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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 11-01-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
kisstheson
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Post "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear ones,

A very interesting side discussion began on the thread entitled "The Incompleteness of WL's Ministry". I certainly believe that this discussion merits a thread of its own. I will simply put forth the hypothesis that a close reading of The Collected Works of Watchman Nee reveals a discernable shift from the "early Nee" of the 1920's and 1930's to the "later Nee" of the late 1940's and early 1950's. May a profitable discussion concerning whether or not this hypothesis has any merit begin!

From UntoHim:
Quote:
Anybody who has followed my little act over the years knows that I would consider the ministry of Witness Lee something far, far worse then "incomplete". Nevertheless, I will try to contain myself (just on this thread though )

Firstly, I think we should keep in mind who or what is the origin of this rather preposterous notion that any one man can have a "complete" ministry. For the purposes of our discussions, I think this notion could be traced directly to Watchman Nee.
From Ohio:
Quote:
UntoHim, I really need some support from you to accept this thought. This is the opposite of my current understanding. Can you elaborate and support it?
Dear brother Ohio,

I believe that I can provide some support for what dear brother UntoHim has stated. I am fully aware that this is a very bitter pill to swallow, as WN is so highly regarded, both inside and outside the LC. I will do my best to "tread lightly"!

You are undoubtedly familiar with WN's famous message entitled "What Are We?" spoken in January of 1934. Much less familiar to most of us are two messages given by WN on April 12, 1948, entitled "God’s Work of Recovery (1)” and “God’s Work of Recovery (2)”. The first message is very much a late 1940’s version of “What Are We?” In fact this message, just like “What Are We?”, starts out by giving the history of “The Lord’s Recovery” from Martin Luther to the “present” day, mentioning all the intermediate stages that we are familiar with: the Mennonites, the early Baptists, Madame Guyon, Zinzendorf, Darby, the Keswick Convention, Jesse Penn-Lewis, TAS, etc. One big difference between “What Are We?” and the 1948 message is that "the present truth" being recovered has advanced from “Christ as Everything” in 1934 to “The Body Life” in 1948.

With this background in mind, please compare the following two sets of excerpts. Pay particular attention to WN’s shift in attitude on two fronts: Notice that he goes from stating in 1934 that “The Little Flock” in China is basically one move of the Lord among many other equals on the Earth, to the 1948 statement that “The Little Flock” is solely responsible for “The Lord’s Recovery”. Also notice that nowhere in the 1934 speaking is "the present truth" of "Christ as Everything" ever mentioned as being the final stage of recovery, whereas in the 1948 speaking "the present truth" of the Body life is seen as most likely being the “final stage” of recovery, with nothing more to be recovered.

From “What Are We?” in 1934:

Quote:
“It was not until 1934 that we realized that the centrality of everything related to God is Christ. Christ is God’s centrality and God’s universality. All of God’s plan I related to Christ. This is the truth that God is pleased to reveal to us in these days. It is also the message that we preach during this conference. This is what God showed Brother Sparks also . . . One elderly pastor, Dr. F. B. Meyer, also saw this matter . . . We need to humble and prostrate ourselves, and to deny ourselves . . . Thank God that we can know God’s “present truth” . . . Today, this testimony can be found in America, England, France, Spain, Africa, and everywhere.”
From “God’ Work of Recovery (1)” in 1948:

Quote:
“Today all the responsibility of the recovery is on our shoulders. All the questions related to the recovery have to do with us. God’s work in the world, and in China in particular, depends entirely on us. The responsibility has fallen on us . . . With each step that the Lord has taken in His recovery, the content of His recovery has become richer and richer. Today it seems as if there is nothing more to be recovered. The recovery has reached the stage of the Body. Perhaps this will be the last recovery. There may be other items of recovery, but as far as we know, when we reach the recovery of the coordination of the Body and the manifestation of authority, we have reached the final recovery.”
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Today all the responsibility of the recovery is on our shoulders. All the questions related to the recovery have to do with us. God’s work in the world, and in China in particular, depends entirely on us. The responsibility has fallen on us . . . With each step that the Lord has taken in His recovery, the content of His recovery has become richer and richer. Today it seems as if there is nothing more to be recovered. The recovery has reached the stage of the Body. Perhaps this will be the last recovery. There may be other items of recovery, but as far as we know, when we reach the recovery of the coordination of the Body and the manifestation of authority, we have reached the final recovery."
This phrase in quotes sounds nothing like WN. In fact, the part bolded just about encapsulates the whole ministry of the BB's today. I suppose that's why I throw question marks at the whole translation, but maybe I'm just wishing here. Are you sure WL didn't write this?

"All the questions related to the recovery have to do with us.Nothing more to be recovered?" Does that sound like WN or any minister of the word, for that matter? With the end of WWII, the Communists breathing down their necks, and many saints facing potential martyrdom, who would say such things? I would think their entire burden for ministry would be for preaching the gospel and caring for and encouraging the the suffering saints.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
This phrase in quotes sounds nothing like WN. In fact, the part bolded just about encapsulates the whole ministry of the BB's today. I suppose that's why I throw question marks at the whole translation, but maybe I'm just wishing here. Are you sure WL didn't write this?

"All the questions related to the recovery have to do with us.Nothing more to be recovered?" Does that sound like WN or any minister of the word, for that matter? With the end of WWII, the Communists breathing down their necks, and many saints facing potential martyrdom, who would say such things? I would think their entire burden for ministry would be for preaching the gospel and caring for and encouraging the the suffering saints.
Amen, dear brother Ohio. That quote came from page 60 of Volume 57 of The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, published by LSM. It could be a bad translation - I am not sure. Either this is a bad translation or "early Nee" really did go through a change to become "later Nee". I just don't know what to think at this point in time without more information. I am confused.

Dear brother testing123 exhorted me a while ago to purchase a copy of The Completed Works of Watchman Nee (CD Version) from Christian Fellowship Publishers. If this particular message can be found on CPF's CD version, I will be very curious to see how Stephen Kaung translated this portion. WL was present at all the meetings mentioned in this volume 57, so I am not sure if he had influence over the translation for the LSM version.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

FYI - From the CFP Complete Works CD:
Quote:
Today’s Responsibility of Recovery Is upon Us

The responsibility of recovery is today upon us. The issue of recovery is also upon us. How much God will do in China, nay, in the world, rests upon our shoulders. The responsibility is ours. We need to see that there is but one life in the body of Christ. And after seeing this, we shall also see the need of coordination. Indeed, the problem of brothers and sisters falls upon us. If each of us is not the right kind of person, how can we preach the right kind of gospel?The gospel does not merely cause people to be delivered from sin, the world and self; it even enables us to be liberated from individualism, wealth and everything else so that we may enter into the reality of the body.

The Lord’s recovery proceeds step by step. It has advanced so much that today there seems to be nothing more to be recovered. In fact, the extent of recovery has in our day already reached to the recovery of the body. This may be the last stage of recovery, though no one can say for certain. But so far as we know, the coordination of the body and the manifestation of authority seem to be the last areas of recovery.

Watchman Nee - Revive Thy Work, pp. 59-60
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear brother YP0534,

Thank you so much for providing the CFP translation by Stephen Kaung. I have to admit that the translation of this particular excerpt does not differ in any significant way from the LSM translation.

Dear brother Ohio,

I know this is a bitter pill to swallow. I agree with the questions you put forth in your previous post. This excerpt form 1948 most definitely does NOT sound like WN. And yet it now appears to really be his speaking.

In the past, both you and I have used the analogy of a house of cards collapsing. It appears that we do not realize just how far-reaching this collapse would be! If you have time, please compare the "What Are We?" message spoken in 1934 with the "God's Work of Recovery (1)" message spoken in 1948, and compare The Normal Christian Church Life (1938) with Church Affairs (1948). I think you will be led to see that there was something different about WN's speaking when he resumed his ministry in 1948 compared to his speaking before he laid aside his ministry in 1942.

I grieve with you, dear brother Ohio. I wish these things were not so. :verysad:

May God be merciful to us all.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I'm burdened to say it again.

"Universal Church"

I think brothers Nee and Lee ultimately shared very similar, even nearly identical, interpretations of what the "Universal Church" should be.

The fundamental error, and the reason rooting it out seems so elusive, is that "Universal Church" itself is the problem.

We just don't need a better version of that, no matter who gives it or how good it is.

Whenever anyone undertakes to make one of those, they plant the seed of another division.

I believe this is a law of nature, so to speak.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear YPO,

The view of the Universal Church by brothers Nee and Lee created a direction and momentum that eventually consumed their positive ministry. They saw the universal church as something that had an administration. Brother Nee came up with the notion of "the work", and that proved to be the administrative arm of the universal church. Call the result a denomination if you like. For sure it is not the Lord’s testimony which is intensely local.
This is a vital topic that needs to be explored and searched out in the scriptures.

A believer in Christ Jesus, who is seeking to be a true disciple,

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Old 11-02-2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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Perhaps it's just speculation on my part but, is it really possible to have a "Universal Church" concept that does NOT involve an administration? What is the point of being able to describe such a notion? Even if it isn't a formalized administration at the outset, my sense is that any such concept has the seeds of an adminstration within it, as the one that defines the notion is the one in charge of what it is, literally as a matter of definition, no? In essence, the struggle to be a champion of "Universal Church" is just the religious part of the universal power struggle.

In our fellowship here today, we had God's shining among us again and it was comforting and enjoyable that He met with us. He is the One of glory. Praise the Lord! It may be proper to have a widows roll among us at some point; I cannot say right now. But we realized again today that we need to be totally focused solely on having Him visit with us consistently in our meetings.

I had the further sense that unless any practical matter issues directly out of that shining time, we really have no business pursuing that thing, no matter how scriptural it is. And we should pursue whatever it is for exactly as long as we are 100% clear that it is His wish for that to continue. He is the unique Head of us. We must learn to hear His voice and follow wherever He leads.

Perhaps as a direct result? I don't really care to hear anybody's good ideas about how to have "a proper church life" at this point.

God was manifest in our pitiful little meeting today.

That's enough.
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Amen, dear brother YP0534. We are rejoicing with you!

It really does seem that the supreme requirement is to gather a group of believers who love Him and honor Him above all else! Everything else flows out of that.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope View Post

The view of the Universal Church by brothers Nee and Lee created a direction and momentum that eventually consumed their positive ministry. They saw the universal church as something that had an administration. Brother Nee came up with the notion of "the work", and that proved to be the administrative arm of the universal church. Call the result a denomination if you like. For sure it is not the Lord’s testimony which is intensely local.
This is a vital topic that needs to be explored and searched out in the scriptures.
I agree. Brothers Nee and Lee were not alone in this view, obviously. They seem to have thought that 1) a base upon "the proper ground" and 2) an administration that was rigorously modeled after the one developing among the first century assemblies would both minimize any human error, and allow God's mercy to cover any that might creep in.

The fruit of the "work" concept, placed into the template outlined above, now bears its evident fruit. In addition to lawsuits among the believers (Mansfield, Harvest House), in addition to "quarantine" of believers (Titus Chu, among many others), we see a rigid, controlling hierarchy strong-arming in the Lord's name, with "rank and file" being led by the Spirit apparently only to the degree of how much they are "absolute" and "one" and "desperate" with the latest move out of Headquarters.

But I daresay you could apply the preceeding paragraph to more than a few christian groups over the centuries. The "universal church" interpretation, making its dominance felt in various degrees among the fellowships of believers, does seem to have spread its great branches, and allowed many "birds" to roost there.

The LC phenomenon is not an isolated one. And I don't think we can do it justice if we treat it as such, as an anomaly in the story of christianity. Ohio's discourse on the Brethren is case in point. Both christian history and scriptures have a lot yet to reveal to us here.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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The view of the Universal Church by brothers Nee and Lee created a direction and momentum that eventually consumed their positive ministry. They saw the universal church as something that had an administration. Brother Nee came up with the notion of "the work", and that proved to be the administrative arm of the universal church.
How true, Hope.

Since "day one" in the LC's, we have heard the non-stop condemnations of the clergy-laity system and the "heresy" of bishop / overseers as taught firstly (?) by Ignatius. Today we have developed exactly what we preached against. This was just one of the more blatant contradictions I tried to reconcile for years.

At the root of the matter is the appointment of elders. As long as we maintain the present system, then controls, abuses, power struggles, hierarchies, etc. are inevitable. There is no such thing as a "local" church, when elders are directed by a remote headquarters. There is no such thing as a "local" church, when all major decisions must go thru headquarters. There is no such thing as a "local" church, when headquarters can assign and re-assign elders who maintain proper "loyalties." All this is accomplished because the churches are "under" the direction of "workers" rather than "local" elders. I do believe that every worker / pastor must be under the direction of the local eldership. Uh oh, that's the way of poor, poor Christianity.

How refreshing it is to meet elders who are real shepherds, loyal only to the Great Shepherd and their own flock!

Btw, I really like G H Lang's fellowship "Unanimity." The Brethren faced these same issues, and this was his conclusion regarding leadership and direction in a local church.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:50 PM   #12
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Btw, I really like G H Lang's fellowship "Unanimity." The Brethren faced these same issues, and this was his conclusion regarding leadership and direction in a local church.
Hello, dear brother Ohio. Do I assume correctly that you are referring to the chapter entitled "Unanimity: A Divine Rule of Church Order and Christian Co-operation" in brother G H Lang's book The Churches of God? You stirred me to read that chapter and it really is quite good. No matter what situation faces a local assembly, the Scriptural solution is to wait on the Lord until all the leading ones (or in same cases the entire congregation) have found the mind of the Spirit regarding that situation. When the Spirit has brought all those who have been waiting on the Lord into a blessed oneness of mind, then the assembly can feel safe about the decision. How precious! How "organic"!

This obviates the need for any man-made solutions. There is no need to vote on any matter and there is certainly no need to look to "the co-workers" out at "headquarters" to make all the decisions. As the seven letters to the seven assemblies in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 reveal, the Spirit is well able to speak to each specific assembly about their specific situation.

I noticed that brother Lang presents some concrete examples of those who put this principle of "waiting on the Lord to find the mind of the Spirit" into actual practice. He mentions that this principle was followed from 1832 until at least 1900 by brothers Muller, Craik, and the whole congregation at Bethesda Church in Bristol. This principle was followed by the China Inland Mission from 1865 until at least 1900, and was also practiced by brother R C Chapman and his co-worker W Hake for 59 years in Barnstaple.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Hello, dear brother Ohio. Do I assume correctly that you are referring to the chapter entitled "Unanimity: A Divine Rule of Church Order and Christian Co-operation" in brother G H Lang's book The Churches of God? You stirred me to read that chapter and it really is quite good. No matter what situation faces a local assembly, the Scriptural solution is to wait on the Lord until all the leading ones (or in same cases the entire congregation) have found the mind of the Spirit regarding that situation. When the Spirit has brought all those who have been waiting on the Lord into a blessed oneness of mind, then the assembly can feel safe about the decision. How precious! How "organic"!
Brother kisstheson, yes, how organic! Little "jab" there? Did you mean that the "top down Chinese management style" which we endured for decades, "this is the Lord's move, you must do it or else," et cetera, was not organic?!?

A few years ago, I tried to buy Lang's book, but it was out of print, so the publisher Schoettle sent me this booklet by Lang, "Unanimity, The Divine Method of Government." Apparently the booklet title differs a little from the chapter title in the book, but the content should be similar.

Oh ... how we needed this fellowship back in those destructive days of the "FTTT Laboratory!" No wonder why so many of those "concerned brothers" back in the 80's found Lang's book "Churches of God" so helpful, and WL was "forced to" condemned it publicly. Fellowship such as this would have completely negated the power and controls vested in God's "deputy authority" and his depraved "office."

Brothers such as Muller, Craik, the China Inland Mission, Chapman, and Hake came across these truths in the wake of Darby's destructive personal agenda which hijacked the leadership of the Plymouth Brethren. Lang may have written it, and all those brothers practiced it, but I do believe that the original thoughts should have come from ANGroves, whom I consider one of the "original" Brethren. (Another of the originals was Doctor Cronin, who was also quarantined by the exclusive zealots -- what a sad story.)

Here's a related side note. For years, all my views of church history were shaped by WL. He often spoke of JNDarby and JHTaylor of CIM, two brothers of similar age who pioneered for the Lord's interests during the 19th century. I thought for sure that these two brothers would have been in close fellowship. Was I wrong! Hudson Taylor had nothing to do with Darby and the exclusives! He was, however, very close in fellowship with that "devil" -- the "dreaded and quarantined" George Muller himself, and all those "divisive" open brethren. What a shock it was to me when I learned this fact. WL never dared to tell us that.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:31 AM   #14
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Brother kisstheson, yes, how organic! Little "jab" there? Did you mean that the "top down Chinese management style" which we endured for decades, "this is the Lord's move, you must do it or else," et cetera, was not organic?!?
A little "jab"? From me? Moi? Guileless, innocent, little ol' me? Ok, I do confess to a little touch of sarcasm here!

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A few years ago, I tried to buy Lang's book, but it was out of print, so the publisher Schoettle sent me this booklet by Lang, "Unanimity, The Divine Method of Government." Apparently the booklet title differs a little from the chapter title in the book, but the content should be similar.
I was fortunate enough to find a copy of the 1959 version of Lang's book The Churches of God on ebay a few years ago.

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Brothers such as Muller, Craik, the China Inland Mission, Chapman, and Hake came across these truths in the wake of Darby's destructive personal agenda which hijacked the leadership of the Plymouth Brethren. Lang may have written it, and all those brothers practiced it, but I do believe that the original thoughts should have come from ANGroves, whom I consider one of the "original" Brethren. (Another of the originals was Doctor Cronin, who was also quarantined by the exclusive zealots -- what a sad story.)
Are you familiar with brother E. H. Broadbent's book The Pilgrim Church? This book contains a lengthy excerpt from a letter AN Groves wrote to Darby before the actual split took place. Knowing the eventual outcome of the problems between the factions within the Brethren, this letter is hard to read. It is full of both prophetic warnings and much anguish of heart. A sweet spirit of love and charity toward Darby is evidenced throughout, along with many humble petitions for Darby to seriously reconsider his ways.

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Here's a related side note. For years, all my views of church history were shaped by WL. He often spoke of JNDarby and JHTaylor of CIM, two brothers of similar age who pioneered for the Lord's interests during the 19th century. I thought for sure that these two brothers would have been in close fellowship. Was I wrong! Hudson Taylor had nothing to do with Darby and the exclusives! He was, however, very close in fellowship with that "devil" -- the "dreaded and quarantined" George Muller himself, and all those "divisive" open brethren. What a shock it was to me when I learned this fact. WL never dared to tell us that.
Yes, like you it was only after I was led out of the LC that I found out "the rest of the story". It was a shock to me as well to learn what a mess the Exclusives made of their experiment with "standing on the ground".
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Old 11-05-2008, 04:56 PM   #15
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Are you familiar with brother E. H. Broadbent's book The Pilgrim Church? This book contains a lengthy excerpt from a letter AN Groves wrote to Darby before the actual split took place. Knowing the eventual outcome of the problems between the factions within the Brethren, this letter is hard to read. It is full of both prophetic warnings and much anguish of heart. A sweet spirit of love and charity toward Darby is evidenced throughout, along with many humble petitions for Darby to seriously reconsider his ways.
KisstheSon. Yes, I have read that book. There is a superb 14-15th cent commentary on "recovery." Have you read that? If not, I'll find it and maybe post it.

The letter from Groves to Darby in 1836 is prophetic indeed. What insight! That letter should be mandatory reading for every saint in the "recovery." I do believe that if the Lord had not burdened Groves for oversees missions, the Brethren saga would have been quite different. Norris was one of the very few Brethren who had the maturity to "confront" Darby without a "confrontation." He foresaw their difficulties decades before they occurred. This letter is proof. His maturity, absent the sarcasm which you and I possess, has won over many hearts to the Lord.

It is sad that the Opens, like Groves, Craik and Chapman and others, did not leave much written record, in contrast to the "ever wordy" exclusives, who early on decided that Darby's every breath was worthy of publishing. Sound familiar?
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:18 PM   #16
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KisstheSon. Yes, I have read that book. There is a superb 14-15th cent commentary on "recovery." Have you read that? If not, I'll find it and maybe post it.
It has been several years since I read The Pilgrim Church. I remember TPC being loaded with gems throughout, but I don't recall the specific portion that you are referring to. If you can find it and post it, that would be wonderful.

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[The letter from Groves to Darby in 1836 is prophetic indeed. What insight! That letter should be mandatory reading for every saint in the "recovery." I do believe that if the Lord had not burdened Groves for oversees missions, the Brethren saga would have been quite different. Norris was one of the very few Brethren who had the maturity to "confront" Darby without a "confrontation." He foresaw their difficulties decades before they occurred. This letter is proof. His maturity, absent the sarcasm which you and I possess, has won over many hearts to the Lord.
Yes, mandatory reading for every saint in the "recovery"! It really is an amazing letter. I do not know as much about the Brethren as you do, but I firmly believe that as A N Groves was to Darby, so was TAS to WL. With WN in prison, TAS was the last person on the whole earth whom the Lord could use to balance WL. TAS was the last one, as you said, who could "confront" WL without a "confrontation". Sadly, just as Darby did not heed Groves' fellowship in the long run, so WL did not heed TAS's fellowship.

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
It is sad that the Opens, like Groves, Craik and Chapman and others, did not leave much written record, in contrast to the "ever wordy" exclusives, who early on decided that Darby's every breath was worthy of publishing. Sound familiar?
The only two books that I have ever read by the Opens are The Autobiography of George Muller and Choice Sayings by R C Chapman. Both are truly excellent books. I understand that W Kelley spearheaded the effort to collect and publish Darby's every breath.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:28 PM   #17
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Was wondering if anybody could track down the source/quote where Watchman Nee stated something to the effect that he was a "little off" when he wrote "The Spiritual Man". This would hold one of the keys between "Early Nee" and "Later Nee". I have heard that Nee did in fact, more or less, disavow some of the things written there. He was only in his early 20s when he wrote this, so it should come as no surprise that he had second thoughts about producing such a monumental work at such an early age.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:31 PM   #18
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KisstheSon. Yes, I have read that book. There is a superb 14-15th cent commentary on "recovery." Have you read that? If not, I'll find it and maybe post it.
TPC, p.146, quotes Cheltschizki who wrote in 1440:

"Nothing else is sought in this book but that we, who come last, desire to see the first things and wish to return to them insofar as God enables us. We are like people who have come to a house that has been burnt down and try to find the original foundations. This is the more difficult in that the ruins are grown over with all sorts of growths, and many think that these growths are the foundation, and say, 'This is the foundation' and 'This is the way in which all must go,' and others repeat it after them. So that in the novelties that have grown up they think to have found the foundation, whereas they have found something quite different from, and contrary to, the true foundation.

This makes the search more difficult, for if all said, 'the foundation has been lost among the ruins,' then many would begin to dig and search for it and really to begin a true work of building upon it, as Nehemiah and Zerubbabel did after the destruction of the temple. It is much more difficult now to restore the spiritual ruins, so long fallen down, and get back to the former state, for which no other foundation can be laid than Jesus Christ, from whom the many have wandered away and turned to other gods and made foundations of them ...

In the apostles' times the churches of believers were named according to the towns, villages, and districts, they were churches and assemblies of believers, of one faith. These churches were separated by the apostles from the unbelievers. I do not pretend that the believers could, in a material, local sense, all be separated into a particular street of the town, rather, they were united in an association of faith and came together in local gatherings where they had fellowship with each other in spiritual things and in the Word of God. And in accordance with such association in faith and in spiritual things they were called churches of believers."
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:43 PM   #19
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I was fortunate enough to find a copy of the 1959 version of Lang's book The Churches of God on ebay a few years ago.
I remember talking to the publisher of Lang's book a few years ago. Quite a talkative brother with a passion for prophecy of the Lord's return. He knew lots of LC brothers over the years, and mentioned one brother in particular (from the South East who was quarantined by WL) who bought 200 books in the late 80's. No wonder why the book is out of print. Lang's teachings on "autonomy," among other topics, were a very real threat to LSM's power over all the LC's.

Hence, in one meeting, Lang got "quarantined" by WL too.



Here's the publisher's website: http://www.schoettlepublishing.com/
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:47 PM   #20
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Yes, mandatory reading for every saint in the "recovery"! It really is an amazing letter. I do not know as much about the Brethren as you do, but I firmly believe that as A N Groves was to Darby, so was TAS to WL. With WN in prison, TAS was the last person on the whole earth whom the Lord could use to balance WL. TAS was the last one, as you said, who could "confront" WL without a "confrontation". Sadly, just as Darby did not heed Groves' fellowship in the long run, so WL did not heed TAS's fellowship.
Amazing insight, I never thought about that! Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:02 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Was wondering if anybody could track down the source/quote where Watchman Nee stated something to the effect that he was a "little off" when he wrote "The Spiritual Man". This would hold one of the keys between "Early Nee" and "Later Nee". I have heard that Nee did in fact, more or less, disavow some of the things written there. He was only in his early 20s when he wrote this, so it should come as no surprise that he had second thoughts about producing such a monumental work at such an early age.
I think you may be referring to the introduction in the CFP edition:

Quote:
EXPLANATORY NOTES
The Spiritual Man is a translation of the only book of any substantial size which brother Watchman Nee himself ever wrote. At the time of writing it he felt this work might be his last contribution to the church, although since then God has graciously overruled. Long after the book’s initial publication in Chinese our brother once was heard to express the thought that it should not be reprinted because, it being such a “perfect” treatment of its subject, he was fearful lest the book become to its readers merely a manual of principles and not a guide to experience as well. But in view of the urgent need among the children of God today for help on spiritual life and warfare, and knowing our brother as one who is always open to God’s way and most desirous to serve His people with all that God has given him, we conclude that he would doubtless permit it to be circulated in English. Hence this translation.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:06 AM   #22
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The letter from Groves to Darby in 1836 is prophetic indeed. What insight! That letter should be mandatory reading for every saint in the "recovery."
Any easy link to this "mandatory reading"?
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:25 AM   #23
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I think this might be the letter:
http://www.bruederbewegung.de/pdf/grovesdarby.pdf
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:24 AM   #24
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Groves' letter is a tough read. But here is a crucial passage (edited):

The moment the witnessing for the common life as our bond gives place to a witnessing against errors by separation of persons and preaching ... and all their conduct and principles have first to be examined and approved before they can be received; and the position which this occupying the seat of judgment will place you in will be this: the most narrow-minded and bigoted will rule, because his conscience cannot and will not give way, and therefore the more enlarged heart must yield.

