liars, false prophets, and legalists then you’re questioning God’s ability to follow through and finish what He began. Because of that, not only is it not a false dichotomy, it’s the only dichotomy.

Trapped, you don’t have to choose but you’re lack of resolve will only work to delay the inevitable.

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The field of wheat has tares sown among the wheat. There is no field of only wheat and field of only tares, one or the other. This is why leaving the group is such a deep internal struggle for many. It's a mixture of light and darkness.
If we are going to use garden analogies then let’s also include the seeds which fell among the thorns.

In Corinth, the group of believers were putting up with those preaching mistruths but the implication is that there was still a majority adhering to the gospel as Paul taught it. Because of this, Corinth would accurately portray tares among the wheat.

In the LC’s however what I’ve seen were a larger majority adhering to community centered around special revelation along with small minority of baby Christians whom became ensnared by the group for the purpose of furthering that ideology. These kinds of groups represent thorns that choke off the seedlings.

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No, there's definitely no thought in me that I'm gaining some kind of moral high ground in anything. The thought in me is much more along the lines of "what is my responsibility here?" and "how, as a Christian, am I called to behave in this situation?"
It’s a good thing to ash such a question

I think it's a pretty good practice for one of the steps to be to ask "does Scripture have anything to say about this?" before doing something like speaking publicly and exposing certain things, whether a genuine church or not. I personally am not a rash person and would hope to have some solid Biblical footing before doing something like that. Even though I would be speaking the truth, the exposing of numerous things in the local churches would have incredibly detrimental and reverberating effects. Some people depend on the local church for their lives and social support, and genuinely have no clue what's going on on the inside, and simply don't have the complex thought processes to see past the controlling teachings. They just love the Lord and love the saints and have simply never had an experience to show them anything otherwise. They are naive, not malicious. None of that excuses the other stuff that's going on in the LC, and none of it means that what is in the darkness shouldn't come to light, but these are all things I would be highly aware of, and simply think it's good to start with the Bible. Considering the repercussions up front can shape your approach.
I agree, it’s a great practice to refer to scripture just as long as you don’t use it solely for rebuking but also use it for personal conviction. Otherwise using the scriptures so one-sidedly you risk misusing them for condemnation rather than for encouragement.

Whether you’re seeking the moral high ground or not, statements like the ones above portray high-mindedness. No one comes to God unless He draws them. It’s only by God’s grace that we know Him and His truth and not through our own “critical thinking abilities” lest we should boast. Even the most brilliant individuals get caught up in these kinds of groups.

With that said, did you know that Mormons also call each other ”brothers” and “saints”? They are after all the “church of latter day saints”. Would you consider them brothers and saints as well?

Please understand that groups use these kinds of terms as unifiers toward a common cause but outside of that specific cause this level of affection is non-existent. That’s a sign that the movement isn’t based on God’s love for His church but a love for group exclusivity.

A hard but necessary question to ask is; do these people really love the Lord or do they value community over the truth? If it's the Lord then do you believe His love would keep them in a "destructive controlling group"? Is it really critical thinking skills that people lack or could it be a lack of love toward God and His truth?

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I think you are crossing two things here. Yes, Jesus has a higher standard than anyone was used to. Murder and lust, etc, are now heart matters as far as sin is concerned.

But hypocrisy and judging are not spoken of in those terms. Matthew 7:2 says, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." In other words, if you judge someone for murder, you will also be judged if you have murdered. It doesn't say "if you judge a physical matter, then your corresponding deep heart matter will be judged in the same way". The example is also of a splinter in the other person's eye and a beam in your own. This means, for example, don't judge someone for their anger (splinter) when you have murdered (beam) yourself. This is a "don't strain someone else's gnat and swallow your own camel" kind of thing. If we were to analyze in the depth you are describing (which is take care of your own gnat before dealing with someone else’s camel), the splinter would be in our own eye and the beam would be in the other persons. But it's not. It's the other way around.
Jesus speaks of two things in judging, “ways” and “measures”. The manner in which you present your argument is that God will judge you for a specific sin only when you judge others for the same sin. That’s not true. God will judge your sins no matter if you’ve judged others for the same. This verse has nothing to do with what sin is being judged but by which manner and measure you are judging by.

So the question is; do you first properly examine your own heart before criticizing others? If the Local Churches teach the same, well good; then do as they say and not as they do. Or will you thrown the baby out along with the bath water?

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2 John 1:7-11 speaks specifically of not welcoming people who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. To my knowledge, the LC does acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, therefore, there would not be the need to shun them in the manner you describe.

This is a different thing than the Corinthians receiving a "different Jesus". To me, 2 John 1 is a denial of Jesus Himself, His divinity, His sacrifice. The Corinthians (I am assuming here) received a different Jesus in the sense of He had still come in the flesh, but was then enslaving and oppressing them, rather than freeing them.

It's strange. It’s like they do preach Jesus, but then once saved, they feed the new convert the guiled milk of the word rather than the guileless milk of the word.
John mentions the heresy of Docetism but the main focus of this chapter when viewed in its entire context is “the teaching of Christ”. So what is the teaching of Christ? This cannot be referring to Christ coming in flesh as that was apparent to those which were with Jesus when he walked the earth so Christ did not need to teach he was a real flesh and blood human. Rather John is referring to the two commandments which Christ taught; love God and love you neighbor.

So now ask yourself; do the Local Churches love the Body of Christ or do they only extend their warmth to those within their group? The overwhelming consensus to that is that they do in fact lack love toward the Body of Christ in practice and in speech.

When you disregard one commandment you disregard the other. By this, shunning the Local Church does in fact line up with 2 John 1.

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Agreed. Christ set us free so we would be free. That is one of the facets of the gospel that is sorely missing in the local church. It is hard because the local church does preach the gospel, but then immediately negates it by putting handcuffs and shackles on those who were just set free. I think that’s why it’s hard for some people to speak up. Because on some level you know there are some salvations occurring within the group. Many saints, particularly the farther away they get from any proximity to the leadership, whether extra-local or local, simply don’t deal with or even have to swallow the deviated doctrines in their daily life. No MOTA, no deputy authority, no “head in the sand we don’t care about right and wrong”. They are saved Christians who sing hymns and “take the table” on Sundays and who are more free in Christ in their daily lives than many die-hard ministry bots. They are some of the ones who would be collateral damage if the thing is exposed. We are dealing with a lot of human lives.
People aren’t slaves to legalism, they are slaves to sin. Christ sets Christians free from condemnation but not from conscience. You’re still expected to honor the commandments. Legalism is a sign and manifestation of sin within a group collective. The goal isn’t to flee legalism, it’s to do something you were not taught in the Local Churches; that is, to repent and believe in the Jesus of scripture. That applies to abusive authority as well. This is the only way you'll be freed from legalism in good conscience.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:10 PM   #24
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Oh boy, I think Jo has now taken the lead in the longest response category! (it remains to be seen if it takes 1st place for the best however . . .)

Now St. Peter will probably let you into the gates of heaven a nanosecond before (before what, I'm not sure)!

All jocularity aside, I do have one question for you, Jo: Is the Roman Catholic Church a real Christian church?
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:20 PM   #25
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Oh boy, I think Jo has now taken the lead in the longest response category! (it remains to be seen if it takes 1st place for the best however . . .)

Now St. Peter will probably let you into the gates of heaven a nanosecond before (before what, I'm not sure)!

All jocularity aside, I do have one question for you, Jo: Is the Roman Catholic Church a real Christian church?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic ecclesiology professes the Catholic Church to be the "sole Church of Christ" i.e., the one true church defined as "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" in the Four Marks of the Church in the Nicene Creed.

Does this boast sound familiar?

If you believe the Local Churches can't be the sole Church of Christ on earth then neither can the Catholic Church.

My answer to your question is No.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:57 PM   #26
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According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic ecclesiology professes the Catholic Church to be the "sole Church of Christ" i.e., the one true church defined as "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" in the Four Marks of the Church in the Nicene Creed.

Does this boast sound familiar?

