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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 03-03-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
Indiana
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Default Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

booklet by Watchman Nee

What discrepancy between this word and what we have seen in the Local Churches at least since 1986.


Let us note at the outset that there is little apparent difference between ministry to the House of the Lord and ministry to the Lord Himself. Many of you are doing your utmost to help your brethren, and you are laboring to save sinners and administer the affairs of the church. But let me ask you: Have you been seeking to meet the need around you, or have you been seeking to serve the Lord? Is it your fellow men you have in view, or is it Him?

Let us be quite frank. Work for the Lord undoubtedly has its attractions for the flesh. You may be thrilled when crowds gather to hear you preach, and when numbers of souls are saved. If you have to stay at home, occupied from morning to night with mundane matters, then you think: How meaningless life as! How grand at would be if I could go out and serve the Lord! If only I were free to go around ministering! But that is not spirituality. That is merely a matter of natural preference. Oh, if only we could see that much of the work done for God is not really ministry at all! He, Himself, has told us that there was a class of Levites who busily served in the Temple, and yet they were not serving Him; they were merely serving the House. However, service to the Lord and service to the House appear so much alike that it is often difficult to differentiate between the two.

If an Israelite came along to the Temple and wanted to worship God, those Levites would come to his aid and help him offer his peace offering and his burnt offering. They would help him drag the sacrifice to the altar, and they would slay it. Surely that was a grand work to be engaged in, reclaiming sinners and leading believers closer to the Lord! And God took account of the service of those Levites who helped men bring their peace offerings and their burnt offerings to the altar. Yet He said it was not ministry to Himself.

Brothers and sisters, there is a heavy burden on my heart that you might realize what God is after. He wants ministers who will minister to Him. "They shall come near to me to minister unto me; and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood. They shall minister unto me" (Ezekiel 44:15).

The thing I fear most is that many of you will go out and win sinners to the Lord and build up believers, without ministering to the Lord Himself. Much so-called service for Him is simply following our natural inclinations. We have such active dispositions that we cannot bear to stay at home, so we run around for our own relief. We may appear to be serving sinners, or serving believers, but all the while we are serving our own flesh.

I have a dear friend who is now with the Lord. One day, after we had a time of prayer together, we read this passage in Ezekiel (44:9-26, 28, 31 ). She was very much older than I, and she addressed me like this: "My young brother, it was twenty years ago that I first studied this passage of Scripture."

"How did you react to it?" I asked.

She replied: "As soon as I had finished reading it, I closed my Bible, and kneeling down before the Lord, I prayed: `Lord, make me to be one who shall minister to You, not to the Temple."' Can we also pray that prayer?

But what do we really mean when we talk of serving God or serving the Temple? Here is what the Word says:

“But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me; and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the LORD God” (Ezekiel 44:15).

The conditions basic to all ministry that can truly be called ministry to the Lord are drawing near to Him and standing before Him. But how hard we often find it to drag ourselves into His presence! We shrink from the solitude, and even when we do detach ourselves physically, our thoughts still keep wandering outside. Many of us can enjoy working among people, but how many of us can draw near to God in the Holy of Holies? Yet it is only as we draw near to Him that we can minister to Him.

To come into the presence of God and kneel before Him for an hour demands all the strength we possess. We have to be violent to hold that ground. But everyone who serves the Lord knows the preciousness of such times, the sweetness of waking at midnight and spending an hour in prayer, or waking very early in the morning and getting up for an hour of prayer before the final sleep of the night.

Unless we really know what it is to draw near to God, we cannot know what it is to serve Him. It is impossible to stand afar off and still minister to Him. We cannot serve Him from a distance. There is only one place where ministry to Him is possible and that is in the Holy Place. In the outer court you approach the people; in the Holy Place you approach the Lord.

The passage we have quoted emphasizes not only our need to draw near to God; it also speaks of standing before Him to minister. Today we always want to be moving on; we cannot stand still. There are, so many things claiming our attention that we are perpetually on the go. We cannot stop for a moment.

But a spiritual person knows how to stand still. He can stand before God till God makes His will known. He can stand and await orders. I wish to address myself to my fellow-workers. May I ask you: Is not your work definitely organized and carried out to schedule? And has it not got to be done in great haste? Can you be persuaded to call a halt and not move for a little while? That is what is referred to here: "stand and minister unto me."

There are only two types of sin before God. One is the sin of refusing to obey when He issues orders. The other is the sin of going ahead when the Lord has not issued orders. The one is rebellion; the other is presumption. The one is not doing what the Lord has required; the other is doing what the Lord has not required. Learning to stand before the Lord deals with the sin of doing what the Lord has not commanded. Brothers and sisters, how much of the work you have done has been based on the clear command of the Lord? How much have you done because of His direct instructions? And how much have you done simply on the ground that the thing you did was a good thing to do? Let me tell you that nothing so damages the Lord's interests as a "good thing." "Good things" are the greatest hindrance to the accomplishment of His will. The moment we are faced with anything wicked or unclean, we immediately recognize it as something a Christian ought to avoid, and for that reason, things which are positively evil are nearly not such a menace to the Lord's purpose as good things.

You think: This thing would not be wrong, or That thing is the very best that could be done so you go ahead and take action without stopping to inquire if it is the will of God. We who are His children all know that we ought not to do anything evil, but we think that if only our conscience does not forbid a thing, or if a thing commends itself to us as positively good, that is reason enough to go ahead and do it.

'That thing you contemplate doing may be very good, but are you standing before the Lord awaiting His command regarding it? "They shall stand before me" involves halting in His presence and refusing to move till He issues His orders. That is what ministry to the Lord means.

In the outer court it is human need that governs. Just let someone come along to sacrifice an ox or a sheep, and there is work for you to do. But in the Holiest Place there is utter solitude. Not a soul comes in. No brother or sister governs us here, nor does any committee determine our affairs. In the Holiest Place there is one authority only - the authority of the Lord. If He appoints me a task I, do it; if He appoints me no task, I do none.

But something is required of us as we stand before the Lord and minister to Him. We are required to offer Him "the fat and the blood." The blood answers the demands of His holiness and righteousness; the fat meets the requirements of His glory. The blood deals with the question of our sin; the fat deals with the question of His satisfaction. The blood removes all that belongs to the old creation; the fat brings in the new.

But such ministry is confined to a certain place: "They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge" (Ezekiel 44:16). Ministry that is "unto me" is in the inner sanctuary, in the hidden place, not in the outer court, exposed to public view. People may think we are doing nothing, but service to God in the Holy Place far transcends service to the people in the outer court.

Ministry Without Sweat

The same passage tells us how they must be clothed who would minister to the Lord:

“They shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins.” (Ezekiel 44:18).

Those who minister to the Lord may not wear wool. Why not? The reason is given:

"They shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat" (verse 18 ). No work chat produces sweat is acceptable to the Lord. But what does "sweat" signify?

We all know that the first occasion when sweat is mentioned was when Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden. After Adam sinned, God pronounced this sentence upon him: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life...in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19-19). It is clear that sweat is a condition of the curse. Because the curse rested on the ground, it ceased to yield its fruit without man's effort, and such effort produced sweat.

When the blessing of God is withheld, fleshly effort becomes necessary, and that causes sweat. All work that produces sweat is positively prohibited to those who minister to the Lord. Yet today what an expenditure of energy there is in work for Him! Few Christians can do any work today without sweating over it. Their work involves planning and scheming, exhorting and urging, and very much running around. It cannot be done without a great deal of fleshly zeal.

Nowadays, if there is no sweat there is no work. Before work for God can be undertaken, there is a great deal of rushing to and fro, making numerous contacts, having consultations and discussions, and finally getting the approval of various people before going ahead. As for waiting quietly in the presence of God and seeking His instructions, that is out of the question.

Yet in spiritual work, the one factor to be taken into account is God. He is the one

Person to make contact with. That is the preciousness of spiritual work that is truly spiritual-it is related to the Lord Himself In relation to Him there is work to do, but it is work that produces no sweat.

If we have to advertise our ministry and use great effort to promote it, then it is obvious that it does not spring from prayer in the presence of God. If you really work in God's presence, men will respond when you come into their presence. You will not have to use endless means in order to help them. Spiritual work is God's work, and when God works, man does not need to expend so much effort that he sweats over it.

Let us in utter honesty examine ourselves before God today. Let us ask Him: "Am I serving You, or am I merely serving the work? Is my ministry truly unto you Lord, or is it only ministry to your House?" If you are pouring with sweat all the time, it is safe to conclude that it is the House you are serving, not the Lord. If all your busyness is related to human need, you may know that you are serving men, not God. I am not despising the work of slaying sacrifices at the altar. It is work for God and someone has to do it-but God wants something beyond that.

God cannot secure everyone for service to Himself, for many of His own are reluctant to leave the thrill and excitement of the outer court. They are bent on serving the people. But what about us? Oh that today we might say to the Lord: "I am willing to forsake things, I am willing to forsake the work, I am willing to forsake the outer court and serve You in the inner sanctuary."

When God could find no way to bring all the Levites to the place of ministry to Himself, He chose the sons of Zadok from among them for this special service. Why did He select the sons of Zadok? Because when the children of Israel went astray, they recognised that the outer court had been irreparably corrupted, so they did not seek to preserve it. Instead, they made it their business to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Place.

Brothers and sisters, can you bear to let the external structure go, or must you persist in putting up a scaffolding to preserve it? It is the Holy Place that God is out to preserve-a place utterly set apart for Him. I beseech you before God to hear His call to for sake the outer court and devote yourself to His service in the Holy Place.

I love to read about the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch: "As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said: Separate me Barnabas and Sau1 for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). We see there that the Holy Spirit commissions men to the work as they are ministering to the Lord. Unless ministry to the Lord is the thing that governs us, the work will be in confusion.

God does not want volunteers for His work; He wants conscripts. He will not have you preaching the gospel just because you want to. The work of the Lord is suffering serious damage today at the hand of volunteers; it lacks those who can say as He did: "He that sent me..."

Brothers and sisters, the work of God is God's own work, and not work that you can take up ac your pleasure. Neither churches, nor missionary societies, nor evangelistic bands can send men to work for God. The authority to commission men is not in the hands of men, but solely, in the hands of the Spirit of God.

Serving the Lord does not mean chat we do not serve people, but it does mean that all service to people has service to the Lord as its basis. It is service Godward that urges us out manward. Luke 17:7-10 tells us clearly what the Lord is after. These are two kinds of work referred to here: ploughing the field and tending the flock. Both are very important occupations, yet the Lord says that when a servant returns from such work, he is expected to provide for his master's satisfaction before sitting down to enjoy his own food.

When we have returned from our toil in the field, we are apt to muse complacently on the much work we have accomplished. But the Lord will say, "Gird yourself and give me to eat." He requires ministry to Himself. We may have laboured in a wide field and cared for many sheep, but all our toil in the field and among the flock does not exempt us from ministry to the Lord's own personal satisfaction. That is our supreme task.

What are you really after? Is it only work in the field, preaching the gospel to the unsaved? Is it just tending the flock, caring for the needs of the saved? Or are we seeing to it that the Lord can eat to His full satisfaction and drink till His thirst is quenched? True, it is necessary for us also to eat and drink, but that cannot be till after the Lord is satisfied. We, too, must have our enjoyment, but that can never be until His joy is first made full.

Let us ask ourselves: Does our work minister to our satisfaction or to the Lord's? I fear that when we have worked for the Lord, we are often thoroughly satisfied before He is satisfied. We are often quite happy with our work when He has found no joy in it. Blessed are they who can differentiate between ministry to sinners or saints, and ministry to Him. Such discernment is not easily acquired. Often it is only by much drastic dealing that we learn the difference between ministry to the Lord Himself and ministry to the House.

Let us seek the grace of God that He may reveal to us what it really means to minister to Him!
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:48 PM   #2
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One of the most convoluted bits of nonsense I have read in some time. Parsing over small pieces of passages and determining what each fragment means like it is written using a cipher key. We need to first consider that we should work for the Lord, not for others. Then we need to be sure what kind of clothes we are wearing (figuratively) so that we don't "sweat" (have outward evidence of performing physical work). And so on.

What stands out to me is that what appears to be something written by Nee (or at least partly so) is almost entirely pointed at our "service" being "spiritual" and not practical. Concerned with things like "come(ing) into the Lord's presence and kneeling for an hour." So much concern about some isolated thing he calls "ministering to the Lord" that is divorced from any kind of practical service.

I note that he talks about two main kinds of sin. One is not doing what we are commanded and the other is doing what we are not commanded. On the first, I think that there is a tremendous amount of "commanded" action that requires much sweat, at least figuratively. In fact, so many of the commandments are tied to activity. They are not about "serving God" in isolation of serving others.

