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If you really Nee to know Who was Watchman Nee? Discussions regarding the life and times of Watchman Nee, the Little Flock and the beginnings of the Local Church Movement in Mainland China

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Old 06-06-2008, 02:03 PM   #1
UntoHim
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Default "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

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Posted by UntoHim
I used to have a paperback copy of this book. I remember (while still in the LC) sneaking into a Christian bookstore and thumbing through a copy...I thought my hair was going to catch on fire for looking at something without the name "Lee" or "LSM" on the cover.
Does anybody know if this is the only third party book that covers the subject of Watchman Nee or the Little Flock movement in China?

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Posted by Testing123
Hello, Unto. For a more critical perspective on Watchman Nee, you might try the two books written by Dana Roberts - "Understanding Watchman Nee" and "Secrets of Watchman Nee." Roberts was never associated with the Local Church. Personally, I don't like his books, especially the latter, which tries to be controversial in painting Watchman Nee as a philandering embezzler.
Norman Cliff wrote a very good book called "The Life and Theology of Watchman Nee: Including a Study of the Little Flock Movement," but it's rather hard to find. The few other biographies of Nee that I am aware of come from members of LC offshoots.Also, just as an aside - before his death, Angus Kinnear had been working on an extensive rewrite and expansion of "Against the Tide." One or two years ago, this was finished by his widow, Jean, and published in the UK. You can find it on amazon.co.uk or other British booksellers. The American edition is the same from the '70s. The new one benefits from years of further research and added source material. Interestingly, Witness Lee is thanked in the acknowledgments as one of the books' contributors.

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Posted by Norm
There is a biography in the Heroes of the Faith Series entitled Watchman Nee Man of Suffering by Bob Laurent; 1998; Barbour Pub.
Another book is Three of China's Mighty Men by Leslie Lyall; 2000; Christian Focus Pub.
Lastly, Watchman Nee's Testimony compiled by KH Weigh; 1974; Hong Kong Church Book Room LTD.
Norm


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Posted by UntoHim
Thanks Testing and Norm. I was aware of some sort of updated version of Against the Tide. "Philandering embezzler"? Wow, never heard that tag put on Nee before. I am aware of Nee being basically excommunicated from the Little Flock for going into business (and supossedly having a woman living with him - turned out to be his mother?!). I would sure like to see Stephen Kaung write some sort of biography - I think he may be one of only a few people alive who was actually there working closely with Nee in the Mainland during the Little Flock days. (I assume that there are some brothers and sisters still alive in China and Tiawan as well, but we are not likely to hear from them)
I have read all three of the references Norm provided, but did not find them very comprehensive at all.
Considering how Watchman Nee was unquestionably the "founder" of the Local Church movement (Lord's Recovery), I still find it amazing how little Witness Lee referred to Nee and the Little Flock churches of the 30s & 40s, at least for the last 25 or so years of his ministry. Maybe you brothers (testing and Norm) had a different view/understanding/experience in the earlier days. It is my understanding from some older brothers and sisters that Lee did indeed refer more to Nee and the Mainland experiences back in the Elden/Los Angeles days. I personally was quite dissapointed in Witness Lee's book "Seerer of the devine revelation"....thought it was a bit more a self serving work more then anything else. It was certainly not the comprehensive biography of Nee and the early Mainland years that it was cracked up to be.
Ok, don't mean to take this off track.
Just out of curiousity does Kinnear (who I understand was TA Sparks' son-in-law?) have any other blood relatives/associates that wrote regarding the early days in China?


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Posted by Norm
UntoHim,
The last three chapters of A Seer of the Divine... are actually a WL autobiography of his relatioship to WN.
Norm


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Posted by UntoHim
Thanks Norm. I am aware of that. The problem is that I no longer trust Witness Lee's account of hardly anything, unless there are multiple 3rd party witnesses (no pun intended). I used to blindly believe everything that came out of the man's mouth, (a mistake on my part) so now I have probably unfairly swung the pendulum the other way. Nevertheless, I think many ex (and current) Local Churchers are hungry for the truth...the plain, unadulterated truth regarding so much of the early history of the Local Church movement. I say this knowing full well that the "truth" of history is usually shaded to some degree by our individual perceptions and experiences - "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" as they say. The problem is that there has only been ONE version of the history that has been told in the Local Church. It is my clear and distinct recollection that other "versions" of historical events (other then Lee's version) were to be considered as "poison" and "handling death". As I now see it, the "truth" in and of itself can NEVER be poisonous or deadly - it is just the truth.