It is into this position, dear D—, I feel some little flocks are fast tending, if they have not already attained it, making light not life the measure of communion.
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by YP0534 View Post
I think you may be referring to the introduction in the CFP edition:
Quote:
EXPLANATORY NOTES
The Spiritual Man is a translation of the only book of any substantial size which brother Watchman Nee himself ever wrote. At the time of writing it he felt this work might be his last contribution to the church...
Thanks YP. I assume this was written by Stephen Kaung. Actually I was thinking along the lines of something directly from Nee himself, maybe something towards the end of his public ministry. Maybe nothing was actually put into writing or stated at any one of the meetings or conferences.





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Old 11-06-2008, 08:00 AM   #26
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I think this might be the letter:
http://www.bruederbewegung.de/pdf/grovesdarby.pdf
Thank you.

A very interesting read for both those inside and outside the Local Church, I think...
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:35 AM   #27
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Thanks YP. I assume this was written by Stephen Kaung. Actually I was thinking along the lines of something directly from Nee himself, maybe something towards the end of his public ministry. Maybe nothing was actually put into writing or stated at any one of the meetings or conferences.
Dear brother UntoHim,

I believe that the following quote is the one you are after. WN spoke these words in Shanghai in 1940. He had already decided at that point not to republish The Spiritual Man. I am not sure of the name of the book within the CFP collection where these words can be found. I am quoting from LSM's The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set 2, Volume 45, Conferences, Messages, and Felowship (5), p. 1015.

Quote:
"Perhaps I should criticize myself a little. The Spiritual Man was published as a result of outward demands. As far as I was concerned, I was not that qualified to write that book. At that time the doctor said that I had only a few months more to live, and my thought was to put down what I had learned from the Lord. (Originally, I had thought of writing a very comprehensive exposition on the Bible, expounding all the subjects that men do not understand, could not understand, or would not understand.) I have decided not to publish this book again. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with The Spiritual Man. The problem is that the book is too complete; it contains theology and answers. As a result it is somewhat unspiritual—this is where the problem lies. God is after broken vessels, not nice vessels. God has no intention to see a book or a sermon so complete that a man can find all the answers without the need of the Spirit. The Lord knows the human weaknesses in every book and every sermon. This is why we need the leading of the Holy Spirit from within."
It appears that this is very portion of WN's speaking that brother Stephen Kaung was refering to when brother Kaung wrote his introduction to the English translation of The Spiritual Man.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:18 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
TPC, p.146, quotes Cheltschizki who wrote in 1440:
Thank you, dear brother Ohio, for that marvelous portion from dear brother Cheltschizki! You have hit my spiritual soft spot - it is hard for me to even think about all those dear brothers and sisters who lived in Moravia and Bohemia and who eventually acquired the name "Unitas Fratrum" without tears coming down. :verysad: I can not think of a more excellent expression of Jesus Christ on this earth in all of church history after the first century. What a sweet, beautiful, peaceful, testimony of Christ shined forth from them! What a heart for the Lord's interests alone. What a hunger for His truth. What a desire for oneness with all genuine believers. What a heart of love toward all. What a willingness to be led as lambs to the slaughter for Jesus' sake.

While we have to admit that both Biblical exposition and Christian theology have greatly advanced since the days of the "Unitas Fratrum", in those areas that really count and that truly have eternal value, we in the 20th and 21st century must lay aside our pride and humbly admit that we have NOTHING to teach and everything to learn from these dear brothers and sisters who preceded us.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:06 AM   #29
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Thank you, dear brother Ohio, for that marvelous portion from dear brother Cheltschizki! You have hit my spiritual soft spot - it is hard for me to even think about all those dear brothers and sisters who lived in Moravia and Bohemia and who eventually acquired the name "Unitas Fratrum" without tears coming down. :verysad: I can not think of a more excellent expression of Jesus Christ on this earth in all of church history after the first century. What a sweet, beautiful, peaceful, testimony of Christ shined forth from them! What a heart for the Lord's interests alone. What a hunger for His truth. What a desire for oneness with all genuine believers. What a heart of love toward all. What a willingness to be led as lambs to the slaughter for Jesus' sake.
Among us, we have always heard that the prophetic "Philadelphia" was firstly fulfilled by the Plymouth Brethren in the early 1830's, but ... from my little study of church history, I would think that the Moravians with Zinzendorf, one hundred years earlier, were a much more suitable choice. The Plymouth Brethren, especially the exclusives, were never noted characteristically for their love, even in their earliest days. They are more suitable as the fulfillment of prophetic "Laodicea," warning us all what the natural result will be of those who exalt knowledge and truth and "light" above all.

The letter written by ANGroves to Darby in 1836 is proof of this. Under the leadership of JNDarby, bad habits were developed from the very beginning, as noted by Groves. He was visiting England on a short reprieve from the mission field when he wrote to Darby.

Wikipedia has a brief biography, which is well worth the read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Norris_Groves

Groves and Cronin should be considered the earliest of the Brethren, and not Darby, whom I considered to have hijacked their leadership. Groves had an incredible impact on Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Chapman, and others. It's amazing that WL spoke so highly of JND, and yet nothing about Groves and Chapman, and so little about Muller.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:58 AM   #30
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Among us, we have always heard that the prophetic "Philadelphia" was firstly fulfilled by the Plymouth Brethren in the early 1830's, but ... from my little study of church history, I would think that the Moravians with Zinzendorf, one hundred years earlier, were a much more suitable choice. The Plymouth Brethren, especially the exclusives, were never noted characteristically for their love, even in their earliest days. They are more suitable as the fulfillment of prophetic "Laodicea," warning us all what the natural result will be of those who exalt knowledge and truth and "light" above all.
Interesting . . . most interesting. The Moravians with Zinzendorf do indeed sound like a much more suitable choice. I believe the Triune God would also agree, considering that He saw their beautiful one accord and poured out His Spirit in a mighty way upon Zinzendorf and the Moravians during the famous "Moravian Pentecost" on August 13, 1727.

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The letter written by ANGroves to Darby in 1836 is proof of this. Under the leadership of JNDarby, bad habits were developed from the very beginning, as noted by Groves. He was visiting England on a short reprieve from the mission field when he wrote to Darby.
While definitely written in the flowery style that was common in the 1800's, that letter from Groves to Darby is absolutely incredible in its spirit of love and in its prophetic insight!

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Groves and Cronin should be considered the earliest of the Brethren, and not Darby, whom I considered to have hijacked their leadership. Groves had an incredible impact on Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Chapman, and others. It's amazing that WL spoke so highly of JND, and yet nothing about Groves and Chapman, and so little about Muller.
Hmmm . . . this is very telling. Brothers Groves and Cronin at least get mentioned in WN's 1934 "What Are We?" message as being part of the original assembly of Brethren. It seems that from that point on, Groves, Cronin, and Chapman become persona not grata in "the Lord's Recovery". Muller's incredible testimony of living by faith was too great to totally ignore, but the other aspects of his life were never mentioned.

Ironically, it seems that whole tragedy of "Opens" and "Exclusives" played out again in the 1900's, with ones like TAS, Bakht Singh, Simon Meek, Faithful Luke, Stephen Kaung, etc. being the "Opens" and ones like WL and the BB's being the "Exclusives". It is no wonder that the precious testimony of the "Opens" in the 1800's became all but forgotten by the 1900's version of "Exclusives".
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:12 PM   #31
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Groves' letter is a tough read. But here is a crucial passage (edited):

The moment the witnessing for the common life as our bond gives place to a witnessing against errors by separation of persons and preaching ... and all their conduct and principles have first to be examined and approved before they can be received; and the position which this occupying the seat of judgment will place you in will be this: the most narrow-minded and bigoted will rule, because his conscience cannot and will not give way, and therefore the more enlarged heart must yield.

It is into this position, dear D—, I feel some little flocks are fast tending, if they have not already attained it, making light not life the measure of communion.
Igzy, this little quote from Groves could well summarize the entire controversy in the LC's back in the 1980's. The "new way" produced conflicts in nearly every LC. Two sides were drawn up: those who just loved the ministry and those who were absolute for the ministry. The so-called "absolute" ones were just "narrow-minded and bigoted" zealots as Groves describes. In the end, WL always endorsed these ones. To me this was the most troublesome thing about the 80's conflicts.

This fact irks me to this day: WL did not side with the truth as we always were made to believe, nor did he side with the more mature brothers he had labored with for decades, neither did he side with those kind and loving shepherds sprinkled around the country who put their flocks first, nor did he side with righteousness, upholding honor and fairness and morality, at any expense. No, not at all. He sided with the zealots, those "absolute" for his ministry. He also sided with his sons. He sided with the "narrow-minded and bigoted" just as Darby had done of old.

Many of the LC brothers had the book "Englishman's Greek Concordance," authored by G.V.Wigram, who was one of Darby's most ardent supporters. I had one too. Today, I was reading some of his scathing condemnations on Henry Craik, the co-worker of George Muller. Perhaps in all church history, none could compare with Wigram to the extent he could vilify one of the Lord's servants. Whistler was a "cake walk" in comparison. Btw, I no longer have Wigram's book.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:45 PM   #32
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Wikipedia has a brief biography, which is well worth the read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Norris_Groves
Wow! I just read the wikipedia biography for A N Groves. Groves, "the father of faith missions", appears to be much more important to the history of "the Lord's recovery" than he was ever given credit for.

Groves' had a big impact on both Bakht Sing in India and Watchman Nee in China:

Quote:
"Groves advocated the adoption of the New Testament as a manual of missionary methods . . . One of Groves's Indian disciples was John Arulappan who adopted his principles. As a full-time evangelist, Arulappan lived "by faith" and stimulated the creation of a network of indigenous Indian fellowships. Groves's ideas were later taken up in India by descendants of Arulappan associated with Bakht Singh, and, in a Chinese context, by Watchman Nee."
Glory be to God! This was an extraordinary brother! Full of simple faith and trust in God to supply all his needs. Completely free from any corruption due to money. Seeking God's Word as the One proper pattern for Christian assemblies. Why did we hardly ever hear any mentions of Groves? Sadly, it seems that we received a really distorted view of our "family history" in the LC.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:24 PM   #33
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Why did we hardly ever hear any mentions of Groves?

Sadly, it seems that we received a really distorted view of our "family history" in the LC.
The brief synopsis of church history which we received was majorly manipulated for personal gain. There is almost no basis in fact. Reading the book Vision of the Age gives some of the gross distortions which have grown up around this LC view. Imagine every Christian in the world going to Madam Guyon to participate in "God's move." Puulleease!

Groves was never included because his life and teachings blew holes in the theories we once espoused. Darby, however, was the perfect example to use in order to promote one's own narrow, exclusive, elitist, sectarian and judgmental views.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:12 AM   #34
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Dear brother Ohio,

I really appreciate all the fellowship you have shared about the Brethren. It is now very clear to me that while we were in the LC, a view of the Brethren was presented to us that was very one-sided, to say the least. The terrible attitudes and behaviors of Darby, the head of the Exclusives, became, as you said, “the perfect example to use in order to promote one's own narrow, exclusive, elitist, sectarian and judgmental views.” This really saddens my heart. O, what could have been! Ironically, all this happened in spite of the very negative experience WN himself had with the Exclusives back in the mid-1930’s!

I am certainly not the Lord and I am not the judge of anyone else’s heart. However, as one who will also appear one day before the Judgment Seat of Christ, my choice is clear: On that day I would much rather be brother Muller or brother Chapman compared to brother Darby or one of Darby’s “co-workers” like brother Wigram. I would much rather have a lifetime of works of love (wasn’t brother Chapman known all over England as “the apostle of love”?) and a history of openness to all God’s born-again children compared to a lifetime of doctrinal debate and division.

May we all tremble and fear before these things. May God have mercy on us all.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:44 AM   #35
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I really appreciate all the fellowship you have shared about the Brethren. It is now very clear to me that while we were in the LC, a view of the Brethren was presented to us that was very one-sided, to say the least.
Lest anyone think that I don't esteem brother Darby ... there is nearly none in all the kingdom of God who can match his labors and sacrifices for the Lord. I have read that he was the sweetest of shepherds, most personable, to all the new believers. His difficult writings do not portray this side of him. His habit was to spend all his afternoons visiting God's children.

Others have also have wondered if not brother Darby's "rougher edges" might not have been softened thru marriage, in particular to the distinguished Lady Powerscourt, who was much used by the Lord to gather the early Brethren together.
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:03 AM   #36
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Lest anyone think that I don't esteem brother Darby ... there is nearly none in all the kingdom of God who can match his labors and sacrifices for the Lord. I have read that he was the sweetest of shepherds, most personable, to all the new believers. His difficult writings do not portray this side of him. His habit was to spend all his afternoons visiting God's children.

Others have also have wondered if not brother Darby's "rougher edges" might not have been softened thru marriage, in particular to the distinguished Lady Powerscourt, who was much used by the Lord to gather the early Brethren together.
Amen, dear brother Ohio. It it good to "affirm" as well as "critique".

My knowledge of Darby is limited to what I heard in the LC, along with reading brother H.A. Ironside's book A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement after I was led out of the LC. Brother Ironside points out that before Darby's days with the Brethren, when Darby was still an Anglican minister, he would spend many hours traveling through the mountainous region of Ireland in order to bring fellowship to families who were isolated. He surely had a shepherd's heart right from the beginning!

Hmmmm . . . marriage certainly could have been a very good thing for dear brother Darby!

The system that overly elevated Darby certainly should bear as much of the blame for the eventual divisions and the terrible acrimony between brothers as Darby himself.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:59 AM   #37
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear brother Ohio.

Getting back to the theme of this thread, I have another “bitter pill” to present to you regarding “Early Nee” vs. “Later Nee”. I know you are well acquainted with dear brother Nee’s heart to receive all those dear ones whom God and Christ have received. Also, brother Nee was very clear on the freedom we have in Christ and the need for each believer and each assembly to take Christ as their Head and follow Christ as their Head.

After his ministry was resumed in 1948, WN began to emphasize a matter he called “handing over”. I am still confused about what exactly constituted “handing over”, but it appears to have been a full consecration to give oneself completely to the gospel, i.e. to pledge oneself to go and to do whatever was needed for the sake of the gospel. It sounds good, but surely it was voluntary, wasn’t it? Looking at the example in the book of Acts, Peter’s word to Ananias in Acts 5:4 clearly indicates that the selling of all and the handing over of the money to the apostles was completely voluntary. The "handing over" in Acts was not a “test of fellowship” to be used to separate those who merely “loved the ministry” from those who were “absolute for the ministry”.

Now, consider the following question and answer from WN’s speaking in 1948 in the book Church Affairs:

Quote:
USING ONLY THOSE PEOPLE GAINED BY GOD

Question: In a certain locality, not everyone has give up all. Some have given up all, and some still have not. What shall we do about taking care of the practical affairs?
Answer: We cannot use people who have not been gained by God. As many people as God has gained, we will use. We have to be cautious of the rest of the people. We must endeavor to bring them over to God’s side. We need to continue working until that happens.
We have to be cautious of the rest of the people??!! Those who were not “absolute” for the latest flow [i.e. WN’s “handing over”] were to treated with caution?! Only those “absolute” for the latest flow could be used for the practical service?! This is another of those quotes in WN’s later ministry that does not sound like WN. The principle here is very dangerous and saddens me to the uttermost. When this principle is followed, two classes of believers result, one "superior" to the other. This grieves my spirit.

Dear Father God, do have mercy on us all.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:14 AM   #38
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by kisstheson View Post
I believe that the following quote is the one you are after. WN spoke these words in Shanghai in 1940. He had already decided at that point not to republish The Spiritual Man. I am not sure of the name of the book within the CFP collection where these words can be found. I am quoting from LSM's The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set 2, Volume 45, Conferences, Messages, and Felowship (5), p. 1015.
Quote:
"Perhaps I should criticize myself a little. The Spiritual Man was published as a result of outward demands. As far as I was concerned, I was not that qualified to write that book. At that time the doctor said that I had only a few months more to live, and my thought was to put down what I had learned from the Lord. (Originally, I had thought of writing a very comprehensive exposition on the Bible, expounding all the subjects that men do not understand, could not understand, or would not understand.) I have decided not to publish this book again. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with The Spiritual Man. The problem is that the book is too complete; it contains theology and answers. As a result it is somewhat unspiritual—this is where the problem lies. God is after broken vessels, not nice vessels. God has no intention to see a book or a sermon so complete that a man can find all the answers without the need of the Spirit. The Lord knows the human weaknesses in every book and every sermon. This is why we need the leading of the Holy Spirit from within."
“The problem is that the book too complete; it contains theology and answers. As a result it is somewhat unspiritual”. Maybe later Watchman Nee was not as different then early Watchman Nee as I thought. What would make Nee think that ANY book was “too complete”, much less one written by a young man barely out of his teen years (Spiritual Man was penned in his early 20s) It almost seems as if he was speaking in jest, with a good dose of false humility sprinkled in for good measure. More important, what would make Nee think that “theology and answers” are “unspiritual”? I never have understood where Watchman Nee and Witness Lee came up with this bazaar and totally unbiblical notion. I can’t help but think that ancient Chinese culture played a part here. It certainly is not a concept, notion or teaching that came from the Lord Jesus, the scripture writing apostles or the early Church fathers. Regarding Nee’s contention that “God is after broken vessels, not nice vessels”, he took his followers far, far off course in teaching that theology and/or knowledge conflicts at all with Christians becoming useful vessels (whether they be broken or not). In retrospect, we now know that Watchman Nee really and truly had no problem with theology or knowledge at all…so long as it was HIS theology and HIS knowledge. Later, Witness Lee was to take this apparent conflict to much further and dangerous heights of hypocrisy and absurdness, and many of his followers are paying a steep price to this very day.

In Nee’s defense, I would like to quote something from John Myer in chapter three in A Future and a Hope that is very applicable here I believe:
Watchman Nee certainly did it, and we have stories of his literally sleeping in between rows of books. It seems more than a little strange, however, that the very group originally owing so much to such inquisitive searching should then turn around and prohibit all those other books and ministries. I submit that a young Watchman Nee could not be produced nor even survive in today’s Local Church environment
Man oh man, if John Myer had stopped his book right here it would have been a monumental work worth it’s weight in gold. Why? Because it exemplifies “early Nee - later Nee” in a way that hits home (or should hit home) for us Local Churchers in a monumental way. For EVEN IF this dear brother, whom God saw fit to tuck away in early 20th century Mainland China for His people there, was the author of a modern day “Lord’s Recovery”, what made Witness Lee or any of Nee’s followers think that such a move of God could be culminated, consummated or perfected by a people who simply parroted by rote this one man’s teachings, or practiced the church in a manner prescribed by him so many years ago? No…double no! Watchman Nee would not recognize the religious organization headquartered over there on La Palma in Anaheim. He would have nothing to do with the pigheaded, prejudiced and ignorant zealots who have proclaimed themselves as the “continuation of his continuation”. The only things of Watchman Nee that have been continued in the Local Church are negative things, such as his propensity to be overly exclusive in teaching and practice.

So for the purposes of our discussions here I think we would do well to admit that “a young Watchman Nee could not be produced nor even survive in today’s Local Church environment”. This holds one of the keys to understanding much of this phenomenon of “early Nee – later Nee”, at least as far as it relates to understanding what really went wrong in the Local Church Movement. How is it that a Christian group could wonder so far afield from the apparent heart and mind of it’s undisputed and revered founder? This is a question that cannot be answered by one person in one post for sure. Also I think we could explore whether or not the history of the Local Church, and the life and times of one Witness Lee, are simply a repeat of early Nee – later Nee. There were/are some positive things of course, but there is little doubt that the negative has overwhelmed the positive in a major way.

*** I just read kisstheson’s last post. I think it exemplifies a lot of what I have written above.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:05 AM   #39
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post

In Nee’s defense, I would like to quote something from John Myer in chapter three in A Future and a Hope that is very applicable here I believe:
Watchman Nee certainly did it, and we have stories of his literally sleeping in between rows of books. It seems more than a little strange, however, that the very group originally owing so much to such inquisitive searching should then turn around and prohibit all those other books and ministries. I submit that a young Watchman Nee could not be produced nor even survive in today’s Local Church environment
Man oh man, if John Myer had stopped his book right here it would have been a monumental work worth it’s weight in gold. Why? Because it exemplifies “early Nee - later Nee” in a way that hits home (or should hit home) for us Local Churchers in a monumental way.

So for the purposes of our discussions here I think we would do well to admit that “a young Watchman Nee could not be produced nor even survive in today’s Local Church environment”.

Amen, dear brother UntoHim. Surely we have to admit that "a young Watchman Nee could not be produced nor even survive in today’s Local Church environment”. This was made very clear at Whistler when brother Titus Chu's book The Divine Stream was mocked and laughed at during that five-hour Quarantine Session. In his book dear brother Titus suggested that the Lord might raise up yet another "oracle" in the LC and that everyone needed to be very open to that possibility. At Whistler this suggestion was quickly dismissed, not on Scriptural grounds, but based on the fact that it did not match the way that WL wanted "the recovery" to go on. WL had made it clear that "the age of one man speaking" was over and that the only way for "the recovery" to proceed was the way of a blended continuation speaking and re-speaking WL's "higher revelation". Sadly, there is absolutely no room for the Lord to raise up another "young Watchman Nee" in such an environment.

Here are brother Dan Towle's exact words from Whistler:

Quote:
". . . He [Titus Chu] wrote The Reality of the Divine Stream. What is the reality of the Divine stream? Well, among other things, he said that . . . concerning what would happen when Brother Lee was passed away. (I am not sure if this is before or after . . . yeh, this is after 2003.) He [Titus Chu] said “According to our understanding of the Bible, the Lord will continue to flow, uplifting and increasing the tide of the flow for His move on the earth until He returns. Only the Lord knows whether or not He would raise up before His return another oracle such as Witness Lee. We should be very open regarding this, realizing that the Lord is able to supply yet more riches, yet more light, yet more encouragement, and to raise the tide of the flow to a higher level than we have thus far experienced. Praise the Lord for this.”

On the surface it sounds … not bad. I mean, in the universal realm of possibilities [pause and laughter from the audience], there is, exists, the possibility that the Lord would raise up another Brother Lee. But, the point was that Brother Lee already made clear how he wanted the recovery to go on. And that was in a blended way. And even he told the brothers in Taiwan and other places, he told us: “The age has changed, brothers. It’s a different age. It’s no longer the age of one man speaking. The God-ordained way and the high peak of the divine revelation changed." In the last ten years, Brother Lee received a higher revelation and he believed that THAT revelation was for the producing of the Bride. And we believe the same thing."
There you have it. Sad to say, but dear brother John Meyer is right on. The LSM-loyal LC's are locked into a circle of fellowship that is closed and inward-looking. When our dear Lord does indeed do something new and fresh on this earth, they will be the last to acknowledge it. And that, dear ones, is a MOST DANGEROUS position to be in.

May God have mercy on us all.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:24 AM   #40
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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The principle here is very dangerous and saddens me to the uttermost. When this principle is followed, two classes of believers result, one "superior" to the other. This grieves my spirit.
This is the case with most Christian denominations, isn't it?

I mean, I don't believe it's a good thing, but neither is it at all uncommon.

I think it's wonderful to at last as a group begin to discover and shine the light of truth upon the roots of denominationalism in the writings of the lionized leader of the Local Church.

This is how we can go on, KTS.

To leave these things hidden and buried invites history to repeat itself yet again.

Always rejoice, unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks...
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:59 AM   #41
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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After his ministry was resumed in 1948, WN began to emphasize a matter he called “handing over”. I am still confused about what exactly constituted “handing over”, but it appears to have been a full consecration to give oneself completely to the gospel, i.e. to pledge oneself to go and to do whatever was needed for the sake of the gospel. It sounds good, but surely it was voluntary, wasn’t it? Looking at the example in the book of Acts, Peter’s word to Ananias in Acts 5:4 clearly indicates that the selling of all and the handing over of the money to the apostles was completely voluntary. The "handing over" in Acts was not a “test of fellowship” to be used to separate those who merely “loved the ministry” from those who were “absolute for the ministry”.
I remember the FTTT days in Taipei, with like 10 meetings per day. One time AY came in to tell us about this matter of "handing over." As he described it, many of the saints back in the late 40's in China "laid everything at the apostles' feet." He said "we have the documents" to prove how all the saints wealth and property was given. I was in a "state of shock," but of course, I was a "learner" who was not supposed to have any opinions about anything whatsoever. The unspoken implication of his fellowship was that this soon would happen in all the LC's to prepare the Lord's return.

Another brother relayed to me what he heard during the same era. One of the "BB's to be" was discussing how the Lord's move could be financed thru all the churches forwarding a portion of their offering to LSM. Someone had made a comment about that, to which he replied to the effect, "all your offerings are ours anyways." The jaws of all dropped in silence.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:12 PM   #42
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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This is the case with most Christian denominations, isn't it?

I mean, I don't believe it's a good thing, but neither is it at all uncommon.

I think it's wonderful to at last as a group begin to discover and shine the light of truth upon the roots of denominationalism in the writings of the lionized leader of the Local Church.

This is how we can go on, KTS.

To leave these things hidden and buried invites history to repeat itself yet again.

Always rejoice, unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks...
You're absolutely right, dear brother YP0534. The flesh is the flesh, no matter where we fellowship. The desire for some kind of outward show which will allow us to feel superior to others is part of our "inheritance" from old Adam.

These things should surely cause us to walk humbly before our God! As you pointed out, no one is immune from these things, not even the lionized leaders of the Local Church.

Yes, may these things not remain buried! Instead, may we shine a light on these things that exist in our background so that we may repent of them and move on. There is much "fine wheat" in WN's ministry, to be sure. But portions like the one quoted from Church Affairs should cause us to realize that there is some "chaff" in there as well.

Thank you for the encouraging words about going on, dear brother.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:42 PM   #43
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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I remember the FTTT days in Taipei, with like 10 meetings per day. One time AY came in to tell us about this matter of "handing over." As he described it, many of the saints back in the late 40's in China "laid everything at the apostles' feet." He said "we have the documents" to prove how all the saints wealth and property was given. I was in a "state of shock," but of course, I was a "learner" who was not supposed to have any opinions about anything whatsoever. The unspoken implication of his fellowship was that this soon would happen in all the LC's to prepare the Lord's return.

Another brother relayed to me what he heard during the same era. One of the "BB's to be" was discussing how the Lord's move could be financed thru all the churches forwarding a portion of their offering to LSM. Someone had made a comment about that, to which he replied to the effect, "all your offerings are ours anyways." The jaws of all dropped in silence.
I can certainly sympathize with your "state of shock", dear brother Ohio! I can also picture the "jaw-dropping silence" mentioned in your second paragraph!

How sad that the saints back in the 1940's were subjected to such a terrible choice: Either fully participate in the current 'flow' of 'handing over', or else the leading ones would be cautious about them and not allow them to be part of the service to God. At the same time, they were being told that the local churches in China under WN's ministry were God's unique instrument of recovery on the whole earth. No longer were they one part of a move of God manifested in many places on the earth - now they were THE MOVE OF GOD on the whole earth.