The other seems almost contrived. To argue that doing what is not commanded is a sin is to hamstring virtually all activity because an audible voice was not heard demanding the particular action at this time. It means that I can go along and simply ignore my neighbor rather than love him because I did not get a clear command to do what is required. Now I don't presume that just because I see something or know about it that it is mine to act upon. But to consider that God would count as sin the righteous actions of his followers just because they did not get a specific word from him to take on that particular task is not an idea found in scripture. It is a flight of fancy created in a vacuum of a kind of "gospel" that is only about what goes on inside and is oblivious to what goes on outside. A gospel that is preached only when the spirit moves. A gospel that does not accept that living righteously and in a constant state of loving neighbor as well as God is what God demands.

I can read and the scripture very clearly commands much action on my part. This claim of no command is a fallacy. And it is cheating those who think it is such a high teaching. This kind of teaching is in opposition to the scripture and its writer, God.

And Jesus was quite clear when he was busy telling his followers what it meant to do things for him. He said that if we see someone in need and take care of them we have taken care of Christ. If we neglect them we have neglected Christ. So all of the work that produces sweat actually results in service to Christ. What does Nee have to say about that? Anything? Crickets chirping. The basic premise of Nee's and Lee's inner-life teachings is far from what the scripture teaches.

. . . .

I read a piece recently where Walden was superimposed upon the discussion about the meaning of scripture. Rather than understanding what the author wrote in the words provided, everyone is busy parsing fragments. It says that he managed to go for some long period of time without speaking to anyone. That is grasped upon as the answer to how to deal with quarrels at home. The result is that every individual making their own meaning out of the book is considered more valuable than scholars spending time considering what the author actually wrote.

And when we return to scripture, there may be some cause to tolerate private readings for our own benefit. But when it becomes what is taught in the mainstream (or some significant subset of it), or replaces sound understanding, it qualifies as systematic override of scripture in favor of unsubstantiated opinion. In other words, nonsense.

And one more thing. Is this entire thing from one pamphlet by Nee? If so, what is its title? If not, it is impossible to distinguish your comments from Nee's. If the title is "Ministry to the House or to the Lord" then you should have made that more clear.

And yet another question. What was this 3,000+ word epistle supposed to respond to? Or is it just one more nearly random drop of stuff on the forum?
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Building and a Bride in the Bible

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To argue that doing what is not commanded is a sin is to hamstring virtually all activity because an audible voice was not heard demanding the particular action at this time. It means that I can go along and simply ignore my neighbor rather than love him because I did not get a clear command to do what is required. Now I don't presume that just because I see something or know about it that it is mine to act upon. But to consider that God would count as sin the righteous actions of his followers just because they did not get a specific word from him to take on that particular task is not an idea found in scripture. It is a flight of fancy created in a vacuum of a kind of "gospel" that is only about what goes on inside and is oblivious to what goes on outside.
Gotta agree with this. Nee's teaching here was another example of how he invented "principles" from his imagination. He would get on a roll and before he knew it would write a whole new chapter on Christian behavior. Not trying to take away from the many good things he taught, but he did have a tendency to come up with things that sounded good, but which could easily lead astray those who didn't know how to parse him. And given his status, few did.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Building and a Bride in the Bible

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Gotta agree with this. Nee's teaching here was another example of how he invented "principles" from his imagination. He would get on a roll and before he knew it would write a whole new chapter on Christian behavior. Not trying to take away from the many good things he taught, but he did have a tendency to come up with things that sounded good, but which could easily lead astray those who didn't know how to parse him. And given his status, few did.
In the application this teaching was used as a justification to not do many things (ministry to feed the poor, etc) yet the very things they had not received the Lord's speaking on were the same things commanded in the book of James: Pure religion is to care for the fatherless and widows and to keep yourself unspotted from the world. Which of course they then condemn as a book without a clear vision of God's NT economy. It seems they have constructed a set of teachings to give them the excuse to do nothing. Which again is a contradiction of James command: be doers of the word and not hearers only. Why would they do this? To "build up their ministry". Focus the church's resources on buying books and listening to messages.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Building and a Bride in the Bible

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In the application this teaching was used as a justification to not do many things (ministry to feed the poor, etc) yet the very things they had not received the Lord's speaking on were the same things commanded in the book of James: Pure religion is to care for the fatherless and widows and to keep yourself unspotted from the world. Which of course they then condemn as a book without a clear vision of God's NT economy. It seems they have constructed a set of teachings to give them the excuse to do nothing. Which again is a contradiction of James command: be doers of the word and not hearers only. Why would they do this? To "build up their ministry". Focus the church's resources on buying books and listening to messages.
Absolutely. This extreme teaching is self-serving. It takes all those energetic young people and convinces them that all activity is evil except for church sponsored events. For me it was not just books and messages, but endless church service -- building and maintaining meeting halls, along with a host of other duties.

One thing that always burnt me up -- at least in the GLA and my LC -- was the pitiful attitude of expectation, and lack of appreciation displayed towards all their volunteer service -- "you want me to thank them? isn't their reward is in the heavens?"

We definitely could have used a massive dose of the book of James.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Building and a Bride in the Bible

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And one more thing. Is this entire thing from one pamphlet by Nee? If so, what is its title? If not, it is impossible to distinguish your comments from Nee's. If the title is "Ministry to the House or to the Lord" then you should have made that more clear.

And yet another question. What was this 3,000+ word epistle supposed to respond to? Or is it just one more nearly random drop of stuff on the forum?
Steve I felt the same way after reviewing this post. What is the title of the piece and have you posted it in it's entirety? If it is available online could you please point us to where it is posted?

Most importantly, I really don't think it's very profitable for you to post such a large amount of material with little or no comment from yourself. Your comment
Quote:
What discrepancy between this word and what we have seen in the Local Churches at least since 1986.
is extremely vague and doesn't really tell us what "discrepancy" you are talking about. When you get a chance could you fill in some of the blanks for us? Thanks
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Building and a Bride in the Bible

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Steve I felt the same way after reviewing this post. What is the title of the piece and have you posted it in it's entirety? If it is available online could you please point us to where it is posted?

Most importantly, I really don't think it's very profitable for you to post such a large amount of material with little or no comment from yourself. Your comment is extremely vague and doesn't really tell us what "discrepancy" you are talking about. When you get a chance could you fill in some of the blanks for us? Thanks
UntoHim, I think Steve may had wanted the rest of us forum participants to say something before he made his point on the revelvance of this Watchman Nee booklet to the forum's discussion?

"We all know that the first occasion when sweat is mentioned was when Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden. After Adam sinned, God pronounced this sentence upon him: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life...in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19-19). It is clear that sweat is a condition of the curse. Because the curse rested on the ground, it ceased to yield its fruit without man's effort, and such effort produced sweat.

When the blessing of God is withheld, fleshly effort becomes necessary, and that causes sweat. All work that produces sweat is positively prohibited to those who minister to the Lord. Yet today what an expenditure of energy there is in work for Him! Few Christians can do any work today without sweating over it. Their work involves planning and scheming, exhorting and urging, and very much running around. It cannot be done without a great deal of fleshly zeal.

Nowadays, if there is no sweat there is no work. Before work for God can be undertaken, there is a great deal of rushing to and fro, making numerous contacts, having consultations and discussions, and finally getting the approval of various people before going ahead. As for waiting quietly in the presence of God and seeking His instructions, that is out of the question.
"

What does the preceeding quote remind you of? Reminds me how the New Way, PSRP, etc was characterized as.... work of the flesh. What blessing had previously existed from the Jesus movement was gone. "A New Cart" had to be implented to try to manufacture what had previously brought many Christians to the local churches. History is available. The New Way through all the effort and all the labor of the brothers and sisters who participated was for naught.

Also reminds me of a message the late Art Katz gave. (By the way many of his messages I found at sermonindex.net). Basically saying Christian culture has become too fast-paced. Always in a hurry. There's no waiting. I think some of us can say the same thing in our experiences in the local churches. There's no waiting for the Lord. If there's a gap between testimonies/prophesying, the gap must be filled. In prophesying time, gaps are often likened to deadness. Now I look forward to the pastor/leading brother at my church calling for a moment of silence. If not for anything, to take care of our heart before proceeding with the Lord's Table.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #8
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Gotta agree with this. Nee's teaching here was another example of how he invented "principles" from his imagination. He would get on a roll and before he knew it would write a whole new chapter on Christian behavior. Not trying to take away from the many good things he taught, but he did have a tendency to come up with things that sounded good, but which could easily lead astray those who didn't know how to parse him. And given his status, few did.
This booklet by Watchman Nee, Ministry to the House or to the Lord, was commonly found in Local Church bookrooms in the 70s and might still be present in them. The copy I used is taken directly from the booklet. I read through someone’s internet copy and corrected it according to the booklet, I have which was published by Stream Publishers (later becoming Living Stream Ministry).

I saw something valuable in this fellowship by Watchman Nee, and OBW did not. He saw what looked like mud to him and talked about it, rather vehemently, referring to its “nonsense”. However, he did not mention finding a pearl in that mud that he was handling. And it is that pearl that has my attention; and, it was why the booklet was published.

I have often wondered what suffering might have brought Nee or Lee to extreme speaking at times to make their point clear, and set themselves up to be misunderstood, as Igzy well-pointed out could be the case with this booklet.

It is not that OBW or Igzy didn’t raise some good questions, but as a major leader over many churches, and responsible before the Lord, it might have been the Lord’s speaking in Nee, his speaking being balanced by his overall ministry. Read Church Affairs, for example, if there is any doubt of his care for the members and presenting each one full-grown, even as Paul desired in the House of God. Indeed, Nee's ministry was to the House, as well as to the Lord.

I wanted to see this controversial content of the booklet get addressed that some of the brothers have brought to our attention. I was taken aback by some of Nee's statements myself. But my major interest is on the pearl - on our learning to minister first to the Lord, then to the House. My attention is at least upon the principle of what Nee has shared, since I lack full understanding and experience of all that he has uttered.

Nee and Lee showed much heart for ministry to individuals, as the members of God's House.

http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/s-i/t...-17568309.html

http://www.makingstraightthewayofthe...ishingBook.pdf
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:51 PM   #9
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It is not that OBW or Igzy didn’t raise some good questions, but a major leader over many churches, and responsible before the Lord, it might have been the Lord’s speaking in Nee, his speaking being balanced by his overall ministry.
I don't doubt Nee's heart. I doubt his approach. A person doesn't balance himself. He is balanced by others. Nee had no peers. So he could say what he wanted. There are advantages and disadvantages to that. But an unchecked ministry can be a loose cannon.

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I have often wondered what suffering might have brought Nee or Lee to extreme speaking to make their point clear, and set themselves up to be misunderstood, as Igzy well-pointed out could be the case with this booklet.
I think it was the whole severe, abusive approach to discipleship. It probably didn't start with M.E. Barber, but she certainly inspired it in Nee. It's an Asian thing. too. You see it in their athletic coaching. Severe and spartan. Bordering on sadistic and masochistic. Though they temper it on the international stage, it's probably still common behind closed doors.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Where do we arrive at a directive to first minister to the Lord and then to the House? Or, as the woman (M.E. Barber?) suggested, to get to be ones who minster to the Lord and not to the Temple?

The passage (Ezekiel 44) was a directive as to the dealing with Levites who themselves, or their ancestry, had been involved in bringing idols into the Temple. One clan within the Levites was considered cleared and therefore able to serve before God. The others had to stay out in the sanctuary or outer courts and serve the people with their sacrifices.

This was a penalty on certain clans of Levites due to prior sin. It was not a prescription for an order of service. Yes, there is a directive concerning clothing worn by the preferred clan when they serve "before Me" rather than just serving in the sanctuary.

The problem I find in Nee's assessment of its meaning is that its meaning to us in the NT age is simply stated as some fact. But how is it that this is the "correct" determination? Because Nee, as he has said in other places, sees things that no one else can see?

By 1900, seeing something new that has never been seen before should be suggesting "danger! Will Robinson!" It is one thing to point to things that have been found before (by more than one or two writers at the margins) but that have fallen in disfavor for various reasons. At some level, the very way that so many of us "do church" in evangelical/fundamental and (even LRC circles) is "new" and we tend to disparage things about the way church was "done" for centuries past, virtually all the way to the first century. And for the most part, even the LRC's version of "back to the beginning" is mostly just a free-form version of modern evangelicalism. Nothing old or "from the beginning," but rather fairly new.

I can appreciate that there was something specific being mentioned about "ministering before Me" not being human work. And I find that the most clear parallel is with our corporate worship. But I really don't see how it is "first." It is different.

And even though the penalty to the "deficient" Levite clans was to only be able to serve out in the Temple and the sanctuary, that did not make their service unimportant or the content of that service "second." It was clearly important service. It would appear to require many more people engaged in that service because it dealt with the people. In other words, they still served the people.