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Posted by Testing123
Unto, some scattered thoughts:
In the second Roberts book, the author implies that Nee was involved with prostitutes, as well as having improper relationships with young sisters in Shanghai. He also suggests that Nee used his ministry to funnel money into his own pocket for the lavish, decadent lifestyle he enjoyed in private. It is really a stunning departure away from anything serious ever previously written on Nee, and I sincerely believe that these accusations are well beyond silliness. As far as I know, Roberts is the only "scholar" to have adopted this line of rhetoric - what was, in fact, the Communist Party's attack against Nee used to shut down his ministry behind a semblance of legality.
Stephen Kaung, as a matter of principle (so as not to improperly elevate a man), has chosen not to write or publish a biography of Nee. However, he did write a very extensive biographical introduction at the beginning of the first volume of The Finest of the Wheat published by CFP. In and of itself, it is long enough to constitute a slim book if published on its own.
Regarding Witness Lee, I agree with you that he did refer to Watchman Nee to a greater extent in the earlier days of the Local Church movement in the USA. There might be several possible explanations for this, but I won't conjecture further on that point just yet. I'm also not particularly fond of his work on Nee's life, having always found it confusing the way in which he organized it into chapters illustrating broad principles about Nee's behavior or experience, rather than in a standard chronological format.
You are correct that Jean Kinnear, the widow of Angus Kinnear, is the daughter of T. Austin-Sparks. The last I heard, she is still living in London. As far as I know, Kinnear (now referring to Angus) was never himself in Mainland China, having met Nee in the 1930s when he spent significant time at Honor Oak in England. Kinnear would later go on to serve many years of medical missionary work in India where he was involved with the Bakht Singh movement. It was there, in Bombay, that he first started publishing his own editions of Watchman Nee, which he edited together from notes compiled of Nee's speaking in England and Denmark. Angus Kinnear was very much spiritually related to T. Austin-Sparks and the other workers coming out of that center in England. However, none of those brothers ever worked with Nee directly.
James Chen, who was an elder in the church in Hong Kong, and an associate of both Nee and Lee, wrote a little book in the 1970s called Meet Brother Nee in which he, for whatever reason, seeks to drive home the idea that Nee considered Austin-Sparks his spiritual authority and had checked with him for advice at the collapse of the Chinese Republic. Gene Edwards would later publish a series of messages spoken by Chen in California under the title The Passing of the Torch in order to bolster his own delusions of grandeur that the "torch" had at some point been passed from the Little Flock on to his own personal "house church" following.

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Posted by UntoHim
Amazing stuff to be sure. I think this all plays into Nee's intense desire to see the Chinese church (body of churches) be raised up apart from traditional Christianity and return to a more biblically based organization (cf: locality law). Being the smart and practical man that he was, Nee realized that he needed money to raise up, train and supply a team of co-workers, and the only way that he could figure to do this was start/assist in a western style, profitable business. (he took the apostle Paul's "tentmaker" example and expanded upon it) So I really don't know if it was a matter of simple jealousy or that those co-workers really and truely believe that Nee abdicated from the faith. These kinds of things would be virtually impossible for an outsider to know so I think Dana Roberts is quite off base in what he wrote in this regard.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

Posted by Testing123
Quote:
For a more critical perspective on Watchman Nee, you might try the two books written by Dana Roberts - "Understanding Watchman Nee" and "Secrets of Watchman Nee." Roberts was never associated with the Local Church. Personally, I don't like his books, especially the latter, which tries to be controversial in painting Watchman Nee as a philandering embezzler.

Posted by Testing123
Quote:
In the second Roberts book, the author implies that Nee was involved with prostitutes, as well as having improper relationships with young sisters in Shanghai. He also suggests that Nee used his ministry to funnel money into his own pocket for the lavish, decadent lifestyle he enjoyed in private. It is really a stunning departure away from anything serious ever previously written on Nee, and I sincerely believe that these accusations are well beyond silliness. As far as I know, Roberts is the only "scholar" to have adopted this line of rhetoric - what was, in fact, the Communist Party's attack against Nee used to shut down his ministry behind a semblance of legality.
Except for Dana Roberts, and now Dr. Lily Hsu, every author has portrayed Nee as almost angelic. Other authors who heard less than perfect reports about Nee, always attributed it to the cruel tactics of the Communist Party, and, of course, nothing they have presented should be taken at face value, unless it can be independently corroborated. With the endless glowing reports on Nee, it is almost impossible to reconcile the disparities we are confronted with in his life. None can deny the gifts, the talents, and the wisdom Nee was endowed with, along with a fervent desire to serve God. I suppose the same accolades could be said of King David.