I have to declare, dear brother Ohio, that WN's speaking from 1948 onwards is different from his previous ministry. It really is different. How I hate the fact that these things are so. I can't tell you how much I hate it! How could someone like WN change so much?! Of course, I admire WN greatly for the fortitude and courage he displayed during his many years in prison. I just can't seem to reconcile some of the things he said between 1948 and 1952 with his precious earlier ministry. Ultimately, my only comfort lies in that fact that our God is sovereign. Despite all the attacks of the enemy, our God is still in control of the whole situation. Praise Him!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:21 AM   #44
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear brother Ohio,

The many parallels you have mentioned between the Exclusive Brethren and the LC have driven me to some serious thinking. These parallels have helped me to formulate a clearer “model” of “Early Nee” vs. “Later Nee”, which I have joined together with a clearer model of “Early Lee” vs. “Later Lee”.

I present this model not for judgment upon anyone, but for our humble learning based upon our common heritage.

I see three phases since the 1920’s: “Early Nee”, “Later Nee/Early Lee”, and “Later Lee”. I break down these phases with the aid of four categories: “Inner Life Teachings”, “Relationship to Other Ministers of Christ”, “Prevailing Model of Church Governance ” and “Prevailing Attitude toward Outside Fellowship”. Here is the progression of these phases, as I can best articulate it:

“Early Nee”
  1. Inner Life Teachings
  2. Open to receive help from other ministers of Christ and open to co-work with other ministries
  3. Localized model of church governance
  4. “Open” fellowship
“Later Nee/Early Lee”
  1. Inner Life Teachings
  2. Open to receive help from other ministers of Christ, but no longer co-working with other ministries
  3. Mixture of localized and centralized models of church governance
  4. Fellowship still “Open”, but a noticeable tendency toward “Exclusive” fellowship
“Later Lee”
  1. Inner Life Teachings
  2. All the help that could be received from other ministers of Christ has already been received, disdain for all other ministries, and no willingness to co-work with any other ministries
  3. Centralized model of church governance
  4. “Exclusive” fellowship

Is this model helpful to anyone else?
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:10 PM   #45
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Kisstheson, I follow you. One aspect I don't quite understand is "Later Nee/Early Lee" and it's relationship to Theodore Austin Sparks. To my knowledge Nee worked with Sparks up to the Communist takeover in China. It wasn't until the mid-late fifties when Lee broke his ties with Sparks. It would be good to indentify each of these periods with particular decades. For example at what point did Early Lee become Later Lee. At what point did Early Nee become Later Nee?
Thanks for your post.

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Old 11-12-2008, 07:26 PM   #46
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Kisstheson, I follow you. One aspect I don't quite understand is "Later Nee/Early Lee" and it's relationship to Theodore Austin Sparks. To my knowledge Nee worked with Sparks up to the Communist takeover in China. It wasn't until the mid-late fifties when Lee broke his ties with Sparks. It would be good to indentify each of these periods with particular decades. For example at what point did Early Lee become Later Lee. At what point did Early Nee become Later Nee?
Thanks for your post.

Terry
Thank you for the feedback, dear brother Terry. I appreciate it.

The "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee" distinction seems to be pretty clear. The six years (1942-1948) that dear brother WN laid aside his ministry form a fairly neat line of demarcation between "Early Nee" and "Later Nee". When WN resumed his minsitry in 1948, the "flavor" was definitely different. The repeated emphasis on "handing over", the strong emphasis on submitting to authority, all the talk about spreading the gospel and the church life according to "The Jerusalem Line", a sense that the saints in China affliated with WN's ministry were God's unique move on the whole earth, a spirit of "insisting" that the saints be one with the latest "flow" - all these, and more, are characteristics of WN's later ministry which were not present, or were not emphaisized nearly so much, in his earlier ministry.

I have looked through the updated version to Against the Tide and the only trips taken by WN outside of Mainland China during 1948-1952 were trips to Taiwan and Hong Kong. I do not see any evidence that WN co-worked with TAS or had contact with TAS during the years 1948-1952. Rex Beck's biography of TAS entitled Shaped by Vision makes no mention of TAS either having contact with WN or co-working with WN during those years. I certainly do not think that there was any kind of split or separation, it appears to be a case that both were very busy in the years after WWII, particularly WN since the Communists' were gradually taking over all of China.

Yes, WL reluctanly invited TAS twice to Taiwan in the mid-to-late 1950's after considerable urging from WL's co-workers. We all know the result of those visits -WL ended up refusing to co-work with TAS any more. To be 100% fair, I should probably change my statement for "Later Nee/Early Lee" to this: " . . . but also a steadily diminishing willingness to co-work with other ministries". That sounds more fair and balanced compared to " . . . but no longer co-working with other ministries ".

The "Early Lee" vs. "Later Lee" distinction is much harder to pin down. Others on this forum knew WL as lot better than I ever did, so I will defer to any insights they may have. I would say that this change was more of a gradual change, starting in 1974 and running to 1985. Certainly, the pre-1974 Lee was very different from the post-1985 Lee. Some of the publications in the mid-1980's, like the book The Vision of the Age and the whole Elders' Training series, announced loud and clear that "Later Lee" was on the scene!
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:18 PM   #47
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear brother Terry,

Here is my best attempt at assigning specific decades to the three phases of "Early Nee", "Later Nee/Early Lee", and "Later Lee":

  1. 1920's = "Early Nee"
  2. 1930's = "Early Nee"
  3. 1940 - 1942 = "Early Nee"
  4. 1942 - 1948 = WN temporarily lays aside his ministry
  5. 1948 - 1949 = "Later Nee/Early Lee"
  6. 1950's = "Later Nee/Early Lee" (Nee imprisoned in 1952, Lee continues "Later Nee/Early Lee")
  7. 1960's = "Later Nee/Early Lee"
  8. 1970 - 1974 = "Later Nee/Early Lee" (Nee passes away in 1972)
  9. 1974 -1979 = Transition years from "Early Lee" to "Later Lee"
  10. 1980 -1985 = Transition years from "Early Lee" to "Later Lee"
  11. 1986 - 1989 = "Later Lee"
  12. 1990's = "Later Lee" (BB's continue "Later Lee" after WL passes away in 1997)
  13. 2000's = "Later Lee" (BB's continuing "Later Lee")
What do you think of this?
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:57 AM   #48
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by kisstheson View Post
The many parallels you have mentioned between the Exclusive Brethren and the LC have driven me to some serious thinking. These parallels have helped me to formulate a clearer “model” of “Early Nee” vs. “Later Nee”, which I have joined together with a clearer model of “Early Lee” vs. “Later Lee”.
Brother Kisstheson, I think a similar "working model" could be imposed upon the Plymouth Brethren.

Another LC observation: It seems every downward trend is also accompanied by a "storm" and a quarantine. Often I heard a rehearsal of our history of "storms," which was "spun" to include a "new move" of the Lord, with the resulting resistance from those who "rebelled." I believed these stories because I trusted the ministers. Now ... all of these stories have become suspicious. All of these "storms," could also be characterized by a downward tendency towards exclusivism, and a subsequent outcry from the body of Christ, which was interpreted by the leadership as "rebellion."

Of course, I am more familiar with the "storms" of the 70's, 80's, and 00's, but the pattern seems justified. IIRC, the Taipei storm of the 60's was supposedly over the Lord's new move of "calling on the Lord," when actually it was an outcry over the sale of church property to finance WL's business debts.

KTS, no model is perfect, and all are subject to critique, but to me it has introduced this new topic of what "really happened" behind the scenes, and how was "history rewritten" for all the faithful. What were the real reasons for the downward trends and the subsequent storms? The actual facts of the latest storms has changed everything for me. Without some integrity, and an unreproachable critique of the ministry, all the teachings I have heard are suspect.

For example, after each Brethren excommunication, a whole new set of teachings and tracts were released to justify and explain to the faithful for their "learning." Many times these teachings became abstruse and recondite to the saints. In other words, "I don't know what Darby is talking about, but he must, and it sounds pretty bad, and I trust him because he is our leader." Over time, the interpretation of scripture for the Brethren (so many O.T. allegories) often times superceded the plain word of the Bible. Sound familiar?
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:54 AM   #49
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Of course, I am more familiar with the "storms" of the 70's, 80's, and 00's, but the pattern seems justified. IIRC, the Taipei storm of the 60's was supposedly over the Lord's new move of "calling on the Lord," when actually it was an outcry over the sale of church property to finance WL's business debts.

KTS, no model is perfect, and all are subject to critique, but to me it has introduced this new topic of what "really happened" behind the scenes, and how was "history rewritten" for all the faithful. What were the real reasons for the downward trends and the subsequent storms? The actual facts of the latest storms has changed everything for me. Without some integrity, and an unreproachable critique of the ministry, all the teachings I have heard are suspect.
Dear brother Ohio, you bring up a lot of points worthy of consideration. It certainly does seem clear that it was the "storms" and the subsequent heavy-handed reaction to these "storms" that always moved "the recovery" another notch towards exclusiveness. "The recovery" would go on, more or less unchanged, for years or even decades, but when some "new way" was insisted upon, in the aftermath of the resulting "storm" the nature of things would always change for the worse. I think you have hit upon a very important point here, both for the Brethren and for the LC.

While apathy and inertia are always a danger due to our fallen flesh, in the case of the Brethren and the LC, the "church life" did not slowly degrade due to apathy and inertia; rather, the "church life" "morphed" more and more into exclusiveness in the aftermath of each "storm". This is a kind of "discrete" model as opposed to a "continuous" model.

I can not remember if it was Nee or Lee who said this, but one of them said that once a group reaches the "high peak" of Philadelphia, the two dangers facing that group are either a sliding back to "dead religion" (i.e. Sardis) or a descent into "Christless" Laodicea. Here is something interesting: We mentioned Zinzendorf and the Moravians earlier in this thread as a group that surely touched "Philadelphia". My family and I had an opportunity to attend a "Moravian" church service not too long ago. May the Lord guard me from a harsh spirit of jugdment! While the sermon was actually quite good, and they had "small group" Bible Studies before the service, I do have to say that the service was very "religious" (i.e. a set liturgy, clergy/laity, not much passion in the singing of the hymns, etc.). From what little I know about the later history of the Moravians, they were not beset by "storms". While it seems that their committees and their "synods" prevented "storms", these could not prevent the gradual and ever-increasing drift away from the freshness of the Spirit they once knew so well.

This gradual drift did not happen to the Brethren or the LC; rather, periodic changes of course dictated by those in the lead would cause a reaction, this reaction would be labeled a "storm" and a "rebellion" and would be strongly counteracted, and then the "teachings" that came out to vindicate the LC leadership always become yet another set of heavy baggage that those in the LC had to bear. The end result was surely not Sardis, but Laodicea.

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For example, after each Brethren excommunication, a whole new set of teachings and tracts were released to justify and explain to the faithful for their "learning." Many times these teachings became abstruse and recondite to the saints. In other words, "I don't know what Darby is talking about, but he must, and it sounds pretty bad, and I trust him because he is our leader." Over time, the interpretation of scripture for the Brethren (so many O.T. allegories) often times superceded the plain word of the Bible. Sound familiar?
Exactly! Sad to say, dear brother, but this sounds all too familiar.

May God have mercy on us all.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:05 PM   #50
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The "Early Lee" vs. "Later Lee" distinction is much harder to pin down. Others on this forum knew WL as lot better than I ever did, so I will defer to any insights they may have. I would say that this change was more of a gradual change, starting in 1974 and running to 1985. Certainly, the pre-1974 Lee was very different from the post-1985 Lee. Some of the publications in the mid-1980's, like the book The Vision of the Age and the whole Elders' Training series, announced loud and clear that "Later Lee" was on the scene!
Kisstheson, I see the defining separation between Early Lee and later Lee beginning with the bi-annual trainings. This is when the focus began to transition from focus Jesus Christ to the Ministry. Given this transition was not immediate and did not become transparent until the late eighties/early ninties.

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Old 11-13-2008, 03:56 PM   #51
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Kisstheson, I see the defining separation between Early Lee and later Lee beginning with the bi-annual trainings. This is when the focus began to transition from focus Jesus Christ to the Ministry. Given this transition was not immediate and did not become transparent until the late eighties/early ninties.

Terry
Thank you for confirming this, dear brother Terry. I had suspected that this transition was rather gradual, based upon the posts of many dear ones on these forums and based upon dear brother Hope's book and dear sister Jane Anderson's book.

The subtlety here always amazes me. A shift of focus from Jesus Christ to the Ministry that unveiled Jesus Christ. At first, this was not an easy shift to discern. It surely would have required a lot of discernment back in the 1970's to see that the focus was subtly shifting and to know how things would eventually turn out. Today, of course, we have super-clear hindsight regarding all these events.

May these things serve to warn us, instruct us, and humble us for our going on in the Lord.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:50 PM   #52
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Dear ones,

I have been reading through the new and revised edition of dear brother Angus Kinnear’s book Against the Tide, his biography of dear brother Watchman Nee. I was surprised (and somewhat comforted!) to learn that someone else also saw a difference between the pre-1948 “early Nee” and the 1948-and-onwards “later Nee”. (1948, is, of course, the year in which WN resumed his ministry after a six-year interruption.) Maybe dear brother UntoHim and I are really onto something here!

(In the quotes shown below from Against the Tide, the bolding was added by me and does not appear in the original.)

Concerning the strong emphasis on submission to “deputy authority” from 1948 onwards, brother Kinnear writes:

Quote:
“But the slogan ‘Bow to Authority’ was in fact to become a new and, to many, very disturbing feature of the work from now on. To us today it seems so entirely out of character with his past teachings and way of working that one wonders if it could possibly have originated (as a few have thought) in a change in mind in Nee himself, or whether, at a time when he was spiritually vulnerable, he was caught off balance by the enthusiasm of others.” (p. 233)
Concerning the new teaching from 1948 onwards regarding working according to “the Jerusalem line”, brother Kinnear writes:

Quote:
“Watchman Nee had himself been meditating along these lines and readily agreed. Jerusalem, he pointed out, became just such a centre . . . ‘Our failure in these few years is that we have had no structure of the work corresponding to the principle of Jerusalem. We should concentrate fellow workers for ministry in regional centres until local churches are fully established and thereafter transfer whole communities to other parts – unless, as in the Acts, the Lord arranges a persecution to scatter them abroad.’ . . . This statement appears a startling reversal of Watchman’s earlier insistence on the local churches’ complete independence of apostolic (that is, worker) control. It is from this point in fact that the tighter authoritarianism makes itself felt throughout the movement, to become after liberation a feature of the churches outside China.” (pp. 231-232)
(All quotes are taken from Angus Kinner, Against the Tide, Kingsway Publications, copyright 1973, revised edition 2005.)
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:45 AM   #53
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Dear ones,

I have been reading through the new and revised edition of dear brother Angus Kinnear’s book Against the Tide, his biography of dear brother Watchman Nee. I was surprised (and somewhat comforted!) to learn that someone else also saw a difference between the pre-1948 “early Nee” and the 1948-and-onwards “later Nee”. (1948, is, of course, the year in which WN resumed his ministry after a six-year interruption.)
I am just shocked. I had attributed these changes to LSM distortions.

WN was well aware of future dangers which would undoubtedly ensue.

This only confirms Hope's observation that, though WN is so well appreciated by many Christians, his teachings about "deputy authority" are suspicious.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:08 AM   #54
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I remember the FTTT days in Taipei, with like 10 meetings per day. One time AY came in to tell us about this matter of "handing over." As he described it, many of the saints back in the late 40's in China "laid everything at the apostles' feet." He said "we have the documents" to prove how all the saints wealth and property was given. I was in a "state of shock," but of course, I was a "learner" who was not supposed to have any opinions about anything whatsoever. The unspoken implication of his fellowship was that this soon would happen in all the LC's to prepare the Lord's return.

Another brother relayed to me what he heard during the same era. One of the "BB's to be" was discussing how the Lord's move could be financed thru all the churches forwarding a portion of their offering to LSM. Someone had made a comment about that, to which he replied to the effect, "all your offerings are ours anyways." The jaws of all dropped in silence.

I remember back in my 20's in the early 70's being in a small gathering and and Witness Lee told us about this event in China of the saints giving all....but he told us this should never be enforced and should only be done when it is a spontaneous move of the Lord.
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:47 PM   #55
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I remember back in my 20's in the early 70's being in a small gathering and and Witness Lee told us about this event in China of the saints giving all....but he told us this should never be enforced and should only be done when it is a spontaneous move of the Lord.
Hello dear Oregon,

That is a most interesting testimony. Surely the Scriptural (and God-honoring) way to proceed with something like “handing over” is exactly as WL stated – never enforced and only done when it is a spontaneous move of the Lord. This certainly matches the marvelous record in Acts 4:32-37.

It seems that when such a move of the Lord is taking place, the supreme test for all the believers consists in how will they handle those brothers and sisters who do not feel led to participate. How to handle the ones who did not “hand over”? In this regard, the “handing over” movement in China in the late 1940’s was not as pure as WL described. The portion from LSM’s The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 51, Church Affairs, p. 121, shows that a kind of pressure was exerted downward by Watchman Nee himself regarding this matter of handing over:

Someone, who was either a co-worker of WN’s or an elder in one of the churches asked WN:

Quote:
“Question: In a certain locality, not everyone has given up all. Some have given up all, and some have not. What shall we do about taking care of the practical affairs?
To this question WN replied:

Quote:
“Answer: We cannot use people who have not been gained by God. As many people as God has gained, we will use. We have to be cautious of the rest of the people. We must endeavor to bring them over to God’s side. We need to continue working until that happens.”
This answer grieves me greatly. The details given in this answer are not Scriptural and are not God-honoring. The ones who had “handed over” were to be cautious about “the rest of the people”?! Those who did not “hand over” could not be used for the service of God?! Where is the spontaneous move of the Lord if you need to "endeavor" to bring "the rest of the people" over to God's side? This is certainly not the attitude that the apostle Peter had in his answer to brother Ananias in Acts 5:4. This answer by WN, sad to say, does not honor the Lord as the Head of His spontaneous movement; rather, this answer puts the hands of men all over the move of God.
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:21 AM   #56
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Hi kisstheson,

Thanks for posting the portions form this book. Is it possible for you to post more of the context that contains these few sentences so that I could read them. I would appreciate this.

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Old 11-16-2008, 11:15 AM   #57
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Hi kisstheson,

Thanks for posting the potions form this book. Is it possible for you to post more of the context that contains these few sentences so that I could read them. I would appreciate this.
Hello again dear Oregon,

The entire book that I am quoting from, Church Affairs, is available online at lsm.org. Church Affairs is volume 51 of The Collected Works of Watchman Nee by LSM. I am quoting from Chapter Six, which is entitled “The Affairs of the Service Office”.

Here is some context that I hope will be helpful. In 1948, after a six-year interruption, dear brother WN resumed his public ministry. Concerning the practical side of the church life, three new points of emphasis can clearly be seen in WN’s later ministry from 1948 – 1952. These three points are as follow:
  1. Submission to deputy authority
  2. Working according to “the Jerusalem Line” (i.e. concentrating the co-workers in specific localities which would become centers of ministry - the spreading of the church life would then occur through migrations planned and promoted by such ministry centers)
  3. “Handing over” (i.e. a handing over of one’s material possessions and one’s whole being in order to be fully open to spread the gospel)
These three emphases show up again and again in WN’s later ministry.

The book Church Affairs consists of very practical messages spoken in a training for co-workers and elders at the Kuling Mountain training center in 1948. The messages in this book are practical and detailed, concerning matters like elders, deacons, the different kinds of church meetings, etc. Chapter six deals specifically with the Service Office in a church. This chapter gives lots of practical guidance aimed at the deacons and deaconesses. There is a lot of speaking in this chapter regarding the need to keep detailed records.

At the very end of Chapter Six, there was a Question and Answer period. Two brothers asked questions. The question and answer that I quoted earlier is the second of these two questions. In the first question, a brother asked “How do you motivate all the brothers to work?”. While WN’s answer reveals his heart that each member of the Body needs to function and serve God, his answer also reveals WN’s feeling that the selling of all was needed before a brother could serve God. Here is a portion from WN’s answer:

Quote:
“. . . I believe that we also need to pay attention to the matter of selling all. If a person does not sell all, his talk of service is false and will not work. There is the need for him to give all he has in order to serve God. Therefore, the basic thought is that everyone needs to offer all in order to serve God . . .”
Stating that "giving all" is needed before a brother can serve God is obviously a troubling thought. Is this Scriptural? What about all the implications of such a statement? These implications may very well had led the second brother to ask for more clarity concerning the ones who had not “handed over” all. Hence, the second brother asked “In a certain locality, not everyone has given up all. Some have given up all and some still have not. What shall we do about taking care of the practical affairs?’
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:59 PM   #58
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Thank you kisstheson for taking the time to post all of this. I will certainly take some time to look at this. Not to argue with you at all but I have considered a lot the ones used so much by God that are recorded in the NT. What did they have? Did Paul retain any possessions for himself. I doubt that he had much more then just his clothing and some books....and maybe some tools from his tent making days.

You know how the Holy Spirit speaks the word to you sometimes...well...about a month ago I was in my house and all of a sudden the verses in Acts came to me where Peter said "silver and gold have I none". I know the Spirit spoke those words to me. Here we are in these economic turbulant times with housing prices falling across the nation and so much loss in the stock market. I think most Americans have suffered serious financial loss in these times. Pondering these maters was the environment in which those words in Acts came to me. Those dear ones had no silver or gold and yet look how mightily God moved among them. And yes.....this was spontaneous to some degree. At least there seems to be no indication in Acts that the Apostles pushed this on the saints in those days. Of course none of us were actually there as witnesses.
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:17 AM   #59
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To me the whole problem with the ministries of WN and WL comes back to the problem of erroneous concepts on authority which find their seat in the teachings of deputy authority, locality and the general idea of the Lord having "one move." All these teachings have been exposed as little more than pernicious justifications for dictatorial control. Perhaps Nee didn't mean it that way, but that's the fruit which they have borne.

If you really consider the concept of deputy authority, its potential for abuse is so enormous and so likely that the fact that the teaching really does not exist in the Bible should be enough to throw it away and have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Likewise the teaching of locality is untenable, as there is no way to verify for sure who the real elders of the "one church" in the city are and thus be able to discern definitely between two groups claiming to "hold the ground." I have discussed this at length is this thread.

Considering the matter of "giving all," of course we all must give all to the Lord. He owns it all anyway. But Nee was way off if he meant a potential servant of the Lord has to sell his house and car and boat before he can be effective. This is nothing more than his own opinion, which if your combine it with the belief that he had some kind of deputy authority, becomes yet another abuse and potential misleading.

In my experience, the way to get clear on the LC movement, and on WN and WL as well, is to get clear that their ideas on authority and submission were grossly mistaken. How to deal with everything else falls into place once you get clear on that.

Why would anyone be concerned about anything Nee or Lee said or wrote unless he or she still thought they were imbued with some kind of special authority? Once you realize they weren't, you are free to discard their chaff just like you would anyone else's. And they both had their share.

I think you can bank on the fact that God doesn't want you to eat their chaff, which you would have to do if they actually did have deputy authority, which is another reason they didn't.
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:24 PM   #60
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Dear Ohio, Oregon, and Igzy,

I hope you will allow me to respond to you “en masse”. I would definitely prefer a personal response to each of you, but time is in very short supply for me this week.

Like dear brother Ohio did some time ago in a post related to dear brother Darby, I should “give credit where credit is due”. Of course, I am not the final judge on any matter, but my sense is that there is lots of “solid gold” in the later stage of WN’s ministry. Some of this "solid gold" includes the following books: The Breaking of the Outer Man for the Release of the Spirit, The Character of the Lord’s Worker, Messages for Building Up of New Believers, and The Ministry of God’s Word.

Having said that, I must admit that there are three matters in WN’s later ministry that I do not consider “solid gold”; rather, I consider them to be “dross”, or “chaff”. I fully understand that this flies in the face of the official LSM view of WN that we heard for decades. As such, this "official" view does not go away easily. Ultimately, however, should we really be shocked by the existence of this “dross”? After all, wasn’t our dear brother WN a fragile human vessel just like the rest of us? While he lived, didn’t he have to deal with the constant frustration of the sinful human flesh, as we all do? Obviously, if we are going to insist upon a “perfect” human ministry, then we are left with only the ministry of our dear Lord and Savior. And yet, our Lord and Savior has entrusted the continuation of the NT ministry to fragile, imperfect, redeemed sinners like us.

The case of “handing over” started off as a genuine concern by WN. He felt that when the vast majority of the brothers and sisters had received salvation in Christ, they did not have the realization that from that point on, they belonged fully to the Lord. In practical terms, they did not realize that they should be fully given to the needs of the gospel. Because of this, WN felt that a “make-up lesson” (his words) was needed. Hence, this matter of “handing over” all of one’s possessions to the church. One problem with this was that, like anything outward, a distinction started to exist between those who had “handed over” and those who had not. An even worse problem showed up in WN’s speaking in the book Church Affairs where WN stated that “handing over” was needed before one could serve God and he also stated that the ones who had “handed over” should be “cautious” about those who had not “handed over”. A kind of human pressure was introduced into something that should have remained a spontaneous move of the Spirit. This seemed to become the root of all the subsequent cases in the LC where leadership insisted upon a oneness with the latest “flow”.

The other two cases of "dross" appear to have been more severe and appear to have been problematic right from their inception. The first was this whole matter of submission to “deputy authority”. As Igzy stated, the way to get clear regarding the LC is to firmly grasp what was taught by WN and WL regarding submission to “deputy authority”. The second matter is the idea of working according to “the Jerusalem line”. This involved concentrating the co-workers in certain localities and coordinating the migrations of the saints from these "centers", somewhat like Jerusalem in the book of Acts. This idea gave rise to regional, then national, and eventually global centers of extra-local coordination and control. Anaheim never would have become “AnaRome” without this teaching.

By the way, I am very encouraged that the GLA leadership appears to be moving beyond these three teachings from WN's later ministry. I am especially fascinated with the repeated mentions of “Antioch” in the GLA trainings and conferences. Lord willing, the “Antioch line”, overlooked in the LC since 1948, will rise again!
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:23 PM   #61
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The case of “handing over” started off as a genuine concern by WN. He felt that when the vast majority of the brothers and sisters had received salvation in Christ, they did not have the realization that from that point on, they belonged fully to the Lord. In practical terms, they did not realize that they should be fully given to the needs of the gospel. Because of this, WN felt that a “make-up lesson” (his words) was needed. Hence, this matter of “handing over” all of one’s possessions to the church. One problem with this was that, like anything outward, a distinction started to exist between those who had “handed over” and those who had not. An even worse problem showed up in WN’s speaking in the book Church Affairs where WN stated that “handing over” was needed before one could serve God and he also stated that the ones who had “handed over” should be “cautious” about those who had not “handed over”. A kind of human pressure was introduced into something that should have remained a spontaneous move of the Spirit. This seemed to become the root of all the subsequent cases in the LC where leadership insisted upon a oneness with the latest “flow”.
kisstheson, this matter of "handing over" could initially be started by the spirit, but at some point "man's hand" leaves fingerprints on handing over. Through the process, handing over becomes a matter of peer pressure than about being led by the spirit. In hadning over, the discrepancy between being led in spirit and submitting to peer pressure is inherently dangerous.
One factor in the topic of handing over is the matter of liberty. When one is spiritually led, there is liberty. When one is submitting to peer pressure, there is no liberty.