So, while I recognize the difference between service to God and service to the people (the Temple/sanctuary), the significance within Ezekiel is not (that I can see) a direction to an order of importance, but a penalty to some of the Levites. Seems that most of the issues when "pictured" forward to the NT age does not translate into an order of service. Rather it differentiates the focus of the service.

When we come together to "worship," it should not be full of our efforts, but our repentance, prayer, and praise. And when it comes to an order, the only thing I see as clearly "first" would be our repentance unto salvation. After that, it is all important to the ongoing life of the Christian. We are to both come before God and to go out "for" God.

I will admit that it is possible that Nee has written something true in this little booklet. But it is not simply obvious. It is not true because the verses say it. Rather, it would more likely be like a lot of the unstated things that many of us differ about. It is unstated because that is not the purpose of the passage. And when the passage doesn't actually say it, no amount of "it's like" or insistence upon the meaning of externally supplied metaphors or stories will make it clearly true.

And given the number of places that Nee has said X is really Y, I am not ready to give him the benefit of the doubt and just take his word for it. I need for the text to confirm it. Not an overlay on top of the text. The text.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:13 AM   #11
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I think there are two ways of looking at something like this:

One is Nee was inventing new doctrine out of whole cloth and how dare he.

The other is Nee is using these passages and terminology to emphasize a teaching he would believe to be true even without the passages.

The second is more likely. Because when you get right down to it, what is "Ministry to the Lord before the House" but "Be a Mary before being a Martha?" Or as is more commonly expressed, take care of your personal relationship with the Lord before going out to work for Him. Or, more scripturally, "Abide in Me and I in you, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

Nee is attaching a lot of bells and whistles to it, but I think this is the essence of what he is saying. We've all seen teachers who take a passage of the Bible and slant it to support a teaching we know otherwise to be true, even though we may question if the particular passage is primarily supporting it.

My problem with Nee is he got so carried away with this kind of thing, when he could have kept it simple and straightforward and along a more conventional exegesis. I think he was a young man who lived for reading the Bible, and would sit up at night reading it, seeing things and the fireworks would start going off in him and before he knew it he would have tomorrow's message.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:27 AM   #12
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what is "Ministry to the Lord before the House" but "Be a Mary before being a Martha?" Or as is more commonly expressed, take care of your personal relationship with the Lord before going out to work for Him. Or, more scripturally, "Abide in Me and I in you, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
What I put in bold in Igzy's quote above is the pearl I refer to, which includes for me this "newer concept" on ministering to God. After 8 months in the Philippines, I arrived home to a letter written to me in August. The brother said that "God is just like us. He needs to eat and be satisfied. just like we do. That is one reason why he made us. We're like the widow of Zarephath. Even when we have only a little flour which is Christ's humanity in us, and a little oil in a jar (our soul) we can make a little cake for God before we start to do the rest."
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:49 AM   #13
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In reading responses to the booklet Steve brought forward, I'm seeing two aspects to the booklet.
A. How does Nee's booklet pertain to Christianity
B. How does Nee's booklet pertain to LSM and the churches that serve it?

When we take the Bible as our common factor in fellowship, Nee's ministry or anyone's ministry needs to be scrutinzed for accuracy in scriptural context.

However as this booklet pertains to this forum, many of us have the experience in the LSM churches, the basis for fellowship is the ministries of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee first and foremost. So, how does this booklet relate to LSM's exercise of the ministry?
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:33 AM   #14
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I can appreciate the possibilities, like Igzy's. And there is something to it.

But in the case of this particular passage, certain ones were only allowed to serve in the sanctuary/outer court while others were allowed to serve within the Temple. When those allowed to serve in the Temple did so, they were to wear certain clothes that they were required to remove before going to (or back to) any work outside the Temple. The reason was that there was a consecration upon those clothes that was not to be allowed to spread upon the other priests who couldn't wear those clothes and join in the Temple service.

From this, I cannot find a link to a Mary before Martha. It was more like Mary rather than. Yet there were many whose job was Martha's and who had no option to do the "Mary" job first, second, or last. This differentiation was not about priorities, but that God was punishing certain priests for prior offenses by keeping them at a distance. I have not researched further to determine if this was a forever thing, or just a temporal thing designed to make a point.

In terms of the story of Mary and Martha, there is something about choosing the "better part." This particular OT passage is not a parallel. It does not provide "Martha" with any option. The roles are dictated. There is no first or second, but you do this and you do that. Period.

So within this passage I cannot find the "pearl" that is mentioned. It does no good to suggest that my eyes are blinded. It is probably more realistic that Nee was looking for more evidence of a principle and found it by misreading. (Same goes for the woman (Barber?) who showed it to him.)

The principle may be real. But you can't get there from here (Ezekiel 44). Is there another passage that might actually say something about one coming before the other?
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:20 PM   #15
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So within this passage I cannot find the "pearl" that is mentioned.
I think we can all agree that Eze 44 and the story of Mary and Martha are both very much related to the service of the Lord.

In Eze 44 God makes it very clear that there are levites that serve Him at a distance, and then there are levites that come into His inner sanctuary and serve Him directly. It is also very clear that these are not two equal options in the service, but rather a lower calling and a higher calling.

What helped me the most with understanding the story of Martha and Mary is John 12:3-8 where Jesus says that Mary anointed him beforehand for the burial. Combine that with Luke 10 and He says something amazing "wherever the gospel is preached what she has done will be spoken of for a memorial for her". He just placed her into the Hebrews chapter 11 "hall of faith". According to the Lord it was an amazing work of faith that set the example to all who would preach the gospel for the next 2,000 years. A work of faith that would be set alongside the gospel.

Did we see Mary sweat? I didn't.

If there was a secret to what she did it was to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His word before serving Him. Her act was sure to heap ridicule on her head, the only way she could do that is to have a lot of faith and that faith came by hearing what the Lord was speaking concerning going to Jerusalem and being crucified.

Suppose the Lord had not found a single person to actually hear what He was saying and respond as Mary did? It would be as though "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and no one cared". Her response was proof of our ability to receive the gospel.

So sure, Martha did a lot of service, but without Mary would the gospel really be "good news" or an indictment on how far we had fallen? Isn't it the same thing with the house of Zadok?
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #16
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I think we can all agree that Eze 44 and the story of Mary and Martha are both very much related to the service of the Lord.
And this is why there is controversy over the teachings of Nee and Lee, and of looking at things in ways that spring from that even for those of us who have rejected their ministries.

It is the need to first assert that we have disagreement with the things that are pushed out front as “all agreed” that is such a problem. It makes one into a “naysayer” or “opposer.” But if we would start with just the passages rather than an assertion about them we might arrive at something that we actually do agree about.
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In Eze 44 God makes it very clear that there are levites that serve Him at a distance, and then there are levites that come into His inner sanctuary and serve Him directly. It is also very clear that these are not two equal options in the service, but rather a lower calling and a higher calling.
This is an interesting overlay on the verses.

First, the comments about what the priests do is stated in a manner as if they simply chose one or the other. Some chose to come near and some chose to stay at a distance. This is far from what the account actually portrays.

I will agree that these are not two equal options in service. But the most important part of that statement is not that they are not equal, but that they are not options. These priests had no current ability to choose. I have not taken the time to dig into the history behind this passage, but either they or their ancestors at some prior time took actions when there was no thought of an “option” that could be the outcome of those actions. Some chose righteously and some did not. The way the previous choosing “shook out,” one clan chose righteousness while the others, in general, chose the unrighteousness of idols.

But in the time frame of Ezekiel’s record, there was no choice. Some got one assignment and some another. That basically scuttles any discussion of “choice” in terms of service.

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What helped me the most with understanding the story of Martha and Mary is John 12:3-8 where Jesus says that Mary anointed him beforehand for the burial. Combine that with Luke 10 and He says something amazing "wherever the gospel is preached what she has done will be spoken of for a memorial for her"
But the account in John does not deal with the issue of choosing preparations or sitting at Jesus’ feet. If you read Luke 10:38-42, you will find nothing about anointing or service on the part of Mary.

It describes Martha as “distracted by the preparations that had to be made.” So we would equate the service of the priests to the people as a distraction? As something that is not the “one needed thing”? It is obvious that their service was very much needed. It was ordained by God and was an important task of the priests.
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Did we see Mary sweat? I didn't.
Truly irrelevant.
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Suppose the Lord had not found a single person to actually hear what He was saying and respond as Mary did? It would be as though "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and no one cared". Her response was proof of our ability to receive the gospel.

So sure, Martha did a lot of service, but without Mary would the gospel really be "good news" or an indictment on how far we had fallen? Isn't it the same thing with the house of Zadok?
This qualifies as taking something out of its context and making something entirely different out of it. Mary’s “service” was not required to establish the gospel as “good news.” Mary did not have to do what she did for God loving the world to be responded to by anyone.

And the main thing in all of this is that these two stories are not similar. They are not about the same thing. Neither is built on top of the other. And, the best I can see, neither is the lens through which the other should be read.

And even more important, none of them establish a "first" and "second" order of "service." That means that the meat of Nee's little booklet is scripturally meaningless. At least as far as these particular passages are able to support. He might have been onto something. But if that is true, then there is another passage or two that will actually support it. Find that one and we can talk about it. Otherwise, Steve's "pearl" is, as Igzy would say, developed from "whole cloth." (I really need to dig into the origins of this phrase. I know what it is intended to mean, but how it got that meaning is not so clear.)
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:02 PM   #17
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I will agree that these are not two equal options in service. But the most important part of that statement is not that they are not equal, but that they are not options. These priests had no current ability to choose. I have not taken the time to dig into the history behind this passage, but either they or their ancestors at some prior time took actions when there was no thought of an “option” that could be the outcome of those actions. Some chose righteously and some did not. The way the previous choosing “shook out,” one clan chose righteousness while the others, in general, chose the unrighteousness of idols.
The other priests chose Adonijah. Zadok stood with David when he chose Solomon to be his successor.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:07 PM   #18
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Truly irrelevant.
Peter says we have been given "a royal priesthood". I believe that this clearly includes Mary and that her service was set forth as an example to all those who preach the gospel.

WN's article points out that the Priests were not supposed to wear wool or anything that caused sweat. WN used that to discuss the gospel being preached today, how it is full of activity and people running around, sweating.

So pointing out that the person identified by the Lord Jesus as an example to all those involved in the gospel as a priestly ministry was not "sweating", in line with the teaching WN gave, is truly relevant to this thread and this discussion.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:09 PM   #19
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This qualifies as taking something out of its context and making something entirely different out of it. Mary’s “service” was not required to establish the gospel as “good news.” Mary did not have to do what she did for God loving the world to be responded to by anyone.
Apart from Mary who responded to the Lord's word in the gospels that He was going to be crucified?
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:15 PM   #20
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And even more important, none of them establish a "first" and "second" order of "service." That means that the meat of Nee's little booklet is scripturally meaningless.
Luke
10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

"choosing the better part" is referring to service. Martha was serving the Lord, Mary was also. This clearly establishes that there are at least two parts to service, and one is the "better part".
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:26 PM   #21
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He might have been onto something. But if that is true, then there is another passage or two that will actually support it. Find that one and we can talk about it.
1Cor 10:6 “these things were spoken as our examples”

1Pet 2:5 “we are built up a spiritual priesthood to offer sacrifices”

Heb 10:1 “the law having a shadow of good things to come”

Col 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Heb 8:5 “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,”
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:38 PM   #22
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The other priests chose Adonijah. Zadok stood with David when he chose Solomon to be his successor.
Those may be facts. But they are not relevant to this passage.

In Ezekiel 44, This is long after David. It is a vision given to Ezekiel 25 years into the captivity concerning how the priestly service would be after the return from exile. It may be that Zadok was the only clan of Levites that remained in Judah at the split in the kingdom. But the cause of this punishment was allowing the idols to be brought into the Temple, not going with the Northern Kingdom to serve God there. And there was only one Temple. It was in Judah, not the Northern Kingdom. So the sins that these "punished" clans were receiving occurred in Jerusalem.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:42 PM   #23
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Peter says we have been given "a royal priesthood". I believe that this clearly includes Mary and that her service was set forth as an example to all those who preach the gospel.
Peter says "a royal priesthood" and that means Mary's service is set forth as an example to those who preach the gospel?

Your propensity for throwing unrelated things together and declaring "clear" meaning is truly staggering.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:43 PM   #24
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Apart from Mary who responded to the Lord's word in the gospels that He was going to be crucified?
Not required to make the gospel effective.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:01 PM   #25
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1Cor 10:6 “these things were spoken as our examples”

1Pet 2:5 “we are built up a spiritual priesthood to offer sacrifices”

Heb 10:1 “the law having a shadow of good things to come”

Col 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Heb 8:5 “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,”
Great verses. How do they establish that there is a "first" and "second" service?
What exactly is a "spiritual priesthood"?
And what are the "sacrifices" offered?
How does a general statement like "the law having a shadow of good things to come" make the analysis that Nee provided meaningful, rational, and supportable?
What do shadows tell us? Whatever someone dreams up and declares to be its meaning?