With two authors now presenting confirming accounts of Nee, his pristine image must be reconsidered. Like his "successor" Lee, the source of the danger seems to lie in his willingness to be highly exalted among God's people. Nee in China was uplifted as was Lee in America. The early Apostles, however, were not this way. They may have struggled for power and glory before His death, but not afterwards. Paul repeatedly demeaned his own stature in the church, and lest he forget, the saints could remind him of their murdered comrades, and God would ratchet up the pain from that thorn. Thus, Paul would remain as nothing in the church, and Christ, the Beloved of the Father, would remain all and in all in the church.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

I know that I am just a broken record now, but I'm continuing to have problems with "the gifts, the talents, and the wisdom Nee was endowed with." I'm really not sure that even Nee's writings and "wisdom," though not as "out there" as Lee's, are really as sound and beyond "denying."

We have picked through a couple of his books or at least the beginnings of them and I became convinced that Nee was no less cavalier with the scripture than Lee. Just not quite as arrogant about it. (Of course, he did "humbly" submit that no one else could see what he saw and wrote in The Spiritual Man.)

I fear that the comparative softness of Nee and the Christian public's acceptance in the few books that reached general circulation has caused us to allow teachings not much less erroneous than Lee's to slip in like weeds in a flower garden. And having been in the LRC, we have seen the more egregious errors.

But too often I think that speaking against the "good" of Nee is like speaking against "turning to our spirit" the way the LRC teaches it. It just seems like talking against God. But it is not. It is only speaking against error cloaked in spiritual language.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

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But too often I think that speaking against the "good" of Nee is like speaking against "turning to our spirit" the way the LRC teaches it. It just seems like talking against God. But it is not. It is only speaking against error cloaked in spiritual language.
I hear ya, bro, I hear ya.

For us ex Local Churchers, probably the last thing to go is our abject admiration and respect for Watchman Nee. Once we admit he was just a mere mortal, what is left of the movement that once captured our entire heart, soul and mind? Yes, at one point in our lives talking against Nee or Lee was like talking against God. It pains me to admit this, but it is true. Now we come to find out that the once revered founder of the Local Church/Recovery movement may have fallen prey to the most gross of sins. 10....heck, 5 years ago, I would have strongly resisted that there was any truth to what this sister, Dr. Hsu has written in her book. Now I am strongly leaning towards believing that much of what she has written is true and accurate.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

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10....heck, 5 years ago, I would have strongly resisted that there was any truth to what this sister, Dr. Hsu has written in her book. Now I am strongly leaning towards believing that much of what she has written is true and accurate.
Bro Untohim and all. I've been thru Dr. Hsu's book from top to bottom a couple of times.

All I can say is that it's a must read concerning Watchman Nee.

Lily was there, and she's been in touch with many others that were there. And she footnote's and cite's her references. She's put in her research. She's got nothing to gain in making up fabrications.

Anyone reading her whole book will find it very hard to doubt it.

Get the book. Read it. You never see Nee the same again.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

First, and aside. I think that maybe "Against the Tide" was an appropriate title since it now appears that Nee's goal was not something so truly spiritual, but rather something that was different from the foreign mission boards and denominational HQs. Something unique. Never seen before.

Should all be red flags.

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For me, I had already begun to see the theological flaws in Nee's writings. I did not need to have his personal life reexamined in such a severe way to start that process.

But as that is now happening, I think that (once again) some of the warnings of Paul come to mind. If you see evidence of self-serving in living, don't even listen to them teach. If they are coming with flowery words designed to tug at your heart, question it even harder. If they are caught in sin, reject them.

I don't think that Paul was simply trying to get rid of people whose living made a lie of the gospel. He was rejecting the very idea that what they said could be of value. And that is one of the things that so bothers me about those of us who continue to talk about how much Nee was gifted and had wisdom. I think that Paul would have disagreed. He would have said to reject them outright. He would have considered their error to undermine and negate anything that might have been true.

"Reject them. Refuse them. Don't keep reading their books. They were lying to you all along. You'll never figure out where truth ends and error begins. So don't bother."

And I think that pointing to the flawed leaders of Israel in the past David being among the most notable there is nothing in the NT record that suggests that such a dichotomy would be allowed in leadership.

David is an excellent example of how it is that we may have such a heart of God and still be so unrighteous in our living. But David always repented often with bitter tears and terrible consequences. And he did it in the public's eye, not just in private. (I sometimes think that Jimmy Swaggert was trying to play David when he did that tearful confession of his sin on TV. But David took his lumps. Swaggert was trying to play to the public's sympathies as he thumbed his nose at the hierarchy of his denomination (Assemblies of God, at the time) and refused to step down even for a time.)

But in the NT scheme, Paul advised that teachers who do these things are to be rejected (as teachers, not necessarily as believers not necessarily some kind of excommunication). Elders were to be made examples of, not swept under the rug like Lee's version of Noah's sons backing into the tent with a blanket to cover their father.

But without any suspicion of wrongdoing, Nee's words were already failing in terms of rightly handling the Word or truth. Add to it the almost overwhelming evidence of some serious sins and we shouldn't even be discussing his words. Paul's more weighty words should have turned us from them. We should have reburied them in the pit of pseudo-Christianity from which Nee dug them.