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Old 11-17-2008, 10:41 PM   #62
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This gradual drift did not happen to the Brethren or the LC; rather, periodic changes of course dictated by those in the lead would cause a reaction, this reaction would be labeled a "storm" and a "rebellion" and would be strongly counteracted, and then the "teachings" that came out to vindicate the LC leadership always become yet another set of heavy baggage that those in the LC had to bear. The end result was surely not Sardis, but Laodicea.
May God have mercy on us all.
Kisstheson, my question is a leading one but what was the reaction that would consequently be labled as "storms", "rebellions", etc?
My response would be some of those that reacted, were led in spirit that something was off. In the Old Testament there are record after record of reaactionaries. Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Jeremiah, etc. In most cases if those in authority or kings for example did not have an ear to hear, the kings would want the reactionaries silenced. Of course in present time the same principle applies, but silence is sought via quarantines.

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:41 AM   #63
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The matter of "handing over" finds its support in the N.T. in Acts 4.32-37. The disciples had "all things common," and "as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them," and the proceeds were "placed at the feet of the apostles." Reading these verses alone, the case might be fairly compelling. This account provides one of the fruits of the Spirit following Pentecost. The story does not end positively, however. The end of the story is two disciples being "slain in the spirit," and "great fear came upon the whole church."

The scriptural record never refers to this event again. No N.T. teaching or practice alluded to this. Whenever this practice was attempted again, the results were painful. The "communes" of the 60's and 70's attempted this. Karl Marx based his communist theories upon these "ideals." Perhaps only the post-pogrom kibitzes in early 20th century Israel enjoyed any amount of success. At least that I am aware of.

We should take note that the end of the record is "great fear came upon the whole church."
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:30 AM   #64
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Again, in order for something like "handing over" to take place, someone has to be the enforcer. In the case of Acts (Ohio's example), Peter, a bona fide Apostle, was the enforcer.

The early genuine apostles had such extra authority. Their apostleship was verifiable, they had been with the Lord, they had been appointed by Him, they had worked signs and wonders.

These days there is no way to verify apostleship. No matter what anyone says, deciding whether one is or isn't can be nothing more than a matter of opinion and taste. I do not believe that God expects anyone to "hand over" their entire fortune based on so tenuous an assumption.

In my opinion Nee was grossly in error simply by saying that people should hand over everything to the church, because that meant Nee thought he was an apostle (an enforcer).

So although I agree with KTS that "handing over" would definitely cause tension between those that had and those that hadn't, that symptom is not the primary problem. The primary problem is that Nee presumed he had the authority to command such a thing in the first place.

It's just another case of "deputy authority" run amok.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:06 AM   #65
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Please don't be offended Igzy but I think you are going too far to label Peter as an enforcer. The account of "giving all" in Acts was no doubt a genuine move of God. To be labeled "an enforcer" gives the impression that someone is doing something out of themselves and apart from God. I just simply cannot believe this concerning Peter in Acts.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:37 AM   #66
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Oregon,

I see your point. But that is not at all what I meant. I meant that Peter's authority to enforce his apostolic commands came from God, whereas no one has such authority today, or at least, there is no way to verify that anyone has such authority today, which is effectively the same thing.

My larger point was that rules like "giving all" cannot work without some enforcement, which presumes that someone has the authority to enforce giving all. Simply entertaining that someone has such authority is opening the door to abuse. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see that.

Lee's infamous "fermentation" tirade (and others like it) are examples of his trying to enforce by swinging his self-presumed deputorial weight. In all these cases he overstepped his bounds. Lee's authority stopped at any organization he formed (LSM) or any church he led (none).

I'd like to make another point. Lee stated in his defense during that time, "I had the deputy authority. But I never used it", trying to impress that he was meek. His statement is disingenuous and hollow for the following reason: Simply leading people to believe that he had deputy authority was using it, because their entire reaction to him and what he said is going to be warped by their believing such a thing.

One would think he was smart enough to realize that.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:07 AM   #67
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Let me clarify that Peter's prediction of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira and the instant fulfillment of that prediction were strong confirmations of Peter's apostolic authority.

I think that was the reason for the "giving all" command, and the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira: To demonstate the apostles' authority and to show everyone that this church thing was serious business, no game, not another man-made thing to exploit.

I suppose if something like that happened today then it would be a confirmation of someone's apostleship. But such a thing never happened with Nee nor Lee, nor anyone else I know of. I heard of dire warnings and threats, but nothing to back it up.

Neither Nee nor Lee were able to summon such a demonstration. They were both fine servants in their own way. They were not apostles in the way Peter was. Deputy authority is a chimera.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:39 AM   #68
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Default Re: Deputy Authority and Oneness

Dear Posters,

This thread is very very helpful in our search to learn from the past and to move forward. The discussion about handing over illustrates two of the cardinal problems in the teaching and practice of WN: Authority and Oneness. The authority that is “The Authority” we as believers must honor is the headship of Christ realized through the authority of the Holy Spirit. We may touch this authority in the members of His body and when we do, it is a glorious thing. But the authority is His not the members and it is 100% a conditional matter related to the persons through whom we experience the authority of the Holy Spirit. That is, sometimes the authority of the Spirit can flow through a saint and sometimes it does not due to the condition of the brother or sister at the time or due to the Lord chosing not to express His authority at that time through that particular member. (More on this in the future.)

Just as critical is the concept of “Oneness.” The scriptural oneness is the “oneness of the Spirit” and “the oneness of the Faith,” and of course the reality of the “One Body of Christ.” Never are we urged to always join in oneness with a spiritual enterprise or a burden of a servant of the Lord. Rather, Regarding the practice to preserve the “oneness of the Body” please see 1 Cor 12:23-25, "and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another."

Please note that any preferential care is a division in the body. If those who “Handed over” are given more preference, then there is the practice of dividing the body of Christ, a most serious matter. In fact, to preserve the oneness of the Body we must give more abundant honor to the weaker ones. In other words, WN should have urged his co-workers to shower love and care on those who had not “handed over” their possessions.

The example of “handing over” in China cannot be compared to Acts chapter five. There was not a promotion of laying all possessions at the feet of the apostles in order to facilitate the work of the apostles, but rather a pooling of their resources to meet the common needs. Initially the apostles administered the funds. Thus the Word records that they laid their possessions at the feet of the apostles rather than a gift to the church. The possessions were not for carrying out “the Work” but to meet the needs of the believers in the church in Jerusalem. Please keep in mind that many of those saved on the Day of Pentecost were from other countries and had no way to support themselves in Jerusalem. Later the apostles separated the administration of the funds from their responsibility and asked that this be carried out by the deacons. Thus, the practice of WN to raise funds through a promotion of “handing over” in order to supply his workers and migrations is not according the New Testament. Even more the business enterprises of WL in order to support workers and migrations to new places cannot be supported by the New Testament. Yes, Paul made tents and worked night and day to support those who labored with him but that had absolutely nothing to do with raising funds from saints whether it is “handing over” or an “investment in a business.”

It was the teaching of "Deputy Authority" and the practice of a special, particular “oneness”, a oneness which was related to the “apostles” that led to so very many problems and even tragic results. Thus, to be “one” with WL’s latest “burden” was not a matter of a free choice and individual leading from the Head, Christ, but became a matter of rebellion against or submission to the Lord’s Deputy Authority and a matter of keeping or breaking of the oneness. On the other hand, all the new, latest and greatest flows became an opportunity for ambitious fleshly men to gain leverage in their rush for position and recognition. I am sickened, as I reflect back on elder-co-workers’ meetings and how some of the sycophants would stand and lie about their spiritual feats which they claimed were due to how one they were with “the Ministry’s” burden. Also, it was so sad to witness dear brothers publicly humiliated for their failure to support the latest boondoggle or because they were caring for the local church under their care without the proper sufficient regard for Anaheim and the LSM.

When the third chapter of my account is released in December, I will tell the parallel story of the rise of the centralized movement under the twin leadership of Witness Lee and Max Rapoport and at the same time I will tell of the genuine work of the Spirit in many places in the lives of many of the dear believers. Do not presume that WL and MR only had bad motives and had no gift or supply that could benefit others. But for sure, the concept of “Oneness” and “Deputy Authority” led the two leaders and many others including myself to err greatly, to sin against the truth and against the members of Christ.

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Old 11-18-2008, 10:37 AM   #69
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Oregon,

I see your point. But that is not at all what I meant. I meant that Peter's authority to enforce his apostolic commands came from God, whereas no one has such authority today, or at least, there is no way to verify that anyone has such authority today, which is effectively the same thing.

My larger point was that rules like "giving all" cannot work without some enforcement, which presumes that someone has the authority to enforce giving all. Simply entertaining that someone has such authority is opening the door to abuse. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see that.

Lee's infamous "fermentation" tirade (and others like it) are examples of his trying to enforce by swinging his self-presumed deputorial weight. In all these cases he overstepped his bounds. Lee's authority stopped at any organization he formed (LSM) or any church he led (none).

I'd like to make another point. Lee stated in his defense during that time, "I had the deputy authority. But I never used it", trying to impress that he was meek. His statement is disingenuous and hollow for the following reason: Simply leading people to believe that he had deputy authority was using it, because their entire reaction to him and what he said is going to be warped by their believing such a thing.

One would think he was smart enough to realize that.

Thanks for the clarification Igzy.
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:11 PM   #70
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To connect I Cor 12.24-25, "But God has so composed (blended?!?) the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another," with the matter of "handing over" is extremely appropriate. How many other allegories were used to divide the LC's? I remember the matter of the "trainees," the "army," and the "overcomers," three such classifications of believers, which caused huge devastations and conflicts to the Lord's people. Each was used to divide the saints. Each was used to manipulate us into the "have's" and the "have nots."

Brother Hope, to expand on your points here is very helpful. Related to "oneness with the ministry," consider how many precious brothers became "man-pleasers" through this errant form of distorted oneness. We were usurped from living before the Lord and pleasing Him. Zealots rose to prominence in leadership positions, while mature shepherds were shamed as humiliated backsliders. I witnessed many who were divisive in the name of oneness, causing destruction to God's children, yet commended and uplifted by "headquarters." Nearly everybody was fooled. The few who were not were "branded" as they walked out the door.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:30 PM   #71
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Related to "oneness with the ministry," consider how many precious brothers became "man-pleasers" through this errant form of distorted oneness.
Ohio, If we say we are for "oneness of the spirit" or "oneness of the faith", then oneness with a particular ministry is insignificant and irrelative. This is since oneness of the spirit or oneness of the faith is not limited to any particular ministry.
It is beyond rationale how brothers and sisters are "branded" because they have the width and the depth to recieve more than one earthly ministry. When you break it down, don't all these earthly ministries come from one heavenly ministry?

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:21 AM   #72
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I find this thread most valuable and enlightening, to say the least, after having read now through each post.

I will now have an added dimension in my understanding due to the writing efforts of many, especially two brothers who have been spearheading this thread. KTS and Ohio, perhaps I have helped you in the past, but now you have helped me. I refer to major helps in our concepts related to things Witness Lee, Watchman Nee, the local churches and the work.

Now brother Hope is here to help the focus become clearer on mistakes made concerning the church and the work. - This is a significant time. It is a time of transition.

I will share only what word has come to me toward the end of my reading. It is related to the following word by Don Rutledge:

-Just as critical is the concept of “Oneness.” The scriptural oneness is the “oneness of the Spirit” and “the oneness of the Faith,” and of course the reality of the “One Body of Christ.” Never are we urged to always join in oneness with a spiritual enterprise or a burden of a servant of the Lord. Rather, regarding the practice to preserve the “oneness of the Body” please see 1 Cor 12:23-25, "and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another."

Please note that any preferential care is a division in the body. If those who “Handed over” are given more preference, then there is the practice of dividing the body of Christ, a most serious matter. In fact, to preserve the oneness of the Body we must give more abundant honor to the weaker ones. In other words, WN should have urged his co-workers to shower love and care on those who had not “handed over” their possessions. –


There was a day when it would have taken something substantial for me to question Witness Lee. But that day came. And, now I must question also Watchman Nee.

Division in the Body is the issue here.

In the 1986 Pledge of the Elders to follow Witness Lee as the commander-in-chief, included in that Pledge was the taking care of saints including the backslidden ones. Refer to www.twoturmoils.com/pledge.pdf. The Pledge was a reflection of Lee’s own words and exhortations, which Ray Graver and Benson Phillips responded to in their composing of the “pledge” (or Letter of Agreement) to follow brother Lee and his leadership.

But here is how Witness Lee himself responded to a backsliding one. This is a representative example of how many people were treated in the churches who did not fall in line with the new way “flow”. www.twoturmoils.com/PaperintheWind.pdf

www.twoturmoils.com/dissenters.pdf

The Lord is surely leading us, step by step.

Last edited by Indiana; 11-19-2008 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:41 AM   #73
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Ohio, If we say we are for "oneness of the spirit" or "oneness of the faith", then oneness with a particular ministry is insignificant and irrelative. This is since oneness of the spirit or oneness of the faith is not limited to any particular ministry. It is beyond rationale how brothers and sisters are "branded" because they have the width and the depth to recieve more than one earthly ministry. When you break it down, don't all these earthly ministries come from one heavenly ministry? Terry
Exactly!

"Early-Lee" was fond of saying "oneness of the spirit" or "oneness of the faith." It was "later-Lee" who transmuted this into the phrase "oneness of the body." This phrase is not in the Bible. Now you can see why it is not. The phrase is divisive. Then we come to the phrase "one with the ministry," and it gets worse. This phrase is not only divisive, but it is corrupting. This phrase transmutes brothers into "bullies." This phrase makes people "man-pleasers." This phrase makes us "anti-Christ."
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:52 AM   #74
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It was "later-Lee" who transmuted this into the phrase "oneness of the body." This phrase is not in the Bible. Now you can see why it is not. The phrase is divisive.

I do not understand how that aspect of the one Body called its "oneness" is either unscriptural or divisive.

Quote:
Eph 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Eph 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Eph 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4 {There is} one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Notwithstanding that, brother Paul clearly said there were multiple ministries, specifically for the benefit of the one Body:

Quote:
1Cr 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Cr 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
1Cr 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all {persons.}
1Cr 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1Cr 12:8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
1Cr 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
1Cr 12:10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another {various} kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
1Cr 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
1Cr 12:12 For even as the body is one and {yet} has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
1Cr 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
1Cr 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:32 AM   #75
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...But here is how Witness Lee himself responded to a backsliding one. This is a representative example of how many people were treated in the churches who did not fall in line with the new way “flow”. www.twoturmoils.com/PaperintheWind.pdf www.twoturmoils.com/dissenters.pdf
Dear Indiana and other Posters,

I had never read the two short entries Indiana referred to. They are devastating. The pledge was bad enough but the attitude toward the dear believers, oh my. The verses used to justify the terrible fellowship contained in the publication are so upside down. Those who expressed concerns in the late 80s were the ones concerned about those causing dissensions and hindrances which were contrary to the teaching which we had learned. Eventually many of the original brothers and sisters had to turn away from them. How ironic that it was John Ingall and John So and many others who were branded.

The Greek word in Romans 16:17 for dissensions or divisions is a special word that means a division within the larger whole. It is to form a special group aka to be faithful to the Lord is not enough but you must also be faithful to the Lord’s Recovery as WL declares in the publication. Thus you have Romans 16:17. Within the circle of those who are faithful to the Lord is a smaller circle, “those who are faithful to the Lord’s Recovery.” When the entire experience of the late 80’s was unfolding brother after brother had a strong anointing to stop all contact with the LSM and WL. In 1989, I was visiting the brethren in Switzerland. One morning about 15 brothers were gathered together. The Lord’s presence was so strong you could almost cut it with a knife. Suddenly as we were praying and ministering to the Lord and fellowshipping the word came that we should just drop the efforts to work through things with LSM and WL and move on. I never attempted to contact them again. At the time, I was not thinking about Romans 16:17 but it is so clear that it applied. It was a bull's-eye.

I also consider the visits and letters WL received from so many “concerned brothers” were in the mode of a warning as mentioned in Titus 3:10. Unfortunately WL insisted on continuing his activity and the activity of the LSM office to create division and factions and eventually produced publications such as “Fermentation” and this one I have just discovered “The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostle.” It is all very shameful and such a pity.

Rom 16:17-18, Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
Titus 3:10: Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,
May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:15 AM   #76
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www.twoturmoils.com/dissenters.pdf

Dissenting Ones
Here is the way “dissenters” are handled in the recovery. This way of dealing with dissenting ones is applied still today even to someone like me having legitimate concerns fifteen years after the turmoil.

“To avoid further damage by the present turmoil, we need to practice a strict quarantine over this contagious disease. Whenever any of the dissenting ones attempts to contact you, no matter in what way and in what polite or ”spiritual" manner", you should keep the apostles’ teaching in Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10 to turn away from him and reject him. Do not try to exhort or argue with such people or to find out what and how they really are. If you say anything to them, you will “swallow their bait” and they will “hook” you. You are a gentleman, a sincere, honest Christian, and a humble follower of the Lord, but they are under the deceiving of the devil and unavoidably bear some of his poison. It is impossible to talk or argue with them without being contaminated by their poison. Instead of spending the time to meet with this kind of dissenting ones, we had better save our time to pray and get into the Word so that we may have some riches of Christ to minister to the saints.

To serve the Lord, to be one of the co-workers, the first requirement is faithfulness not only to the Lord but also to His recovery. We must regard the Lord’s recovery and not consider it anyone’s personal work. Merely to be faithful to the Lord is not adequate. We must also be faithful to the Lord’s recovery. To show our faithfulness to the recovery, we must consider ourselves married to the recovery. We all need to get ourselves married to the Lord’s recovery. May the lord have The Lord have mercy on us all."
(From The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostle, pp. 32-33.)1
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:43 AM   #77
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“To avoid further damage by the present turmoil, we need to practice a strict quarantine over this contagious disease. Whenever any of the dissenting ones attempts to contact you, no matter in what way and in what polite or ”spiritual" manner", you should keep the apostles’ teaching in Romans 16:17 and Titus 3:10 to turn away from him and reject him. Do not try to exhort or argue with such people or to find out what and how they really are. If you say anything to them, you will “swallow their bait” and they will “hook” you. You are a gentleman, a sincere, honest Christian, and a humble follower of the Lord, but they are under the deceiving of the devil and unavoidably bear some of his poison. It is impossible to talk or argue with them without being contaminated by their poison. Instead of spending the time to meet with this kind of dissenting ones, we had better save our time to pray and get into the Word so that we may have some riches of Christ to minister to the saints.

To serve the Lord, to be one of the co-workers, the first requirement is faithfulness not only to the Lord but also to His recovery. We must regard the Lord’s recovery and not consider it anyone’s personal work. Merely to be faithful to the Lord is not adequate. We must also be faithful to the Lord’s recovery. To show our faithfulness to the recovery, we must consider ourselves married to the recovery. We all need to get ourselves married to the Lord’s recovery. May the Lord have mercy on us all."
(From The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostle, pp. 32-33.)
This title encapsulates the entire slippery slope quite nicely.

In one section, Lee strenuously argues that there is only one ministry even though there are many ministries and that because there is only one ministry, there are not many ministries. He then concludes the section by saying:
Quote:
I hope that this matter will be made clear to all the dear saints in the Lord's recovery.
Yeah.

Like that's going to happen.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:13 AM   #78
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Default Quarantine according to Lee

In The Ministry of the New Testament and the Teaching and Fellowship of the Apostle, Lee identifies the word "quarantine" as the action of those who are dealing with one who is guilty of "gross sin" and he gets there by connecting Paul's word in 1 Cor. 5:13 to Leviticus 13:45-46 by means of the Greek word for "remove" utilized in the Septuagint version of Leviticus. (For the record, I'm not opening my Septuagint just now to double check that and just accepting this claim at face value. Further, checking the Leviticus citation, there is clearly a typo and it should be Leviticus 13:4-5 or perhaps 13:4-6.)

Not to say such a connection of 1 Cor. 5:13 to Leviticus 13:4-6 is quite a stretch (since it appears to be based upon the single Greek word) but even so, the act of "quarantine" defined in Leviticus 13:4-6 is only for a limited period of time and, to the extent that we have made this connection, this is NOT a connection for any purpose other than the case of "gross sin". The extension of this tenuous connection to the "turning away" instruction repeated on account of opinion-based sectarianism (which is but one problem, not three as Lee discusses in this title) is simply not justified by anything.

In other words, *IF* a "quarantine" might be justified on account of "gross sin," this is still not the same thing as the "turning way" on account of opinionated schismactics. And where a "quarantine" would be applied, it would only be for a limited period of time and not open-ended.

Ironically, I think in retrospect we can all know how the "quarantine" for "gross sin" should have been applied during the days of the Leviticus LS training. Moreover, I think it's fairly clear how many did indeed "turn away" from the ones who have taught concerning the heretical division.

Very interesting.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:58 AM   #79
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I do not understand how that aspect of the one Body called its "oneness" is either unscriptural or divisive.
The "oneness of the body" can be manipulated to provide scriptural incentive for any controlling leader in the RCC, the Brethren, or the LC's. This phrase has been used in recent history by the BB's to manipulate all LC's into submission. It robs us of our liberty to be one with Christ, the Head of the body. At its basest level, it silences all "concerned brothers" to go along with the program, and not voice any concerns. Oneness with leadership is used to coerce uniformity and limit all expressions of so-called "individuality" of saints, the "distinctions" of gifts of gifted ministers, and the various churches in the body of Christ.

The early church, headed up by Rome, must have had many precious brothers who were very concerned about the downward slide into idolatry, formality, hierarchy, and the like. What silenced their voices? The oneness of the body. That is exactly what "Catholic" means. The voice of conscience gets overruled by the oneness of the body. This is the exact same battle which was waged at the Whistler quarantine.

I believe many BB's are concerned about the present course of LSM action. They were concerned when John Ingalls was quarantined, and they were concerned when TC was quarantined. They are concerned about the many lawsuits. They were concerned about the behavior of Philip Lee. They were concerned about the power vested in LSM. Why are they silent? The "oneness of the body" has silenced them. It sounds sooooo good, even almost scriptural, but it can be a tool in the hands of God's enemy. He has used "distorted oneness" for 2,000 years. He has become quite good at it.
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:55 PM   #80
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The oneness of the body. That is exactly what "Catholic" means. The voice of conscience gets overruled by the oneness of the body. This is the exact same battle which was waged at the Whistler quarantine.
Yeah, I guess I still don't really understand, though.

Maybe it's my stubbornness in distinguishing between the one Body and "Universal Church" that's getting in the way...
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Old 11-19-2008, 03:19 PM   #81
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Default Re: Deputy Authority and Oneness

Someone tell me where in the Bible it says that in order to be faithful to the Lord we have to be faithful to His "recovery."

Sorry, but I don't see those verses. Someone want to enlighten me?

It bothers me very much when I read the Concerned Brothers writings, even those of Nigel Tomes, and they still talk about "The Recovery" as if it was something more than a movement.

It really makes me wonder about them and what they are thinking.
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Old 11-19-2008, 03:42 PM   #82
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Default Re: Deputy Authority and Oneness

Dear Igzy,

I am with you on this "The Recovery Thing." I cannot ever remember using the term and was and am very bothered when I hear it. It absolutely refers to the work of Watchman Nee and those who seek to carry it forward. This is in the principle of the big tree versus the mustard seed. The tree is a perennial plant where as the mustard plant is an annual and must be new every year. The Lord's work is in the principle of the mustard plant and is always new and not some kind of tradition. The Holy Spirit plants His work new and fresh and does not depend on the passing on of a spiritual tradition or movement. Acts 13:36, "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay;" Here we see a very important principle. God has His servants for their generation. He never establishes a dynastic type spiritual work. David died!!! The Lord must raise up new servants for every generation.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to be a true disciple.

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Old 11-19-2008, 08:53 PM   #83
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Maybe some things to keep in mind...

At this late date, let's face it guys, the venerable "early" Watchman Nee is mostly a folk hero figure. There are probably only a handful of people alive today who were there with Nee in the early days. I suppose that Stephen Kaung could be considered as such a one, but then again I don't believe that he joined Nee as a co-worker until the 1940s. Point being here is that all we have to go upon are the recollections (2nd hand) of those who were mentored or discipled by one of Nee's converts. Of course we also have the recollections of one Witness Lee...but we now know how dubious these "recollections" may be, now don't we? Lastly, but not least, we do have the recollections and observations of certain trusted "outsiders" that were there in the early days of the Little Flock. (cf: "Against the Tide")

Apparently Watchman Nee put very little to paper in his earlier days. He was a speaker and doer, but not much of a writer. (after Spiritual Man that is). What we do know for sure is what was produced by Nee's early ministry to his beloved countrymen - many souls were saved and many churches were planted. And this, after all, is the ultimate call of the Great Commission. To be considered a great man of God one must be fully committed to and act in complete obedience to the Great Commission, and in my opinion Watchman Nee got off to a great and glorious start in this respect. So no matter what his faults were later on (and there were many), his reward is there in heaven with his heavenly Father, whose glorious presence he is no doubt enjoying as I write this post. May we all receive grace and mercy enough to be one tenth as profitable and useful as "early" Nee.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:16 AM   #84
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

After the LSM denominational churches recovered the matter of lawsuits within a church and division by the improper uplifting of a man and his ministry, as seen in 1 Corinthians, I dropped the matter of there being a recovery.

The only recovery I believe in is the recovery God is doing within each one of us.

Also, whatever ministry is exercised by man from God that ministry must be received only in the light of Scripture. When man's teachings begin to veer off; then we must stop receiving those teaching which deviate and acknowledge that, no matter how much treasured by us, the minister and his ministry has left the Word of God.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:19 PM   #85
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Dear ones,

All the recent fellowship on this thread has been very helpful to me. How healthy it is to be able to discuss both the “wheat” and the “chaff” in WN’s ministry. May we acknowledge that which is really of the Lord in WN’s ministry and be willing to be taught by it. At the same time, may we also acknowledge that which is not of the Lord and be willing to be warned by it. While WN, like all of us, was a weak and fragile vessel during his entire lifetime, it is good to be able to recognize the purity in the ministry of “early Nee” up through 1942. I echo dear brother UntoHim's plea: “May we all receive grace and mercy enough to be one tenth as profitable and useful as ‘early’ Nee.” Amen and Amen!