If you believe the Local Churches can't be the sole Church of Christ on earth then neither can the Catholic Church.

My answer to your question is No.
Thanks for the clear answer (that you don't think the RCC is really a church)! Yes, certainly several apparent parallels between the LC and Roman Catholic Church. Many theologians (at least non-Catholic ones) think there is good cause to consider that the church in Thyatira represents the RCC. So considering your point that the LC and the RCC aren't really Christian churches because of their numerous bad teachings and practices . . . if the Lord calls the RCC a church (albeit a badly misbehaving one), shouldn't we?
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:19 PM   #27
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Thanks for the clear answer (that you don't think the RCC is really a church)! Yes, certainly several apparent parallels between the LC and Roman Catholic Church. Many theologians (at least non-Catholic ones) think there is good cause to consider that the church in Thyatira represents the RCC. So considering your point that the LC and the RCC aren't really Christian churches because of their numerous bad teachings and practices . . . if the Lord calls the RCC a church (albeit a badly misbehaving one), shouldn't we?
StG, I recall you mentioning you meet with the Catholic church and it's members? Is that correct?

I don't agree with your equivalency however. Thyatira had faults but they were not yet apostate. But where is the Church of Thyatira now? The city no longer exists.

The Catholic church is a church, it's even a Christian church in name but is it a genuine Christian church? No. The only genuine church will be the church gathered in the New Jerusalem at Christ's second coming.
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:26 PM   #28
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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You mentioned you meet with the Catholic church and it's members? Correct?

I don't agree with your equivalency however. Thyatira had faults but they were not yet apostate. But where is the Church of Thyatira now? The city no longer exists.

The Catholic church is a Church, it's even a Christian church in name but is it a genuine Christian church? No. The only genuine church will be the church gathered in the New Jerusalem at Christ's second coming.
So let's try a different angle - what makes a church - - believers with Christ in them constitutes a church (ekklesia: a called-out gathering), right? Does the LC or the RCC have believers in them? (Sure, you can argue the percentages of those actually with Christ in them at the LC or RCC, but that's the basic premise.)

What is your scriptural definition of the ekklesia?
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:49 PM   #29
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What is your scriptural definition of the ekklesia?
Born-again Christians that worship God in person and/or in spirit.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:35 AM   #30
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Born-again Christians that worship God in person and/or in spirit.
Good. And to get more specific, a gathering of those born-again ones, right?
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:54 AM   #31
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Good. And to get more specific, a gathering of those born-again ones, right?
In the context of Christianity Ekklesia refers to those called out of the world and to God. It doesn't have to be a physical gathering to qualify. Every born-again Christian is part of the Ekklesia.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:01 AM   #32
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In the context of Christianity Ekklesia refers to those called out of the world and to God. It doesn't have to be a physical gathering to qualify. Every born-again Christian is part of the Ekklesia.
Granted (though we are called to assemble together of course). So if regenerated ones make up the church, and there are regenerated ones in the LC and RCC (albeit likely not 100% of people there are regenerated), how do you say they are NOT a church? Where do you draw the line?
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:19 AM   #33
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Granted (though we are called to assemble together of course). So if regenerated ones make up the church, and there are regenerated ones in the LC and RCC (albeit likely not 100% of people there are regenerated), how do you say they are NOT a church? Where do you draw the line?
The term "Church" has multiple definitions and applications. It can be a physical place of worship or can be referring to the body of Christ. The RCC and LC's are churches, meaning public places of worship, however you asked whether the RCC is a "real" Christian church. To me there is only one real church and it doesn't have walls, that's the body of all born-again Christians spread throughout the world who worship God in spirit and in truth.
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Old 05-24-2020, 09:40 AM   #34
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In the majority of arguments on the forum I notice a lack of challenge toward the very foundation of the Local Church’s claim but rather there’s more focus on secondary matters. Why is that?
Well, the very foundation of the Local Church's claims are based upon secondary issues - Who is and who is not the one minister with the one ministry for the age, the ground of the church being based upon locality, various methodologies aimed at "enjoying the Lord" and "eating Jesus" by Calling of the Lord and Pray Reading, who is and who is not properly and sufficiently "blended" with the person (authority) and work (ministry) of Witness Lee.

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I believe that to accept the possibility that the Lord’s Recovery was never a move of God and that they have always taught a different Jesus and a false gospel has personal implications many are not willing to confront. That’s especially true for those born into the movement and to those that lost decades to it.
Wow, you have already figured out what the members of this forum need to accept and what we need to confront! Darn, I wish I had met you about 20 years ago...you might have saved me a lot of pain, suffering and heartache!

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It’s best to speak the truth no matter whether it’s accepted or not as it’s the truth that sets people free and not the outward approach.
Wow, and you are the only one around here who is speaking the truth, and are gloriously free of any of those ineffective and nonspiritual "outward approaches". Ya know, this sounds a lot like something Witness Lee said all the time - except that instead of "outward approach" he used other terms like "opinion" and "natural".

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Yet it’s only in love that truth remains truth and so you won’t be able to set others free unless you first are free.
True this! Lord, cause us to see your truth, and then speak the truth in love. Set us all free! Amen.

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Until you see the Lord’s Recovery movement for what it really is, only then can you move forward with an effective approach.
Didn't you just say we should speak the truth and forget about any outward approach. I think you better do some proof reading of your own posts before you fire away there captain. Or maybe that was a freudian slip?
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To see that, however, you first need to address your own walk and that’s a place where many refuse to go. Being lukewarm toward the Recovery and its doctrines only gets you stuck in the past and so at this point you’re resorted to picking at specks all while the log remains in your own eye.
Jo, I'm not sure if it's from a speck or from log, but you, my friend, are seemingly blind to many things. One of the biggest is your delusion that you have a firm grasp on the disposition of the members of this forum in regards to the teachings, practices and history of the Local Church of Witness Lee. I think this may account for the reactions you are getting. I don't think you were in the Local Church long enough to know what the heck you're talking about. I know you probably mean well, but you really need to take a step back and reconsider your "approach". We are all in different places - different places in our relationship and walk with the Lord, and certainly in different places when it comes to our understandings, perceptions and realizations of what we are to do with the teachings, practices and history of the movement. This is not to mention the complexities involved for those of us with family members and close friends in the Local Church. You seem either oblivious or heartless. I hope it's the first, cause that one is a lot easier to fix.

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Either the LC’s are as they claim or they are not. A movement cannot be a partial move of God, can it? If you claim that the LCs were a move of God at one point but were overtaken by so called liars, false prophets, and legalists then you’re questioning God’s ability to follow through and finish what He began. Because of that, not only is it not a false dichotomy, it’s the only dichotomy.
Every move of man is only a partial move of God, and every church, church group, denomination, ministry or para-church organization is a move of man and is hopefully a partial move of God. This is so elementary I'm shocked that you would say such a thing. Were you there in the Local Church earliest days with Watchman Nee in mainland China? Where you there with the brothers and sisters who fled to Taiwan to continue on with Nee's vision? Were you there at Elden Hall in the earliest days of the LC movement in America? Or are you omnipresent and omnipotent like Witness Lee claimed to be? Maybe you picked up more from your short time in the LC than I thought!

The rest of your post here is just more of the same, so I won't bother to burden the rest of the members with the exposing of your abject ignorance of the what is happening on this forum. Again, you are decidedly clueless, and as the moderator I am speaking the truth in love to you. Finally, you must realize that this forum is not for individuals to get up on their personal soap box and preach, at least not the kind of preaching you are doing. Discussion is fine. Disagreement is fine. Testimonies are fine. Questions are fine. Even challenges are ok if done in the right spirit and right approach.
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:05 AM   #35
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..........
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Message received loud and clear, UntoHim. I will leave you to it then. God bless all of you.
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:40 AM   #36
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Jo S,

I think you have very valuable contribution so don’t leave, and interesting perspectives that force me to read and re-read Scripture and question my own assumptions about it, but your delivery can sometimes be unnecessarily accusatory.