Maybe it's time for an old-fashioned burning. At least a theoretical burning. Discard the respect. Don't read another page unless it is to help someone see the errors of his teachings. I'm sure that Paul would have discouraged the keeping of any scrolls of teaching from the "refused" ones.

If there is anything that is truly worthwhile in any of Nee's or Lee's writings, let a group of respected Biblical scholars do the dirty work of finding it. Let them publish it void of the chaff of culture and national pride that set the whole Little Flock and Local Church movement in motion. Without the arrogance of self-proclaimed oracles and unique ministers of the age.

------

Stepped on a few more toes. Probably a few more enemies. Alas, that seems to be my plight.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

The essential seed of the Nee/Lee movement was an extreme bias against established Christianity. This bias became the movement's undoing because they became unable to accept needed criticism.

It boils down to pride, the lack of humility to accept correction no matter what the source. Anyone who has been around the block knows that the Lord often teaches us through those we would consider unworthy of doing so. This is one way he keeps us humble and honest--grounded so to speak.

There is little evidence of this spirit in the Recovery and none in Lee. The rejection of all feedback from Christians outside the movement was the equivalent of the movement signing its death warrant. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. No one is exempt.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

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It boils down to pride, the lack of humility to accept correction no matter what the source.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. No one is exempt.
This is the case for all of us, but it seems especially difficult for those in the body like Nee who was endowed with such spiritual gifts, ten-fold talent, and abundant wisdom which became so helpful to the saints he served. The more the members of the body were blessed by his ministry, the more he became uplifted. This is a trial which few Christians have to pass through, but Paul spoke much about.

Pride is always like the crouching lion ready to pounce on us. Personally I have enough failures in my life to remind me of God's mercy and grace, but these brilliant leaders like Nee and Lee apparently forgot their needs, since they appeared always able to meet everyone else's need. Lee constantly boasted in Nee's wise counsel, that he was able to discern a brother's situation in minutes.

I wonder how much the stories of David and Solomon affects the thinking of such gifted brothers. If Solomon was permitted a thousand women, with 700 of them marriages, how much can we fault the Seer of Revelations, the founding father of the recovery, the acting God, and our all-wise leader for having a few pleasures on the side.

Of course I am being a little facetious here, but this does seem to be the psychology of many Christians. Their leaders live by a different set of rules, if fact they are entitled to make up the rules as needed. Just don't get caught. And make sure you are surrounded by a good staff to protect your image.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #9
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Anyone who has been around the block knows that the Lord often teaches us through those we would consider unworthy of doing so. This is one way he keeps us humble and honest--grounded so to speak.
This is a true statement.

But, like the LRC lexicon, there are different ways to take its meaning. I think that I agree with what you meant.

But there is a difference between what the Lord teaches us through any circumstances, including issues with bad teachers, and the teachings that they provide.

When you say "those we would consider unworthy," does that mean unworthy in any way? I'm sure that there are many who think that hearing something from a woman is to hear from someone unworthy. Or hearing from a writer of one of the "down the food chain" groups, like the RCC would be someone we might consider unworthy. In either of these contexts, the problem is not necessarily the writer/teacher, but the heart of the reader/listener. And surely the Lord will teach us through these things, and even the things that they teach.

But when Paul was talking about unworthy teachers, he was not talking about irrelevant issues. He was talking about people who through the evidence of their lives, or even the very things and ways they teach, should be rejected as teachers. And accepting whatever they said up to the point that they are rejected seems to be a rather ham-strung rejection.

Yet the Lord also teaches us through these things. But I would not simply accept that what the Lord has taught us is through those specific things was the thing the rejected one was teaching. At that point, continuing in their teaching is to reject the rejection. Allow the Lord to shine upon whatever is true.

And surely Nee and Lee taught many things just the same as virtually all other Christian teachers. But you don't need a reference to them to support it. You don't need to bring back the writings of the rejected.

And we need to be careful that when we quote the verses that they used we are not automatically overlaying their faulty translation or understanding of the words to support something not actually there. The example of Lee's use of 1 Cor 15:45 is classic. This sits roughly in the middle of a particular discussion that begins in verse 35 and continues to the end of the chapter (v 58). Not once in the entire passage is the Holy Spirit mentioned, yet Lee found this one verse to declare that Jesus became the Holy Spirit.

And some among us who have been out of the LRC for years still use this verse as some kind of evidence against those who call the LRC modalists (mostly back in the Berean forum).

I do not even attempt to state that everything Lee said was false. And God may have done a lot of things for us because of our involvement in the LRC. (He does use everything for good. That doesn't mean that the thing used was simply good or ordained. Just used.)