Every one of these things is written in a context about specific things. These are not broad overlays or world-views through which clear words take on different meaning. They are only meaningful when you actually see the way that the law is a shadow.

I have noted that the scripture is strong to see actual links and point them out. There were prophecies. With few exceptions, they weren't so obvious as to what they meant that everyone was looking for their fulfillment. Instead, the actual fulfillment occurred, then they realized that the prophecy was fulfilled.

So, for each of the vague, general statements in scripture, what actual parallels do you see that these could be pointing at? They aren't there to allow some alleged teacher to declare an otherwise nonexistent parallel to be there just because some verse declares that there are some things that are shadows, parallels, signs, etc.

Nee, and now you, never have made an actual connection between Ezekiel 44 and Mary and Martha. It is just said to be so. Then, when I ask where there is something that could support there actually being an ordering of ministry/service in the way that Nee taught it in that little booklet, you come back with these 4 verses that simply mention that there are shadows and a spiritual priesthood. Neither of those make Nee's teaching real. They make no comment whatsoever on the topic of the discussion.

It is almost a sort of stereotype. Find one thing that fits a pattern, then brow-beat everything with some common characteristic into that pattern even if it absolutely does not fit.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:32 AM   #26
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Great verses. How do they establish that there is a "first" and "second" service?
The verses I provided from the NT establish that the chapter in Eze 44 is given for our example. The priesthood in the OT was a shadow of the NT priesthood.

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What exactly is a "spiritual priesthood"?
In the example provided it refers to Mary anointing Jesus Body for the burial before his death. Although this act is physical it signified faith, hope and love.

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And what are the "sacrifices" offered?
In the example provided it refers to the oil that Mary poured out. In addition to the cost of the oil it also signified that she was sacrificing her possible marriage in the future. Based on the society at the time this signified she was sacrificing her security and future.

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How does a general statement like "the law having a shadow of good things to come" make the analysis that Nee provided meaningful, rational, and supportable?
It is meaningful to discuss the OT priesthood with regards to our NT service because the OT priesthood and law were a shadow of the NT.

It is rational to do this because the apostles also did this to explain things of the NT, as in the Book of Hebrews and 1Corinthians and Colossians.

These verses support the process. You can argue about the interpretation, but it is perfectly valid process supported by the clear word of the NT.

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What do shadows tell us? Whatever someone dreams up and declares to be its meaning?
To take a position that you cannot teach that the OT ministry is a shadow of the NT ministry is contrary to the clear word of the NT. Such a position is not supported and is not rational. To take the position that this process has no value or is meaningless is also not supported since the Apostle Paul and others clearly did this very thing. As to your inability to glean any meaning from this process, you have made that abundantly clear.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:36 AM   #27
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Peter says "a royal priesthood" and that means Mary's service is set forth as an example to those who preach the gospel?

Your propensity for throwing unrelated things together and declaring "clear" meaning is truly staggering.
Mary's service to the Lord was set forth as an example to those who preach the gospel is the clear word spoken by Jesus in the NT.

The only connection I made was to say that this service was a priestly service.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:37 AM   #28
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Not required to make the gospel effective.
Tell that to Jesus. He is the one who said that wherever this gospel will be preached what she has done will be spoken of as a memorial to her.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:47 AM   #29
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Those may be facts. But they are not relevant to this passage.

In Ezekiel 44, This is long after David. It is a vision given to Ezekiel 25 years into the captivity concerning how the priestly service would be after the return from exile. It may be that Zadok was the only clan of Levites that remained in Judah at the split in the kingdom. But the cause of this punishment was allowing the idols to be brought into the Temple, not going with the Northern Kingdom to serve God there. And there was only one Temple. It was in Judah, not the Northern Kingdom. So the sins that these "punished" clans were receiving occurred in Jerusalem.
In 1Sam2 the prophecy is that God will remove the sons of Eli and get a reliable priest. That priest was Zadok at the time of David. The idolatry and sins that were brought in at the time of Judges and then Eli were removed by Zadok who ministered to the Lord, not to the people.

Eze 44 makes it very clear that God needs priests to minister to him. In the NT Mary is set forth as an example of one who ministered to Jesus as a priest.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:01 AM   #30
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The problem with the whole thing is not that there is a NT priesthood, or that there are not specific things spoken concerning the actions that Mary took, but that there is a presumption that you can just find a common word or idea and force them together. In effect Nee and Lee (and now you) continually ran all over the scripture forcing things together that do not clearly go together and declaring that it is so. They created directives.

In effect they created more law than the law had. There are now more hurdles to jump through to arrive at "genuine NT fellowship" than it took a really good Jew to keep in good standing with God in the OT.

NT "sacrifices" become more convoluted than those in the OT. But the evidence is that simply presenting your body — not as something special off-line, "in the Temple" kind of thing, but as a tool at His disposal in everything we do — is the real sacrifice.

And the NT repeats the OT declaration that obedience is desired more than "sacrifice." Now it is clear in the context of this statement, both in the OT and the NT, that "sacrifice" is talking about overt acts of worship. You know, things like bringing bulls, rams, lambs — or things to show-and-tell in worship.

That does not mean that those things are despised or denied and rejected. But they have their place and it would seem to not be the primary thing.

Instead, the main thing is still the main thing. God's people bearing his image in the world. Obeying his commands rather than arguing them away. Being righteous and just in all that they do. It would seem that this was God's desire from the very beginning.

Despite the relatively short bit of ink given to the pre-fall lives of Adam and Eve, there is no clear time line for that era. But the little account given would make it seem that the main thing about their lives was caring for the garden according to God's command. The time that God actually spent with them in direct fellowship would seem to be rather short by comparison.

When you return to God's desire for obedience ahead of sacrifice, it would seem that his real desire is for humans to be according to their created position — busy obeying his directives. And those directives are not much about how we "worship" or have meetings. Or how we lavish praise upon God. Yes, there is a place for this. And it is not insignificant. But it is not the goal of life.

In fact, I sometimes wonder if that old line from, among various places, the Westminster catechism, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever" is true — or at least is not understood correctly. I just looked it up and some of the verses attached to it and there is a hollow ring in the way that it is so often heralded. Most of the verses refer to God's glory and in a couple, to some of that glory being given to Jesus, then it is also given to man (that they may be one). But none of these make that man's "chief end." Such a claim of ranking is not found in anything that is supplied as support for the little question in the catechism.

The real question is, how is it that we glorify God? By having better worship services? By being more doctrinally correct? By having better songs? By doing better penance? By doing more evangelism?

I would assert that the answer is "none of the above" or anything else like it. Instead, glorifying God really occurs when we live life as God directs, the world takes note and we attribute our lives to his life rather than our own. When God is seen in the earth through his people as truly righteous, just, honest, etc., and is actively loving their neighbors.

When that happens, it will not matter how "high" or how "low" anyone thinks their mode of "worship" is. God will be glorified and praised.

Now, if you want to assert that we will fail to be those righteous representatives if we don't start with God, I will agree. But I do not find that there is some prescriptive means of "ministry" or "service" to God that this entails. One of the ways Paul puts it is "setting your mind." And "walking according to." Yes, we will not do either of these simply because we want it to be so. It is going to require some kind of dealing with God. It does not fall on us. But it is also not some kind of special "ministry to God" that has the kind of nearly over-the-top appearance of priestly service within the Temple or of Mary's pouring out the oil on Jesus. Not "dissing" either. But they are not given a patterns for worship. In the case of Mary, it was something special. Her act is declared to be a memorial to her, not the pattern of the first of many such acts.

The real thing is that Nee's "discovery" and so much of what springs from that and from the rest of his and Lee's ministries are more complicated lives, not simplicity in Christ. I watched a few minutes of the news this morning in my hotel room and saw a procession of Cardinals heading out of the chapel to get lunch, two abreast, spaced and moving so perfectly. How much more difficult was it to meet all the criteria put upon us by our LRC taskmasters that constantly told us that we were learning things that were beyond us. That we had "premature knowledge" of things, so don't worry about them yet. (Which, of course, put us into an inner turmoil about how poor we must be.) Who were constantly being berated for not being up to par on issue after issue.

We do need to take stock of our lives at times. But we mainly need to set our minds and step out in faith. Walk in the Spirit. Give the glory to God.

Such a booklet as "Ministry to the House or to the Lord" misses the mark. It is, as is too common in LRC theology, too focused on ethereal and "spiritual" things and is nearly of no earthly good. The main ministry is to the earth. To our fellow man. That is our daily life. It is where we are day by day. It is the primary place of ministry. Not in or around the Temple.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:14 AM   #31
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Eze 44 makes it very clear that God needs priests to minister to him.
Once again, you lite upon a fortune cookie and make rather strong declarations. This chapter says a lot. And if we assume that God is not going to do his own ministry within the inner courts, then there will surely have to be some humans to do it.

But the chapter, in its entirety, does not suggest that God needs anything. Actually, it is man that needs. But even if you can elsewhere find such a need (in those terms) it does not create a "first" and "second," which was the main thrust of Nee's booklet. It would seem that, based on the sheer number constantly serving in the outer courts, that man's need was far greater. He needed (and still needs) a sacrifice for his sin. But, once again, this passage does not actually say anything about it in terms of need.

It is silent on need.

You may be able to go somewhere else and find a reference to need. But it is not here. Yet you say "makes it very clear."
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:53 AM   #32
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Such a booklet as "Ministry to the House or to the Lord" misses the mark. It is, as is too common in LRC theology, too focused on ethereal and "spiritual" things and is nearly of no earthly good. The main ministry is to the earth. To our fellow man. That is our daily life. It is where we are day by day. It is the primary place of ministry. Not in or around the Temple.
OBW, methinks you have taken your rejection of Lee and Nee way too far, to the point that you reject scripture just because they taught from it. The Lord Jesus, who was God Himself, come in the flesh, was a pattern for us. Did He not often minister to the Father in prayer? Yes He came to serve, and He did so incessantly for the span of 3+ years, but the gospel writers record numerous times when He isolated Himself for prayer.

Prayer is not just a series of requests we mail off to heaven when things go awry. It is also a ministry, a fellowship, a living conversation between us and God. It becomes the source for all real spiritual vitality and service. Take away this ministry to the Lord and we are left with nothing of lasting value.

Wise would be heeding the admonition to "Talk less, Pray more."
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:16 AM   #33
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"Prayer is not just a series of requests we mail off to heaven when things go awry. It is also a ministry, a fellowship, a living conversation between us and God. It becomes the source for all real spiritual vitality and service. Take away this ministry to the Lord and we are left with nothing of lasting value."

This is excellent.

Thanks Ohio.



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Old 03-13-2013, 09:31 AM   #34
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I don't think Mike is rejecting scripture per se, but rather he is rejecting Nee and Lee's interpretation of something illustrated within scripture. (he can correct me if I'm wrong)

I don't think Lord Jesus was "ministering to the Father" in prayer, rather He was praying to seek the Father's will for himself and to those whom the Father "gave him". Furthermore, when the Lord Jesus gave the disciples instruction on how to pray, it was more along the lines of worshiping and seeking that his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

This all goes to what I believe is a foundational and fundamental error in the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee - that God somehow and in some sense NEEDS man. Witness Lee went even so far as to intimate (many times implicitly and sometimes explicitly) that man somehow completes God or fulfills God in his person and his purpose. Where Nee got this kind of concept from is not very clear to me, all I know is that he did not get it from the Bible. As far as Lee....well many of us know full well that he had a great tendency to make things up out of whole cloth.

I'm reminded of that song we sang back in the 70s -

O I’m a man—
I’m the meaning of the universe;
Yes, I’m a man—
I’m the meaning of the universe.
God made me such,
I am so much;
I’m the center and the meaning of the universe.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/1293#ixzz2NR8Gr47y

No other song that I'm aware of illustrates as well this foundational and fundamental error in Nee/Lee. Yes, yes, YES, you will find that Nee and Lee taught that God was the center and meaning of the universe....but the fact that they did does not even begin to mitigate, much less cancel out, such a grievous error in teaching, which no doubt spilled over into our practice in the LC movement as well.

The bottom line is that God does not need to be ministered to by us (at least not in the sense that is being discussed in this thread), in fact to hold and teach such a concept can be rather damaging, especially to a new and/or young believer. The Lord Jesus clearly told us (directly and through many of the parables) that the way to "minister" to him is to be a servant and minister to each other (the body of Christ) and even to our fellow man. Watchman Nee did in fact give this a passing mention within his booklet, however this seems to get overwhelmed and even drowned out by the rest of his impractical, hyper-spiritualistic dogma.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:20 AM   #35
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Furthermore, when the Lord Jesus gave the disciples instruction on how to pray, it was more along the lines of worshiping and seeking that his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

This all goes to what I believe is a foundational and fundamental error in the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee - that God somehow and in some sense NEEDS man.