It’s possible you are making statements and questions that you intend to apply generally to people, but it comes across as you yanking one of my eyeballs open while trying to accusatorily shine a surgical light directly into it, forgetting that the topic is not my eyeball but what color to paint the room, and it would be more helpful to just have a pleasant lamp shining from overhead. And no, it’s not because I’m trying to run from any light or avoid confronting hard truths. It’s just discussion decorum is all.

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Trapped, what I see is that you’re not just “treating” the Local Churches as part of the church, but like others here, it’s what you personally believe.
Well, my viewpoint is that we can’t look at any group as a whole as part of the church or not. Of course there will be some exceptions, but by and large within every group that claims to be Christian there are some who are genuine believers and some who are not. I don’t think we can make statements like “xyz church is part of the church” because within any xyz church there will be some true believers and some false. It’s the individual believers that are part of the church (or ARE the church), not xyz church that is or isn’t.

Am I assured that within the local churches there are at least some believers who are genuine, regenerated according to the gospel you espouse, children of God? Most definitely. Which means, for their sake, I need to at least start from the assumption that I’m dealing with a group that contains part of the church. I’d rather start from a position of respect and be shown I can go down from there, than start from a position of negation and have to repent. Like it or not, comments about the impersonal group are always translated as comments about the people in that group, so I’ve got to consider the individuals first.

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I understand you can assume their claims for the sake of argument but that’s not the same as assuming it’s true for yourself. Ravi and other apologists go into debates with the presupposition that their opposition’s premise is false and their worldview is true. Only then do they use their opponents own claims to argue against their position.
Well of course. I cannot imagine a scenario where I would argue against a position within the LC while not believing my own argument. I believe you are talking specifically about the legitimacy of the LC as a genuine church, while I am talking about specific doctrines they espouse.

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In the majority of arguments on the forum I notice a lack of challenge toward the very foundation of the Local Church’s claim but rather there’s more focus on secondary matters. Why is that?
I don’t know of anyone who goes about knocking down a building by starting with the foundation. They start with other “secondary” areas (roofs, walls, supports, etc), which causes the whole thing to crumble upon its foundation. Would you try to knock down the Sydney Opera House by hacking away at its foundation? It makes no sense. I realize I’m speaking of a physical building, but I think the comparison is strong enough that I don’t need to elaborate.

The other side is, you may be able to convince people that its foundation was bad, but they will just throw the “recovery” word at you and say initial beginnings or bad foundations don’t mean that God can’t come in to recover a bad start. It just won’t go anywhere. You have to show that the structure itself is bad too.

It’s also been around in the US for 60+ years or whatever. Many people within it now had nothing to do with its initial beginnings and that part is therefore mostly meaningless to them as a factor to leave. America had some sordid beginnings in its treatment and takeover of the Native Americans and their land, but does anyone de-legitimize America for that now?

I think knowing that the foundation was bad is one more ax-blow to knocking the tree down, but it seems to me that in itself is it not sufficient to affect people without the other stuff.

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I believe that to admit to oneself that the Lord’s Recovery was never a move of God and that they have always taught a different Jesus and a false gospel has personal implications many are not willing to confront. That’s especially true for those born into the movement and to those that lost decades to it.
You are speaking vaguely here. Are the “personal implications many are not willing to confront” that they may not actually be saved? That they had a false conversion? Or that they have wasted their life? Concrete examples would help here. If that’s what you mean, I don’t disagree with you on the implications side of things. I personally did pray to receive the Lord again as an adult after I realized more of how the LC brought up their young people, so I would be assured that I was really saved and not deceived by a false conversion.

I cannot comment on “TLR was never a move of God”. I’m not God and I don’t know the ways He moves. I’m not sure whether categorizing them as a move or God or not helps anyone. At least it doesn’t do anything for me. Because either way, there are some genuine believers within it.

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It’s best to speak the truth no matter whether it’s accepted or not as it’s the truth that sets people free and not the outward approach. Yet it’s only in love that truth remains truth and so you won’t be able to set others free unless you first are free. Until you see the Lord’s Recovery movement for what it really is, only then can you move forward with an effective approach. To see that, however, you first need to address your own walk and that’s a place where many refuse to go. Being lukewarm toward the Recovery and its doctrines only gets you stuck in the past and so at this point you’re resorted to picking at specks all while the log remains in your own eye.
Well…..angry truth is still truth. That’s why there is the phrase “truth in love”. It implies there can be “truth not in love”, which I think human life witnesses to each of us that there can be both.

Your first two sentences contradict each other. You say that it’s the truth that sets people free and not the outward approach. But then say it’s only in love that truth remains truth. “in love” is a heart matter but is expressed outwardly, no doubt. So outward approach (sourced inwardly) absolutely is critical. You say only then does truth remain truth, but I would rephrase that to say that only then does truth “land”. Does truth “hit its target”. I don’t like to point to negative examples, but the Texas Street Preacher comes to mind here. He can speak truths about the LC, he may claim it’s in love, but it can’t land very many places because of the caustic outward approach he takes.

I can assure you I am not lukewarm towards the Recovery’s doctrines. The Recovery is replete with false doctrines, false interpretations of scripture, and falsely controlling teachings. There’s probably over 30 of them that permeate the ministry.

Preceded by the gospel.

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It’s important to note that Paul starts off this chapter in hyperbole meaning rather than taking what he is saying as literal there’s an overarching principle that he’s teaching to the church.

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Paul uses the term “may” meaning he’s not speaking to a group that has already been led astray but to one that is being lax and passive toward false doctrine.

The message here is intolerance toward falsities by being bold in the truth.

Where your comparison of the LC’s to the church in Corinth fails is that Corinth was founded on the gospel whereas the Local Churches were founded on an ideology.
The Corinthians were already accepting false apostles, their teachings, and showing them deference. That’s why Paul is talking about not asking for money for what he’s doing, because the false teachers already were doing that. The chapter is not a hypothetical or theoretical.

I’m not going to get into whether we can call a group part the church or not. The church is not the group itself but the real believers in any group.

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Either the LC’s are as they claim or they are not. A movement cannot be a partial move of God, can it? If you claim that the LCs were a move of God at one point but were overtaken by so called liars, false prophets, and legalists then you’re questioning God’s ability to follow through and finish what He began. Because of that, not only is it not a false dichotomy, it’s the only dichotomy.
Can you be more specific about what you are saying the LC’s claim?

What comes to my mind is that they claim to be THE CHURCH, to the exclusion of everyone else. This is not true.

As I said in a previous post, I think God moves in individual people, not in a “move” in a “group”. Humans have been given free will to do any and all things they can dream up on this earth. God can move in anything. Is the Holocaust a “move of God”? Nope. But was God moving during and in the midst of the Holocaust? Yep. He’s always moving in individuals because He desires that no man perish.

It makes no sense to say that if the LC started out under God’s hand but then was taken over by false prophets that I’m questioning God’s ability to follow through and finish what He began. To be honest that conclusion sounds exactly like the kind the co-workers make in their posts on shepherdingwords.com. The “If you question us you are questioning God’s deputy authority!!!!!” type.

So of course, no, I’m not questioning God’s ability. Because look at Adam and Eve, man. The creation of Adam and Eve was most definitely, undeniably, unequivocally a “move of God”, but things went south. No one, however, is questioning God’s ability to follow through and finish what He began in that regard. It seems you are taking the short view of things. God finishes what He begins, bro.

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Trapped, you don’t have to choose but you’re lack of resolve will only work to delay the inevitable.
I don’t have a lack of resolve, and you are vague on what “the inevitable” is.

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If we are going to use garden analogies then let’s also include the seeds which fell among the thorns.

In Corinth, the group of believers were putting up with those preaching mistruths but the implication is that there was still a majority adhering to the gospel as Paul taught it. Because of this, Corinth would accurately portray tares among the wheat.

In the LC’s however what I’ve seen were a larger majority adhering to community centered around special revelation along with small minority of baby Christians whom became ensnared by the group for the purpose of furthering that ideology. This group represents the thorns that choke out the seedlings.
Yeah, while the thorn verses are said to represent the cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches, I don’t have a problem with what you’re saying here, necessarily. The LC’s do choke the word.