But we fool ourselves if we think, after varying numbers of years in the LRC, we can discern the good from the bad of its teachings. That God is using it because we still like those parts. Remember. We joined up with the LRC because there was something we liked about it. Those bad teachings predate us all. It may be that the outward actions of Lee changed over time, but the core of his faulty theology was there before he arrived in the US. It has even been suggested that The Economy of God while transcribed from messages in the late 60s, had already been spoken several years earlier, maybe even back in Taiwan. And the faulty teaching that gave us that special feeling of being "on the ground" and ordained some kind of deputy authority goes back to Nee.

Take this as just another one of OBW's over reactions. But I think that equating any kind of acceptance of Nee's and/or Lee's teachings as being something positive with how God works all things together for us is like knowing that God worked things for the alcoholic as they we mired in their drink, therefore he/she should continue to drink.

Or God worked things together for us while we were under the teachings of the Mormons, therefore we should continue to rely on their teachings. (A little closer to home.)

I don't suggest that simply everyone here who still thinks there is some good in the teachings of Nee/Lee has to abandon it all or they will be polluted and cast aside. No I accept that there are some of us who are capable of making soft gloves out of buffalo hides; plastic out of oil; at finding that rare diamond in a dark and over-worked mine. But for many of us, this is like taking on the job of discernment that I mentioned earlier when I spoke of allowing Biblical scholars to do it for us.

I have a target. It is not simply everyone. Or even everyone who has moved beyond the LRC but likes some of what is left behind. It is those of us (and to some extent, I include myself) who would be better off tossing it all aside and letting the wealth of good teaching in the places that we were poisoned against give us what we need. If there was something of value left behind, it will be found ahead. Remember that most of what was wrong with mainstream Christianity is that we were told it was wrong by the ones that we now reject. When we get past that, then maybe we can begin to once again be normal Christians.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

OBW, we all need to be humble enough to receive from anyone. But that doesn't mean we have to receive from anyone. There are other reasons to not receive, some of which you mention pertaining to Lee. God has provided lots of teachers. Many of them superb. There is no good reason to continue with one who is replete with errors and too proud to be corrected.

It's interesting, because I by default have pretty much taken the course you have prescribed. I formerly hung on to many of Lee's teachings thinking they were too good to let go. But since they were not being reinforced in my life, I have slowly been weaned off of them and they have been replaced by more healthy versions of what he seemed to be trying to say but messed up in his drive to redefine Christian thought and resist all correction. E.g.
  • I see local Christian unity as a goal God wants and is working toward (see the Explore God move in Austin), but do not believe an official group of elders is necessary or helpful to such a thing.
  • I believe in transformation of the soul by the indwelling Spirit, but I do not believe God is being "added to my being."
  • I believe in the mystery of the Trinity, but I do not believe it is for "dispensing," rather I think that it is about relationship.
And so on.

I had not read Lee for a long time when, the other evening, I took out one of his books and tried to read it in an unbiased fashion. What I saw was good mixed with bad. I saw the stuff God probably wanted Lee to bring to light (e.g. the indwelling Spirit) mixed with the stuff which should have been tossed in the dumpster (e.g. metabolic change of the soul due to God being added).

In others words, you are right. His ministry is too much of a tangle, and his style is so imperative and resolute, that it is extremely difficult to take him with a grain of salt. He doesn't leave the door open to take him with a grain of salt. Again, a humility problem.

Like I said, there are lots of teachers, and none of them is irreplaceable. Paul said all things are yours. He meant it. Don't let the tail wag the dog. Don't let a bad teacher lead you around by the nose. God is able to raise up teachers from stones.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: "Against the Tide" by Angus Kinnear

Yeah,

And there are few, if any, that do not have some kind of error. But most of them provide what they teach, preach, or write with some humility of their position before God.

But I wouldn't read spiritual teaching by Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, or Robert Tilton. Wouldn't matter how good I might think some of their stuff might have been. The kind of exit from the stage (well, Swaggert just kept on going, but . . .) stands as the equivalent of one of Paul's "refuses." If I keep reading them, they are not refused.

Error is not necessarily a problem. It is the kind of error. Those that lead to questionings should be silenced. Those that merely get side issues wrong (or maybe right since it might be me that is wrong) are seldom the issue. And just because the guy drives too fast and gets a lot of tickets is not necessarily basis for refusal. Thumbing his nose at the law and not paying the fines might be.

Taking exception to a position is not necessarily a problem. Unless the one taking exception is trying to collect followers and needs a controversy — any controversy — to make a splash.

I read Jane's review of Hsu's book and it underscored for me that the very core of Nee's teaching was really just a good mind processing more stuff than most of us can comprehend, deciding what parts he liked best, synthesizing something that fit the world-view he already had, and creating a church with Chinese values, origin, and control.