I appreciate the critique of the whole idea of “recovery” as well. The great recovery work our God is doing is the inward working He is doing in all of us. Amen! The whole idea of one group being able to claim that they are uniquely “The Lord’s Recovery” on the whole earth is, sad to say, another bad fruit that arose in seed form during the ministry of “later Nee”. In his well-known 1934 message entitled “What Are We?” WN soberly viewed the move of the Spirit in China as only one aspect of God’s testimony on the whole earth. In stark contrast, the tone is completely different in WN's 1948 message entitled “God’s Work of Recovery (1)" (This 1948 message was an updated version of 1934's "What Are We?".). In this 1948 message, WN stated that as far as they knew, WN and those with him in China had reached the “final recovery” and God’s “recovery” work on the earth had to do solely with them.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:08 PM   #86
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear Posters,

This morning I received an email from Brother Nigel. It is copied below.

Dear Brother Don,
Here is a quote from Watchman Nee exactly along the lines you brought out about God starting again/afresh with each generation/era concerning Acts 13:36 David served his own generation: "David 'served his own generation,' and slept (Acts 13:36). He could not serve two! Where today we seek to perpetuate our work by setting up an organization or society or system, the OT saints served their own day and passed on. This is an important principle of life. Wheat is sown, grows, ears, is reaped, and then the whole plant, even to the root, is plowed out. That is the Church, never rooted permanently in the earth. God’s work is spiritual to the point of having no earthly roots, no smell of earth on it at all. Men pass on, but the Lord remains. The spiritual testimony of believers is to be heavenly, not earthly. Everything to do with the Church must be up-to-date and living, meeting the present—one might even say the passing—needs of the hour. Never must it become fixed, static. God Himself takes away His workers, but He gives others. Our work suffers, but His never does. Nothing touches Him. He is still God.” [W. Nee, What Shall This Man Do? in the Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 40, pp. 84-5]


WN certainly said about what I had written only much better. I assume that the messages for What Shall This Man Do came from the early ministry of WN.

This discussion has caused me to mull over some saying of WL. I heard him countless times relate the circumstances around his leaving Mainland China for Taiwan just before the communist took over. He shared in private and in public how WN told all the co-workers that they all could go to the Lord for what they should do but that Witness Lee must leave in order to preserve the Lord’s work should they on the mainland be wiped out. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS MEANT BY THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE MEANING OF WORDS. I assumed WL was referring to truth and testimony. I now realize that it was the continuation of a movement.

When WN and WL referred to “Work” they did not mean the work of the Lord in a generic sense but rather their particular work and not just their particular personal work but a movement and particular entity which had a life and direction of its own.

The concept of “the Work” was a huge mistake by WN and was and continues to undermine many truths that he did open up to the Body of Christ.

I have had several interesting talks with former co-workers from the mainland. They all have their own version of what happened before the communist came in. As far as I am concerned most, including WL’s account, are in the category of myths and endless genealogies referred to in 1 Timothy. Unfortunately all the various versions eventually have a central point. That is, the continuation of the “Work” of WN. The stress will always eventually come to how WN would want his work and legacy carried on and who is doing so in the truest way. Thus you have the basis for all the purges and storms of the last 60 years.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 11-21-2008, 06:31 AM   #87
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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I have had several interesting talks with former co-workers from the mainland. They all have their own version of what happened before the communist came in. As far as I am concerned most, including WL’s account, are in the category of myths and endless genealogies referred to in 1 Timothy.
I have come to the conclusion that just about all church history, past and present, which I heard from WL can now be considered "myths and endless genealogies," used for self-serving purposes.

Quote:
Unfortunately all the various versions eventually have a central point. That is, the continuation of the “Work” of WN. The stress will always eventually come to how WN would want his work and legacy carried on and who is doing so in the truest way. Thus you have the basis for all the purges and storms of the last 60 years.
For years I was given the impression that because we were "so special" to the Lord, that his enemy worked overtime to damage us. This resulted in the numerous "storms" we passed thru. I bought into the whole package.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:59 AM   #88
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Amen, dear brothers Hope and Ohio,

You have brought up some very important points which require serious reexamination by all those who, like me, "bought into the whole package".

The sweet portion shared by dear brother Nigel was spoken by WN somewhere between July of 1938 and May of 1939 while WN was in Europe. That places this sweet speaking squarely within the period of "early Nee".

Quote:
"Wheat is sown, grows ears, is reaped, and then the whole plant, even to the root, is plowed out. That is the Church, never rooted permanently in the earth. God’s work is spiritual to the point of having no earthly roots, no smell of earth on it at all. Men pass on, but the Lord remains."
Amen and Amen! What a view. The Church is never rooted permanently in the earth. There surely is both a time to plant and also a time to plow out, even down to the root. Instead of putting all our efforts into preserving a movement which has already fully run its course, we should rather be open to whatever God is doing to bring forth something so new and fresh.

BTW - There is an excellent message spoken by a leading brother in Toronto regarding "David serving his own generation". Go to http://churchintoronto.org/Video.htm. Click on the message entitled "Acts 13 & 14". One warning - at the end of this message, there is a VERY touching tribute to a certain class of sisters. I had no idea that this tribute was there and it snuck up on me. I was so touched and I almost cried my eyeballs out! Make sure you bring plenty of handkerchiefs! This is by far the most touching tribute to sisters I have ever seen in any Local Church setting.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:34 PM   #89
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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This discussion has caused me to mull over some saying of WL. I heard him countless times relate the circumstances around his leaving Mainland China for Taiwan just before the communist took over. He shared in private and in public how WN told all the co-workers that they all could go to the Lord for what they should do but that Witness Lee must leave in order to preserve the Lord’s work should they on the mainland be wiped out. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS MEANT BY THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE MEANING OF WORDS. I assumed WL was referring to truth and testimony. I now realize that it was the continuation of a movement.

When WN and WL referred to “Work” they did not mean the work of the Lord in a generic sense but rather their particular work and not just their particular personal work but a movement and particular entity which had a life and direction of its own.

The concept of “the Work” was a huge mistake by WN and was and continues to undermine many truths that he did open up to the Body of Christ.

I have had several interesting talks with former co-workers from the mainland. They all have their own version of what happened before the communist came in. As far as I am concerned most, including WL’s account, are in the category of myths and endless genealogies referred to in 1 Timothy. Unfortunately all the various versions eventually have a central point. That is, the continuation of the “Work” of WN. The stress will always eventually come to how WN would want his work and legacy carried on and who is doing so in the truest way. Thus you have the basis for all the purges and storms of the last 60 years.
Hope, thank you for your perspective and the counterpoint you have provided. I'm sure many who have been brought up in the local churches would never hear of a perspective.
On another day you brought up the term recovery. It should be a personal matter of the Lord recovering us daily from the snares of the world and of ourselves.

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Old 11-22-2008, 11:45 AM   #90
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Dear ones,

I do believe dear brother Hope is touching upon something very important when he brings up this matter of “the Work”. While the concept of “The Ministry, The Work, and The Churches” is part of the speaking of “early Nee”, going at least as far back as The Normal Christian Church Life, the boundaries and the relationships between the “the Church” and the “the Work” were laid out very, very, carefully in TNCCL. In addition, in TNCCL the term “the Work” is used in a broad, scriptural, manner. WN says on page 187 of TNCCL: “. . . the work is the Body seeking increase”. This is a far cry from the later, much more limited, concept of “the Work” in which “the Work” has come to mean the continuation of the movement begun by WN.

As proof of the change in speaking regarding the boundaries and relationships between “the Church” and “the Work”, please compare the following two portions. Notice how in "later Nee" the apostles, the ones who are responsible for “the Work”, have come to have authority over the elders of the churches. (The emphasis in the following excerpts was added by me.)

From 1938’s The Normal Christian Church Life:

Quote:
“Once a church was established, all responsibility was handed over to the local elders, and from that day the apostles exercised no control whatever in its affairs. All management was in the hands of the elders, and if they thought it right, they could even refuse an apostle entry into their church . . . How did Paul deal with the adulterous believer in Corinth? . . . Paul could only bring his spiritual authority to bear on the situation. In the name of the Lord Jesus he could “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh" (v.5). He had no official authority to discipline him, but he had spiritual authority to deal with the case. He had his spiritual ‘rod’. The affairs of the local church are entirely independent of the apostles. Once elders have been appointed, all control passes into their hands, and while thereafter an apostle may still instruct and persuade, he can never interfere.” (pp. 44-45)
Some Speaking from 1948 in The Resumption of Watchman Nee’s Ministry:

Quote:
The elders are responsible for the church in a locality (Titus 1:5), whereas the apostles are responsible for the work in a region . . . First, God established the elders as the authority. God has also established apostles as the authority. Accusations against an elder should be presented to the apostles (1 Tim. 5:19). The elders are the authorities, and the apostles are also the authorities. Moreover, the elders have to submit to the authority of the apostles. (pp. 308-309)
Compare the last sentence in each of these two excerpts. A definite shift in attitude and speaking has taken place. In 1948, the elders now had to submit to the authority of the apostles. On top of that, the reference to 1 Tim. 5:19 is troubling. I realize that WN was speaking “off the cuff” in the second excerpt, but 1 Tim. 5:19 clearly states that any accusations against an elder must be based upon the testimony of two or three witnesses. There is nothing at all in 1 Tim. 5:19 related to presenting accusations against an elder to the apostles. Am I missing something here?
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:51 AM   #91
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I am always fascinated by people’s answer to the question “if you could go back in time and talk to any person who would it be”. It actually tells a lot about the person. Of course most Christians would no doubt say “the Lord Jesus”. Let’s just say the question was the same, but added the proviso of “anybody but the Lord Jesus”. Who would be your second choice? For the purposes of our discussions here, let’s just say we could go back to early 20th century Mainland China to witness the early life and times of Watchman Nee. What would we see? What would surprise us? What might even shock us? What would disappoint us? What questions would we have for him? If we could warn him of anything what would we warn him of? (personally, I might warn him about promoting a certain ambitious person who went by the name Witness).

I could be wrong, but I have serious doubts if the early Watchman Nee had any thoughts of starting a world-wide movement to be known as “The Lord’s Recovery”. While there is no doubt that Nee had a very dim view of the “Christianity” that was preached and practiced by Western missionaries of the day (and who could blame him), I would contend that his early focus was the preaching of the gospel to the unsaved, and the placing of godly men and women to take the lead among newly established churches. Again, this is the focus of the New Testament and not the establishment of an all-encompassing and all-controlling ministry for the age.

If there is to be a demarcation between early-Nee and later-Nee, then I would say we must determine when Watchman may have taken his focus off the gospel and “teaching them everything I have commanded”. At some point Nee, like so many Christian leaders, may have succumbed somewhat to pride, a spirit of arrogance and a misplaced notion of his importance in the Body of Christ. There is absolutely no doubt that one of his blind spots was this matter of “deputy authority”, but since he didn’t write (publish) a whole lot towards the end of his public ministry we don’t know for sure his view as compared to his earlier years.

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Old 11-29-2008, 12:28 AM   #92
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Compare the last sentence in each of these two excerpts. A definite shift in attitude and speaking has taken place. In 1948, the elders now had to submit to the authority of the apostles. On top of that, the reference to 1 Tim. 5:19 is troubling. I realize that WN was speaking “off the cuff” in the second excerpt, but 1 Tim. 5:19 clearly states that any accusations against an elder must be based upon the testimony of two or three witnesses. There is nothing at all in 1 Tim. 5:19 related to presenting accusations against an elder to the apostles. Am I missing something here?
Kisstheson, thank you for the quotes. I have read the first book you quoted from 1938, but not the second. What a change over a ten year period. As for your question about 1 Timothy 5:19, I see it as an interpretation based off an assumption. In order to make such an assumption, there would have to be words in the Bible that just aren't there. Same as you KTS, "am I missing something here?"

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Old 11-29-2008, 12:41 AM   #93
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I could be wrong, but I have serious doubts if the early Watchman Nee had any thoughts of starting a world-wide movement to be known as “The Lord’s Recovery”.

If there is to be a demarcation between early-Nee and later-Nee, then I would say we must determine when Watchman may have taken his focus off the gospel and “teaching them everything I have commanded”.

UntoHim, two key indirect components between "early Nee" and "later Nee" was World War II and the increasing control of China by the Communists following World War II. Maybe Watchman Nee saw a need for the work to continue in other parts of Southeast Asia. I don't see it as what was later known as the recovery, but sending workers to different parts of Southeast Asia to spread the gospel.
I wonder if brothers who are still living from the post WWII era have an account to give regarding Watchman Nee's intent. Was it to spread the gospel via decentralized work or by a centralized work?

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Old 11-29-2008, 08:14 AM   #94
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...I do believe dear brother Hope is touching upon something very important when he brings up this matter of “the Work”.
...Compare the last sentence in each of these two excerpts. A definite shift in attitude and speaking has taken place. In 1948, the elders now had to submit to the authority of the apostles. On top of that, the reference to 1 Tim. 5:19 is troubling. I realize that WN was speaking “off the cuff” in the second excerpt, but 1 Tim. 5:19 clearly states that any accusations against an elder must be based upon the testimony of two or three witnesses. There is nothing at all in 1 Tim. 5:19 related to presenting accusations against an elder to the apostles. Am I missing something here?
When a Christian group is first formed, or emerges from another, things tend to go rather smoothly at first. This is especially true when a movement is under the leadership of one person. When a church or group of churches expands some harsh realities must be delt with - natural human feelings, differences and strong preferences come into play. This is where it becomes silly and even dangerous to over-spiritualize things by telling everybody to "just take Christ" and then somehow everything will be ok. We have seen what happens when people "just take Christ"...you end up with The Local Church of Witness Lee religion.

On the "practical" side we have these two matters of "the work" and the artificial, man-made doctrine of locality. Both of these can and have been used as tools of great abuse among God's people. As far as I can tell, I think early Watchman Nee had a biblical and healthy notion of "the work" and how it should be carried out. Now his locality teaching, that's another matter, for it essentially ignores hundreds and hundreds of years of church history.
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:02 PM   #95
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On the "practical" side we have these two matters of "the work" and the artificial, man-made doctrine of locality. Both of these can and have been used as tools of great abuse among God's people. As far as I can tell, I think early Watchman Nee had a biblical and healthy notion of "the work" and how it should be carried out. Now his locality teaching, that's another matter, for it essentially ignores hundreds and hundreds of years of church history.

The teaching of one church in every city is not artificial UntoHim. How can you make such a statement. Look in the Word of God. Look at the record of the New Testiment. You may not like it but that doesn't change what is recorded in scripture. The New Testiment writings are full of evidense that in the minds of the early saints all the believers in a city were the church in that city......the church in Corinth, the church in Antioch, the church in Jerusalem etc. The local churches may have deviated from the true practice of oneness but that doesn't change the reality of the Word. The hundreds of years of church history that you refer to is a history of fallen man's exercising his own thoughts and views rather than submitting himself to the truth of the Word.

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Old 11-30-2008, 06:23 AM   #96
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The teaching of one church in every city is not artificial UntoHim. How can you make such a statement. Look in the Word of God. Look at the record of the New Testiment. You may not like it but that doesn't change what is recorded in scripture. The New Testiment writings are full of evidense that in the minds of the early saints all the believers in a city were the church in that city......the church in Corinth, the church in Antioch, the church in Jerusalem etc. The local churches may have deviated from the true practice of oneness but that doesn't change the reality of the Word. The hundreds of years of church history that you refer to is a history of fallen man's exercising his own thoughts and views rather than submitting himself to the truth of the Word.
Oregon,

I also embraced the "one city, one church" doctrine and practice for decades ... that is, until I began to seriously examine the fruit of such practice in the wake of recent quarantines and lawsuits. The "one city, one church" doctrine and practice has accurately been explained as being descriptive, but not prescriptive in the New Testament. This is very important to me. As one LC author has noted, "there is more scriptural basis for head-covering in the N.T., than the practice of one city, one church."

I currently view this church model similarly to the practice of "having all things common" at the end of Acts ch. 4. This practice was described in the N.T. but never prescribed by the Apostles for us to practice. This was tried once -- it's called communism. For us to do so now, prescribing what the scripture only describes, is to "add to the word of God." Peter also cast his net "on the right side of the boat" (John 21.6), which was quite productive at the time, but has never worked for me as it did for him.

The Bible is filled with events such as these. They are marvelous testimonies of God's dynamic salvation, but we should not infer that this alone is the "God-ordained way." Church history is replete with brothers who unsuccessfully attempted to convert God's one-time blessing into a mandate for future practice -- it's called religious tradition, and is the basis for every denomination and sect.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:01 AM   #97
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Church history is replete with brothers who unsuccessfully attempted to convert God's one-time blessing into a mandate for future practice -- it's called religious tradition, and is the basis for every denomination and sect.
External impositions are not reality. We are one due to the one life, not due to one mandate, externally imposed. Requiring that all christians be one, practically, is to shove God aside and impose our own warped view of how things "should" be upon what God is already doing.

Yes, all christians are one in every city, hamlet and burg, but to make that a condition of fellowship bears horrid fruit. It brings scattering, bitterness, estrangement, division; the opposite of what is on God's heart. If you ignore the "oneness" and focus on the One, and you'll find yourself more one, and more blessed, than you could have imagined. But if you focus on the "oneness" you'll go somewhere strange, and dark.

If you want to see the paragon of externally derived oneness, look at Revelation 13. People could not buy or sell if they didn't have the "one" mark, that of the beast (v.17). That is the "oneness" of totalitarianism; it is the "oneness" of those who don't trust God, and impose their own.

These cities which are supposedly the basis of our practical oneness are as temporary and valueless as our current physical bodies. Galatians 3:28 says, there is no Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female...we could add there is no Detroit, Toledo, or Missoula. It may be that we temporarily congregate with those in Missoula, but to make the "church in Missoula" the center of our orbit is to create a new Babylon. It is man-made, not divine, it attempts to make something permanent which is merely temporary, it thwarts the move of God on earth, and it divides and scatters, rather than building and assembling.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:46 AM   #98
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The teaching of one church in every city is not artificial UntoHim. How can you make such a statement. Look in the Word of God. Look at the record of the New Testiment...
The “one church in every city” as PRACTICED by Witness Lee and his followers is most certainly a forced, man-made oneness. There are countless examples of Lee and Company moving to a city where a group of believers were already meeting in proper biblical oneness, then “taking the ground” and declaring themselves “THE church in so-and so”. (while calling all existing churches “daughters of the great whore”) Why didn’t Lee and his followers simply meet with a church that was already there? We all know the answer to this question, now don’t we.

Now “early” Watchman Nee is a different matter. My understanding is that he was, for the most part, establishing churches in places that had no healthy, biblically established fellowships. I would imagine that in many of those places there were only a handful of Christians, thus the ideal practice of all Christians breaking bread together in a given city could become a practical reality. This was a far cry from what Witness Lee and his followers have practiced for over 50 years. They move to a city, proselytize the bejeebers out of every Christian they meet (regardless if they are in a healthy, established fellowship or not), then set up shop to spread “the interpreted word” far and wide. This is NOT what was taught and practiced by the early apostles and believers as exemplified in the New Testament…not even close.

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Old 11-30-2008, 10:39 AM   #99
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Thank you UntoHim for this response. I totally agree with you and I am not promoting the "taking of the ground" as practiced by "The Local Churches". But If we all will be honest in looking into the Word and the practice of the early church as recorded there...do we not see all the believers in each of those cities spoken of referred to as to "the" church and not churches.

I know that the way this has been practiced by many followers of WL has been very wrong. And I will say this.......The presense of the Lord is with His people in many gatherings of believers who are not "Local Churches". I am blessed to have wonderful fellowship with dear brothers who would be condemded as being in one the the great whores daughters.

I currently felllowship with some "outside" of the LSM local churches and am certainly fed by the Lord with them. Still.....the Word of God is and will always be the Word of God. Iregardless of others mistakes....the word is a shining light. What others have done does not negate the truth of the Word. I see all the believers in those cities where the gosple went under the apostles referred to as the church in wherever city they were. There are no denominations recorded in the NT....only the church in Corinth, the church in Jerusalem, the church in Antioch etc. The Word is the final authority...not me...not you....not anyone.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:10 AM   #100
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If you ignore the "oneness" and focus on the "One", and you'll find yourself more one, and more blessed, than you could have imagined. But if you focus on the "oneness" you'll go somewhere strange, and dark.
Yes, indeed, and so well said Aron ...
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:09 PM   #101
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Amen, dear ones. The recent posts on this thread contain some excellent discussion and cover a very important point.

The reality of our oneness with all believers and the need to be open to receive all genuine believers are key points in the NT. These things, of course, have their practical application first and foremost in the place where we live. The NT record should serve to remind us that God’s testimony on this earth requires an actual expression of oneness amongst God’s people.

It does appear that the situation faced by “early Nee” in China is very different from that which exists today in many parts of the world. The vast majority of China in the early 1900’s was still largely pagan, and those whom the missionaries had gained for Christ became members of Western denominations. As such, “early Nee” was certainly being sensitive to the Spirit and to the Bible when he began to raise up churches “outside all known divisions and centered on Christ alone” (TAS’s words). Interestingly enough, in 1941 Bakht Singh was led by the Spirit and the Word to labor in a similar way in India and Pakistan.

To me, a big “fly in the ointment” came into Nee and Lee’s work when the Exclusive Brethren concept of “taking the ground” was introduced. At that point, a genuine move of the Spirit - which had been so sensitive to the Spirit and so willing to check everything against the Bible - became a movement of men. All those who supposedly “saw the oneness of the Body” and “stood on the ground of oneness” became, in their own eyes, superior to all others. Their own spiritual condition before the Lord did not matter nearly as much as their being faithful to “stand on the ground ‘til Jesus comes”. All others were “divisive” and it was OK to hurl all manner of hateful invectives against Christians who did not meet "on the proper ground”.

The situation today is so different from that which faced “early Nee”. Today, so many Christians assemble outside of the traditional denominations. Home churches, community churches, “free groups”, cell groups, etc. are all flourishing. The best of these are absolutely open to receive, and to fellowship with, all genuine believers in Christ. Today, so many rich ministers of Christ minister outside of any organized denomination. Stephen Kaung and his co-workers, the GLA brothers, and the many who minister to home churches are but three examples.

The unwillingness of the Local Church to embrace these other moves of the Spirit which exist outside of all known divisions, together with their insistence upon LSM publications via their “One Publication” edict, are two symptoms pointing to the sad fact that the Local Church has itself become yet another division in the Body of Christ. Two of the hallmarks of “early Nee” - sensitivity to the Spirit and willingness to check everything against the Bible - are sadly lacking.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:35 AM   #102
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To me, a big “fly in the ointment” came into Nee and Lee’s work when the Exclusive Brethren concept of “taking the ground” was introduced. At that point, a genuine move of the Spirit - which had been so sensitive to the Spirit and so willing to check everything against the Bible - became a movement of men. All those who supposedly “saw the oneness of the Body” and “stood on the ground of oneness” became, in their own eyes, superior to all others. Their own spiritual condition before the Lord did not matter nearly as much as their being faithful to “stand on the ground ‘til Jesus comes”. All others were “divisive” and it was OK to hurl all manner of hateful invectives against Christians who did not meet "on the proper ground”.
Brother KisstheSon,

Great observations here. How easy it is to look back at the Lord's blessing and think we have become someone "special." I remember talking with a well-respected, former LC worker who said, "no Christian group has enjoyed the Lord's blessing more than 25 years." That was his observation of the LC's and church history in general. How true!

The source of all decline is the pride in man's flesh. Even Paul was vulnerable to this, so the Lord in His abundant mercy gave him a "thorn" which would never be taken away. When the situation is bad, we seek the Lord. He answers our pleadings with His blessings. After we become accustomed to His blessing, we begin to think how special we are. You know the story.

Here's an interesting analogy I saw recently. We have a dog who often exhibits jealousy. She likes her "special seat" next to Mom. It's obvious (and quite humorous) to us all. Our dog makes no excuses for the way she is. She never shrouds her behavior with excuses. "Just get out of my seat!" She never blames anyone else. She has no teachings to vindicate her behavior. She just is who she is. We, however, are much more complicated. We rarely admit the obvious. We prefer to search the Bible high and low for suitable explanations for our bad behavior. Anything but simple confession! Honesty can be so hard! There has to be an alternative!

I view the Whistler quarantine the same way. Christian leaders, jealous for power, developing complex schemes to justify bad behavior. They will never admit the obvious. Hundreds of articles written. LSM releases their glossy 28 booklet "attack pack." Accusations fly back and forth. History is repeated ... again.

One of the original Brethren, A.N.Groves, made a striking comment when confronting a similar situation. Instead of condemning all those who were different some how, or deficient in some way, not up to "the standard" we require, he stated, and I paraphrase, "I would rather bear with all the wrongs of my brother in Christ, lest perhaps I miss out on that portion of Christ which he possesses."

When I began my journey in Christ, I possessed that attitude. After years "under the ministry," that attitude was long gone. Now I am on my journey back to what I once had.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:24 PM   #103
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But If we all will be honest in looking into the Word and the practice of the early church as recorded there...do we not see all the believers in each of those cities spoken of referred to as to "the" church and not churches.
Oregon,

Actually to be honest we must see in the NT believers in a house referred to as the church in that house.

I know, Nee taught that the church in the house is really the church in the city, but this is really just his assumption based on his bias.

If you really study it you must admit that saying the NT house church equals the city church is really an argument employing the fallacy of petitio principii (begging the question) in which the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

In other words, if a person hadn't already decided that city churches are the only valid ones, he never would claim based on the evidence of the NT text that the house church equals the city church.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:58 PM   #104
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Amen, dear ones. The recent posts on this thread contain some excellent discussion and cover a very important point.

The reality of our oneness with all believers and the need to be open to receive all genuine believers are key points in the NT. These things, of course, have their practical application first and foremost in the place where we live. The NT record should serve to remind us that God’s testimony on this earth requires an actual expression of oneness amongst God’s people.

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Oregon,

Actually to be honest we must see in the NT believers in a house referred to as the church in that house.

I know, Nee taught that the church in the house is really the church in the city, but this is really just his assumption based on his bias.

If you really study it you must admit that saying the NT house church equals the city church is really an argument employing the fallacy of petitio principii (begging the question) in which the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

In other words, if a person hadn't already decided that city churches are the only valid ones, he never would claim based on the evidence of the NT text that the house church equals the city church.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Be careful about striking the teaching regarding keeping the oneness by practicing “one church, one city.” It may prove to be a real tar baby.
First the NT never implies that we should endeavor to keep the oneness of locality. Rather we are urged to endeavor to keep the oneness of the Spirit and to arrive at the oneness of the Faith. On the other hand, if you just take a peek at the oneness of the Body of Christ, then the denominations and just about every free group would be guilty, at least to some degree, of dividing the Body of Christ. LORD HELP US!!!