Since God desires that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven then of course God needs man.


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Old 03-13-2013, 10:39 AM   #36
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Desire does not equal need.

I think the words of this song will be of a great help to. More than once, when I've hear this song, I've stopped everything I was doing and went to my knees and thanked the God of heaven and earth that part of his plan is that HE NEEDS NOTHING from us...that's just the way it is!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xPzTSpbYmk

In general, I don't recommend that anybody "pray-read" the words of men...but I might make an exception for you in this case:

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is


[chorus]
You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is


Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/philli...#ixzz2NRVWvCN3
LetsSingIt - Your favorite Music Community
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #37
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Furthermore, when the Lord Jesus gave the disciples instruction on how to pray, it was more along the lines of worshiping and seeking that his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

This all goes to what I believe is a foundational and fundamental error in the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee - that God somehow and in some sense NEEDS man.

Since God desires that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven then of course God needs man.


Good point.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

It is insulting to give someone work to do if you don't need the work to be done.

How often did Satan refer to Jesus as the Son of God and He replied He was the Son of Man. Doesn't that indicate God needed to be Man?

The idea that man is unnecessary and not needed is an insult.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #38
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Desire does not equal need.
The point is that for God's will to be done on Earth indicates it will be done in, by and through man. This desire of God cannot be accomplished without man. Hence, man is needed.

God placed man in the garden to tend and keep it. I have always been fascinated by the interplay between species and how, for example, the Acacia tree creates a home for ants which in turn protect the tree and are fed by the tree.

Yet what is undeniable is that all trees require a man to prune them in order to be very fruitful. So although plants can survive without man, they cannot thrive apart from man.

Man has been given a job. To say "I gave you a job but I don't need you" is an insult.

In Revelation it says that we have "been made kings and priests to our God". Once again, God has a job for man to do, that implies a need. Based on Jesus insisting he was "the Son of Man" I have to believe these are jobs that God needs man to do.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:56 AM   #39
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ZNP,

Nothing you have posted here shows how or why God needs us to minister to him.

Maybe you could join Mr. Cassidy in pray-reading this song. I really mean it. Heck, I'll join in with you guys
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #40
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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I'm reminded of that song we sang back in the 70s -

O I’m a man—
I’m the meaning of the universe;
Yes, I’m a man—
I’m the meaning of the universe.
God made me such,
I am so much;
I’m the center and the meaning of the universe.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/1293#ixzz2NR8Gr47y

No other song that I'm aware of illustrates as well this foundational and fundamental error in Nee/Lee. Yes, yes, YES, you will find that Nee and Lee taught that God was the center and meaning of the universe....but the fact that they did does not even begin to mitigate, much less cancel out, such a grievous error in teaching, which no doubt spilled over into our practice in the LC movement as well.
Kind of ironic that you go back to an old LC song to prove your point while ZNP attempts to employ scripture from both the OT and the NT.

How in the world is "ministering to the Lord" any different from the Lord's word here, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." -- John 4.23

Seems to me the "problem" lies in semantics and attitudes of certain posters rather than being a bona fide discussion of the truth. God desires, God longs for, God wants, God needs, God seeks, God etc. etc. etc. -- are we not just playing word games here in order to prove Nee and Lee wrong -- one more time?
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #41
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Desire does not equal need.

I think the words of this song will be of a great help to. More than once, when I've hear this song, I've stopped everything I was doing and went to my knees and thanked the God of heaven and earth that part of his plan is that HE NEEDS NOTHING from us...that's just the way it is!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xPzTSpbYmk

In general, I don't recommend that anybody "pray-read" the words of men...but I might make an exception for you in this case:

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is


[chorus]
You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is


Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/philli...#ixzz2NRVWvCN3
LetsSingIt - Your favorite Music Community

UntoHim,

Thanks for the pointer. Great musically, inspiring, and well done vocals.

Yet, the song lacks revelation concerning the incarnation of God.

If God does not need man then why was He incarnated as a man?

A man was needed to carry out His plan and now men are needed to continue to carry out His will on earth as it is in heaven. A will is more than just a desire. God has a desire and He makes a plan to carry it out which involves man.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:31 PM   #42
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Seems to me the "problem" lies in semantics and attitudes of certain posters rather than being a bona fide discussion of the truth. God desires, God longs for, God wants, God needs, God seeks, God etc. etc. etc. -- are we not just playing word games here in order to prove Nee and Lee wrong -- one more time?
Forget about attitudes, they are not relevant to the discussions - besides it's just a not-so-thinly veiled ad hominem attack. (against Forum rules) Don't worry about my attitude, please address what I have written. Semantics...well now that's fair game.

God desires does not = God needs. God longs for does not = God needs. God wants does not = God needs. God seeks does not = God needs. It is exactly this kind of concept that leads to heretical teachings such as Witness Lee's "four-in-one God". And no amount of provisos, addendums or exception clauses can make them biblical. None of the passages provided have established that God actually needs man. He does not need man to be "represented" (Adam and Eve blew that gig for us in Genesis 3) He does not need man to do a job for him. (for all the details read the Bible). God does not need man to be "expressed" (Only ONE person on earth was/is God's "express image") and God certainly does not need man to be glorified ("I will not share my glory with another")

Don't downplay semantics too much now. Words mean things. If we have any technical questions regarding the semantics of the Bible we might be better off consulting true experts in the field, and not fly-by-night theologians like Witness Lee. And by the way it does not take word games to prove Nee and Lee wrong....it's just a matter of going to the source material itself and maybe consulting some real scholars, theologians and linguistic experts to help us out a bit.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:52 PM   #43
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Thanks for the pointer. Great musically, inspiring, and well done vocals.
I thought you might like this one

Quote:
Yet, the song lacks revelation concerning the incarnation of God.
We are not discussing the incarnation of God on this thread (but I'd love to discuss this with anyone, it's one of the most fascinating and mysterious subjects!)

Quote:
If God does not need man then why was He incarnated as a man?
The incarnation has little to nothing to do with what God needs but rather what WE need - Salvation, redemption, justification, sanctification and eventually glorification. You really should get out there and read something from somebody other than Nee or Lee. Believe me, there is a whole giant world of fabulous writings, all the way from the early Church fathers all the way up to some very recent works.

Quote:
A man was needed to carry out His plan and now men are needed to continue to carry out His will on earth as it is in heaven. A will is more than just a desire. God has a desire and He makes a plan to carry it out which involves man.
Mmmmmm...I like the way you have worded this. I think it comes closer to the truth of the matter.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:26 PM   #44
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

Randy Phillips, pastor of LifeAustin (aka PromiseLand West) in Austin. Right down the road from me. Saw them live once. Man, those boys can sang!
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #45
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Forget about attitudes, they are not relevant to the discussions - besides it's just a not-so-thinly veiled ad hominem attack. (against Forum rules) Don't worry about my attitude, please address what I have written. Semantics...well now that's fair game.

God desires does not = God needs. God longs for does not = God needs. God wants does not = God needs. God seeks does not = God needs. It is exactly this kind of concept that leads to heretical teachings such as Witness Lee's "four-in-one God". And no amount of provisos, addendums or exception clauses can make them biblical. None of the passages provided have established that God actually needs man. He does not need man to be "represented" (Adam and Eve blew that gig for us in Genesis 3) He does not need man to do a job for him. (for all the details read the Bible). God does not need man to be "expressed" (Only ONE person on earth was/is God's "express image") and God certainly does not need man to be glorified ("I will not share my glory with another")

Don't downplay semantics too much now. Words mean things. If we have any technical questions regarding the semantics of the Bible we might be better off consulting true experts in the field, and not fly-by-night theologians like Witness Lee. And by the way it does not take word games to prove Nee and Lee wrong....it's just a matter of going to the source material itself and maybe consulting some real scholars, theologians and linguistic experts to help us out a bit.
OK, let's get our definitions straight so we are all on the same page.

1. Did God need Ananias to go speak to Paul? If not what is the correct term to use?

2. Did God need Mary in order for Jesus to be incarnated? If not what is the correct term to use?

3. If the church is the Body of Christ, does Christ need His body? If not what is the correct term to use?
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:38 PM   #46
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Forget about attitudes, they are not relevant to the discussions - besides it's just a not-so-thinly veiled ad hominem attack. (against Forum rules) Don't worry about my attitude, please address what I have written. Semantics...well now that's fair game.
I have addressed some of what you have written, and attempted to bring some objectivity to a discussion which seemed to possess none, and you are calling my post an ad hominem? Please tell me you are being facetious.


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God desires does not = God needs. God longs for does not = God needs. God wants does not = God needs. God seeks does not = God needs.
You certainly are entitled to your opinions.

But you seem to have no clue why this God of the universe would sell all He had, leave his eternal glory in the heavens, take the wretched form of a slave, make that awful humiliating sacrifice, hang for hours from some stupid pole, pay the ultimate price, suffer the worst atrocities, be forsaken by the Father, be hated without a cause, rejected by His own chosen people, etc etc ... all for something He doesn't even need.

Doesn't sound very smart to me.

Perhaps you would like to reconsider your viewpoint.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:52 PM   #47
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1. Did God need Ananias to go speak to Paul? If not what is the correct term to use?
If you're referring to Acts chapter 5 then it was Peter (not Paul) that went to got speak to Ananias (not the other way around). In any case I can't see how God needed anything here. It was to serve as a warning to the newly established Church.

Quote:
2. Did God need Mary in order for Jesus to be incarnated? If not what is the correct term to use?
Mmmm, don't think I've ever thought of it in this way. The Messiah was to come from the line of David so I suppose that in a way God "needed" to be incarnated through the human line of this family tree. But I don't see how this fits into the kind of "need" we are talking about in this thread.

Quote:
3. If the church is the Body of Christ, does Christ need His body? If not what is the correct term to use?
Ok, this may be getting a little closer to the kind of need we are talking about. There is a Christian contemporary song out there in which the chorus goes: "But if we are the Body, then why aren't his arms reaching, why aren't his hands healing, why aren't his words teaching. And if we are the body, why aren't his feet going, why is his love not showing them there is a way" (from one my favorite Christian groups Casting Crowns) Hey, Cassidy you will really like this one too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAWeHo8E70E
Anyway, this is not talking about some kind of intrinsic or internal need that God actually has. I suppose we can have a little back and forth about this though.
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:03 PM   #48
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You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is
I hope your theology is not based on this song, but it actually does little to support your point. The writer says that, "You are not a God, In need of anything we can give." Of course that is true. What do I own that God could actually own? Who would vainly think that God needs my money?

This song is written from a common OT view of idolatry. Idols are made with hands, God is made by no one. Idols need man to make them, God does not. From that point of view, man must realize that he and his idols are nothing, and that God is everything.

This is a common Bible theme spoken to proud man. Romans 11 reiterates the notion ... "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?"
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:05 PM   #49
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I have addressed some of what you have written, and attempted to bring some objectivity to a discussion which seemed to possess none, and you are calling my post an ad hominem? Please tell me you are being facetious.
Oh so that's what you're trying to bring...thanks for clearing that one up

I didn't call your whole post an ad hominem...only the part about attitude. Nothing gives me an attitude more than somebody telling me I have an attitude...at least that's the way it went with my dear mom. Oh well, can't say I didn't try.

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You certainly are entitled to your opinions.
Why thank you kind sir!

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But you seem to have no clue why this God of the universe would sell all He had, leave his eternal glory in the heavens, take the wretched form of a slave, make that awful humiliating sacrifice, hang for hours from some stupid pole, pay the ultimate price, suffer the worst atrocities, be forsaken by the Father, be hated without a cause, rejected by His own chosen people, etc etc ... all for something He doesn't even need.
Doesn't sound very smart to me.

Perhaps you would like to reconsider your viewpoint.
Oh I have more than a clue my friend. In fact I stated why the God of this universe would do all these things just a few posts ago. Of course you have chosen to ignore this part of my post because it doesn't seem to serve your objectiveness...but that's ok cause you're entitled to your opinion too

No I don't think I will reconsider my viewpoint just yet. Nobody here has given me any reasons to do so. But hey...tomorrow's another day.
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:29 PM   #50
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If you're referring to Acts chapter 5
I was referring to Acts 9

You didn't answer my question. What term would you use?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:00 PM   #51
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I have addressed some of what you have written, and attempted to bring some objectivity to a discussion which seemed to possess none, and you are calling my post an ad hominem? Please tell me you are being facetious.
You certainly are entitled to your opinions.

But you seem to have no clue why this God of the universe would sell all He had, leave his eternal glory in the heavens, take the wretched form of a slave, make that awful humiliating sacrifice, hang for hours from some stupid pole, pay the ultimate price, suffer the worst atrocities, be forsaken by the Father, be hated without a cause, rejected by His own chosen people, etc etc ... all for something He doesn't even need.