I can’t speak to the maturity of the set of believers in any group. I also can’t speak to at what point the false vs genuine ratio within any given group determines its legitimacy or not. At what point does the saturation level of real believers in a group render that group “genuine”? Only God knows.

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I agree, it’s a great practice to refer to scripture just as long as you don’t use it solely for rebuking but also use it for personal conviction. Otherwise using the scriptures so one-sidedly you risk misusing them for condemnation rather than for encouragement.
Agreed. The nature of the topic of this thread just lends itself a little more to the rebuking side of things.

Can you use some scripture to encourage me please? I could use it, sorely.

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Whether you’re seeking the moral high ground or not, statements like the ones above portray high-mindedness.
Well, that’s very kind of you to say, Jo S.

But it’s not true. It’s not high-mindedness at all. I can say that because I myself am part of the very category you think I was condemning. I’m naïve myself. I spent many years in the local church thinking that the problem was me. Wondering why God hated me. I trusted what I had been told for my whole life. I didn’t know anything different. I was just naïve.

It was just a statement that there are simply different types of people on this earth. Some are born in the clouds. Some are born with both feet on the ground. Some are born doubting and critical. Some are born trusting and naïve. We all know this.

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No one comes to God unless He draws them. It’s only by God’s grace that we know Him and His truth and not through our own “critical thinking abilities” lest we should boast. Even the most brilliant individuals get caught up in these kinds of groups.
Agreed. One of Cal’s latest videos – I think the one showing Steve Hassan’s interview – noted this fact and it’s one that confounded me for some time. How are there brilliant, driven, intelligent, whip-smart people in the local churches? Well, because mind control is effective, and there are numerous controlling doctrines in the group that ensnare the gamut of people in them. It is truly by God’s grace that anyone can see through them and get out from their snare.

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With that said, did you know that Mormons also call each other ”brothers” and “saints”? They are after all the “church of latter day saints”. Would you consider them brothers and saints as well?
I don’t know enough about Mormons or JWs or many other similar groups to be able to make any informed statements.

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Please understand that groups use these kinds of terms as unifiers toward a common cause but outside of that specific cause this level of affection is non-existent. That’s a sign that the movement isn’t based on God’s love for His church but a love for group exclusivity.

A hard but necessary question to ask is; do these people really love the Lord or do they value community over the truth? If it's the Lord then do you believe His love would keep them in a "destructive controlling group"? Is it really critical thinking skills that people lack or could it be a lack of love toward God and His truth?
Great questions.

To be honest, some of what people lack is simply information. If you don’t know what thought-control is, you don’t even know to look for it. If you don’t know what spiritual manipulation is, you probably won’t know when you are being spiritually manipulated.

It is a hard question to ask. Your question actually touches slightly upon the problem of suffering or the problem of evil. Do I believe His love would keep them in a destructive controlling group? This kind of thing can keep me up at night. God can allow many things, even in love. One brother said to me that God might allow things to happen to us, even painful things, to show us that nothing else matters but His voice. We are looking at things at a snapshot in time, and I don’t know what plans the Lord has. God kept me in a destructive controlling group for a time, even one that made me hate Him for years. And at a certain point in time He ramped things up and ejected me outta there.

I think there is a valuing of community over truth, undeniably. I think they love the Lord within parameters, which isn’t a full love of the Lord, I guess. Don’t hold me over the fire on my answers on this one…..this is a question which I don’t have answers to. I have so many conflicting experiences in this regard from years in the church, I am still in the process of sorting it out.

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Jesus speaks of two things in judging, “ways” and “measures”. The manner in which you present your argument is that God will judge you for a specific sin only when you judge others for the same sin. That’s not true. God will judge your sins no matter if you’ve judged others for the same. This verse has nothing to do with what sin is being judged but by which manner and measure you are judging by.

So the question is; do you first properly examine your own heart before criticizing your brother? If the Local Churches teach the same, well good; then do as they say and not as they do. Or will you throw the baby out along with the bath water?
Well, that’s the manner you read into my argument, but it’s not what I meant. It’s just the nature of written forums is all. Obviously I don’t mean that God will only judge a sin when we judge others for the same sin. Of course God will judge each and every one of our own sins even if we never judge a single sin of another person. That seems too obvious to state but I guess I need to state it. One Bible commentary says this, which encapsulates what I meant to say but better than I managed to say it:

“…the severity which we have unjustly meted out to others, becomes, by a retributive law, the measure of that which is justly dealt out to us.”

Yes, examination of our own hearts is the point of those verses. Otherwise we are judging hypocritically.

I do think we are in agreement on this point but somehow managing to speak past each other.

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John mentions the heresy of Docetism but the main focus of this chapter when viewed in its entire context is “the teaching of Christ”. So what is the teaching of Christ? This cannot be referring to Christ coming in flesh as that was apparent to those which were with Jesus when he walked the earth so Christ did not need to teach he was a real flesh and blood human. Rather John is referring to the two commandments which Christ taught; love God and love you neighbor.

So now ask yourself; do the Local Churches love the Body of Christ or do they only extend their warmth to those within their group? The overwhelming consensus to that is that they do in fact lack love toward the Body of Christ in practice and in speech.

When you disregard one commandment you disregard the other. By this, shunning the Local Church does in fact line up with 2 John 1.
I can see where you are coming from on this one, and to be honest, it’s a fair point I’ve never considered. The implications are significant and I need to spend some time thinking about it as it applies to my own life. As a whole, resoundingly no, the local churches do not love the BofX or extend their warmth to those not within their group. On the individual level, there are some who do, but as a group, they are cold to those outside it. And what you do to others you do to God, so yes, the implications are weighty.

And if I bring in your angle of personally examining before taking action, this is a very hard one to do. I admit I don’t love everyone myself, and yet I would be judging the LC’s for doing the same.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to deal with their doctrines because I am not the hypocrite when going after their doctrines, but I am when going after their lack of love.

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People aren’t slaves to legalism, they are slaves to sin. Christ sets Christians free from condemnation but not from conscience. You’re still expected to honor the commandments. Legalism is a sign and manifestation of sin within a group collective. The goal isn’t to flee legalism, it’s to do something you were not taught in the Local Churches; that is, to repent and believe in the Jesus of scripture. That applies to abusive authority as well. This is the only way you'll be freed from legalism in good conscience.
Of course people are slaves to legalism, but that does not preclude being a slave to sin too. Legalism produces a false guilt within people where their conscience is actually silent, and I can tell you from experience that it is an absolute enslavement. Wherever it is in the Bible Jesus is given grief about not washing his hands or requiring others to do so is an example of that. Hand-washing isn’t sin. It’s a commandment of men. It’s legalism. You can absolutely be a slave to it. Although I supposed in that case, legalistic hand-washing becomes a sin because it denies the truth that Christ came to set us free?

Christ came to set us free from the condemnation of sin and death, but also from oppression, and not just the oppression of sin and/or death. All kinds of oppression. He proclaimed release to the captives, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, freedom for those who are oppressed. This is the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom with His mouth, and then turned around and demonstrated it with His actions in healing people and releasing them. I understand all these oppressions are the result of the fall. But these oppressions are not sins in themselves. In other words, Jesus came to release people from their sins and condemnation eternally, but also from their afflictions and oppressions temporally.

While THE goal may not be to flee legalism, it’s a pretty good sub-goal. Jesus rebuked and was harshly critical of it in the Bible.

Don’t leave the forum or this thread. Just use pronouns like “we” rather than “you” sometimes. Or “my perspective is” rather than “your perspective must be”. Or when speaking of others, say, “it seems like” rather that “it is a fact”. That’s all. Your input is valuable.
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:57 AM   #37
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

Jo S,

Pursuant to the title of this thread, what is your view on the responsibility of Christians related to aberrant or abusive groups (specifically the LC)?