A big source of the problem is the mixing of oneness with headship or authority. The headship of Christ, the authority of the Holy Spirit, is realized not universally but locally. There is no genuine headship exercised in the so called universal church. If so, then that authority is a human, institutional authority and has nothing to do with the headship of Christ. The LSM has many sins but one cardinal sin is the usurpation of the headship of Christ from the local assemblies. In God’s administration, God has chosen to exercise Christ’s Headship locally.

The oneness of the Body of Christ is mainly, but not exclusively, local and practical. But the oneness of the Body of Christ is not prescribed and is not the result of a teaching or formula. The oneness of the Body of Christ is intrinsic. It was created at the cross and given life in the Lord’s resurrection. We have it as soon as we are born again. BUT WE MUST THEN BE DELIGENT TO GUARD AND KEEP IT.

When the Lord walked the earth 2,000 years ago, if you were not there and at the right time in the right place you would have missed Him. BUT TODAY, one new man is walking the earth. Christ the head with His believers, the Body, is walking the earth in many places in many settings at many times. Today, locally and practically we can see Christ and experience His love, care, and shepherding, speaking, light, and life and be in on the very fellowship with the Son and the Father. Hallelujah!!!

The New Testament refers to the church in the city over and over but not as a rule to keep the oneness. The believers in Corinth were very divided but Paul referred to them as, 1 Cor 1:2a, “to the church of God which is at Corinth.” Merely having a teaching to protect the oneness such as one church, one city does not work as we have sadly seen. On the other hand, to seek a universal oneness, annuls the headship of Christ as we have sadly seen.

In my life, and as a result of my research in church history, I have found very little of the manifestation of the headship of Christ. If believers practice division they will forfeit His headship. This is too critical. We cannot be casual about it. During the last few years, I have had much more experience of Christ’s headship than I did from 1973-1989 in the local churches. It was there in some degree before 1973. If brethren would be led to meet along the lines of the church in their city, it is mainly a matter of desiring to be under the direct headship of Christ. But to have His Headship you must maintain the oneness of the Spirit and have no oneness goal other than arriving at the oneness of the Faith.

Big subject. But we have made a good start. May we continue with this line. We all have much more to learn and see.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 12-01-2008, 07:45 PM   #105
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I view the Whistler quarantine the same way. Christian leaders, jealous for power, developing complex schemes to justify bad behavior. They will never admit the obvious. Hundreds of articles written. LSM releases their glossy 28 booklet "attack pack." Accusations fly back and forth. History is repeated ... again.

One of the original Brethren, A.N.Groves, made a striking comment when confronting a similar situation. Instead of condemning all those who were different some how, or deficient in some way, not up to "the standard" we require, he stated, and I paraphrase, "I would rather bear with all the wrongs of my brother in Christ, lest perhaps I miss out on that portion of Christ which he possesses."
Ohio, thank you for the quote from A.N. Groves. Whether I think a brother "has it together", is a "basketcase", or doesn't see "matters" the same way I do, I should never cut off a brother for the sake of his portion in Christ.
So many brothers and sisters are neglected in shepherding. Maybe it's because of they're deemed not "good material", "damaged", "not for the ministry", and so on. Whatever the case may be, there is still a precious portion of Christ in each of them.
If we desire the shepherd brothers and sisters, we must drop whatever organized ministry we're under, drop our concepts, and just take care of each other.

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Old 12-02-2008, 06:25 AM   #106
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The oneness of the Body of Christ is mainly, but not exclusively, local and practical. But the oneness of the Body of Christ is not prescribed and is not the result of a teaching or formula. The oneness of the Body of Christ is intrinsic. It was created at the cross and given life in the Lord’s resurrection. ... The New Testament refers to the church in the city over and over but not as a rule to keep the oneness. The believers in Corinth were very divided but Paul referred to them "the church of God.” Merely having a teaching to protect the oneness such as one church, one city does not work as we have sadly seen. On the other hand, to seek a universal oneness, annuls the headship of Christ as we have sadly seen.
Having spent most of my Christian life (and my adult life) receiving from the ministry of LSM, I can say the topic of ONENESS was huge, and stressed regularly. But now, looking back, having left that ministry for several years, I can honestly say that most of the emphasis on oneness, especially in the last quarter century, was self-serving and manipulative. Though the matter of oneness in the Bible is important indeed, the emphases I received became mostly distorted. The biblical principle is to know by the fruit, and it is that same bad "oneness" fruit, in the form of quarantines and lawsuits, which instigated my own re-evaluation of LSM.

Biblical oneness is mostly local. Paul said, "many members, but one body." That sounds very local to me. But from LSM I basically received, "many churches, but one body." Sounds real close, but this slight modification (coupled with deputy authority) became instrumental in wielding huge amounts of power at LSM. All authority on a local level was ultimately undermined. Eventually, even I had to admit that there was absolutely nothing "local" about the phrase "local church."

At a conference "feast" in Florida several years ago, LSM's chief theologian, RK, commented to all the assembled, and I paraphrase, "that we must forsake our little local church in order to care for the body." Loaded language. What does he really mean? This was not just anyone speaking here. He has, by his own admission, referred to himself as one of the "deputized authorities" of the body of Christ. So what does he mean "care for the body?" He was not referring to the saint at your side, or the saints back home. Without directly stating this, he was implying to the audience that LSM, and LSM alone, is the body of Christ.

Of course, neither RK nor LSM would ever teach this exactly, nor put this in their books, but this is the impression, reinforced by many similar comments, forged in our hearts. LSM is the body of Christ. Are they not the move of the Lord here on earth? Do they not oversee all the Lord's work on earth? Are they not His present oracle on earth? Don't you have to join them to participate in the Lord's heart in this age? If LSM is not the "body of Christ" on earth, headquartered on LaPalma Ave, then who is? Isn't the rest of Christianity merely Christless, pitiful, void of God's speaking, barren, degraded, and let us not forget -- divided!

LSM loves to talk about the "oneness of the body." This phrase was stressed so often, it must be in the Bible! Imagine my chagrin a number of years ago when someone pointed out to me there was no verse! What?! Then we better add one! The Bible does speak of the "oneness of the Spirit." The Bible also says there is "one body and one Spirit." This phrase -- "the oneness of the body" -- while sounding good and almost scriptural is not God's word nor His desire. It is strictly of human manufacture. The reason it was invented and propagated is fleshly -- centralized power.

In all church history, perhaps the single most corrupting heresy is the "oneness of the body." Distorted oneness has been used by the "Holy Oneness Church" of Rome for centuries. But since history seems to ever repeat itself, we see this repeated in our "predecessors" the Darby Brethren and, of course, LSM today. It is a failed human experiment. Yes, at times it produces huge numbers, but the "price" is too high. We are robbed of the Headship of Christ. He likes to walk as the Son of Man in the midst of congregations. He likes to shepherd the flock thru the elders and shepherds. Oh it's nice to be a part of something "bigger" than "your little local church," and we are -- the body of Christ, "the Christ," composed of all the members, all those birthed by the resurrected Head.
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:37 AM   #107
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Oregon,

Actually to be honest we must see in the NT believers in a house referred to as the church in that house.

I know, Nee taught that the church in the house is really the church in the city, but this is really just his assumption based on his bias.

If you really study it you must admit that saying the NT house church equals the city church is really an argument employing the fallacy of petitio principii (begging the question) in which the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

In other words, if a person hadn't already decided that city churches are the only valid ones, he never would claim based on the evidence of the NT text that the house church equals the city church.


I’m well aware of the “house” churches in the NT Igzy. In Jerusalem “they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Thousands were being saved and added to the church…not churches….even though they were meeting from house to house. These thousands of believers were referred to as “ the church in Jerusalem”….not “the churches in Jerusalem.”

Acts 8:1 “the church that was at Jerusalem”

Acts 11:2 “ the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem”

Acts 15:4 “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and the apostles and elders…”
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:01 AM   #108
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To me, a big “fly in the ointment” came into Nee and Lee’s work when the Exclusive Brethren concept of “taking the ground” was introduced. At that point, a genuine move of the Spirit - which had been so sensitive to the Spirit and so willing to check everything against the Bible - became a movement of men. All those who supposedly “saw the oneness of the Body” and “stood on the ground of oneness” became, in their own eyes, superior to all others. Their own spiritual condition before the Lord did not matter nearly as much as their being faithful to “stand on the ground ‘til Jesus comes”. All others were “divisive” and it was OK to hurl all manner of hateful invectives against Christians who did not meet "on the proper ground”.
The matter of "taking the ground" of the church may be wrong as practiced by the "Local Churches". But that does not negate the truth revealed in the Word. I remember in the early years Witness Lee telling us that if we found some meeting in a loclity that did not practice the church life the same as us that we should drop our ways and join them. Sadly this has been long forgotten by the LSM churches. I personally know of a locality where some were meeting for many years. Because they were not related to LSM some migrated there and said that the previous group meeting there was just a bible study group. This gave them their "so called " right to claim the ground of the church and to call themselves the church in that city.

I'm not defending this divisive practice....but....irregardless of what some have done....we must follow the truth of the Word. I'm very aware of the negative views and feelings of "one church one city" by some of those who post here.....but nevertheless ....."Thy word is truth"...John 17:17
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:37 AM   #109
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Humor me for a sec here. Let’s say the early, scripture writing apostles (Peter, John, Paul et al) were all dropped in the middle of 2008 Anaheim California. As soon as they were able to get over the shock and wonder of all our modern day advances (fast Chariots, fast food and such) they would probably seek out some Christians to break bread with. They may very well ask “where does the church in Anaheim meet”? Now if they happen to run into a Local Churcher they would no doubt point them to the meeting hall over their on Ball Road.

My guess would be that after the apostles got done questioning why every book, audio tape and video had the name of this Witness Lee fellow on it, they would ask how it could be that a city of hundreds of thousands people has just this one gathering place for all the Christians. They would wonder how such a large city located within a “Christian” country could only have so few meeting together as the church in Anaheim.

Then the apostles may catch one of those fancy, fast Chariots and take it down the street to another gathering place of Christians, and who da thuk it…these Christians are meeting in the name of Christ too, they are reading the bible, preaching and worshipping and praising too. Well, what do ya know! They would then say “we knew there must be more Christians in the church in Anaheim then just those few meeting there on Ball Road!”

You see folks, either Witness Lee and his followers are right about there being only one church in Anaheim, or they are wrong. To use the modern day vernacular…you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Now these very same apostles may have some rather poignant questions for the various groups as to why they teach what they teach, and why they worship in the way they worship (just as they did for the LCers) but I would highly doubt that they would declare that any one group is “THE church in Anaheim”, not even the one with the sign outside that says “The church in Anaheim”.

As to early Watchman Nee, I would like to think that he would react in a similar way. I don't know for a fact and neither does anybody else out there. I know one thing, I bet he would be disgusted, appalled and maybe even repulsed by that charade over there on Ball Road (and even more so by the monstrosity of the headquarters there on La Palma that purports to carry on his ministry) No, brother Watchman, this is not your grandfather's Local Church no more, so sorry.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:59 AM   #110
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Unto Him...for you to post something like this clearly indicates that you don't even understand what one church one city is. It's not everybody meeting in one place. There could be literally hundreds of meeting places just as in the early church in Jerusalem they met from house to house and with literally thousands of believers there there must have been many gathering places. Face the real issue UntoHim. And please....use the Word of God to discredit this matter and not just some loose arguement. I'll listen to what the Word says...but not just somebodies thoughts.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:34 AM   #111
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..for you to post something like this clearly indicates that you don't even understand what one church one city is.
Please bro...I "don't even understand"?? I lived this, breathed this, pray-read, shouted and sung this stuff for decades. Yes, "Local Church, one in every city, Local Church, division what a pity!" still rings in my ears to this day. I know what is taught and I know what is practiced.

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It's not everybody meeting in one place. There could be literally hundreds of meeting places just as in the early church in Jerusalem they met from house to house and with literally thousands of believers there there must have been many gathering places.
Aye Chihuahua! This was the point of my post for God's sake. Didn't you actually read the whole thing?

Quote:
Face the real issue UntoHim. And please....use the Word of God to discredit this matter and not just some loose arguement. I'll listen to what the Word says...but not just somebodies thoughts.
First of all I am not trying to discredit the teaching of one city - one church. Why would I do that? No Christian who knows the Word would deny that all the Christians in any given city should be one. As far as my thoughts are concerned, that is all I can give you (hey, I had a hard enough time just gathering them, so give me a break). Look, the Word commands us to be one, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father that we would be one, we were baptized into one Spirit and into one Body. All the problems come when the rubber meets the road and we Christians try to put this into practice.

The apostle Paul... (here comes the part with the Word says, just like you asked) ...the apostle plainly and clearly stated that there would be divisions and that at times this would be necessary to show who and what was approved. I am not saying that this has been a perfect process for the church over the past 2000 years, but we are where we are...or as the saying goes...it is what it is. Today we are faced with a choice...we can be part of this process, or we can just put our heads in the sand and pretend. I guess there is one other choice...we can just get together with a bunch of Christians that we agree with, move to a city, declare ourselves to be "THE church", call everybody else daughters of the great whore, and then call it good.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:05 AM   #112
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I got your message UntoHim. Forgive me if I misunderstood you. Please realize that I am not promoting the LSM church life...but I am also not going to throw out the reality of what we have seen. It seems as though some of the posters here just want to get away from the one church in the locality and it is being spoken of in a very negative way. The oneness of the church has to be real in a practical way and just staying in our divisions and proclaiming a oneness in the spirit isn't it.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:08 AM   #113
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Dear ones,

OK. I admit it. I need help. About a year ago I read a marvelous statement by TAS: "Simply gather together outside of all known divisions and center on Christ alone". I was only one year out of the LC at that time, and TAS's statement became a real rhema word, a real shining light, to me. Obviously TAS's words are not the Bible, but I strongly believed he captured the essence of the apostles' hearts regarding the practical outworking of the spiritual oneness we already possess.

Now, I am not so sure anymore. While participating in the recent discussion on this thread, it is like my brain is in a "fog" regarding this whole matter of oneness. I just can't get clear. It seems so deceptively simple, and yet it eludes me . . .

Please help! Whatever you can share from the Word or from personal experience would be appreciated. Or, at the very least, please pray for me!
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:42 AM   #114
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Dear Ohio,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope
Quote:
The oneness of the Body of Christ is mainly, but not exclusively, local and practical. But the oneness of the Body of Christ is not prescribed and is not the result of a teaching or formula. The oneness of the Body of Christ is intrinsic. It was created at the cross and given life in the Lord’s resurrection. ... The New Testament refers to the church in the city over and over but not as a rule to keep the oneness. The believers in Corinth were very divided but Paul referred to them "the church of God.” Merely having a teaching to protect the oneness such as one church, one city does not work as we have sadly seen. On the other hand, to seek a universal oneness, annuls the headship of Christ as we have sadly seen.
Dear brother Ohio, I noticed that the key part of the verse I quoted, 1 Cor. 1:2 was not in your quote of my post, that is 1 Cor 1:2a, “to the church of God which is at Corinth.” This is critical to my point. While Paul recognized all the believers in Corinth were the church in Corinth, he exposed three levels of division. 1. Forming a circle, a special fellowship, within the church as a whole, 2. Division along social and cultural lines, and 3. Preferring the more desirable members over the less desirable.

When we sat in an LSM conference and heard the word oneness, we may have had an understanding of receiving all the believers and not forming any special circles etc. and at the same time the LSM devotees heard the word and understood it to mean oneness with a Christian work or movement.

Those who were of Paul etc had a oneness. Those who grouped themselves with the folks from their social class had a oneness. Those who preferred the good material or excellent vessels or college educated had a type of oneness.

Your discussion of the oneness problem and our experience is 98% right on as far as I am concerned. (Nobody is perfect so I cannot give you 100%.) I did not quote the entire post but encourage all the readers to consider it. In Romans chapter 16 we have division mentioned. Rom 16:17-18, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions, (divisions) and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”

Here the Greek word translated dissensions or divisions is a special word for division. It mean a smaller special circle within the larger circle. This refers to some who desired to be special and have an exclusive group. I can easily prove this applies to the LSM but will save that for another day. Their oneness message was for forming a circle within the circle.

Again, I encourage all to read the entire post from Ohio. Here are a few of the choice statements.

Quote:
"But now, looking back, having left that ministry for several years, I can honestly say that most of the emphasis on oneness, especially in the last quarter century, was self-serving and manipulative."
Quote:
"Biblical oneness is mostly local. Paul said, "many members, but one body." That sounds very local to me. But from LSM I basically received, "many churches, but one body." Sounds real close, but this slight modification (coupled with deputy authority) became instrumental in wielding huge amounts of power at LSM."
Quote:
"LSM's chief theologian, RK, commented to all the assembled, and I paraphrase, "that we must forsake our little local church in order to care for the body." … Without directly stating this, he was implying to the audience that LSM, and LSM alone, is the body of Christ."
Quote:
"This phrase -- "the oneness of the body" -- while sounding good and almost scriptural is not God's word nor His desire. It is strictly of human manufacture. The reason it was invented and propagated is fleshly -- centralized power."
Quote:
"We are robbed of the Headship of Christ. He likes to walk as the Son of Man in the midst of congregations. He likes to shepherd the flock thru the elders and shepherds. Oh it's nice to be a part of something "bigger" than "your little local church," and we are -- the body of Christ, "the Christ," composed of all the members, all those birthed by the resurrected Head."
Thanks Ohio for your thoughts,

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to become a true disciple.

PS I much prefer to dwell on the positive vision of Christ and our experience of Christ within the Body of Christ than what is wrong with LSM. I believe that while we expose the LSM, mark them out and assist others who have been stumbled we should strive to go forward with the whole purpose of God, Acts 20:27, "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:52 PM   #115
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Dear ones,

OK. I admit it. I need help. About a year ago I read a marvelous statement by TAS: "Simply gather together outside of all known divisions and center on Christ alone". I was only one year out of the LC at that time, and TAS's statement became a real rhema word, a real shining light, to me. Obviously TAS's words are not the Bible, but I strongly believed he captured the essence of the apostles' hearts regarding the practical outworking of the spiritual oneness we already possess.

Now, I am not so sure anymore. While participating in the recent discussion on this thread, it is like my brain is in a "fog" regarding this whole matter of oneness. I just can't get clear. It seems so deceptively simple, and yet it eludes me . . .

Please help! Whatever you can share from the Word or from personal experience would be appreciated. Or, at the very least, please pray for me!
Dear Kisstheson,

TAS is right on as far as I am concerned.

I would add that as we take the Lord’s Table we should examine ourselves to see if we are properly judging or discerning the Lord’s Body. 1 Cor 11:28-29, But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. NASB

It is not that we need to discern whether the table itself is a divisive table aka a table of the So. Baptist etc but we must discern ourselves. Are we, the person, in anyway practicing division?

The oneness of Christ’s Body is a reality. We are members one of another. The oneness of the Body of Christ must first of all be realized in the S/spirit. Since we believers have such a problem with division, it seems the Holy Spirit would have given specific formulas in the New Testament to help us preserve the oneness. But no, when we focus on the proper prescription for oneness it escapes us.

Here in North Carolina, the brothers and sisters with whom we gather refer to themselves as the church in Raleigh, church in Durham or the church assembly in Raleigh or in Durham. The phrase is seldom used. I would think we go months on end without making any declaration in a meeting using that phrase. I doubt if I use it once a year in conversation or fellowship.

Rather, what and how should we practice? Are we centered on Christ and looking to Him directly to head us up? Are we bestowing more abundant honor on the member who lacks? Are we seeking to bear the one who has no strength? If we are in the reality of the above, we probably are okay regarding discerning the Body and keeping the oneness.

The problem with the majority of the Christian assemblies goes far beyond the issue of oneness. Oneness is not the whole story. What about the function of the members of the Body of Christ? Paul introduces us to the fact and vision of the Body of Christ. The first mention in the New Testament is Romans chapter 12. There the stress in not on oneness but on the function of the members. The goal of God’s salvation and the perfect will of God is to have a fully functioning Body of Christ on the earth.

When we consider the church, we must consider the Headship of Christ.

Eph 1:22-23, And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. NASB

Eph 4:15-16, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. NASB

Col 2:19, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. NASB

I strongly consider many matters regarding the church and not just the issue of oneness. Perhaps the fog comes in when we zero in on the oneness at the expense of so much else. Oneness is a characteristic of the church, the Body of Christ but is not the goal. Christ’s headship, authority and life manifested in reality in a practical local setting is the goal on which to focus.

Here is a little typology. Ezekiel chapter 37 has the event of the valley of dry bones. Bones came together. Each bone was joined to his bone. Thus the oneness is achieved. I guess we can go home now. Not so fast. The goal is that there be an army standing up for the Lord’s interests on the earth.

When I hear the LSMers shouting about the oneness etc, it is so much like children playing. They remind me of my little three year old grandson playing pirates. He has a plastic sword and an outfit and can say ARRGH.

Dear brother Kisstheson, TAS made the matter of oneness seem so easy and simple. IT IS SIMPLE. The oneness of the Body of Christ is a spiritual reality. We have it right now!!! You and I have it and as I type this post I know in my spirit that we are one. In spite of my poor utterance, I know we are communicating and there is a common life pulsating through our spiritual veins.

Maybe we knew each other in the past maybe not. But that experience is not our oneness. Do you remember the supplement song which had the line “Hallelujah for the Lord has made us one?” It is based on the Bible. Eph 2:14, For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; KJV

May you, brother, be richly blessed in the sweet fellowship we share that is the fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.



Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer who is seeking to become a true disciple.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:29 PM   #116
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post

At a conference "feast" in Florida several years ago, LSM's chief theologian, RK, commented to all the assembled, and I paraphrase, "that we must forsake our little local church in order to care for the body." Loaded language. What does he really mean? This was not just anyone speaking here. He has, by his own admission, referred to himself as one of the "deputized authorities" of the body of Christ. So what does he mean "care for the body?" He was not referring to the saint at your side, or the saints back home. Without directly stating this, he was implying to the audience that LSM, and LSM alone, is the body of Christ.

Of course, neither RK nor LSM would ever teach this exactly, nor put this in their books, but this is the impression, reinforced by many similar comments, forged in our hearts.
Having been removed from these conferences for almost eight years, what RK says doesn't phase me. I can meet with virtually any Christian assembly and have inner peace. I admit it is a struggle when I'm around my family that stills meets with LSM churches. There is the attitude that's pervasive in Ohio's quote. Basically local churches that receive LSM is where the Lord is moving today. To meet apart from these LSM local churches is to meet illegitimately. Not only would you be meeting illegitimate, you would no longer be in the flow.

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Old 12-04-2008, 03:48 PM   #117
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Rather, what and how should we practice? Are we centered on Christ and looking to Him directly to head us up? Are we bestowing more abundant honor on the member who lacks? Are we seeking to bear the one who has no strength? If we are in the reality of the above, we probably are okay regarding discerning the Body and keeping the oneness.

The problem with the majority of the Christian assemblies goes far beyond the issue of oneness. Oneness is not the whole story. What about the function of the members of the Body of Christ? Paul introduces us to the fact and vision of the Body of Christ. The first mention in the New Testament is Romans chapter 12. There the stress in not on oneness but on the function of the members. The goal of God’s salvation and the perfect will of God is to have a fully functioning Body of Christ on the earth.

When we consider the church, we must consider the Headship of Christ.
Don,

(First, I probably should start all my posts to you in this way. You say so many things that make me think. And it takes me to things that you are not talking about. I write my comments to you, but they are really more for general thought by anyone reading. Don’t think I am taking you to task. If I were, there would be no mistaking it.)

I would generally agree with your notions of what might indicate some true oneness. I must admit that my view is from within one particular assembly, but I see these things effectively happening.

When you get to the idea of the function of the members of the body, there is much to be said.

Is the “function of the members” something that needs to be analyzed to discover a thriving assembly worthy of the moniker “church?” If so, what is the function of the members? Is it strictly spiritual, partly practical, or always some kind of mix to be truly functioning? How many must be observed to be “functioning,” however it is that we have defined it? Does the fact that people who are not yet Christian participate in meetings diminish the group?

I do not ask these questions to shame anyone, or poke fun at anything. I have been thinking “outside the box” as is so often said these days. Even just three years ago, I would have answered these questions in a manner that I would not today. I believe that “functioning” can be all kinds of things. Often, the visible functioning may seem less spiritual. Other times more so. Of course, the “less spiritual” things would need to have true spirituality behind them or they could be simply the works of man.

But I no longer see functioning as popcorn testimonies in meetings ─ although they would be included. It is not just doing Saturday “service groups” at the meeting hall, or volunteering to work in the LSM publishing (fill-in volunteer activities at your assembly in the place of these). Doing community service is not, on its face, functioning, but if the spirit rises in some to “help the widow and orphan” so to speak, then doing so is functioning.

There is a lot that could go in there.

And what about the propensity for the functioning to be done by less than all members? We easily understand that it is probably rare (and was probably rare in the first century) to have everyone doing all the things we like to think of as “functioning.” But what is functioning? Is it really those “church things” we think of, or is it just being the full-time Christian that we are called to be? If it is the latter, then anyone who is moving forward in their Christian journey is functioning, even if someone’s idea of what is functioning is not met.

Last, when you mention the Headship of Christ, I wonder how much contemplation these things require. Paul made mention of them as facts for perspective. In Ephesians 4, there were things we were to do (speak and grow up) and He would supply the nourishment and connections. We are not tasked with supplying the connections or the nourishment.

Be careful when you use the analogies of the dry bones joined and raised up to become an army. I’m not saying that it is not true, but it is not everything. We are an army in certain ways. We are a household in others. There are many metaphors that describe aspects of the body of Christ. That dry bones raised up and came together to demonstrate that the Lord could raise up an army from wherever he pleases does not mean that our living is as an army. Sometimes it may be so. And in some ways it may be for everyone, but in other ways, only for a few.

I’m not denying the reality in the spiritual side of things that the LC took on everything, but I am saying that their “always the spiritual side of things” view was lopsided. I think that we often return to it without thinking of the vast reality that is Christ, that is the Christian life, that is the fullness of the church.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:32 PM   #118
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Dear Kisstheson,

TAS is right on as far as I am concerned.

I would add that as we take the Lord’s Table we should examine ourselves to see if we are properly judging or discerning the Lord’s Body. 1 Cor 11:28-29, But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. NASB

It is not that we need to discern whether the table itself is a divisive table aka a table of the So. Baptist etc but we must discern ourselves. Are we, the person, in anyway practicing division?

The oneness of Christ’s Body is a reality. We are members one of another. The oneness of the Body of Christ must first of all be realized in the S/spirit. Since we believers have such a problem with division, it seems the Holy Spirit would have given specific formulas in the New Testament to help us preserve the oneness. But no, when we focus on the proper prescription for oneness it escapes us.