Doesn't sound very smart to me.
Why take on a human body and suffer for man? Why would ANY Father bare such torment for his children? Because he LOVES THEM - Not because he needs them. How monumentally arrogant and insulting to God this is!!! Unbelievable!! God so LOVED the World (kosmos or Greek for Universe) - not " for God so needed man". See what poisonous pride you were taught in the LC?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:09 PM   #52
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The problem with the whole thing is not that there is a NT priesthood, or that there are not specific things spoken concerning the actions that Mary took, but that there is a presumption that you can just find a common word or idea and force them together.
OK. let's walk through this account concerning Mary in Mark 14.

The chapter begins with the chief priests and scribes coming together to plot how they might take Jesus by craft and put him to death. The chapter ends with Judas and soldiers coming from the chief priests and scribes and elders to take Him by force in the garden. In between these two is Mary anointing Jesus.

I read that to be a fulfillment of Psalm 2:2 "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed"

Now if you read Psalm 2:2 most everyone will readily admit it is referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. But without this chapter in Mark would you connect "his anointed" with Mary anointing Jesus? I wouldn't. Earlier in the gospel Jesus quoted Isaiah saying "the Lord has anointed me to preach the gospel". Likewise Jesus was baptized for ministry. But Mark in his gospel is clearly placing Mary's anointing of Jesus as being related to the prophecy in Psalm 2.

So then, immediately after this anointing they prepare to eat the Passover.

Now according to Paul, Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. The NT makes it very clear that the Passover is a shadow of Jesus crucifixion. Now according to Luke 22:7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. So in this Shadow Christ is the lamb that must be killed, which He explains saying this is my Body and this is my blood.

In Mark's record immediately before this passover Mary anoints Jesus body for the burial. In the shadow she has prepared the passover Lamb, Jesus then goes and serves this to the disciples. According to the actions Mary was acting as a priest to prepare the passover lamb.

I am not forcing these things together, Mark put them together. The reference to Psalm 2:2 presents Jesus as a King. The reference to the Passover presents him as the Passover lamb. She was anointing Him as king, she was also preparing the Passover lamb. By law the Passover lamb had to be roasted with fire. Therefore it is common to anoint the lamb with oil before cooking. But regardless how you want to season the lamb you must prepare the lamb the same day that Mary anointed Jesus.

In Psalm 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

What is funny is that all of these evil people grasping and clawing for power, could never understand that our king is a lamb. I understand that to refer to Christ putting the devil to an open shame at his crucifixion. They plotted, they betrayed Him, they put him on the hill of golgotha thinking they would defeat Him.

Psalm 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion


There is a lot of hate and betrayal of Jesus in this story. But Psalm 2 concludes with the warning to "Kiss the Son". If you did not have Mary's anointing of the Jesus in the middle of this story it would be ugly. But with her anointing it is a beautiful story, all the more so with the black background. So yes, her service was necessary.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:50 PM   #53
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1. Did God need Ananias to go speak to Paul? If not what is the correct term to use?
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I was referring to Acts 9
You didn't answer my question. What term would you use?

Oh THAT Ananias. Ok, you still have not shown how God needs man. He could have used a donkey (just in case you forgot God used a donkey one time). Your talking apples and oranges (again). You have not (nor can you) show how God actually needs man to accomplish anything significant. God has his person(s), he has his work. Man has nothing to do with either. We (mankind) only exist to worship, serve, and give God glory. By his grace and his mercy you and I live in an age and place where we have the awesome privilege to do all these things without much burden or hindrance (for now).

So the term I would use is PRIVILEGE. Ananias had the privilege to be used by God to assist Paul (Saul) in his initiation as a man to be used greatly by God.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #54
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Oh THAT Ananias. Ok, you still have not shown how God needs man. He could have used a donkey (just in case you forgot God used a donkey one time). Your talking apples and oranges (again). You have not (nor can you) show how God actually needs man to accomplish anything significant. God has his person(s), he has his work. Man has nothing to do with either. We (mankind) only exist to worship, serve, and give God glory. By his grace and his mercy you and I live in an age and place where we have the awesome privilege to do all these things without much burden or hindrance (for now).

So the term I would use is PRIVILEGE. Ananias had the privilege to be used by God to assist Paul (Saul) in his initiation as a man to be used greatly by God.
You clearly misread my post. I am not trying to "prove" the word need is correct. What I am trying to do is understand why you feel it is incorrect and more importantly what the correct word is.

You used the word "used". God used Ananias. That is obvious. God used Mary. Obvious. Christ uses His body. Again obvious.

But, I am using a computer to post this to the internet. I am using the internet to communicate via this forum. Do I "need" to use a computer? I need something, perhaps not this particular computer, but I need something.

The word "need" is defined as "require something because it is essential".

I believe that Mary was essential for Jesus to be born of a virgin, and that was essential to fulfill the prophecy. Hence, I feel the word "need" is appropriate based on its definition.

I believe Ananias was essential since Paul was persecuting the church. It was easy for God to speak to Him from heaven and knock Him off his horse. But Paul would have remained blind until he saw God speaking through one of those little brothers that Paul was hauling off to prison.

I believe that my fingers are essential. Sure, Stephen Hawking communicates without using his fingers but that does not annul the fact that I "need" my fingers to communicate, and that God needs His fingers to communicate.


So then let us consider a different word "required". Did God require Mary to give birth to Jesus? Did He require Ananias to speak to Paul? This word refers to something that is necessary or "needed".

For example:
Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

In this parable Jesus as Lord has given talents to his servants and he therefore requires something in return. He expects them to do something that is necessary or needed.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #55
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Ok, ZNP. I think you have made your point well.

Let's let some others come in and contribute.

Oh Cassidy...where art thou?
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:49 AM   #56
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Why take on a human body and suffer for man? Why would ANY Father bare such torment for his children? Because he LOVES THEM - Not because he needs them. How monumentally arrogant and insulting to God this is!!! Unbelievable!! God so LOVED the World (kosmos or Greek for Universe) - not " for God so needed man". See what poisonous pride you were taught in the LC?
I love the brilliant logic here -- God loves us and here is a verse to prove it, and that proves that God don't need us, and any thought like that must be due to poisonous pride picked up in the LC.

End of discussion.

Cassidy?
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:02 AM   #57
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NEE: Let us ask ourselves: Does our work minister to our satisfaction or to the Lord's? I fear that when we have worked for the Lord, we are often thoroughly satisfied before He is satisfied. We are often quite happy with our work when He has found no joy in it. Blessed are they who can differentiate between ministry to sinners or saints, and ministry to Him. Such discernment is not easily acquired. Often it is only by much drastic dealing that we learn the difference between ministry to the Lord Himself and ministry to the House.
Let us seek the grace of God that He may reveal to us what it really means to minister to Him!
The only true way to know for sure what satisfies God is to measure, compare and contrast our efforts and experience with what is plainly written for us in God's word. Nee seems to ignore this fact - that we actually can know what satisfies God from His Word. "Who can differentiate", "Such discernment is not easily required" and then the kicker..."only by much drastic dealing". It seems to always come down to this with Watchman Nee. Most of the time it seems that Nee favors the subjective over the objective, experience over knowledge and even discernment over the written Word of God. This wouldn't be so bad if he was including the subjectivity, experience and discernment of many other men and women of God, but it is only Nee himself at the top of this pyramid.

Of course this kind of pyramid dynamic was implemented to the fullest by Witness Lee. The end result is a bunch of naïve followers of a man running around saying things like "even if Witness Lee is wrong he is right!" and "we're Witness Lee's company!" and that Lee is "the one minister with the one ministry for the age". These kind of silly and absurd notions are the fruit a system of error that springs from the kind of teachings we find in this booklet. Again, I don't think it can be shown that the main thrust of what Nee has written here can be found in the Word of God. There are spiritual and even scriptural elements to be found within his writings, but the conclusions he comes to indicate that the Word of God and genuine inspiration of the Holy Spirit are not at the foundation of his understanding.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:00 AM   #58
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Ok, ZNP. I think you have made your point well.
Let's let some others come in and contribute.
Oh Cassidy...where art thou?
I was on the sidelines watching the various arguments develop with great interest.

I don't think anybody here believes that God in His infinite greatness, power, majesty, omniscience, omnipresence, etc. needs us (created men) to display or execute those divine attributes. He spoke the universe into being and He bears and upholds all things by the Word of His power. It would be arrogant to say God needs man to be what He is in those ways.

Yet, in the Bible, we see that God has hinged His interactions with men through the cooperation of other men. The very act of creating the first man indicates God has something in mind that requires a man. That He was incarnated as a man cannot be dismissed as irrelevant either. And the whole Bible is all about God working through men for some purpose (Noah, Moses, Abraham, Peter, Paul, and Mary , etc.). God binds His actions to man's cooperation. He may intervene on occasion supernaturally (like Balaam's donkey as you pointed out) or a blinding flash from heaven, but that is not His primary modus operandi. Rather, He says "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Could He go Himself? Sure, but He chooses not to and that in no way compromises what He is in His Godhead or His divine attributes. God needs man as pertains to His executing His plan with man. He designed it that way.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:21 AM   #59
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I love the brilliant logic here -- God loves us and here is a verse to prove it, and that proves that God don't need us, and any thought like that must be due to poisonous pride picked up in the LC.

End of discussion.

Cassidy?

It's a people thing.

My observation is that people who are secure in their beliefs can interact with others of a different persuasion without belligerence.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:53 AM   #60
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My observation is that people who are secure in their beliefs can interact with others of a different persuasion without belligerence.
Very keen observation! Everyone should take this to heart.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:15 AM   #61
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OBW, methinks you have taken your rejection of Lee and Nee way too far, to the point that you reject scripture just because they taught from it. The Lord Jesus, who was God Himself, come in the flesh, was a pattern for us. Did He not often minister to the Father in prayer? Yes He came to serve, and He did so incessantly for the span of 3+ years, but the gospel writers record numerous times when He isolated Himself for prayer.

Prayer is not just a series of requests we mail off to heaven when things go awry. It is also a ministry, a fellowship, a living conversation between us and God. It becomes the source for all real spiritual vitality and service. Take away this ministry to the Lord and we are left with nothing of lasting value.

Wise would be heeding the admonition to "Talk less, Pray more."
There is no quarrel with your statements. The quarrel has been with some assertion that there is a "first" and "second" ministry set forth in Ezekiel 44. We have been given a grand tour of other verses talking about other things. My response to them is not that they are not true in themselves for the things they say, but they do not speak to the meaning of Ezekiel 44.

Barber (or whoever) read Ezekiel 44 and encouraged Nee to do the same and they came away with this "important" understanding of how there is a "first" and "second" ministry.

So ZNP has been running all over scripture talking about all kinds of things. But none of them cast even a shadow onto Ezekiel 44 to give it meaning that was not already there. And an ordering of worship was not there. There were roles assigned. Not chosen, but assigned.

You and he have been mistaken as to my complaint. It is not about Mary and what she did. It is about how it is evidence that Ezekiel 44 is about an order of service.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:09 AM   #62
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OK. let's walk through this account concerning Mary in Mark 14.

The chapter begins with the chief priests and scribes coming together . . . . ends with Judas and soldiers coming from the chief priests . . . [i]n between these two is Mary anointing Jesus.

I read that to be a fulfillment of Psalm 2:2 "The kings of the earth set themselves . . ."

Now if you read Psalm 2:2 most everyone will readily admit it is referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. . . .

So then, immediately after this anointing they prepare to eat the Passover.

Now according to Paul, Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. . . .

In Mark's record immediately before this passover Mary anoints Jesus body for the burial. . . .
All very true and meaningful. But not in a way that would change the meaning of Ezekiel 44. There is no priority of services designated. Nothing in it that would designate that we can choose one part over another. Or should place the parts in a chronological order. We probably can do that, but it does not provide such a directive.
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I am not forcing these things together, Mark put them together.
As I said to Ohio, if you think that I was trying to dismiss anything about the NT meaning of Mary's service, you are mistaken. I basically set aside the strictly NT analysis to find how it should be meaningful to arrive at Nee's conclusions that he got out of Ezekiel.

And even if you simply admit that Ezekiel 44 doesn't get you there, for all its specific and meaningfulness, I don't see how this story in Mark 14 does it either.

That is what I am saying. If you think I have been saying that Mary's story is irrelevant, then you misunderstood. It is only (as far as I can see) irrelevant to the kind of nearly prescriptive issue of priorities and "choice" of service as laid out in Nee's booklet.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:01 PM   #63
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There is no quarrel with your statements. You and he have been mistaken as to my complaint.
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As I said to Ohio, if you think that I was trying to dismiss anything about the NT meaning of Mary's service, you are mistaken. That is what I am saying. If you think I have been saying that Mary's story is irrelevant, then you misunderstood.
With all respect OBW, sometimes I'm just not sure what exactly you are saying, and trying not to assume anything, it's easily to be "mistaken."
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:13 AM   #64
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With all respect OBW, sometimes I'm just not sure what exactly you are saying, and trying not to assume anything, it's easily to be "mistaken."
The problem I see with your complaint to me is that you are not addressing what I am addressing, but something else.