We've talked about the legitimacy of the LC as well as self-examination, both of which you have your position on. So based on your own positions and viewpoint, which I'm not asking you to change, what do you think the responsibility of those who leave the LC is, recognizing that some who leave the LC still treat it as a legitimate group and some who leave don't?

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Old 05-24-2020, 12:27 PM   #38
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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Don’t leave the forum or this thread. Just use pronouns like “we” rather than “you” sometimes. Or “my perspective is” rather than “your perspective must be”. Or when speaking of others, say, “it seems like” rather that “it is a fact”. That’s all. Your input is valuable.
The prize for the longest, most detailed and thoughtful response goes to . . . . Trapped!

Really good responses from both UntoHim & Trapped. And let me say I hope Jo doesn't leave the conversation or forum either! Anybody can have a style of communicating that may grate on certain others. I'm sure that my most wonderful communication style might even be conceived of as (if this was really even possible) bothering someone else slightly on perhaps one or two occasions.

But Trapped, I liked that you gave some very practical examples at the end. For instance, one sure way to put someone immediately on the defensive unnecessarily is by saying "YOU think this!" or "YOU do that!" And stating things like, "It seems to me . . ." and "My opinion is . . ." is also really good coaching me thinks! Again, bravo and well said (in my most very humble opinion)
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Old 05-26-2020, 02:59 PM   #39
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I don’t know of anyone who goes about knocking down a building by starting with the foundation. They start with other “secondary” areas (roofs, walls, supports, etc), which causes the whole thing to crumble upon its foundation. Would you try to knock down the Sydney Opera House by hacking away at its foundation? It makes no sense. I realize I’m speaking of a physical building, but I think the comparison is strong enough that I don’t need to elaborate.

The other side is, you may be able to convince people that its foundation was bad, but they will just throw the “recovery” word at you and say initial beginnings or bad foundations don’t mean that God can’t come in to recover a bad start. It just won’t go anywhere. You have to show that the structure itself is bad too.

It’s also been around in the US for 60+ years or whatever. Many people within it now had nothing to do with its initial beginnings and that part is therefore mostly meaningless to them as a factor to leave. America had some sordid beginnings in its treatment and takeover of the Native Americans and their land, but does anyone de-legitimize America for that now?

I think knowing that the foundation was bad is one more ax-blow to knocking the tree down, but it seems to me that in itself is it not sufficient to affect people without the other stuff.

I'd like to amend this part of my post a few posts back. I think Jo S's point about the foundation is more valid that I gave him credit for, but we were just looking at the situation from different "heights". I was viewing it as if I was someone still within it, or as if I was 100 feet above it, while Jo S was viewing it as from someone on the International Space Station looking down. All valid, but just different viewpoints. I think the ISS looking down is too far out from where the average LC-er is to render them meaningful help when they are in it. It's incredibly valuable, but would be like explaining the genome to a 2 year old. Those who are in it would have to come to another place before they can be taken that high up. Baby steps before putting them on a rocket ship.

I believe Jo S will not be returning, which is a big loss. But the thread is still here and is, at least to me, one of the most important topics on the forum. Any input from anyone else is greatly coveted. My question in post #37 stands for anyone to respond to.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:20 PM   #40
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

My personal answer is that my responsibility as a Christian is to find the truth. So I confess Jesus as risen, then what? What is my course? My path? It's not about the LC or any aberrant group. What is my path? Where do I find the truth or reality of the wounded, slain, and risen Lord, now ascendant above all that is named, or can be named? That alone matters.

Now in that journey I may rebuke and expose. I may quietly bear with something yucky. But only the journey matters.

For me, since leaving the LC, it's come down to this. He left us with a few simple rules. Believe, pray. Love your neighbor. Take the least place.

I've told my story 50 times, but it's my story, what else can I tell. I was with the FTTA. The Trainer (whom I believe still runs the place) said, "Don't waste your time" on the aged and the sick. I raised my hand, and spoke. Scripture shows me something else. Do I pretend that I can't read the Bible? No, I spoke up.

Steve Isitt spoke up. Jane Anderson spoke up (not that I am comparing myself to them. My journey is mine and theirs is theirs. I can't wear someone else's) Jo and Greg Casteel spoke up. Everyone on this forum is trying to speak up. Max Rappoport spoke up. John Ingalls spoke up. Don Rutledge spoke up. And I am grateful for every voice.

But everyone has to speak their own portion of truth. God is wise, and distributes as He sees fit. Everyone has a part of the truth, equally precious. Nobody is despised in God's sight.

I've come to see, over the years, that the world probably isn't going to follow my truth, my journey of discovery. But I have to follow it. And I find that sometimes, in that journey, a voice says, Speak up.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:33 PM   #41
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Default Re: Responsibility of Christians Responding to Aberrant/Abusive Groups

I like what you said here . . . simple and real. Can't add much to that other than AMEN!
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:13 AM   #42
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Pursuant to the title of this thread, what is your view on the responsibility of Christians related to aberrant or abusive groups (specifically the LC)?

Trapped
As a new believer, excited about Jesus for the first time in my life, I tried to help one of my younger brothers (I have 4 bros and 4 sis) who was visiting with the Jehovah Witnesses. I knew JW was off, and told my brother. I even read a book, something like, "When I was a WatchTower Slave," and was successful in helping him to be "set free." So I had become a "successful apologetic" in my first endeavor. I had rescued my brother, much to the joy of my dear mother, but I really had failed, since he never was brought to the Lord. My brother was freed, but not really free.

So many in those days were getting saved. I went to Ohio State, but my cousins went to Kent State, a hotbed of belligerant thought. Instead of rejoicing in our new shared love for the Savior, endless interrogations of the faith began. They embarked on radical apologetics and I was in the Local Church. Twice my cousin ruined the weddings of my siblings for me with his obsessions. He was like the dogs that followed apostle Paul around.

We were never called to set people straight. Our calling is to help others to know the Lord. Apologetics often lose sight of the gospel of God's love. Like Ephesus in Rev 2, the Recovery, me and my cousin, it is easy to become a zealot for truths, yet in the process miss God's love for actual people. I have often asked myself why am I here on the forum, and constantly must redirect my own course. It always comes back to this simple statement, people got hurt and need help.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:05 AM   #43
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We were never called to set people straight. Our calling is to help others to know the Lord. Apologetics often lose sight of the gospel of God's love. Like Ephesus in Rev 2, the Recovery, me and my cousin, it is easy to become a zealot for truths, yet in the process miss God's love for actual people. I have often asked myself why am I here on the forum, and constantly must redirect my own course. It always comes back to this simple statement, people got hurt and need help.
Great post Ohio! Unfortuneately, I didn't see it until right after I made aron's post the "featured post", otherwise this would have been in that slot. (not taking away anything from aron's great post!)

The thoughts you have expressed here reminded my of something Tim Keller wrote:

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us, but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.

I can't remember the context of this excerpt, but I think I would alter it slightly for our purposes by saying: Love, expressed without the underpinning of truth, may be mere sentimentality, and may ostensibly affirm us, but leave us in denial about our ignorance and weaknesses. Truth, presented as mere information, and not as speaking the truth in love, may cause us to turn a deaf ear, and never be set free by the truth.

I heartily agree that part of our calling is to help people know the Lord, but we first must know the Lord ourselves, else we be found to be as "the blind leading the blind". Genuine theology should always lead us to know the Lord. Genuine apologetics should always lead us to know the Lord. I know this because I have observed this first hand, and I have experienced this first hand. Does that mean that the theologians and apologists have been perfect in their teachings and presentations? Of course not. The late Ravi Zacharias is a good example. He presented the Gospel in such an uncompromising, yet deeply compassionate way, that even the most hardened and steadfast critics were disarmed, and many were saved.