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer who is seeking to become a true disciple.
Dear brother Hope,

Thank you so much for everything that you shared. I really apprciate all the thought and all that time which you put into your post. I have also received a very enlightening PM from another brother. I plan on printing out both your post and his PM and spending a lot of time with them in the Lord's presence, this weekend, along with my Bible too.

Your view on oneness is really remarkable. May the Lord have mercy on me and bring me further into the reality of the oneness.

Your grateful brother in Christ,
"kisstheson"
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:26 PM   #119
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Don,

When you get to the idea of the function of the members of the body, there is much to be said.

Is the “function of the members” something that needs to be analyzed to discover a thriving assembly worthy of the moniker “church?” If so, what is the function of the members? Is it strictly spiritual, partly practical, or always some kind of mix to be truly functioning? How many must be observed to be “functioning,” however it is that we have defined it? Does the fact that people who are not yet Christian participate in meetings diminish the group?

I do not ask these questions to shame anyone, or poke fun at anything. I have been thinking “outside the box” as is so often said these days. Even just three years ago, I would have answered these questions in a manner that I would not today. I believe that “functioning” can be all kinds of things. Often, the visible functioning may seem less spiritual. Other times more so. Of course, the “less spiritual” things would need to have true spirituality behind them or they could be simply the works of man.

But I no longer see functioning as popcorn testimonies in meetings ─ although they would be included. It is not just doing Saturday “service groups” at the meeting hall, or volunteering to work in the LSM publishing (fill-in volunteer activities at your assembly in the place of these). Doing community service is not, on its face, functioning, but if the spirit rises in some to “help the widow and orphan” so to speak, then doing so is functioning.

There is a lot that could go in there.

And what about the propensity for the functioning to be done by less than all members? We easily understand that it is probably rare (and was probably rare in the first century) to have everyone doing all the things we like to think of as “functioning.” But what is functioning? Is it really those “church things” we think of, or is it just being the full-time Christian that we are called to be? If it is the latter, then anyone who is moving forward in their Christian journey is functioning, even if someone’s idea of what is functioning is not met.

Thank you Mike for this your latest post,

May I address one point only at this time?

I am very happy you picked up this matter of functioning within the Body of Christ. In our Local Church past we used the term but the practice was very stilted and artificial and way too limited in scope. Without the full scope of functioning by all the members it is not possible for the Lord to fully express Himself in a local practical way. (I use the term local in a generic way.)

The passage in Romans chapter 12 is our reference point for “functioning” members of the Body of Christ. Verses 3-16 refer to the action and atmosphere in the healthy Body of Christ.

Let us just focus for now on a few verses: Rom 12:6-8, And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. NASB
1. Prophecy
2. Practical service
3. Teaching
4. Exhorting
5. Giving with liberality
6. Leading with diligence
7. Showing mercy with cheerfulness

Note number seven, showing mercy. The Body does not do very well if there are not some who have the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness. In chapter 14 we see some are “weak in the faith.” In chapter 15 some are “without strength.” Over time we all will have failures and there will always be someone who has backslidden. They will need mercy. This is a critical function. If the local assembly has some with this function, it will be healthy.

Note number four, exhorting or encouraging. Here the Greek word is parakaleo: to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, exhortation or consolation). We need some who can come right alongside of us and encourage, console and exhort. Again a critical function if the Body is to be healthy.

In the old Local Church, (bless their little hearts) we never heard much about functioning according to the chapter that discusses the matter. For some reason chapter 14 in 1 Corinthians was our reference. But that chapter is about meetings not about functioning in the Body.

Back to Romans 12, verses 9-15 show the atmosphere needed to have a healthy functioning expression of the Body of Christ.

Rom 12:9-16, Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. NASB

1. Love without any pretense
2. Abhorring what is evil
3. Clinging to what is good
4. Devoted to one another in brotherly love
5. Giving preference to one another in honor
6. Diligent
7. Fervent in Spirit
8. Serving the Lord
9. Rejoicing in hope
10. Persevering in tribulation
11. Devoted to prayer
12. Contributing to the needy saints
13. Practicing hospitality
14. Blessing those who persecute you
15. Rejoicing with those who rejoice
16. Weeping with those who weep

Quite a wonder description of the atmosphere in a healthy assembly!!!

Mike, when you were in the LSM church in Irving with the key LSM personal taking the lead in the church there, did you and Debby experience a lot of mercy and encouragement from those who had this function. Was the atmosphere characterized by a mutual devotion to one another in brotherly love? I know the answer. I am ashamed to say but in Dallas we were very short of many of these items. I am very ashamed regarding the last two items. Where was the rejoicing with those who rejoice and especially where was the weeping with those who weep? There was some but this should have been a prevailing characteristic of the atmosphere.

Yes, we should bless those who may persecute us! This phrase is not for those in the world but is right in the section on the Body of Christ. The LSM practice is to quarantine, slander and sue any who do not praise them and follow them. I expect to really get it when the rest of my book comes out. I suppose they will call me everything but a white man. Then guess who will be on the spot. Yes, yours truly. While I am looking to the Lord to bless them if and when they curse or persecute at the same time we must abhor what is evil.

Finally please note the bookend verses of this section, verses Rom 12:3 & 12:16. 3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. NASB

If we are full of pride, the proper functioning in the Body of Christ is dead in the water . The best safeguard is to be sure to look for the opportunity to “associate with the lowly.”

If one prayerfully considers this chapter, he would have to say that those boys in Dallas (like me) who were trying to practice the local church life were woefully short. You could use this passage to beat me for quite a long time and you would be right.

Dear brother Mike, may the Lord bless you and Debby and family and all those with whom you meet.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Hope, Don Rutledge

A believer in Christ Jesus who is seeking to become a true disciple.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:51 PM   #120
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Hope,

1. My background

I know this is very stupid thing to say in this point in time discussing God's word, but I had a lot of experience in business. About ten years ago, the amount of sales revenue I handled was about U$ 1 billiion a year. And I do not know much about Chee Foo and Tronto, but I have had my church life in a local church for about 20 years, scrutinizing the teachings based on the Bible and other teachers' teachings. So, in a sense, I have somthing to say.
I just want to stop here. More speaking about myself doesn't seem to be so proper. By the way, I'm not a English native speaker. Hopefully, you use plain English when talking with me. Some colloquial expressions are hard to understand.

2. Your book

I'm interested in your book. Please let me know where I can get it. If possible, please send me, if it is in softcopy, whether by attaching it in this thead or by personal message.

3. 2 cents on Watchman Nee's understanding of the matter of ground of locality

WN presented his analysis of the truth of the ground of locality mostly based on the example on the early church. But there is a big difference between when the early church was set up and now. Simply speaking, the churches in Asia in the Bible was the literally the first churches in that regions. So there was no problem about appointing and accepting "one set of elders." WN draw the principle of one set of elders from this context and background.

But as time goes on, there came a lot of other preachers, other saints, and maybe with other elders than those set up by Paul. I think Paul did not condenm them, judging from below verses in Philipians.

[14] Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. [15] It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. [16] The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. [17] The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. [18] But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (Philipians 1, NIV)

It seems to me that "one unitary eldership in a city" was not so important to Paul at that time. But WN emphacized one unitary eldership when he published his analysis.

I know my analysis is not so profound, so I think it's worth only 2 cents for now, but I'm planning to delve into it in more detail later.

By the way, I am planning to discuss the matter of apostleship soon with Igzy. Hopefully, you can be with us.

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Old 12-11-2008, 08:05 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Church history shows us only one model that is blessed, believers seeking the Lord, obedient to the word, preaching the gospel, caring for others, etc. What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God. God in His ingenuity has used an untold diversity of ways. All of them were fruitful for a season. None of them should be considered the "God ordained way."
"What that looks like is up to the Spirit of God". So simple, yet so very, very profound. When all the dust settles, this is a matter of faith and this is a matter of trusting God and trusting the Holy Spirit to "guide us into all truth" as was promised. The Lord Jesus prayed to the Father: "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (John 17:23) Again, so simple, yet so very profound. This oneness is beyond the carnal mind - the carnal mind cannot begin to fathom the depths and profoundness of this oneness.

If our Local Church experience has taught us anything, it is that the only oneness the carnal mind can comprehend is a man-made, forced oneness. If we are outside of the oneness that the Lord Jesus prayed about in John 17 it does not matter what "boundary" is set for us. Outside of this oneness I can't even be one with my own flesh brother, much less with every Christian in my city. Outside of this oneness I can't even be one with my wife much less every Christian in my city.

As far as we know, "early Nee" had a good start. Unfortunately Nee's mind was just as carnal as mine or yours. His mind was sharp - from many accounts he had a photographic memory. He also had good intentions. He also was a man of great faith. He also was a man of action. It seems Watchman Nee possessed all the ingredients to lead a great movement of God and bring true revival to the church - and to some extent, this is exactly what he did. Yet, for some reason he felt to set some boundaries - some boundaries that God did not set in his holy Word, nor were they set by the Holy Spirit.

Fast forward to the present. What has become of the Local Church movement that was begun by Watchman Nee so many years ago? Is it a movement that trusts God, or has it set boundaries left and right. It seems that these people do nothing but set boundaries. They have boxed themselves in by the boundaries they have set. They are one of the most isolated groups on earth.

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Old 12-11-2008, 07:13 PM   #122
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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At what point in time did division of the body become acceptable? It was condemned in Paul's day but now it is OK because to practice the oneness of the body is unworkable and therefore not necessary. So it is no longer important to God,. A simple hand shaking while we all stay in our practical divisions is the current move of God on earth.
Brother Oregon, from one "O" state to another -- I understand how your views are defined, having held them myself since the mid 70's. Then, a few years ago, I watched our leaders use these same definitions to quarantine, divide, and bring brothers to court. How I wished there could be a "simple hand shaking" with the many saints I love and once met with. So I had to "rethink" the definition of division which I loved so dearly.

The N.T. firstly convicts us for division by being "of men." For years I refused to admit that we were "of Lee." Without the vicious battles of the past few years, I probably would never have "rethought" my views on this subject. But I have. I now consider LSM to be more divisive than any of the Christians they for so long have condemned. They have delivered to us definitions which exonerate them, and judge all others. The definitions themselves are wrong, and must be examined against scripture.
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:55 AM   #123
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Brother Oregon, from one "O" state to another -- I understand how your views are defined, having held them myself since the mid 70's. Then, a few years ago, I watched our leaders use these same definitions to quarantine, divide, and bring brothers to court. How I wished there could be a "simple hand shaking" with the many saints I love and once met with. So I had to "rethink" the definition of division which I loved so dearly.

The N.T. firstly convicts us for division by being "of men." For years I refused to admit that we were "of Lee." Without the vicious battles of the past few years, I probably would never have "rethought" my views on this subject. But I have. I now consider LSM to be more divisive than any of the Christians they for so long have condemned. They have delivered to us definitions which exonerate them, and judge all others. The definitions themselves are wrong, and must be examined against scripture.

Hi Ohio,

I understand your statement and where you are in your thoughts somewhat. Firstly....I'm not an LSMer. I would never support the actions and views of what the "Local Church" has become. Nor am I of Lee. But to go as far as some of the posters have on this site is simply too much. The word gives us more than just a picture of the "early" church. There may not be literal commandments in the NT regarding one church in every city but to just say that such a situation didn't exist in Paul's day is almost purposeful denial.

I have gone to many meetings of dear saints not meeting as "local churches" and have been ministered to by God many times. I would never judge our fellow believers meeting in various denominations and independant fellowships. But to say certain things are not in the Word as some promote here is just going way to far. It's almost like making a statement such as....."the bible doesn't say anything against smoking marijuana therefore it's OK."

Do you think that if the apostolic church woud have divided itself in those early years and put names up saying...."The Church of This" or "The Church of That" that it would have been just fine. There's no way I'm going to believe that.

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Old 12-12-2008, 04:48 AM   #124
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Oregon, I definitely understand your protests of all extremes, I have often found myself doing the same, so we are mostly in agreement here except for your comment, "the bible doesn't say anything against smoking marijuana, therefore it's OK." I heard that many times myself, is that wrong?
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:26 AM   #125
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  1. The Lord never taught the local ground.
  2. The apostles never taught the local ground.
  3. The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?
Ah, now we're gettin somewhere.

Look, Nee had some good intentions, but he was reading something into the Bible that just is not there. Another thing is that for some reason he felt he was qualified to skip past hundreds and hundreds of years of church history. He looked around and saw all the artificial boundaries of faith and practice that had been set up...so what did he do...he proclaimed them all wrong and simply made up another boundary! Aye Chihuahua! What made such a smart man every think that two wrongs add up to a right?

Then comes along this fellow Witness Lee...and what did he do? He took Nee's mistake of creating another boundary and compounded it 10 fold. Lee was the master of boundaries. The one minister for the age boundary. The one ministry for the age boundary. The one publication boundary.... and on and on and on.

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Old 12-12-2008, 07:59 AM   #126
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UntoHim I'll agree with you on your statement concerning the minister of the age and one publication,

Your statement concerning Nee reading something into the bible that is not there is a clear example of some of the extreem statements made on this site. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:51 AM   #127
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Your statement concerning Nee reading something into the bible that is not there is a clear example of some of the extreem statements made on this site. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field.
Ok, are you implying that Nee was incapable of error? In this case I think he was in error.

Igzy posted this sober observation and I quoted it because it really hits home as far as shedding some light on why Nee was in error here.

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  1. The Lord never taught the local ground.
  2. The apostles never taught the local ground.
  3. The early church fathers never taught the local ground.
Why should we teach it?

Could you just address what Igzy has posted here?

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Old 12-15-2008, 10:35 AM   #128
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Here's a little question for everyone.

Why is it that people who want to dictate where to meet always believe the right place is where they happen to meet?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:44 PM   #129
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Here's a little question for everyone.

Why is it that people who want to dictate where to meet always believe the right place is where they happen to meet?
Igzy, I don't believe one can dictate nor state there's a particular congregation that's the right place to meet. There are factors to consider.
Does it meet your expectation as a Christian?
Does it meet your need as a person?
In my case does it have a ministry to serve the children?

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:12 AM   #130
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Basically, I am trying to say that WN or WL's teachings should be considered one of diverse teachings in fundamentalists' camp. I know there are some questionable teachings or practices in them, but I do not think they have really gone far as to be called "heresy."
I do not think they are as far as heresy, either, but I do think they are unbalanced and a cause of injury to the larger body of believers when they are mandated.

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How many crucial truths in the Bible are supported by "prescriptive" verses? The Bible is not a well-written systematic theology textbook or US Constitution-type mandate. They are histories, epistles, and so on an so forth, but not least so prescriptive as Wesminster Confession.
Okay, Gubei, here goes:
1. Believe in God. Believe in His Son Jesus Christ.
2. Receive the believer next to you. Love your neighbor.
3. As much as you can, keep from sin. When you fail, repent. When others fail, forgive.

Those are crucial, prescriptive truths in the Bible. The other stuff, how many elders in each city, how many apostles in each region, etc. are optional.

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One error of some Christians is that they do not distingush between having different interpretations which are still in the boundary of fundamentalists' camp and calling other fundamentalists' interpretations "unbiblical, heretic etc." Of course, WL himself repeated this error. As I alrerady several times made it clear, "the ground of locality" is not an essential element in our Christians life. Any Christian who even belongs to Catholic can be a overcomer for God who will expedite the second coming of our Lord Jesus.
I agree.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:50 PM   #131
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Can anybody give us one, just one concrete example where a group of Local Churchers (those associated with Nee/Lee) moved to a place that already had a group of Christians meeting in oneness (as the church in...) and joined with them, submitting to their established elders and taking the one ministry of their one apostle? Just one?...is there just one example?.... Watchman Nee clearly taught that when a group of Christians moves to a city they should join with "the church in so-and-so" that is already there. Did Lee and his followers EVER do this...even ONE TIME?

Silence...or sounds of crickets....

I rest my case.


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Old 12-18-2008, 03:51 PM   #132
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Can anybody give us one, just one concrete example where a group of Local Churchers (those associated with Nee/Lee) moved to a place that already had a group of Christians meeting in oneness (as the church in...) and joined with them, submitting to their established elders and taking the one ministry of their one apostle? Just one?...is there just one example?.... Watchman Nee clearly taught that when a group of Christians moves to a city they should join with "the church in so-and-so" that is already there. Did Lee and his followers EVER do this...even ONE TIME?

Silence...or sounds of crickets....

I rest my case.
Better than that, can anyone show where a group of LCers moved to another city and decided to just be one with whoever they found there rather than setting up a new paradigm of restrictions on what constitutes oneness?

By agreeing to only consider joining with certain types of groups, they have already excluded some. Where is the oneness in that?

Don't turn my question back on me. Under the Lee/LSM/LC view of oneness is there not a theoretical problem with moving to a new place and ignoring some Christians as worthy of consideration?
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Old 12-18-2008, 04:13 PM   #133
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Can anybody give us one, just one concrete example where a group of Local Churchers (those associated with Nee/Lee) moved to a place that already had a group of Christians meeting in oneness (as the church in...) and joined with them, submitting to their established elders and taking the one ministry of their one apostle?


Unto, although not quite as you prescribe. I have heard of a locality that did fit the description of meeting in "oneness" long before the ground of locality became a teaching and prior to "the Recovery". Once part of "the recovery" with Witness Lee as the primary minister, their pre-existing elders remained. This locality disassociated from LSM when Witness Lee made the self proclamation of commander in chief. This locality was no longer considered to be a local church by LSM. Although in function this locality is still a local church.
Oregon and Indiana, if I'm off please provide adjustment.

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Old 12-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #134
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

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Can anybody give us one, just one concrete example where a group of Local Churchers (those associated with Nee/Lee) moved to a place that already had a group of Christians meeting in oneness (as the church in...) and joined with them, submitting to their established elders and taking the one ministry of their one apostle? Just one?...is there just one example?.... Watchman Nee clearly taught that when a group of Christians moves to a city they should join with "the church in so-and-so" that is already there. Did Lee and his followers EVER do this...even ONE TIME?

Silence...or sounds of crickets....

I rest my case.


There are examples. Denton Texas, Yorba Linda Ca, Albuquerque N. M. Pittsburg Pa., Phoenix Ari.,Odessa Tx., and St. John Kansas are a few that come to mind. In the early days, most migrations were to places where saints were discovered who had some understanding of the oneness of the Body of Christ and desired to practice a practical church life on the lines of the church in a city. When I initially began to move to Dallas, the thought was that we would join with a handful of saints already there. We had visited them and they had visited us in Houston. Originally, we thought we would come together. I spoke of this at another time in another place.

When we in Dallas in 1975, began to have fellowship with some saints in O K City the thought was that they would continue on and be the church in O K City. Some of us began to visit them regularly and they to visit us in Dallas. On one occassion we had a special week-end in Dallas to come together with those from O K City. A substantial group showed up of around 25-30. We had a great time together. They then invited the church in Dallas to visit them in O K City for a similar time. They planned to rent a hotel meeting room in order to accomodate a good number from Dallas.

There was no thought that some from Dallas would move there and take them over or push them aside. We in Dallas exercised great care not to impose and whenever any went there to visit we admonished them to have no agenda but to honor what the Lord was doing and to submit to the brothers and sisters there. Their history was not strongly established as they had only recently begun to consider the church and to meet in the Lord's name only and open to all the believers.

Suddenly a few days before the special time, I received a phone call from Max Rapoport. He told me that he had heard of what was happening and that he and WL had fellowshiped about it. They were concerned that we in Dallas were too inexperienced and would "mess things up." Therefore they felt that Max and some from Anaheim should take care of the trip and there was not a need for any of the leading ones from Dallas to go or coordinate with those from O K City as he and others from Anaheim would take care of it. He had already spoken to Benson, who was in Anaheim working on the hall, WL's home etc. and Benson would go with him.

Within a short time people were moving there and the church in OK City as it is known today was established. Elders were moved in. I cannot ever recall being in a meeting there. I did visit Norman for a time before James Barber moved to Ok City. By then OK City and Norman were official Local Churches in fellowship with Anaheim.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 12-18-2008, 06:03 PM   #135
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Sorry brother Hope, but the examples you have given here do not pass muster...not even close (unless there are more details - mind you, I am only asking for one example) Conspicuously missing from your examples are the parts about "submitting to their established elders" and "taking the one ministry of their one apostle".

Most Local Churchers know exactly what I was getting at with the proviso of "submitting to their established elders" and "taking the one ministry of their one apostle". Sorry to be a stickler about the details, but there is a method to my madness here. (I think) As I have noted in recent posts, if one firmly believes in "one church - one city", then it is not too much to ask them to act upon their convictions.

I don't know about early or late Watchman Nee (and nobody else here does either), but I have oodles and oodles of info on this fellow Witness Lee, and he did not give a flying fiddle about "one church - one city", not in the least. What he cared about was having ONE particular church in any one particular city that was willing to go along with the program...HIS PROGRAM. Sorry to put this all in such concrete terms. But dem R de facts.

So, not to put too, too fine of a point on all of this...can somebody provide us all with an example of some Local Churchers coming to a city (locality) and submitting to the previously established leaders/elders and willing to take the ministry of their previously established apostle?

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:07 PM   #136
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

Hello Brother Unto,
The idea of established elders having the one ministry of their one apostle did not develop until some time in the early-mid eighties. The idea of some sort of central ministry began to be carried out during the time of Max Rapoport. Sometimes I will mention something which the reader must pick up as a pivotal event. My story of O K city and Max R. intervening to bring whatever was going on in O K City under Anaheim’s hegemony is an example of a pivotal event.

This idea of established elders under the one ministry of their one apostle was one of the main factors that jettisoned me and so many out of that circle. If you frame you question as strictly as you have, then you have your answer. If you ask, if there was ever ever any thought that some from a local church which knew WL could integrate with another group which desired to practice the one city, one church idea, then yes there was such a common thought at one time and some did seek to practice it. The problem comes from the concept of “the Work” (singular) with its own co-workers who appoint their own elders who oversee a church which is in the circle of that worker. The problem does not come from seeking to practice the church in the city. I have too much experience with the “I am of Paul,” “I am of Apollos,” etc. “The Work” combined with “Deputy Authority” has lead to incredible leaps into the realm of illogic. “One Church, one City” as practiced by the LSM is as my good friend Igzy seems to maintain, illogical. Flush the notion of a set of elders being appointed by a recognized apostle and the descriptive practice in the New Testament begins to enter into the realm of possibility. Please note Acts 14:23, And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. The Greek word is cheirotoneo and is translated here as appoint. It means to literally stretch out your hand and to point someone out, to recognize someone. Paul and Barnabas were simply recognizing the brothers who had been manifested as more mature with a measure of leadership. Now please note Titus 1:5, For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint (kathistemi) elders in every city as I directed you. Kathistemi literally means to set something on a solid base or to firmly establish. On another thread, I have read the charge being laid at the feet of the elders or leaders in the local churches that they were untrained and not qualified. Paul’s charge to Titus was more on the line of establishing, making solid etc the elders in the various places.

If you take away this whole phony notion of the elders being some kind of bosses or middle managers to carry out the work of an apostle then many problems are suddenly gone and it is very possible for two or more groups of believers to come together in oneness to glorify the Lord and allow Him to be the head over all things to the church.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:38 PM   #137
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...If you take away this whole phony notion of the elders being some kind of bosses or middle managers to carry out the work of an apostle then many problems are suddenly gone and it is very possible for two or more groups of believers to come together in oneness to glorify the Lord and allow Him to be the head over all things to the church.
Ah, but this is EXACTLY what Witness Lee and his followers have practiced since setting foot in America (and in Taiwan I suspect). As far as I am aware, Lee propagated "this whole phony notion" since day one...all I was asking for is some tangible evidence to the contrary. You did not provide any such evidence. I was looking for an example of an EXISTING Christian group, with an EXISTING group of leaders/elders who were already following and practicing the teachings of an EXISTING apostle, that some Local Churchers joined themselves to, and then were in turn recognized as a true Local Church by Witness Lee and his followers.

What I am asking is not that complicated. I am not trying to be coy here in any way shape or form. Either this happened (which would show that Lee practiced what he preached) or it did not happen. There is not a lot of gray area here.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:21 PM   #138
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Brother Unto,

In 1971 in the Embassy Auditorium in LA at the summer conference, one meeting was given to various local churches to give a report as to their current state and a little history. One who spoke was Don Morsey of Sacramento. He was an elder/apostle who had established the church there. They were at that time recognized by WL and by just about everyone else as a local church. Some had relocated there from other places and WL had visited them on several occasions. Don Morsey’s son attended UCLA and met with the church in LA. Eventually they had a falling out with WL and are no longer in that circle.

In 1973 some from LA moved to New York City. At that time, the church in New York was under the care of elders appointed by Stephen Kaung. The saints from LA sought to join with the church there and to submit to the elders there. They did not pray read, call on the Lord etc. as these practices were anathema to S K. S K was by then living in Richmond Va. Eventually he and the church in New York had a falling out and the church in New York came more under the ministry of WL.

Brother Unto, I believe I know your point. Based on your definition, the practice of the local church cannot work but will only lead to division and the usurpation of the headship of Christ. The LSM version of WN’s “Concerning Our Mission” is as your bluntly described, “I don't know about early or late Watchman Nee (and nobody else here does either), but I have oodles and oodles of info on this fellow Witness Lee, and he did not give a flying fiddle about "one church - one city", not in the least. What he cared about was having ONE particular church in any one particular city that was willing to go along with the program...HIS PROGRAM. Sorry to put this all in such concrete terms. But dem R de facts.”

Brother Unto, were you aware that Baptist congregations have split over whose literature they would use, from the Southern Baptist headquarters or from the American Baptist headquarters. Division over leaders and founders and the printing of literature is at least as old as the reformation. The LSM is nothing new just more recent with a Chinese culture twist. Now WN and WL have many good points and the Lord has used them same as Luther, Wesley, Darby and many others. But it is a good thing to examine what has been built by their work. The current state of their work is indefensible and you and Igzy should stop picking on the weak and helpless. But in seriousness they are self condemned. Their fruit regarding oneness is a shame to the oneness of the Body of Christ. I would relish the possibility of a public debate regarding Biblical oneness versus LSM oneness. They would lose. But alas, it will not happen.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:11 AM   #139
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Can anybody give us one, just one concrete example where a group of Local Churchers (those associated with Nee/Lee) moved to a place that already had a group of Christians meeting in oneness (as the church in...) and joined with them, submitting to their established elders and taking the one ministry of their one apostle? Just one?...is there just one example?.... Watchman Nee clearly taught that when a group of Christians moves to a city they should join with "the church in so-and-so" that is already there. Did Lee and his followers EVER do this...even ONE TIME?

Silence...or sounds of crickets....

Unto, let me answer you soon, after this…


This thread is a bit fascinating to me, increasingly so, due to the intellectual/spiritual appearance of Gubei. Igzy was having a field day, and this dear brother, Gubei, comes from out of nowhere to pose a significant and respectful challenge to Igzy's romp in the realm of logical surmisings.