I did not say that there is no ministry to God. Whether, as some others have suggested, that prayer is not always in that category, I cannot say.

What I did say was that the assignments in ministry in Ezekiel were based upon past sins of the particular clans, not upon choice. So if there is something to glean from Ezekiel 44, it would be to always be setting your mind and will on the Spirit. And repenting for your failure to always do it (which we will all need all the time).

And at least on portion of my prior posts that you quoted was concerning the nature of an order or priority of ministries by the Levites as a whole. There was surely something different about serving in the inner courts. We probably would equate that in these days to our worship to God, and our prayer (or at least certain parts of it). (BTW. I'm not sure why you had to make a disparaging remark to me about what prayer is. I had not even addressed prayer specifically (if I recall correctly). And in you comment, you acknowledge that some prayer is a kind of request to God. Not sure why it should be treated as something so poor and low as to warrant the comments about "send off to God." That just seems like some old LRC observations about how low Christianity's prayers are.)

But Ezekiel makes no comment about which comes first. It also doles out the lower assignments based on punishment/reward. Surely we are not to view the various aspects of our service/ministry to God in that way. Not in this life. And how would we apply Ezekiel in this day? Pray that God is not finding that my grandfather wasn't much of a follower and sought more after money than after God?

So I request an alternate passage to establish the priority that Nee seems to find in Ezekiel 44. The responses are good passages. But not for the purpose of the current "quest." And I keep getting dissed as if I am dismissing anything about those passages when all I am doing is failing to find a link back to this thing that Nee tried to teach in this little booklet.

It is as if ZNP, and now you, are changing the subject and accusing me of arguing against other things not related to the topic of this thread. I am not arguing against prayer as a ministry. I am not arguing against what the scripture clearly says about what Mary did.

I am arguing that those are not being linked to Nee's assertions. The only commonality is the word "ministry" or even "service." That does not make the instruction in those passages relevant to the question raised by this booklet of Nee.

I am not just trying to disprove Nee and Lee. I am actually quite dumbfounded as to how much I am now seeing Nee as nearly as bad as Lee. The only difference is how he acted toward his followers. He is being seen more and more to have played very loose with scripture. I think he sincerely believed what he was teaching. Probably the same for Lee.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:11 AM   #65
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The problem I see with your complaint to me is that you are not addressing what I am addressing, but something else.

I did not say that there is no ministry to God. Whether, as some others have suggested, that prayer is not always in that category, I cannot say.

What I did say was that the assignments in ministry in Ezekiel were based upon past sins of the particular clans, not upon choice. So if there is something to glean from Ezekiel 44, it would be to always be setting your mind and will on the Spirit. And repenting for your failure to always do it (which we will all need all the time).
I understand your point. The Sons of Zadok learned to minister in the inner court and were entitled to do so because of their father's stance and as a result of their father's lessons.

The other Levites ministered in the outer court because of their forefathers failures.

However, for those of us reading this passage why can't we take this as a warning to make the choices that Zadok made and stand against the choices the other Levites made?

Why can't the lesson that I take today from this passage is to not be swayed by all the foolish priests who say "even if we are wrong as long as we are following Lee we are right"?

Why can't I say that the error was to bring idolatry into the LRC, making WL and WN idols?

How is it any different from where James speaks about not having the faith of our Lord with respect of persons ?
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:15 AM   #66
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But Ezekiel makes no comment about which comes first. It also doles out the lower assignments based on punishment/reward. Surely we are not to view the various aspects of our service/ministry to God in that way. Not in this life. And how would we apply Ezekiel in this day? Pray that God is not finding that my grandfather wasn't much of a follower and sought more after money than after God?
You have argued that this passage refers to the sons who were not involved in the original sins. But I do not understand why this is so. I read this chapter as a warning. Like looking at a car crash, what caused the crash becomes a warning to me as someone who drives a car.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:19 AM   #67
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But Ezekiel makes no comment about which comes first. It also doles out the lower assignments based on punishment/reward. Surely we are not to view the various aspects of our service/ministry to God in that way. Not in this life. And how would we apply Ezekiel in this day? Pray that God is not finding that my grandfather wasn't much of a follower and sought more after money than after God?
You've built up this entire argument that we can ignore the warning because the children were not the ones who went astray. I don't understand this. Why can't this be viewed as a warning to you that taking this path can result in consequences to you and your children after you.

To me, the chapter reveals how God thinks. That is the point. The consequences are merely the evidence that supports this.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:20 AM   #68
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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It is as if ZNP, and now you, are changing the subject and accusing me of arguing against other things not related to the topic of this thread. I am not arguing against prayer as a ministry. I am not arguing against what the scripture clearly says about what Mary did.
Can you provide me with the quote and the post where I "changed the subject and then accused you of arguing against things not related to the topic of this thread."
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:19 AM   #69
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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I am arguing that those are not being linked to Nee's assertions. The only commonality is the word "ministry" or even "service." That does not make the instruction in those passages relevant to the question raised by this booklet of Nee.
This is how I understood Ohio's post. You make an assumption as to what the "question" is and then everyone else's comments are off topic, or "changing the subject" or something else.

1. It is not clear, until this post, what the "question" is that you are addressing.
2. You assume that this is "the question" for all of us.

To me, the parts that are discordant in that booklet is the part that UntoHim raised about the self reflection on your personal ministry and the part about being self satisfied.

If the Lord has not revealed to me that there is a problem why do I now need to be introspective as though there is a problem. If the Lord has revealed a problem why can't I deal with that without becoming caught up in this introspection.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:23 AM   #70
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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I am not just trying to disprove Nee and Lee. I am actually quite dumbfounded as to how much I am now seeing Nee as nearly as bad as Lee. The only difference is how he acted toward his followers. He is being seen more and more to have played very loose with scripture. I think he sincerely believed what he was teaching. Probably the same for Lee.
I do not feel as extreme as you do, but my esteem of WN has been seriously undermined as of late. The only thing I would object to here is the part about you being "quite dumfounded". Generally I understand that to mean greatly astonished to the point you can't speak, or "found dumb because you have been amazed".
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:40 AM   #71
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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With all respect OBW, sometimes I'm just not sure what exactly you are saying, and trying not to assume anything, it's easy to be "mistaken."
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The problem I see with your complaint to me is that you are not addressing what I am addressing, but something else.
If I am saying that you are easily misunderstood at times, then I cannot, by definition, be addressing something you are not addressing, because perhaps I am only mistaken, and not really complaining.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #72
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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If the Lord has not revealed to me that there is a problem why do I now need to be introspective as though there is a problem. If the Lord has revealed a problem why can't I deal with that without becoming caught up in this introspection.
You would have loved the GLA ... we were all inflicted with the disease of introspection.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:55 AM   #73
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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You would have loved the GLA ... we were all inflicted with the disease of introspection.
The other thing I dislike about this message is that he does not speak from his own experience. He doesn't ever illuminate what he is referring to by his own experience. It is a cloaked message of pointing fingers at others and you have no real idea of what the accusation is.

If this message was shared as a personal experience of failure and repentance I would have felt it was much easier to understand and receive.

Another option is to share a story about a saint similar to Mary anointing the Lord. If you are going to point your finger it should be at Mary, if you are going to call for repentance it should begin with your own.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:10 AM   #74
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

ZNP,

Yes, there is a warning in there. But the discussion in Nee's booklet was not about the warning. It was about the order of ministry.

I'm trying to stick to talking about what it seems that Nee was talking about. Anywhere else you can take the arguments on other points could be great theology (not meaning that they are dead, just that they are well-founded). But it does not respond to Nee's points.

I seem to have spent a lot of time trying to argue away things that are not what Nee was talking about. It should have been as simple as "could be true and meaningful in its own right, but it is not responsive to Nee's discussion." But it never was. Seems that everyone thought I was trying to dispute the validity of other things. I was not. Just disputing that those other things actually had anything to do with Nee's points.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:15 PM   #75
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Default Re: Two Aspects of the Church Life

I started this thread with the upcoming conference in mind on the “ground of the church”, which is a term first used by Watchman Nee. Here in his booklet on ministry to the House he doesn’t mention the ground of the church, but he does bring attention to the most vital aspect of the church life in issuing a call for believers to spend time with the Lord and to strengthen their relationship with Him in their daily life and for the church life. This was the primary objective of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in all their ministry - to bring believers into the experience of Christ for their service in the church and to the Lord.

Meeting on a proper ground is another aspect of the church life that is important, for it affects the Lord’s will that “they all may be one” that “the world may believe.” Both Nee and Lee noted that without adequate experience of Christ and having a right attitude of heart for receiving others it would be easy for a local church to become a sect. They could have the teaching that they stand on the ground of oneness in their locality with every believer, but, practically speaking, if their relationship is more with a ministry and a cause than with Christ, their receiving of all those God receives is undermined seriously, they limiting themselves in heart to the small, yet special, sphere of receiving only those who attach themselves to the same ministry and cause.

Nee opened in his booklet with
"Let us note at the outset that there is little apparent difference between ministry to the House of the Lord and ministry to the Lord Himself. Many of you are doing your utmost to help your brethren, and you are laboring to save sinners and administer the affairs of the church. But let me ask you: Have you been seeking to meet the need around you, or have you been seeking to serve the Lord? Is it your fellow men you have in view, or is it Him?
From the beginning of his booklet, Nee was focused on Him, as was Witness Lee in his booklet called The Ground of the Church. Both of these booklets and the ministries of Nee and Lee helped the local churches to see Christ with the church in the 60s and early 70s. Christ was clearly in view. The church ground was clearly presented. And, the church life was abundant with signs of inward and outward blessing.


Witness Lee began his booklet with
“For the church life, there are two main and basic aspects. We must be thoroughly clear about these, for without them we have no reality of the church life. The first is that Christ Himself is the life, the content, and everything in the church. It is absolutely not a matter of forms, doctrines, or certain kinds of expressions. Those who are really in the church life are those who are experiencing Christ as their very life day by day. Christ is everything to them; therefore, Christ is their life and content whenever they come together. The practice of the church life is a life of Christ and a life with Christ as everything.
“The second main aspect of the church life is that of the standing or the ground of the church…… What is the ground of the Roman Catholic Church? Without a doubt, it is Rome. The Roman Catholic Church claiming Christ as its foundation is built upon the ground of Roman Catholicism. Upon what ground is the Presbyterian Church built? It is clear that their ground is a certain system of government called the presbytery. They have laid the foundation of Christ upon the ground of the presbytery. What about the Baptists? They with Christ as their foundation are built upon the ground of baptism, baptism by immersion. Then there are the Lutherans. They have laid their foundation upon the ground of Luther and his teachings. You see, all the "churches" claim the same foundation, which is Christ; but they all stand upon different grounds. It is the different grounds that create the problem for the unity of the church, not Christ as the foundation."
BOOKLET – Ground of the Church
www.twoturmoils.com/GroundoftheChurch.pdf

Okay, thank you for this fellowship brother Lee. The Lutherans have laid their foundation "upon the ground of Luther and his teachings". How about the Local Churches today?

From the Pledge to the One Publication Proclamation, www.TwoTurmoils.com tells us how the ground for meeting in the Local Churches became Witness Lee and his ministry.


A Leader and a Ministry Becoming a Center

WATCHMAN NEE
Whenever a special leader, or a specific doctrine, or some experience, or creed, or organization, becomes a center for drawing together the believers of different places, then because the center of such a church federation is other than Christ, it follows that its sphere will be other than local. And, whenever the divinely appointed sphere of locality is displaced by a sphere of human invention, there the divine approval cannot rest. The believers within such a sphere may truly love the Lord, but they have another center apart from Him, and it is only natural that the second center becomes the controlling one. It is contrary to human nature to stress what we have in common with others; we always stress what is ours in particular. Christ is the common center of all the churches, but any company of believers that has a leader, a doctrine, an experience, a creed, or an organization as their center of fellowship, will find that that center becomes the center, and it is that center by which they determine who belongs to them and who does not. The center always determines the sphere, and the second center creates a sphere which divides those who attach themselves to it from those who do not.

Anything that becomes a center to unite believers of different places will create a sphere which includes all believers who attach themselves to that center and excludes those who do not. This dividing line will destroy the God-appointed boundary of locality, and consequently destroy the very nature of the churches of God (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Church Life, p. 184).

A former elder, Kyle, gives his testimony

"...But slowly over time I saw how we had become more and more exclusive and were giving ourselves to a 'cause' and not to Christ. Of course, we still loved the Lord and served Him passionately, but we were in a mixture. The ministry became our focus. It was no longer the ministry for the churches but the churches for the ministry. The atmosphere became toxic, no longer could we breathe pure air, suspicion abounded. "Were we 100% for the ministry? If we were just 98% we should get out." These were basically Witness Lee's words. In the early years I was in local church, I used to overlook the things that bothered my conscience. But after so much became manifested in the late 1980s (financial corruption, immoral behavior of W Lee's son, terrible mistreatment of saints, cover-up of sin, etc.), I cried to the Lord day and night for over a year about what to do. He brought me into the LC and He had to be the one who would bring me out.