Again, I feel pressed to take us back to the opening post:
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What is the responsibility of Christians in responding to aberrant or abusive groups, ministries and leadership, particularly those which abuse authority to bully and control believers?
Given the many Old Testament verses exhorting God's people to defend the defenseless, stand up to oppressors and seek justice, do such commands carry over into the New Testament age and, and if so, how to we fulfill them?
My, my, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since this first post! Maybe Cal can come back and pick up where he left off here. Mr. Cal has a way of getting us back to making the main thing the main thing.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:09 AM   #44
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Great post Ohio! Unfortuneately, I didn't see it until right after I made aron's post the "featured post", otherwise this would have been in that slot. (not taking away anything from aron's great post!)

The thoughts you have expressed here reminded my of something Tim Keller wrote:

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us, but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.
Three awesome posts in a row, by Aron, Ohio and you (UntoHim)! It makes me feel like I do with my Thursday bros, and often let them know that I am truly privileged to be amongst such ones . . . ones who are focused on speaking Christ and His love! (and please remind me of that when we're in the middle of the next food fight! )

This quote from Tim Keller is most telling and insightful, isn't it!? Love and truth - one without the other is an unturned cake (to use one of my favorite phrases of late). Scripture is so wise to encourage us to "speak the truth in love"! Having either one alone can produce harmful effects.

In terms of the LC (since we are on the LCD forum), the LC fell into the error of the later part of this saying, that is, "Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it." I think the fruit of that became evident in LC teachings and practice, which we experienced and are now testifying of on here.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:49 AM   #45
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.. my responsibility as a Christian is to find the truth. So I confess Jesus as risen, then what? What's my course, my path? It's not about the LC or any aberrant group... Where do I find the truth or reality of the wounded, slain, and risen Lord, now ascendant above all that is named, or can be named? That alone matters...
I'd like to flesh out the above comment by using something that Cal recently posted.
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"The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern." Prov 29:7

These are verses we NEVER studied in the LR. And frankly I think they make them uncomfortable. Their whole culture of allowing oneself to be abused by an organization ignores them, as does their indifference to social justice.
Let's remember this point as we consider the phrase "God's economy" and I'll try to show how such an examination, however cursory and amateurish, is an attempt to get at truth, and how this "finding our truth" can help us as Christians to address abusive sects and cults. Our most powerful weapon is truth, and if we don't seek, we don't find. So we follow the Master's commands to find our truth, and perhaps we can be of use.

Now, I'm reminded of the adage on another thread (Modalism) that theology is 10% of the contents of the Christian faith and one's heart is the other 90%. Theology matters, but not nearly as much as love, which is best lived out among others, and is also hard to type into a keyboard. So Christian "truth" on an anonymous internet forum is limited.

But that 10% matters too. The content of one's confession does matter, and it's to this that we turn. Cal rightly noted that the LR cares little for such verses as Prov 29:7. Frequent scriptural admonitions to care for the poor, the sick, the weak, the fatherless and widows are passed over without comment, whilst other "important" and "crucial" verses are rehearsed at nearly every turn. This kind of warped and distorted reading does ultimately affect one's heart, and behaviours.

So we'll look at a representative verse from the NT which the LR won't address, because of what it does to their "God's economy" metric. I'll quote three verses for context, but want to stress the last one and consider what it entails. Galatians 2:8-10 "For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

James, Cephas and John don't ask that folks 'masticate the Processed Triune God' or some such, but to continue to remember the poor! Not merely to remember, but to continue to remember, which indicates Paul and Barnabas were already engaged, along with the Jerusalem cohort. Suddenly, Jesus' "feed my sheep" and the "daily dispensing to the widows" in Acts line up - they were feeding Jesus' sheep in Acts 6:1 - Oh, now I get it!

Not only this, but Paul says he's been eager to do the very thing, all along! Does this sound like reluctance? And is this anything like the "God's economy" taught and practiced in the LR? Or does it rather seem more like Jesus' teaching, "When you give a feast, invite those who cannot repay you in this age, and you'll be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous"? And how can anyone ignore such verses as Galatians 2:10 and pretend to be "closely following the apostles" whilst pooh-poohing other Christians' theology as aberrant and deficient, as inferior to one's own? Who is blind, here?

If we can agree on the actual objective contents of the Bible, it can help those ensnared in poor theology, and by the oppressive thought systems behind that, and by the "spirit of the air" controlling it all. One of the most exposing things about this spirit is that it cares not for the poor, and avoids all such biblical exhortations, even when they're prominent in the narrative, as in Galatians 2. Along with public shaming, fear-mongering, deceit, and manipulation, this studied indifference to the poor doesn't seem like the Spirit of Jesus at all.

And look how much else of the NT suddenly makes more sense if we consider this interpretation of God's economy. In several chapters of Paul's epistles, he covers this "remembrance of the poor" in Jerusalem: in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Romans 15, and 1 Corinthians 16. We're not talking a few cherry-picked verses, but lengthy passages explaining what he's doing, why, and how the Gentile churches, through participation in the remembrance of the Jerusalem poor, are tied into God's household and economy. It's quite explicit, should one care to look (and the LR resolutely refuses to look).

To save space, I quote Romans 15:25-29 ''Now, however, I'm on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.''

When reading this together with the passages in 2 Cor 8,9 and 1 Cor 16, a much different picture of God's economy emerges... then further, here's Paul in Acts 24:15-17 "and I have the same hope in God that they [Law and Prophets] themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. In this hope, I strive always to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. After several years, then, I returned to Jerusalem to bring alms to my people and to present offerings..." In the last verse, Paul's saying he fulfilled the promise made in Galatians 2, and which occupied such a significant portion of his writings in Ephesians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Romans.

And yet all this was ignored by the LR in their "God's economy" metric. Now, I don't write this as an "attack" or "an attempt to put an axe to the edifice" but rather to point us to the truth. There exist alternates to the LR interpretations, some of which may be vastly preferred. Probably the most effective remedy for those in abusive sects and cults isn't to criticize but to patiently and persistently show alternatives, that it's possible to try & think, something the LR insists is deadly to the faith. We can show the opposite.
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:00 PM   #46
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Default Speaking up for Jo and Greg Casteel

At this time last year Joanna Casteel was in the process of communicating her deep and heartfelt concerns to local church leaders, full-time graduates, and other local church members.

She would soon make an announcement to them in a letter that according to her and her husband's conviction of there being undealt-with sins in the leadership and other egregious church matters, they could no longer meet with the Local Churches. They hoped to convey their concerns in a spirit of love and that love would prevail in the ensuing days, with meaningful dialogue and genuine fellowship issuing in fruitful gain for the church.


Albeit, this couple was aware of the history of Local Church authorities and their propensity to make the lives of those who speak out exceedingly unpleasant.


On June 9th, 2019 Joanna Casteel's letter went out by email both to the primary recipients and also onto a social media forum.


Before God and man, she shared responsibly and with a clear conscience about her church life experience,


Both she and Greg, her husband, had sensed the Lord's leading concerning her letter and together they signed it. Then they braced themselves.

But what they would face was even beyond the scope of their expectation. It was, in a word, A NIGHTMARE. And, I think its trauma and tragic results warrants our grave review today.

From what I understand, Jo initially was just going to send the letter to her parents and let them know of their plan to leave the Local Churches. I didn't know her at that time but thought to contact her and encourage her to talk things over first, with her parents and a couple of leading ones. And I also wanted to share with her my experience of writing a letter to leaders and how that was handled. (My letter was without any thought of leaving, rather it was to encourage bringing the matters of my concern into fellowship.) But I saw the next day she had gone ahead to post her letter publicly.

At that point, I still thought this could have a positive consummation through fellowship in the Body with those who love the Lord, including her parents, leaders, and certain other members of His Body, even those who were closer to her...


BUT the letter had ⁰hit like a bombshell and church authorities quickly went into damage control mode, "circling the wagons" and then launching an "offensive of their own that ultimately snuffed out the life of the sister, her family, and the "rebellion", so it was called. It also contributed very much to the fateful end of her husband's life by suicide.


Ron Kangas

On July 5 Ron Kangas warned of a new rebellion taking place "right now" and that it is being led by today's Miriam, a "leprous sister". His speaking was not of the Lord and was a great shock and a setback for Jo and Greg Casteel.