I don't like to talk about the ground of oneness in the way I have seen displayed here on this thread, and I have been "sleeping" thru the longer posts on models and such. Not because I am not interested, but I am just not interested enough, though the longer it goes on the more of a classic the discussion appears to become.

But, I am hopelessly a product of the early 70s in the church when all it took was revelation in our spirit to seal a truth. The light was bright and the speaking was clear. There was no controversy. The light, the life, and the word of God convicted – that is all.

(of course, this was pre Man and a Ministry mania and dominance)

Unto,

Although you have been asking for answers to your question, I don’t see where the answers are relevant. If there were 0 cases, 20 cases, 200 cases, the fact is, the attitude was there to receive others in such a way. The attitude is all-important. It is surely missing in the Local Churches today.

I don’t mind you being on the extreme end of the spectrum concerning your negative bent concerning Witness Lee – you are sovereignly there. And, I am sovereignly here - in the middle – with the desire in me to show balance concerning Witness Lee.

I do wonder at this point if at least some participants on this forum would like to read what I was presented with in 1971 concerning The Ground of the Church, and others were also who were entering the church at that time, and offer your honest impressions of this fellowship. To me, the foregoing fellowship caused lights to go on all over the place, and I have never had a question since.

www.twoturmoils.com/thegroundofthechurch.pdf

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Old 12-19-2008, 07:12 AM   #140
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There are examples. Denton Texas, Yorba Linda Ca, Albuquerque N. M. Pittsburg Pa., Phoenix Ari.,Odessa Tx., and St. John Kansas are a few that come to mind. In the early days, most migrations were to places where saints were discovered who had some understanding of the oneness of the Body of Christ and desired to practice a practical church life on the lines of the church in a city.
Hope, you've mentioned two cities where my parents moved my siblings and I to: Phoenix and Albuquerque. What I do remember were families that had moved there were LA. I would not know if there were families already living there meeting in "oneness" prior to the migrations. For example in Alburquerque, the late Bob Danek was the elder. Was his family and others already meeting in Alburquerque prior to the migrations for establishing a "church in Alburquerque"? To my recollection there were two households besides my parents that previously lived in LA. There was another that migrated via Seattle. If you might know, how did the Church in Alburquerque originate?
Hope, based on your last sentence that is what happened in Las Vegas. Brothers and sisters that desired a practical church life according to their vision led them to move to Los Angeles during the mid to late 1960's.

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Old 12-19-2008, 09:42 AM   #141
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Hope, you've mentioned two cities where my parents moved my siblings and I to: Phoenix and Albuquerque. What I do remember were families that had moved there were LA. I would not know if there were families already living there meeting in "oneness" prior to the migrations. For example in Alburquerque, the late Bob Danek was the elder. Was his family and others already meeting in Alburquerque prior to the migrations for establishing a "church in Alburquerque"? To my recollection there were two households besides my parents that previously lived in LA. There was another that migrated via Seattle. If you might know, how did the Church in Alburquerque originate?
Hope, based on your last sentence that is what happened in Las Vegas. Brothers and sisters that desired a practical church life according to their vision led them to move to Los Angeles during the mid to late 1960's.

Terry
Terry,

Brother Danek was an original. He was considered by all in Texas as the original elder and the current elder. I visited there several times. We always tried to fit into whatever the very small group was doing. I remember very distinctly that Benson wanted them to be more closely aligned with So. California and W L.

Eventually most of those in Phonex/Mesa moved to meet with various churches such as Atlanta. The original elder and his wife never could get into the one ministry program. Some who joined these pre-existing local churches/fellowships/free groups had an agenda of bringing the group into a closer relationship with So. California etc. They would blend but were waiting for the group's elders to come around. I have seen the same thing here in NC. We have had LSMers, Gene Edwards advocates and some from the Stephen Kaung school of church life join and submit for a while hoping we would come around to something or other that would align us with their apostle and his ministry.

Don't you just love Eph 4:1-3, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

When a dear one or ones come among you who desire that you conform to their special fellowship and apostle, you, not them are on the spot. We must practice the above verses. I have been scolded so many times for not joining the special circle. We are happy to receive the believers and whatever help or gift they have but we cannot impose anyone's ministry and leading on the church. In God's administration the church is "local." It is ekklesia. It is the assembly of the citizens to carry out the business of the government. Today the church, ekklesia, is directly under the headship of Christ to carry out His kingdom where the church is located. I had rather have the direct administration of the head than the indirect administration from some apostle or would be apostle.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Old 12-20-2008, 03:54 PM   #142
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Dear Brother Unto,

Perhaps this may be interesting.

During the sixties, I heard from WL on several occasions and from other Taiwan Saints of an event that occurred in the fifties in Taipei. There were about 500 believers who had escaped from mainland China who had been in the local churches associated with WN. They began to meet and preach the gospel. A significant number was saved and added. The elders, co-workers and WL were very concerned about practicing the practical oneness of the local church. There were seven other assemblies in Taipei which were not associated with any mainline denominations. The elders approached them all and made them all the following offer. The church in Taipei would turn over all property and accounts and ask all the members to submit to the elders in the other group. The local church elders would resign and submit to the elders in the other group. The local church elders and co-workers also said they would reframe from speaking or ministering anything for six month. They were turned down by every group.

This story was told to us in the early days as a case study of how we in the USA should endeavor to practice the oneness of the local church wherever we might be meeting. I have told in my first chapter about the early days in the local church in the USA. One of the practices that Benson Philips was particularly ardent for was the seeking out of other Christian groups and our being willing to meet with them and to submit to them. I was rebuked by him on at least two occasions for my attitude and conclusions about groups we were seeking out. In those two occasions, it was clear to me that we were wasting our time but Benson was under the compulsion of Witness Lee’s charge and wanted to go the ninth and tenth mile with these groups.

Eventually he too realized they really meant it when they indicated they desired to maintain a special fellowship that did not include the whole Body of Christ. Benson was quite disappointed that we were not able to join with another group. Benson may be many things but he has never been lukewarm or half way about anything. If there was anyway, we could have joined with another assembly and submitted to their elders and practiced the practical church life of one church, one city then he would have lead the church that way.


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Old 12-21-2008, 05:27 AM   #143
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Hello Brother Unto,

On the other hand what you are asking is a little bit complicated in one respect. Do you know of one case where there was such a group as you described "an EXISTING Christian group, with an EXISTING group of leaders/elders who were already following and practicing the teachings of an EXISTING apostle." Maybe there was some group of local churchers who flat out rejected the group you have set up as the object of the exercise. If they did, that was a clear failure and breakdown of the teaching. It is not easy to find the group you have described. But on the other hand ...

In the mid seventies there was a small group in Goldsboro NC. They had read Watchman Nee and one of the elders was related to a sister in the church in Raleigh. They were meeting as the church in Goldsboro. Some from Raleigh began to fellowship with them and joined them. They attended a conference in NY City with WL and were warming received and recognized by him and all the other churches. This was a very big point to one of the elders in Goldsboro.

During my travels, I visited them. I heard a lengthy relating of their history from the elders, all who were from the original meeting. They had rejected a few would be apostles, in particular a Gene Edwards co-worker. They seemed to like WL for his expounding of the Bible and greatly appreciated the way he had received them just as they were and recognized them as one of the churches. Whenever I heard the brothers in Raleigh give any report regarding the Southeast they always included Goldsboro as no different than any other church. I never remember Goldsboro making any efforts to attend trainings in Anaheim though they being small could have gone unnoticed by me.

Hope, Don Rutledge

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Last edited by Hope; 12-21-2008 at 05:30 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:54 AM   #144
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Hello Brother Unto,

As I have begun to think about your question another case came to my memory. Now the details do not perfectly meet your requirements but here are my recollections for your consideration.

I have mentioned the church in Denton and brother George Whitington. He had begun to have meetings in an old house near North Texas State University sometime in the middle sixties. Thurman Massey had been in the church in Waco. He was a few courses short of a degree and went to Denton for a semester to complete the work. There he met George and began to meet with him. He wrote to us in Waco and was very positive about them and always referred to them as the church.

George had many contacts with traveling ministers and had several in to speak including Stephen Kaung. Benson Philips had heard of brother Kaung and desired to meet him. He heard him in Denton and gave a very warm and favorable report to us in Waco regarding brother Kaung and the church in Denton. There was a lot of back and forth for over a year. Thurman and his future wife, Diana met with them for many months before Thurman and she were married and they moved to Waco where they both became public school teachers.

I am not sure how this example comes up to your hypothesis. The group in Denton did not have an official set apostle who had appointed an official set of elders. They read material from brother Kaung and from Watchman Nee. They had several guest speakers but they were not under any “official apostle.” There were two brothers who were the elders. No one ever thought about not recognizing them.

Let us know if this could be a case you are looking for. There are many small places I know of that were similar to Denton and some I have mentioned. Perhaps if I took the time to give you fine details some might even come close to making muster.

The strongest case for your point is Moses Lake, Washington. The thing missing is that there was not a local church group that united with them but only that they were just recognized as a local church as they were.

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Old 12-25-2008, 08:13 PM   #145
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Don,
Thanks for all your thoughtful replies! Some examples are very familiar to me and some were not. Though I don't think any really fit the bill for me, I wanted to acknowledge all your digging.

What I was looking for was a pre-existing assembly of believer meeting as the church in oneness who were recognized as such by Witness Lee. I still don't see it. Maybe one or more of the examples you gave seem to fit into this mold in your view. To me they don't.

I know that many, many such groups existed back in the day, and many more exist now. I know because I meet with such a group. I also know that Witness Lee would never recognize this church/assembly/fellowship, and nor would the blended brothers or any Living Stream Ministry brothers. In fact they would no doubt cast dispersion, mock and call all sorts of names. Not much has changed in the Local Church of Witness Lee I'm afraid.
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:22 PM   #146
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What I was looking for was a pre-existing assembly of believer meeting as the church in oneness who were recognized as such by Witness Lee. I still don't see it. Maybe one or more of the examples you gave seem to fit into this mold in your view. To me they don't.
Don did point out the Church as Moses lake as one example. Since ties were cut from Living Stream in the mid-eighties, this assembly was no longer recognized as a locality.

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Old 12-26-2008, 03:28 AM   #147
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Don did point out the Church as Moses lake as one example. Since ties were cut from Living Stream in the mid-eighties, this assembly was no longer recognized as a locality.

Terry
Mansfield was a group before Bro Lee visited. They mostly came from the Brethren. In fact, people left when Lee came in.
They had much light due to seeking out many authors and prayer and fellowship. They met as a church with no name, but took the ground and became an LC. The group that left became Grace Haven and now is Grace Fellowship. I believe we are talking late 60's.
They became the the only LC East of the Mississippi, and the only one not raised up by Titus or Lee.
Now divided again by Living Stream, with the other group as of now unnamed.
Is this what you were asking?
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:15 AM   #148
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Don,
Thanks for all your thoughtful replies! Some examples are very familiar to me and some were not. Though I don't think any really fit the bill for me, I wanted to acknowledge all your digging.

What I was looking for was a pre-existing assembly of believer meeting as the church in oneness who were recognized as such by Witness Lee. I still don't see it. Maybe one or more of the examples you gave seem to fit into this mold in your view. To me they don't.

I know that many, many such groups existed back in the day, and many more exist now. I know because I meet with such a group. I also know that Witness Lee would never recognize this church/assembly/fellowship, and nor would the blended brothers or any Living Stream Ministry brothers. In fact they would no doubt cast dispersion, mock and call all sorts of names. Not much has changed in the Local Church of Witness Lee I'm afraid.
By the late 70s, 1976 on, the concept that simply meeting in the Lord's name and receiving all the believers in Christ Jesus was enough to be considered as a church had pretty much gone by the wayside. The ground of the church, or the church in so and so city had been mainly descriptive and was versus the denominational model with a headquarters. The practice of having a formal "taking the ground" with a meeting developed over a few years. My first recollection would have been around 1973 with the last major out migrations.

Eventually after the elders/coworkers meeting of January 1974, the LSM was an official movement with Witness Lee and Max Rapoport as the leaders. Unless they approved with calling an assembly a local church, that assembly was not a local church. There were definitely more requirements than (see above) "simply meeting in the Lord's name and receiving all the believers in Christ Jesus."

Hope, Don Rutledge

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John 8:31-33, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:34 AM   #149
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Mansfield was a group before Bro Lee visited. They mostly came from the Brethren. In fact, people left when Lee came in.
They had much light due to seeking out many authors and prayer and fellowship. They met as a church with no name, but took the ground and became an LC. The group that left became Grace Haven and now is Grace Fellowship. I believe we are talking late 60's.
They became the the only LC East of the Mississippi, and the only one not raised up by Titus or Lee.
Now divided again by Living Stream, with the other group as of now unnamed.
Is this what you were asking?

Thank you Suannehill,

I considered mentioning Mansfield but I had never been there and only knew a few of the brothers, in particular Dwight Rader. I remember well his coming to the conference in 1967 when Witness Lee became ill and had to miss several meetings. He gave a stirring memorial testimony regarding the empty chair.

During the first two meeting, there was a chair on the platform where the ill WL sat as he delivered his message. Suddenly, there was no WL only an empty chair. Dwight gave a testimony with flowing tears of how convicted he was regarding his coming to LA. He confessed he did not care for the church in LA or any of the saints at the conference but only wanted to hear brother Lee and return and then because of his being with WL he might be someone important in the church in Mansfield. After his speaking, we all were so clear that it was not about brother Lee but it was about Christ. It was the Head Christ and His members that were precious not just a gifted member. Dwight confessed that he believed it was probably due to his pride and concept of WL that WL had become ill.

I recall that Dwight was indeed a different person than he had been on the first night of the conference when someone spoke from each church represented there. He spoke for the church in Mansfield. His testimony and person over the next few days was a powerful message that what the Lord was doing was not elevating gifted members and those who might be associated with them.

Hope, Don Rutledge
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John 8:31-33, Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:32 PM   #150
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An interesting subject came up on the other forum about Watchman Nee. In particular it stated that Watchman Nee books published by CFP were far less edited than books by LSM. One example given was that LSM's authority and submission left out the section on the limitations of Spiritual Authority. Does anybody know more about this.
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:51 AM   #151
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An interesting subject came up on the other forum about Watchman Nee. In particular it stated that Watchman Nee books published by CFP were far less edited than books by LSM. One example given was that LSM's authority and submission left out the section on the limitations of Spiritual Authority. Does anybody know more about this.
Hello dear IDon'tKnow,

Here are the facts that I am aware of regarding LSM's publication of Authority and Submission:
  1. In 1972 dear brother Stephen Kaung and Christian Fellowship Publishers published all 20 of WN's messages from 1948/1949 dealing with Spiritual Authority in one volume entitiled Spiritual Authority.
  2. LSM republished the first eleven messages only in a 1988 book entitled Authority and Submission. (Apparently the Taiwan Gospel bookroom had first published these 11 messages back in 1967.)
  3. In 1994 LSM published all 20 messages under the title Authority and Submission for the Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set 3.
The problem was in the timing. Back in 1988, of course, the whole issue of unquestioned submission to WL as The Deputy Authority was a big issue in the LC's. This was when WL was claiming the right to lead all of the LC's on a global basis into "The New Way". By only publishing in 1988 the first 11 messages, which issue a strong call for submission to deputy authority, and not publish the last 9 messages, which hold deputy authorities to a very high standard, LSM definitely gave the appearance of being disingenuous. If there really was a sudden, unexpected, crucial need for these messages, then they really should have placed a big order with Stehphen Kaung and CFP, since only CFP had all 20 messages in print at that time.

Some of the messages which hold deputy authorities to a very high standard have titles like: "The Character of God's Deputy Authority - Gracious to Others", "The Misuse of Deputy Authority and God's Governmental Judgement", and "The Need for a Deputy Authority to Submit to Authority".
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Old 04-18-2009, 03:39 PM   #152
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They all left out the 21st message. Which was entitled, I believe, "I Was Just Kidding. Deputy Authority is a Bunch of Baloney."
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:51 PM   #153
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This is a very interesting thread. And a long one. I must confess that I did not read every one of the posts, but I did read enough to appreciate being reminded of the frailty of man, and not to idolize even the greatest of spiritual men whom the Lord has used to lead His people out of bondage into God’s eternal purpose.

Like all of you, I’m sure, I remember fondly of the day when glory broke upon me as I opened my first book by Watchman Nee, and another, then another…. O, the feeling of rapture! Heaven has never been so near….

In no time, Watchman Nee’s books were all I’d read and devour. Undeniably I, like you all, have benefited greatly from Nee’s ministry; I thank the Lord for using Bro. Nee to open up the mysteries of God’s heart’s desire hidden in His word and usher in a paradigm change in my pursuit of Christ. I remember too, the excitement upon seeing the Church for the first time as the Lord sees her – the heavenly bride of Christ. From that point on, there was a slow and subtle shift in my focus away from the Lord Himself to the bride - the Church, then naturally to the local assembly, a people with whom I could practically relate.

It is never blatantly obvious – the shift in our focus. If anybody had told me so, I would have vehemently denied. Who, me? Never! I’m in love with Jesus.

It wasn’t until 16 years later, after the Lord engineered a gut-wrenching exodus from the LC for my dear wife and I, that it dawned on me how seriously and dangerously we have strayed away from the Person of Christ. Sure, I can blame W. Lee and the Local Church for our demise, and it would have been true to a large extent. I should also lay the blame squarely on myself for willingly following Lee’s bad teachings, and it would have been very true too. But Watchman Nee? Never in a million years would I have imagined this man of God to be fallible and subject to error like the rest of us.

Deeply ashamed and repentant, I asked the Lord to restore the years that I’ve allowed the locusts and the cankerworms to consume. Once my relationship with the Lord was restored (and restoring), the Watchman Nee’s books did not read the same any more. I remember vividly reading Nee’s “Revive Thy years” which was given to us by a dear brother. Cold chills kept running down my spine. I had to keep flipping back to the cover to see if it was Lee and not Nee whose name appeared on the front cover. My 16 years in the LC flashed back to haunt me as I read the book….

That same year, 1997 (?) I sat at lunch during a Richmond Family conference. I had an opportunity to tell Bro. Stephen Kaung of my horrifying experience while reading “Revive Thy years” by W. Nee, and to ask him why he even published such a book. He smiled understandingly and sympathetically as I related my experience. His answer was that he felt the need to be truthful to both the writer and the Christian public to put out all of Bro. Nee’s books and not just hide the bad and put out the good, and let the Christian public be the judge….

I think many of you would agree that the more we intimate and endear the Person of Christ, the more we’d find ourselves disagreeing with some teachings or comments by Watchman Nee. It’s not an indictment on Bro. Nee’s ministry. It’s just part of the process of knowing God personally and intimately. Discernment comes with spiritual maturity.

KissTheSon mentioned a “What Are We?” paper by W. Nee in 1934 which contrasted sharply with a later claim by Nee in 1948. Interestingly, there was a conference by the Richmond brothers in 1993 (94?) on “Who Are We?” A couple of brothers and I from a fellowship in Houston attended the conference. I remember seeing old Bro. Stephen quoting John 1:19-23. The priests and Levites from Jerusalem asked John the Baptist, “Who are you?” Stephen says we also need to ask ourselves this question from time to time. And like John the Baptist, our only answer should be, “We are not.”

He delved into the early years of the work in China with apparent move and blessing of the Holy Spirit, then he said the Lord used the up-rising of the Communists to chasten the saints. With tears rolling and voice breaking he said, “because we have become proud….” Again, he repeated, “we have become proud!” Now if you know Stephen, you’d know that he is ever the lowly and humble person. I can’t say that Stephen became proud even in the height of the move of the Lord in China, but it’s not hard to discern Nee has indeed become proud. And I submit that it is the awful and ugly sin of pride that marked the difference between the “early Nee” vs. the “later Nee” that you brothers have clearly discerned in this thread.

Make no mistake, each of us is as capable, if not more, of becoming proud. We just haven’t been given the opportunity, that’s all. How we need the Lord’s mercy on this. How we need the work of the cross to keep us lowly. I am just as capable of doing what W. Lee did, if given the opportunity.

My prayer is that we’d be confronted with the question every now and then, “Who are you?” And may we truly come to the realization that we are not. May we all learn from our painful past mistakes of majoring on the church and minoring on Christ, and turn back to Him and Him alone. If our focus is the church we’ll lose sight of Christ; if we focus on Him we’ll gain both Christ and the church. Guaranteed.

Blessings to all.

Oliver
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #154
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Hi Oliver,

Welcome! I really enjoyed your post. Oh, may the Lord have mercy on all of us. As you say, it is indeed subtle, but before you know it we looked up and there before our eyes stood two "perfect" men (Nee & Lee) whose teaching were never to be questioned...not ever. Of course, this was only the image that had been carved for us, and we fell for it.

I remember reading Nee and Lee when I was in the Local Church. It was as if I was reading the very Word of God. On a level that I was not aware of I had made the words of Lee and Nee equal to God's own breathed Scripture.

Now I am reading the Genesis Life-studies with my wife daily. In a strange way it is so refreshing to see all the holes, contradictions and hypocrisies. It's such an awful burden always having to wink at obvious falsehoods, contradictions and hypocrisies.

I think slowly the false images of Nee and Lee are topling over, much like that statue of Sadam Hussein in Bagdad. BTW, did you notice when it broke open near the base...it was hollow, and the one it glorified was hiding somewhere in a "spider hole." Now there is a god brought to nothing.

We got much help from the writings of Watchman Nee, and still do. We also got much help from the ministry of Witness Lee. In some ways I believe we did. But the image of the "man for the age," who is never to be questioned, has to be destroyed.

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Old 04-30-2009, 06:30 AM   #155
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They all left out the 21st message. Which was entitled, I believe, "I Was Just Kidding. Deputy Authority is a Bunch of Baloney."
Can I get a copy of this chapter?
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:27 AM   #156
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If I may ask what is the subject of “Revive Thy years” and what is the problem with it?
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #157
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Default Re: "Early Nee" vs. "Later Nee"

I note that in mentioning "Revive Thy Work" that even Stephen Kaung suggests that there are problems with Nee's writings — at least some of them. I know that, while I never read it, The Latent Power of the Soul was often spoken of quite negatively, even by Nee himself.

But while the ministry of Stephen Kaung is apparently not as dogmatic as that of Lee, I note that its foundation is deep in Nee. Since I am now seeing that even Nee's much less controversial works have problems, is this merely another "this is the way" ministry that managed to keep from stepping over the line to add "and you are not and are the whore of Babylon." I do respect them for that restraint. But I wonder whether Oliver is now joined to something that might be likened to LC-lite.

In any case, besides the opportunity to delve into another "book" by Nee, this is not a discussion about, or a place to advertise some other ministry, whether good or bad.

As for "Revive Thy Work," I couldn't find it in LSM's collected works of Nee. I wonder if it is from notes and the LSM has given it a different name to avoid copyright issues.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:57 AM   #158
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Default Nee's "Central Messages"

I have found it interesting to randomly look around in the ministrybooks.org web site. Recently, I have looked more at Nee’s works than at Lee’s. This is because the discussion in Further Talks on the Church Life caused me to more clearly see Nee’s part in the errors in which the LC now openly operates.

Besides Further Talks, I read Sit, Walk, Stand about a year ago (actually as part of a several-week discussion on Ephesians at church that used the book as underpinning). In that, I saw hints at some of the error that I see so fully in Lee. Nee rightly walked through Ephesians in order. First you must be equipped, ten you must use that equipment, and finally you must be firm in your stance. But it was only a few nuances away from being Lee’s “sit and be equipped and the rest will simply flow out of you.” I realize that neither Nee or Lee said it quite as directly as that, but Lee did say it indirectly.

So today I was perusing the ministrybooks.org site again and came across The Collected Works of Watchman Nee: Central Messages (Vol. 36). (It is unfortunate that there is no indication when and where any of these messages were given.) The second chapter is “The Overcoming Life.” I quickly scanned it and saw a couple of things that slowed me down. So I looked closer. I will not give a blow-by-blow account of what I saw, but it was like reading Lee lite. I will provide at least this one quote which is from the first paragraph in the section “The Christian Life Spoken of in the Bible”:

Philippians 1:21 says, "To me, to live is Christ." Does it say that to live is to be like Christ? No. Does it say that to live is to imitate Christ? No. Does it say that to live is to make Christ our pattern and example, and to follow Christ? No. It says, "To me, to live is Christ." It is absolutely useless to imitate or to do good. Even if we can read the Bible, pray, live a good life, and pursue diligently, as long as we have a wrong life, we will still end up with a wrong living. We may yearn, weep, repent, and pray to God, "God, I really want to obey You," but there is something basically wrong with us—we have a wrong life.

As I read through the rest of the chapter, I keep seeing the same thoughts. The Christian life is not doing. The Christian life is not even “working out your own salvation” as Paul said in Philippians 2:12. Instead, it is all about getting Christ’s life. He points to verse 13 which refers to the willing and working for His good pleasure. According to Nee “Inwardly we plan, and outwardly we speak and act. We are able to will and work because God operates in us. This verse does not say that we should will and work; it says that God is operating in our hearts until we are able to will and work. God's operation is God's working. God works in our hearts until we are able to will and work. Since God has already worked in, we are able to work out. If nothing is worked in, nothing can be worked out.

This is contrary to Paul’s own words. He does not say here that we will eventually work out our salvation when enough Christ is worked in so that He is willing and working in us. He says “it is God who operates in you both the willing and working.”

This future tense living of the Christian life is not what Paul taught.

But more telling in reading this portion from Nee, and taken in the light of all that we have heard and/or read from Lee over the years, it is evident that they are ignoring half of Paul’s writings. When Paul wrote to the Galatians, the Corinthians, the Philippians, etc., he started with a real, practical problem ─ taking freedom to sin, not treating those different from you righteously, etc. Rather than simply say “cut it out!” he would provide the sound scriptural basis, complete with the updated understanding based on the “law” being written in our hearts rather than just on tablets of stone. He completely discussed the spiritual implications of the issue. But that discussion was not to turn the reader’s response into a journey forward into spirituality to eventually achieve a level that would work out the practical problem. It was to explain why it was something that should happen now.

This has gotten us only about half-way through the chapter. But the rest is more discussion about how we must do so much in a spiritual way to have Christ live out of us and achieve the thing that we are up against (like the things for which Paul was chastising the various churches).

Now I do not deny that we should be “walking” toward a higher plain in our relationship with Christ, however you want to describe the steps. But according to Paul, that does not stand between us and victory over bigotry, over taking too much liberty in Christ to even sin, and over dividing based on preferred teachers. He continually says that we have what it takes. He expected the Corinthians to stop dividing and he considered them babes in Christ, only able to take in spiritual milk rather than meat. In fact, the Corinthians seem to have been a microcosm of error, yet after Paul went through his reason, spiritual and otherwise, he said to “cut it out.”
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:28 AM   #159
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