I know that sounds flippant, but some recent studies of the younger generation has indicated that they are much better at obtaining and going through a lot of data in a hurry — even making decisions. But it seems that the missing ingredient is the kind of consideration it takes to make sound decisions. They are too often not willing to take the time to weigh the whole of the evidence and make a rational decision.

I'm not saying they can't, but that they too often don't.

And if Nee was really reading so many things so quickly and coming to conclusions, I can accept a peculiar mind that can rapidly glance at page after page and quote you any of it a long time later. But that does not mean that the will or ability to weigh competing arguments is equally engaged, or even willfully utilized. Rather, the evidence from reading some of his books is that he too often had is goal set and read the scripture (and rephrased it as he willed) to arrive at his pre-ordained conclusion.

It happened in Spiritual Authority. It happened in Further Talks on the Church Life. Some years ago, the chapter in which he dealt with the "church in a home" was analyzed. I recall that he essentially declared that the "city = church and church = city" rule was already established, so it couldn't mean what was being suggested. So without taking anything from these cases into consideration, he established one of the most fundamental cornerstones of LRC theology and used it to dismiss the contradicting evidence.

Now there is a real wise, righteous person. Maybe he was just deluded. Since he probably never studied logic in a concerted way, the seriousness of his error may not have been evident to him. But he started a movement with just such stuff.

(And then, maybe he knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe he once lay out in the grass under the stars and declared that one day he would lead an entire Christian organization. The suggestions from the other book were that he liked to be first — of prominence.)
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #12
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And while I realize that Paul sort of said what you did to the Corinthians about taking all the teachers, I don't think he was talking about the ones that shouldn't be teaching. I think he was honestly opining in 1 Corinthians 3 about the risks and rewards of teaching in the ultimate scheme.

It is not just about what you think sounds good. Or that conforms to your cultural view of things (and without talking about the Chinese, we Americans very often imbue the church with our cultural every man for himself, pulled up by his own bootstraps, everyone is literally equal, etc., way). It is not about what gives us goose bumps. Or allows for my frailties while striking out against those of others.

Paul was talking about himself, Apollos, Peter, and some unnamed others when he wrote that bit about wood hay and stubble.

Yes, the Corinthians were to take it all. At least sort of. In a few places, he also suggested the kinds of things that should simply be rejected (in other letters). John said some similar things. Within some bounds, lesser teaching (wood hay, and stubble) was just baggage that teachers needed to try to deal with. But not the Corinthians themselves. They were told to quit squabbling over who was better and take it all. (Some words that Lee clearly disputed.) But elsewhere Paul told some at least the leaders that certain ones should be refused. Don't let them teach to the people. Don't give them an audience.

And if he was saying to refuse them, do you think he was also saying to have someone else go ahead and teach their stuff for them?

Don't answer. It is rhetorical. And not to any particular "you."

If we consider the very core of Nee and Lee to be corrupt in some way in which Paul would have refused to allow them to teach, do we think he would have then given their books to someone else and just said "you go teach their stuff for them."
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:52 PM   #13
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(And then, maybe he knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe he once lay out in the grass under the stars and declared that one day he would lead an entire Christian organization. The suggestions from the other book were that he liked to be first — of prominence.)
No, that was someone else. (I'm pretty sure the above was tongue-in-cheek.)
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:55 PM   #14
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No, that was someone else.
Yep. It was.

Or was it.

But I think that Paul somewhere made mention of someone who liked to be first. Wasn't a very flattering remark. Kind of a rebuke, if I recall correctly.
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:35 AM   #15
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I read Jane's review of Hsu's book and it underscored for me that the very core of Nee's teaching was really just a good mind processing more stuff than most of us can comprehend, deciding what parts he liked best, synthesizing something that fit the world-view he already had, and creating a church with Chinese values, origin, and control.
This is a good assessment: I would only change the last part. I would say WN created a church with his values, origin, and control. Getting himself expelled from the Exclusive Brethren was actually his de facto installation as the new Alpha male of an indigenous Chinese "local church" movement. Eventually this indigenous movement had its own geographical training and admin HQ, publishing arm, and an organizational hierarchy (ironically, even having global reach) with himself at the controls. The fact that WN was Chinese was incidental to the process. The "Alpha male" phenomenon is biological at its base and supersedes culture. It manifests itself through culture, but its basis, and universal distinguishing feature, is not Chinese.

"And the disciples were arguing about which one of them was first"... Luke 9:46-56. The whole WN/WL local church movement could be seen as a continuation of this one section of Luke 9. The reason WN 'won' the argument, at least temporarily, is because as OBW notes he read more books than anyone else and could marshall better and more coherent arguments about why 'his' system should rule (with him as overseer, natch).