Then at a conference in Pasadena, California [1988], I received the speaking that it was time to leave. I saw that we were not the church I had thought we were. We had become another narrow-minded, exclusive, controlling, elitist, sectarian group just like many separatist groups that had gone before us (ex. "exclusive Brethren"). At that conference I witnessed Witness Lee actually spit on a book by G. H. Lang, "Local Assembly." All Lang did was expose centralization. Lee said we were an organism, not centralized. But everyone knew our practice was that we had a centralized organization. I cried all the way home after seeing the awful behavior of this so-called man of God. I felt I was cheated for so many years.

…I cherish the years in the LC, but if I had never left, I hate to think what I would have become.

The Lord is faithful and so good to us to lead us. – end of Kyle testimony

The churches under LSM direction became ministry churches, or local sects, no longer aligned well with the two booklets mentioned earlier. “If we have to advertise our ministry and use great effort to promote it….,” Nee says. What a discrepancy between the message of Nee and Lee over several decades to the churches and what we know to be their practice today.

Steve Isitt
3/19/13

Last edited by Igzy; 03-19-2013 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Content posted twice
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:51 PM   #76
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Default The Ground of the Church

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I started this thread with the upcoming conference in mind on the “ground of the church”, which is a term first used by Watchman Nee.
Many of us used to think that here Nee had uncovered the "Holy Grail," the missing link, the long lost truth, the underlying reason why the body of Christ had become a "dismal failure, hopelessly divided, totally unable to fulfill God's eternal purpose," or other equally serious sounding spiritual terminology. But here Steve Isitt points to the obvious -- the "ground of the church," the foundational basis for all Recovery exclusivism and vision, was a term first used by Watchman Nee.

With such all-encompassing Biblical importance, this phrase just begs the question -- why did the Bible never use this term? Why in the world is it absent from scripture? How could the "ground of the church" be so important that the New Testament completely missed out on it? No wonder the rest of the body of Christ is so "hopelessly degraded," as WN and WL ingrained into us. How could they possibly be expected to "see" something that was not even there?

The Bible tells us plainly that Christ is the foundation of the church (I Cor 3.11) and no one can lay another. The song reinforces this, "The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord." Watchman Nee, however, felt that this was inadequate and decided to add something to the Biblical record. He surmised that this foundation needed a "proper site," aka the "ground of the church." For over 1900 years the church had never had this "site," and it sorely needed to be "recovered." This was to become the long lost secret ingredient needed to accomplish God's plan, His economy.

70 years after Nee's original invention, we now have the benefit of hindsight to ascertain the fruit of this new teaching. Instead of bringing oneness, the Recovery is hopelessly divided, quarantining whole regions and countries full of loyal members. Instead of bringing blessing, their numbers are dwindling, marginally replenished by subsequent generations. Instead of impacting the entire body of Christ with high peak truths, the Recovery is known for little more than being the most litigious group of Christians in history.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:11 PM   #77
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

I just scanned through the whole of Nee's booklet that is the subject of this thread.

If there was ever a writing that had so little to support it, this was among them. In the online ministry books it takes 9 "sections" to get through the whole thing. Not too much. Until you arrive at the very last section, there is virtually no scripture other than Ezekiel 44, and there only really two or three verses. And even those are hardly truly mentioned. Even when he does mention them, he treats them as if they are talking about something that is not there. Mostly that the most important thing is ministering to the Lord. He begins the book by saying this. He says that it is so over and over.

Then quite some way into the thing, finally comes this story of reading through it with the older woman (Barber?). Somehow this little mention in Ezekiel is driving some revelation of the primacy of "ministering to the Lord" over anything else. It is so central to Nee that any kind of even good Christian work is not hardly relevant. We should be all about ministering to the Lord, then eventually a little bit to people (the house).

There is never a basis given for this insistence on its primacy. He just says it is so. Over and over for many paragraphs.

And when I say there are no other verses, it is essentially true. He mentions one verse in Isaiah in about the middle, but it does not have any bearing on his assertion that "ministering to the Lord" is the central and primary thing to do, exclusive of other ministering.

In the last couple of sections, he does finally mention a little more. And even that is mostly in the last section. The first part is in Hebrews, related to "outside the court." I really don't see the point of that portion relative to what he is trying to say.

Then he comes Luke 17:7-10 which he insists is about God having his servants (us) serve him his dinner before we get to eat ours. In context, this is a difficult position to support. It is immediately following an assertion that our faith can tell a tree to be replanted in the sea. Reading these next verses as relating, without reference to God insisting on us doing our work, then coming in and preparing his meal and serving him before we eat is based upon something not actually found in the passage. And since he makes no effort to explain how he came up with it, I find that it is virtually without support and can therefore be rejected.

On the whole, the ink (and now electrons) used for this booklet are proof that men can say a lot of nothing and people will buy it because of their opinion of who said it. If the opinion is missing, then there needs to be a foundation for what is said. So far, I find no such foundation. It is a lot of opinion based on nothing but that opinion. The claimed scripture references are of no benefit in figuring it out — unless you accept anything that Nee says because he says it.

Then who needs scripture?
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #78
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

Now I know that someone is going to say "there goes that OBW again, dissing Lee and Nee."

And it really is getting that way. But it is not because I don't like them. It is because when I read their works without first assuming that they are correct because I already believe they are, it doesn't stack up.

Read the whole booklet in the Online Ministry Books. Note that Nee says what he says over and over. He just starts in with the assertion that his conclusion is simply true. He never really supports it other than with vague reference to this passage in Ezekiel many paragraphs into the booklet. By then you are either fully on board and need no encouragement or you have quit reading.

But if you start from the premise that everything that sounds lofty or spiritual is not necessarily so, but needs sound reason and support in scripture, then no matter how lofty the writing, it is nothing until it is given a foundation in scripture.

What I find in this little booklet is an effort to assert that God is first seeking sacrifice, then obedience. That despite the scripture's assertions to the contrary.

Now that Steve wants to turn our attention to the "ground of the church," we should be ready to show how that little bit of fantasy is not based on scripture, but on opinion from a few scriptures at the expense of simply ignoring others. Why did we let them get away with it before? Because we were convinced that if Nee and Lee said it, it was right even if it was wrong.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:09 AM   #79
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Then he comes Luke 17:7-10 which he insists is about God having his servants (us) serve him his dinner before we get to eat ours. In context, this is a difficult position to support. It is immediately following an assertion that our faith can tell a tree to be replanted in the sea. Reading these next verses as relating, without reference to God insisting on us doing our work, then coming in and preparing his meal and serving him before we eat is based upon something not actually found in the passage. And since he makes no effort to explain how he came up with it, I find that it is virtually without support and can therefore be rejected.

Hmmm. I have to say if Luke 17:7-10 isn't about us serving the Lord "dinner" first, then what is it about? You might say that it is more generally about the attitude of a servant, that his master's wishes come first and that the master is not obligated to thank his servant. Yes, but that's precisely what "feeding" the Lord before ourselves means. It's metaphorical. But Nee means it metaphorically, too. It means our attitude should be one of a servant not expecting courtesies from his master.

The fact that 7-10 follows verses about faith in no way require that that 7-10 be about the same subject. Passages containing the Lord Jesus' teachings often make abrupt changes of direction.

I think your rejection of 7-10 as instructions about serving the Lord before ourselves is more arbitrary than Nee's usage of it might be. It's another illustration of your hyper-skepticism.

Still love you though, bro'.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:00 AM   #80
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Hmmm. I have to say if Luke 17:7-10 isn't about us serving the Lord "dinner" first, then what is it about? You might say that it is more generally about the attitude of a servant, that his master's wishes come first and that the master is not obligated to thank his servant. Yes, but that's precisely what "feeding" the Lord before ourselves means. It's metaphorical. But Nee means it metaphorically, too. It means our attitude should be one of a servant not expecting courtesies from his master.

The fact that 7-10 follows verses about faith in no way require that that 7-10 be about the same subject. Passages containing the Lord Jesus' teachings often make abrupt changes of direction.

I think your rejection of 7-10 as instructions about serving the Lord before ourselves is more arbitrary than Nee's usage of it might be. It's another illustration of your hyper-skepticism.

Still love you though, bro'.
Even if you say it does mean that it is literally concerning God demanding us to remain in our position as servants, it does not also suggest that there is something that is service to the Lord and something else that is not. If that is the analysis, it would be evident that our entire life is service to the Lord. Therefore no basis for differentiating service in the field planting, plowing and reaping v cooking and serving dinner.

The main thing is that this passage does not support some unique ministry "to the Lord" that is separate from the "service to the house" as Nee has phrased it. Instead, it defines the whole of our service as one continuous thing. In Ezekiel, the service in the outer court was not for the benefit of the priests/Levites. It was part of a God-ordained necessity for the covering of the sins of the people. Surely there was a difference in serving out with the people and within the inner courts. But it was all service.

And if Luke 17 is to shed some light on it, I find that the call to come in and serve dinner came after everything else, not before it.

So the insistence upon coming first is contradicted by the very scripture that Nee used. The day was in service to the master. The end of the service outside was followed by service inside. Then the servant got some time to himself (and was probably still on call).

Reminds me of Downton Abby. Everyone was busy doing all kinds of things. A few got to actually serve in the owners' chambers. But without the activities still continuing "downstairs," there would be no meal upstairs in the dining hall.

And having read where Nee is said to have laid out his outline of what his ministry was about, it is clear that he considered his ministry very special. He basically left things like the gospel to others. He was all about "high things" to borrow more recent terminology of his successor. He had no heart to serve in the outer court with sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes. He was all about the lofty things of a separated life.

And I got this from what appears to be gleaned from Lee's own biography of Nee.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #81
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Even if you say it does mean that it is literally concerning God demanding us to remain in our position as servants, it does not also suggest that there is something that is service to the Lord and something else that is not.
Fair enough. But that's not what you said. You said that the idea that Luke 17:7-10 is about us serving the Master dinner before we have dinner is a "difficult postion to support," when in fact that's exactly what it's about.


Quote:
Then he comes Luke 17:7-10 which he insists is about God having his servants (us) serve him his dinner before we get to eat ours. In context, this is a difficult position to support. It is immediately following an assertion that our faith can tell a tree to be replanted in the sea. Reading these next verses as relating, without reference to God insisting on us doing our work, then coming in and preparing his meal and serving him before we eat is based upon something not actually found in the passage. And since he makes no effort to explain how he came up with it, I find that it is virtually without support and can therefore be rejected.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:31 AM   #82
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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Fair enough. But that's not what you said. You said that the idea that Luke 17:7-10 is about us serving the Master dinner before we have dinner is a "difficult position to support," when in fact that's exactly what it's about.
You are correct. It is what I said.

But whether I was right before (probably not) or you are right now (possibly) it really doesn't change the nature of the lack of support for Nee's assertions about it.

And while the example is about serving the master dinner before we eat our own, I don't think that the meaning is that we have to serve the master dinner before we get our own. It is that the master has the right to order it to be that way. And it is the servant's duty to obey.

It is actually phrased as "suppose any one of you has a servant . . . " It is probably reasonable to assume that the intent is to refer back to God as the one with the servant. But it doesn't necessarily have to be so to make the point it seems to actually make.

The point I see in it is that a servant is a servant full time. Just because they plowed for the day, service is not over when the sun gets too low. It continues on (and on and on). The master determines when the servant can take time for himself. Of course a righteous master does not demand all of the time and no provision to eat or sleep. But he does set the schedule for it.

And no matter who is the master in these verses, there is nothing about them that makes the cooking of the dinner special or primary. It is all part of the tasks assigned.

And in the same way, we are servants full-time. And if not, it is due to disobedience. Our only true choice in the matter is whether to obey or to disobey. Plow or sleep. Cook the master's dinner or eat our own. Do the tasks assigned or go into town for a drink at the local pub to complain about our task-master.

I'm sure that there was something going on inside me that saw there was no true support for Nee, but wanted to make it more severe than it actually was. I didn't go about that willfully, but nevertheless I did it.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #83
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

Further to my last post, if it is true that the point is about a master having a servant and therefore having authority over him/her, then the portion actually does link back somewhat to the verse before talking about ordering the tree to be uprooted and replanted in the sea. If we have been given authority, then we have the authority to make it so. As much with the tree as with a servant.

Now someone will assert that it must not be so because they haven't seen any trees uprooted and replanted in the sea recently.

Or they will go out determined to see it happen.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:28 AM   #84
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Default Re: Nee's 'Ministry to the House or to the Lord'

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