They had been already inundated with email, and heard Mark Raabe's message featuring death. So a tone had been set and RK's message would bring the whole approach to the Casteels to the lowest place, even their slide into Sheoul, if he could make it happen. This was his thought process in the words, spirit, and realm he operates in when executing "God's government" according to the darkened "local church" concept of spiritual authority.

He ministered no life whatsoever in his feigned assumption of being a deputy authority of God. He neither expressed God nor represented Him and therefore gave the false impression that his action against the Casteels was God's action against them. It was not of Him, for God does not seek to devour people, His Adversary does this and is always seeking someone to devour. It is his life and nature to do so, and the lives of Greg and Jo Casteel would spiral downward from that point.

Ron Kangas explains, in his superficial way, her case, and also mine - briefly, publicly, and erroneously early this year in the Philippines and in Phoenix.

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Old 06-08-2020, 02:59 AM   #47
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Dear students of life. Put on your lab coats, pull out your clipboards and pens and checklists. Put on your magnification spectacles. What we are observing here through Indiana' testimony is some clear, real-life specimens of MALIGNANT NARCISSISTS in full bloom, expressed through their conduct in the LC.

Take careful note. The malignant narcissist cannot be crossed or doubted, or all hell will be loosed on one's head. Learn well, as the MN is the most toxic and harmful type in the human species.... No-one wants to have to learn this lesson twice.

There is only one unified expert opinion of this personality type amongst the professional community: KEEP AWAY from the malignant narcissist. LEARN the pattern so you can more easily identify them in future. DON'T try to reason, argue, fight with or change them. They will only try to destroy you... Just get away and keep away, and NEVER ever live in ignorance of their existence again. BE GRATEFUL for what you escaped with, rather than angsting about your loss, as their intention was to do worse to you than they got to. Dreadful but true.
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Old 06-08-2020, 05:41 AM   #48
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Wow! This is crazy. So out of character from your thoughtful posts in the past.

Taking cue from our toxic society, just tag them with the absolute worst smear you can dream up. Like screaming "racist" in a mob of angry protesters.

In the O.T. the worst label was "leper," then in the N.T. it was "heretic," but now we have moved into a new millennia labeling others "malignant narcissists." Not addressing one specific leader for some unrighteous behavior, but a broad brush characterization upon all LC opponents. Shall we do the same with the Exclusives, the Amish, and so many others? Do not they also practice their religion the same way?

I am not justifying any LC behavior, but you seem to have lost sight of Jesus' command to "love your enemy."
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:03 AM   #49
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Dear students of life. Put on your lab coats, pull out your clipboards and pens and checklists. Put on your magnification spectacles. What we are observing here through Indiana' testimony is some clear, real-life specimens of MALIGNANT NARCISSISTS in full bloom, expressed through their conduct in the LC.
Take careful note. The malignant narcissist cannot be crossed or doubted, or all hell will be loosed on one's head. Learn well, as the MN is the most toxic and harmful type in the human species.... No-one wants to have to learn this lesson twice.
Better to listen to Curious further.......Its not a subject that is going away.... It is not a matter of not loving your enemy, but of zeroing in on a huge mental problem!
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Old 06-08-2020, 08:49 AM   #50
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Curious's post actually has great merit, and is true. It is well known that narcissists (not the generic "looks in a mirror all the time", but as a known personality disorder/type with detrimental qualities) often gravitate towards jobs in church ministry due to the inherent status it affords them. I can absolutely 100% say I have encountered abusive narcissists in the local church leadership.

It is true that the majority opinion is that "nothing will help a narcissist". They are so manipulative, so controlling, so deceptive that they can even run rings around trained therapists and end up teaming up with them against their spouse who is on the verge of a breakdown due to their partner's narcissistic behaviors.

Traits?

No remorse. Can never admit to wrongdoing. Lies. "Everyone is out to get me". Blame you for the literal very harmful thing they themselves did to you. Deny reality. Charismatic and your best friend until they turn on you at the drop of a hat. They usually go after kind, empathetic, caring people and absolutely wring them dry. Uses you, abuses you, and loses you.

Of all the material I've watched on the topic and all the commentary I've read, every single one of them was this: "they made my life a living hell, I may never recover, run from them as fast as you possibly can. they will never, ever change."

Unfortunately, they match up quite well with the people described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Have nothing to do with such people. Or, "from these turn away", as some translations put it.

There was only ONE comment that indicated any hope for an abusive narcissist (or someone with NPD - narcissistic personality disorder). Talking to them won't help. Logic won't help. Reason won't help. Literally recording their behavior and playing it back to them won't help them admit to something they did that is on literal record!

The one comment was "I know of one narcissist who changed for the better after coming to Jesus Christ. Only He could change them."

What this means for those who profess to be Christians but still display malignant narcissism, I'm not sure. A "blinding light to Saul on the road" type encounter with God may be the only thing we can pray for.

But what it means for this thread is that those who are speaking up and/or speaking out can temper their expectations. In other words, understand that the leadership might be a lost cause, but that you are not speaking out for their sake, but for those under their thumb who are NOT narcissists who can hear what you are saying.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:32 AM   #51
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In the O.T. the worst label was "leper," then in the N.T. it was "heretic," but now we have moved into a new millennia labeling others "malignant narcissists." Not addressing one specific leader for some unrighteous behavior, but a broad brush characterization upon all LC opponents.
Ohio, your quote was that the LC turns brothers into bullies... "malignant narcissist" is a more scientific way of saying "bully".

From the DSM-5: "Delusions of grandeur are associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which is a mental health diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A narcissistic personality may cause people to greatly overestimate their own importance and believe in their own uniqueness."

Voila - "in each age, there is one person who is Deputy God, the Seer of the Divine Revelation..." who convinces others to do his/her will, and the One True Recovered Church is born.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:59 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by aron View Post
Ohio, your quote was that the LC turns brothers into bullies... "malignant narcissist" is a more scientific way of saying "bully".
You can't distinguish between a "bully" and a "malignant narcissist?"

Makes "Raca" and "Moreh" sound like sweet nothings between lovers. (Matt 5.22)

In today's virtue signaling culture you sure scored some points here.
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:37 PM   #53
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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You can't distinguish between a "bully" and a "malignant narcissist?"

Makes "Raca" and "Moreh" sound like sweet nothings between lovers. (Matt 5.22)

In today's virtue signaling culture you sure scored some points here.
Bullies are abusive. Malignant narcissists are abusive. There's nothing to distinguish.

Narcissistic personality disorder, or abusive narcissism, is not "the worst smear", but an actual diagnosis and description.

It is known that there is essentially no treatment available. I personally think that most abusive narcissists have childhood pain or trauma that was never dealt with and so therapy for traumatic events may help, but cracking through the 2-foot concrete wall is a task for the highly trained and not faint of heart.

The diagnosis does not preclude loving your enemy; it just tells you what kind of enemy you are loving and what the hope is for change.
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Old 06-08-2020, 04:42 PM   #54
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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Bullies are abusive. Malignant narcissists are abusive. There's nothing to distinguish.

Narcissistic personality disorder, or abusive narcissism, is not "the worst smear", but an actual diagnosis and description.

It is known that there is essentially no treatment available. I personally think that most abusive narcissists have childhood pain or trauma that was never dealt with and so therapy for traumatic events may help, but cracking through the 2-foot concrete wall is a task for the highly trained and not faint of heart.

The diagnosis does not preclude loving your enemy; it just tells you what kind of enemy you are loving and what the hope is for change.
My dad was abusive, my brother was abusive, my cousin was abusive, my teacher was abusive, the elder was abusive, school kids were abusive, my bosses were abusive, my friends on the forum are abusive, my neighbors were abusive. So it's no wonder I can't recognize malignant narcissistic personality disorder because I have been surrounded by it my whole life!

Thanks for the diagnoses everyone! I prolly need some meds. Any recommendations for chronic and malignant stage four narcissistic personality disorder victimhood?
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Old 06-08-2020, 05:12 PM   #55
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

Ok folks. Enough with the narcissists/abusive stuff.