But the 'ekklesia' is really a coming-together of the called-out ones, where everyone's soulish plans and ideational arrangements should be whittled down to manageable size. Everyone gets to practice getting 'right-sized' - we are in the flesh, after all. Why should we lift up any ideas, practices, or persons on this side of the Bema?

Jesus, correctly, had only one "Alpha": the Father. He therefore humbled himself and lowered himself below everyone, taking the lowest form (Phil 2:8, Heb 2:9). Should we not also follow? All of WN's books could not save him; his great mind couldn't save him. Instead these things became a trap and a snare, and the 'pruning power' of God's ekklesia was subverted, and it was molded into WN's image instead of vice versa.

Look what Jesus did when Peter tried to install him as the Alpha male (with Peter as Beta): "Get behind me, Satan." They all wanted to make him king (John 6:15; see also Acts 1:6), but he refused. He had the Father's business to attend. And to whatever "Living Stream Ministry" and "Editora Arvore da Vida" (DYL) and "Good Land Publishers" (TC) types out there who think these ministries are equivalent to the Father's 'oikonomia', I've four words for you: "Philip Lee" and "Timothy Lee". These are actually human enterprises with a godly veneer. WL's ministry was able to usurp WN's ministry because they were both Alpha-based human creations and thus susceptible to usurpation just like any human kingdom. And now BP and TC and DYL are the new controlling Alpha males. Surprise, surprise. The king is dead - long live the king!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:41 AM   #16
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And to whatever "Living Stream Ministry" and "Editora Arvore da Vida" (DYL) and "Good Land Publishers" (TC) types out there who think these ministries are equivalent to the Father's 'oikonomia', I've four words for you: "Philip Lee" and "Timothy Lee". These are actually human enterprises with a godly veneer. WL's ministry was able to usurp WN's ministry because they were both Alpha-based human creations and thus susceptible to usurpation just like any human kingdom. And now BP and TC and DYL are the new controlling Alpha males. Surprise, surprise. The king is dead - long live the king!
For many years I heard the ministry of Titus Chu. While Witness Lee was alive, TC always had to fly under the radar, lest the local "sleeper cells" and the "ministry spies" would report back to LSM that "Cleveland" was doing "their own thing." Before all his lieutenants in the Great Lakes Area, however, TC had to appear valiant and independent of those ministry lackeys at LSM, so he would develop a posture of "respect" for WL, his spiritual "father." In other words, TC would never hold official trainings or publish his own books while WL was alive and thus "disrespect" him, so that the alpha dog in Anaheim would start growling.

Being a dog owner, who has literally hiked thousands of miles of wooded hills with my furry companion, I have learned a little about dog psychology. My dog is known as "omega submissive," and when confronted with an alpha bully, she lays down and submits. When she is with me, she tends to hide between my legs. After losing one such skirmish with "Ollie" the local bully, our vet told us that most dog bites occur to the underside of the dog during so-called submission. In other words, bullies love to bully whether you submit or not, and bully people behave the same as bully dogs.

The accounts of history show us that WL would bully TC, whether TC submitted to WL or not. Likewise, I know of far too many cases where TC would bully other brothers, whether they would submit or not. Like I said, alpha bully ministers are like alpha bully dogs. It makes me just sick to think about how many precious, kind-hearted brothers over the years have been abused by TC, and not one brother ever came to their aid!

I have discussed with brothers on occasion how to best respond to TC's aggression. Each has basically said that TC only respects "push back." TC will limit his abuse only when challenged. Like they say, the only way to deal with a bully is to punch him in the nose.

It troubles me that successful ministers are always compelled to "build empires" for themselves in the name of God. They siphon off the saints' giving and volunteer labor away from the church to build their own pyramids. When things get tough, they beat the rank and file into submission so that they continue to build without straw. They love to teach about how all the saints "need their own ministry," yet how dare they use any of the church's resources to accomplish that.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:09 AM   #17
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The accounts of history show us that WL would bully TC, whether TC submitted to WL or not. Likewise, I know of far too many cases where TC would bully other brothers, whether they would submit or not.
We have the purported history of MEB disciplining WN.

We have seen (I saw it myself) WL shaming TC publicly.

We have Ohio's accounts of TC bullying the GLA saints.

What we don't have is the WN-to-WL dynamic. What was WN's leadership style? We have, as I recall WL's accounts of a humble, suffering servant WN who was persecuted by rebellious and misunderstanding saints. Expelled from ministry on false pretenses and so forth. "The woman he was living with was actually his mother." Etc.

But in his writing on "authority" and "submission" WN seems to indicate an authoritarian leadership style that WL praised in MEB, demonstrated publicly with TC and others, and TC and others copied from WL.

But I am not aware of objective, outside (non-LSM) accounts of WN's leadership style with WL and other subordinates.

Is there anything out there on this?

Secondly, I suppose WN could have actually been a "non-bully". But the system which he established of one-church-one-city allowed the bullys to emerge, and eventually dominate. The checks and balances were removed. So WN's leadership history may be irrelevant.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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We have Ohio's accounts of TC bullying the GLA saints.
Just a little clarification.

Most (many?) of the saints in the GLA would actually consider TC to be "grandfatherly." He was rarely overbearing in public, and often was quite charming. It was with the gifted ones, the elders and the workers, that TC could really put to shame, without provocation, notification, or justification.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:37 AM   #19
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Is there anything out there on this?
Secondly, I suppose WN could have actually been a "non-bully". But the system which he established of one-church-one-city allowed the bullys to emerge, and eventually dominate. The checks and balances were removed. So WN's leadership history may be irrelevant.
I would call Nee's deputy authority and MOTA doctrine bullying, or the basis of it. And also his insistence on "Handing Over."

Both revealed and documented in Dr. Hsu's book.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:28 PM   #20
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TC was rarely overbearing in public... It was with the gifted ones, the elders and the workers, that TC could really put to shame, without provocation, notification, or justification.
Your comment adds a layer to the shaming/dominating-based pattern of "discipling" or "training" relationships.

MEB to WN: check.

WN to WL: ??

WL to TC: check.

TC to his more gifted subordinates: check.

TC's underlings to the GLA rank-and-file: check.

TC didn't bully you directly. Instead he did it through an elder. I suppose you (Ohio) were meant to "disciple" someone else underneath you, as well. As I said, we are looking at a behavioral pattern here; a clear behavioral pattern manifesting itself institutionally through the construction of a worldly, fear- and shame-based hierarchical organization.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:43 PM   #21
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TC didn't bully you directly. Instead he did it through an elder. I suppose you (Ohio) were meant to "disciple" someone else underneath you, as well. As I said, we are looking at a behavioral pattern here; a clear behavioral pattern manifesting itself institutionally through the construction of a worldly, fear- and shame-based hierarchical organization.
The Recovery is definitely a "shame-based hierarchical organization."

I remember the shock Don Rutledge received while visiting Anaheim for a leaders' gathering. He had known "Early-Lee" in the late-60's early-70's, and enjoyed a "brotherly" relationship with Witness Lee, as a younger brother with an older brother. While staying with Ned Nossaman, Don was publicly shamed by Lee. On the way home, Ned started laughing at Don's dismay, and welcomed him to the "weekly ice-cold shower," courtesy of WL.

Recently I spent some time with an old LC friend of mine, being reunited after both of us had been out of the Recovery for some time. We shared a few stories of abuse at the hands of TC and his lieutenants. That time together dispelled any doubts I might have had, that the Recovery was just a breeding ground for bullies.

And they wonder why so many marriages have failed, and why so many of the 2nd generation want nothing to do with them. Many of the American families who survived were because the wife refused to tolerate that nonsense.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:13 PM   #22
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I remember the shock Don Rutledge ... was publicly shamed by Lee. On the way home, Ned started laughing at Don's dismay, and welcomed him to the "weekly ice-cold shower," courtesy of WL.
Local church M.O. - first you "brotherly love" them to get them in, and then once they are invested in your scheme, you let them know their place.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:35 PM   #23
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As far as I know, Kinnear (now referring to Angus) was never himself in Mainland China, having met Nee in the 1930s when he spent significant time at Honor Oak in England. Kinnear would later go on to serve many years of medical missionary work in India where he was involved with the Bakht Singh movement. It was there, in Bombay, that he first started publishing his own editions of Watchman Nee, which he edited together from notes compiled of Nee's speaking in England and Denmark. Angus Kinnear was very much spiritually related to T. Austin-Sparks and the other workers coming out of that center in England. However, none of those brothers ever worked with Nee directly.
Kinnear (p.312) writes the following about Lee restoring Nee to the ministry ...

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In the hearts of those bearing responsibility in the Assembly Hall churches, the concern occasioned by Watchman Nee's prolonged absence from their ministry was very great. Already in 1946 Witness Lee had challenged the Shanghai elders: "Were you in the Spirit when you made the decision to reject him? And what was the effect? Can you say it brought life?" "No," they had replied sorrowfully to each question. The remorse felt among the fellow workers, and their patient search for a way back, is well expressed by one of them in April 1947: "Brother Nee's case was a mortal wound to us, and words cannot tell how far the consequences go. The charge that he collaborated with the enemy is entirely groundless, and much else that has been said was not based upon pure facts. This was the work of the devil, and shows our own spiritual deficiency at that time, but we hope we may have learned our lesson.
Kinnear's account begs the question, what were his sources? Did Kinnear, who never set foot in Shanghai, receive his account of events from Lee, or others who were not actually members of the church in Shanghai? Kinnear's book came out in 1973, and China had been a closed country for decades.
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