Back to the beginning please:


Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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Originally Posted by Cal View Post
What is the responsibility of Christians in responding to aberrant or abusive groups, ministries and leadership, particularly those which abuse authority to bully and control believers?

Given the many Old Testament verses exhorting God's people to defend the defenseless, stand up to oppressors and seek justice, do such commands carry over into the New Testament age and, and if so, how to we fulfill them?

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Wanting justice for others and even oneself is not necessarily bad, as long as you let God meet it out. Recall Rev 6:10:
"They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?'"
These victims are pleading to God for justice. Are they partial? Are they unaccountable? Are they bitter? How do you know?

And the Bible is full of exhortations that we should seek justice for those who are oppressed and taken advantage of:
"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17

"Thus says the LORD, 'Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.'" Jeremiah 22:3

"Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute."
Psalm 82:3

"Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." Ps 31:9

"Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness.'" Zechariah 7:9

"The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern." Prov 29:7
These are verses we NEVER studied in the LR. And frankly I think they make them uncomfortable. Their whole culture of allowing oneself to be abused by an organization ignores them, as does their indifference to social justice.

One reason I ask is that we've had LR sympathizers come on this board and halfway admit that people have been abused there, but then they are quick to effectively advise "Get over it." Now I understand the need for putting things in healthy perspective to promote healing. But these advisers are more interested in lightening the load of criticism on the LR than they are with the healing of those abused. Their first priority is that the LR be preserved, all else is secondary, including people.

I understand that God commands us to turn the other cheek. But there is also Matt 18:15-17, in which, in his only mention of the practical local church in his ministry, Jesus chooses to point out that it is a place a person can go to for JUSTICE. I find that very interesting.

This is why I feel good about being a sheep dog.
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:00 PM   #56
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

(Please forgive me, untohim. I wrote all this before I saw that you have redirected us. I hope you will allow me to give a quick explanation to Ohio, who i feel deserves an explanation from me on this).

Yes, dear Ohio, I acknowledge my ‘outburst’ could use an explanation and seems a little out of character for me. Trapped and aron have already done a good job to help contextualise my way-off-the-beaten-track post.

I can add a few things. Only a qualified professional can deliver a clinical diagnosis of narcissism. I am certainly not qualified to say so of the leadership of the LC. But a person may identify traits of it in others. Narcissism is definitely a fad word, along with ‘empath’ and professionals cringe at these terms being applied in a casual way by unqualified people. However, traits of narcissism do forms patterns and as Trapped and aron have helped to pad out, a fairly full cluster is evident in the leadership of the LC, including that narcissists, sadly, are drawn to religion, for reasons that can serve their interests well.

A few more traits are: love bombing a new ‘target’, financial and other forms of exploitation, gas-lighting, destroying reputation (slander campaign when ‘injured’), seeing self as victim, shallowness; no ability to reflect on life issues, or to see another person’s point of view. Low or no empathy, avoiding meaningful connection with others. They are entitled and do not show gratitude, materialism as a means to demonstrate high status. oh, and here's a biggie...they are highly sensitive to and hostile towards any questioning, criticism or accountability being brought to them, though openly critical of others. and i nearly forgot the other biggie, they have a high need for control. To legitimize their control, peddling doctrines or rationale requiring submission of those around them. There are many traits that cross-over to ‘a Jezebel spirit’, maybe a Christian version of a similar profile.

Keeping away from them is for one’s own safety and sanity, not out of hate. We can and should pray for them, as the narcissist lives in their own inner hell. But as trapped said, engaging with them does not help them and can damage us. In this respect they can do great harm to others. They exploit love and kindness, it does not win them over. One can learn this at great cost.

WL probably also suffered another current catch-word, PTSD, as he was waterboarded during WWII, a form of torture and certainly one that would be expected to cause lasting harm. Likely linked to his narcissistic traits. That is also worth considering. (A British movie ‘The Railwayman’ with actor Colin Firth is a good watch to consider this topic as well as the power of forgiveness).

All this said, the warning I gave still stands. To get an understanding of narcissism as a pattern that can be present to varying degrees in the people we may come across is I believe, good advice. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek in my post but I did want to make a strong point. N’s do harm and will drag others down. I was also saying, step back and look objectively and analytically, (the whole clip-board thing). The way they handled the Casteels is especially clear, and Steve Isitt. It was extreme as well as horrifying, and inexcusable.

On a personal note, I advised, don’t be burned twice. I have been burned twice. The second time more subtle or I would have worked it out sooner. Like trapped, I say, forgive them but identify what you are dealing with. They have a special skill-set that an emotionally healthy person doesn’t have, and they are committed to prevailing over others with a force that can be shocking to perceive. Not every bully is a narcissist, but narcissists do bully, though can do it covertly not always overtly.

That’s what is behind my outrageous post!! I am happy we leave this subject behind now, with respect to our administrator's directive.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:57 PM   #57
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Dear students of life. Put on your lab coats, pull out your clipboards and pens and checklists. Put on your magnification spectacles. What we are observing here through Indiana' testimony is some clear, real-life specimens of MALIGNANT NARCISSISTS in full bloom, expressed through their conduct in the LC.

Ok Curious - I put on my lab coat and my audio stethoscope and here is what I found to be the case with one of the major specimens in LC leadership:


Ron Kangas: a man after Cain's own heart? (or peek inside a black hole for 5min and live to tell about it)

https://youtu.be/afwjeLFuy8c


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Old 06-09-2020, 07:18 AM   #58
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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Originally Posted by Cal View Post
What is the responsibility of Christians in responding to aberrant or abusive groups, ministries and leadership, particularly those which abuse authority to bully and control believers?
Given the many Old Testament verses exhorting God's people to defend the defenseless, stand up to oppressors and seek justice, do such commands carry over into the New Testament age and, and if so, how to we fulfill them?
I believe the first paragraph above is inextricably linked to the second. Our responsibility, as believers, is to defend the defenseless, stand up to oppressors and seek justice at every turn...no matter the cost to us. And this goes for the defenseless among us in the Body of Christ. Who stood up to oppressors more than our Lord Jesus Christ? Who sought justice more than our Lord Jesus Christ? Is the slave greater than the master? Shall we not also stand up to the oppressors at every turn? Shall we not seek justice at every turn? The Father demanded justice, the Son fulfilled the demands of justice, and now "we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". (Romans 5:1) Our God has done his part, and now it is time for us to do our part with whatever time, resources and talents that God has given.

Our "responsibility in responding to" our brothers and sisters in the Local Church of Witness Lee may look different for each one of us. For some, it may be boldly and publicly speaking out on venues such as our forum here. For others, it may be working "behind the scenes" through intimate fellowship with those with whom we have a personal relationship. For some others it may be simply watching and praying. What is not profitable, for God or man, is for us to sit on our hands and "hide our talent in the ground". If we do this we are disrespecting the Master by shrugging off our responsibilities to God, and also to the other members of the Body of Christ - specifically to our brothers and sisters in the Local Church.

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Old 06-09-2020, 05:53 PM   #59
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Default Re: Responsibility Of Christians In Responding To Aberrant/Abusive Groups

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Any recommendations for chronic and malignant stage four narcissistic personality disorder victimhood?
Well Ohio, since you asked that very important question - my answer would be yes! Recommendations are available for free!

Please consider searching for a support group specifically designed to help Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse. If you can't locate one meeting in your city, the group that I organized here in Boise would be an option for you since we have been doing our last couple of meetups online due to the pandemic.

Here is a link to my support group: https://www.meetup.com/Boise-Survivo...ssistic-Abuse/ where you can learn more about me and the resources which I offer.


And please check out my latest (5min) video project which I think sheds even more light on the aberrant & abusive (and Narcissistic) behaviour practised by certain leaders of the LR: https://youtu.be/afwjeLFuy8c I would not feel at all responsible to expose this horrible behaviour were it not for the fact that these LC leaders are still TEACHING members of the group that this is how a true Christ follower should handle controversy and disagreement! These leaders are wolves in sheep’s clothing for sure...


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